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Strive to be Unique in Business, Says eTranzact CEO

The essence of strategy is to find a unique position in your business that delivers exceptional value to the customers you chose to serve, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, eTranzact Global, Dr Valentine Obi, has postulated.

Dr Obi, Speaker at the virtual Leadership Development Masterclass organized by the African Leadership Development Centre (ALDC) of Covenant University, described strategy as what would make a particular organization different and provide a competitive advantage.

While making his presentation "Business Strategy and Innovation" at the event held on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, the facilitator said that no business entrepreneur should focus on being the best in any sector. According to him, "the reason is that there is no best company. So, it's pretty hard to try to do something impossible. There is no best car company. There is no best insurance company. It all depends because there is no one way to compete".

He said that the thinking should be how can one's company be unique; how can one create outstanding value for the set of customers he chooses to serve. Strategy, he emphasized, was about competing to be unique, and it was fundamentally about making choices.

Dr Obi, however, noted that one of the worst mistakes in strategy was to try to serve everybody. He said it was impossible to try to meet the need of everybody. "Fundamentally, if you have a strategy, you have a strategy, you've got to decide which needs of which customers you're going to seek to meet," he said.

The Speaker, who noted that operational effectiveness was not a strategy, said that simply implementing best practices, buying the latest machine, using the internet to communicate with one's customers, and doing many things to keep the company more productive and efficient was necessary not a strategy. "Strategy is holistic," said Dr Obi. "It's the whole set of choices that you make collectively to position the company for success over time.

On the competition in business, the Speaker said that competition was destructive when companies were competing on the same thing. He said that forced competition to gravitate to price strategy. He stated that finding a different way to compete created a different sort of value for the customer, which allowed a company to prosper and achieve superior profits.

Dr Obi pointed out that the collective strength of the five forces – bargaining power of suppliers, the threat of new entrants, the competitive rivalry among existing firms, the threat of substitute products, and the bargaining power of customers – ultimately determined the profit potential of an industry.

According to him, a company's full range of repeated or iterative activities to create a product or service was known as a value chain. He said that the purpose of a value chain analysis was to increase production efficiency to deliver maximum value for the least possible cost.

He said that a value proposition would say why a customer would choose one's product or service and communicates the clearest benefits that customers received by giving you their business. He added that while all competitive advantages resided in the value chain, a strategy was manifested in how activities in the value chain were configured and linked together.

While shedding light on the concept of tradeoffs, Dr Obi said that it was to be uniquely good at delivering some kinds of value that one has to be deliberately willing to choose not to offer other value types.

He posited that a unique value proposition, a distinctive value chain, making clear tradeoffs, choices across the value chain that fit together and reinforce each other, and strategic continuity created a successful strategy.

Earlier in his remark, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, said it had become imperative for organisations to be innovative to survive and prosper in the prevailing socio-economic environment. He stated that innovation was no longer just for creating value to benefit individuals, organisations, or societies, adding that the ultimate purpose of innovation should be to create a smart future where people could enjoy the best quality of life possible. “Consequently, innovators must create more proactive approaches to predict the uncertain future and pursue strategies to eliminate impediments to the smart future,” he said.

While asserting that one feature of a world-class university was its ability to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to the diverse challenges confronting humanities today, the Vice-Chancellor assured that Covenant University was a world-class university committed to raising a new generation of leaders.

He appreciated the Speaker for accepting Covenant’s invitation to the Masterclass and hoped the audience would see and reflect change not as a threat but change that would propel their businesses into greater heights.

The Director, ALDC, Dr Lanre Amodu, appreciated the Speaker for what he described as his insightful presentation. He said that the eTranzact founder had educated the audience that when they competed in any business endeavour to be the best, they were not strategic; rather, they should strive to be unique.

He also appreciated the participants for making the event a successful one.


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