Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

It is a crowded world with many persons turning to sages overnight. The landscape is crowded and there is an overload of information. Unfortunately, little is often harnessed and engaged at the end of the day. This perhaps made Olumide Holloway to device a unique way of crafting business and motivational lessons in his book, Strategic Business, Lessons from the Animal Kingdom. He was inspired by the global documentary television show, National Geographic television (NATGEOWILD) to bring to fore guiding principles and guardrails to failure.

From the description of the strategies of different predatory animals, as well as the ones on the lower rung of the food chain, he fuses these nuggets with their abilities to capture prey, and their adaptive prowess to survive in their niche. The lion, the tiger, the jaguar, the hyena, the ostrich, the tropical snakes, and cockroach, among others are the author’s specimens of business and life lessons. He also crafts these stories deploying an intricate Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, thereby enabling the reader to also do same for his brand, product and services. This skillful transmutation makes the book unputdownable.

The author, one of the prolific Nigerian spoken word poets, sets the book apart from the gamut of business books using a profound copywriting, interpersonal language and poetic skill in his explication of habitats, niche, marketing survey, Unique Selling Point, 3Cs; Content, Collaboration, Community, 3Rs; Recognition, Reward, Recommendation, among others. The fundamentals of entrepreneurship is laid bare without the jargons that frustrate people who are interested in financial freedom without having a background in business.

Which animal are you is the question that comes to the mind of the reader as he flips the pages. Which strategies are most suitable to draw customers and retain them and on which turf are your setting your trap (planning and strategy) for the next big customer? There is an inkling for an entrepreneur to reevaluate its nuanced business strategies. The author urges businesses to build a well oiled structure, a seamless system, and prioritize customer satisfaction while constantly improving the product and services. Although knowing what businesses in your cycle of influence are up to is germaine, repositioning your business as primus inter pares should be the goal.

Using the hippopotamus as a resonant example, he explains that entrepreneurs and business owners must show emotional intelligence, deploy emotional maturity and check outbursts that would be detrimental to their public and internal outlook. He stated that discovering your weakness and rehabilitating yourself is crucial for any competitive business, as sharks in the business are also looking for your Achilles heel. He asserts that business owners and entrepreneurs must own, know and sharpen their skills on a daily basis to dominate their spaces.

In the explication of the baboon, he stressed that one can have mundane and simplistic attitude to life and business, ‘feed, mate and stay alive’ or you can engage the 4s, preempt the problems, redefine your strategy as new challenges arise. Autopilot in business is dangerous.

On the part of the crocodile, it understand that it thrives on water and patiently waits for animals to come and drink. It understands that in the hierachy of needs, its habitat cannot be ignored by any animal, so it patiently waits, enduring hunger until it leaps on its prey with a firm grip. A firm grip is not lost on the audience, but the author graciously explains that the crocodile understands the need analysis of the animal kingdom, exudes the virtue of patience in a space of existing want and builds consistency with products and services. Location is germane to gain visibility and access to market.

Entrepreneurship is a process that must bring profit. Unfortunately, many businesses are overwhelmed by the rigour of cyclic processes without clearly defining and securing profit. The author advises that business must be abreast of the dynamics of their business because they cannot use “yesterday’s anointing for today’s miracles’. A clear vision, a definitive strategy, a great team and formidable leverages are needed to scale one’s business. He differentiates between market share and pocket share and challenges us to understand our situation in order to improve them.

“Business is war”. What he means thereof is that competitors want to see you fail or falter so that they can harness your profit at your own detriment. There is no friendship with the competitor in business. While deploying the predatory landscape of the animal kingdom, he fuses the predatory landscape of business and also warns that your businesses must have the capacity to scale, else you will be working for others at your own detriment.

“If a leopard gets lucky and kills a buffalo or bigger animal, it can never carry it up a tree.” The food will go to its competitors. But with the right prey, it will easily go up the tree and eat in peace” What is the use of getting profit if it is snatched from you. Protect your assets and valuables, bring the ‘bag’ home and sustainably consume it without hassles.
Deploying the ecletic nature of the ostrich, the author stresses resilence, courage and burning the boat to excel. Those who are spoiled for alternatives do not have passion to excel. He urges us to put up a fight for our businesses like the ostrich by enhancing our mental faculty with books, information that will be valuable to stakeholders. He urges us to explore innate talents, improve on your craft so that the world can come to you.
Without gainsaying, business is a broad relationship that entails negotiation. Here, the author explicates the importance of mentors, business partners, collaboration with other cohesive brands. He however warns that while one may be spoiled for choice, a true entrepreneur must be careful to share his ideas with his competitor, and bring a spy into his fold to sabotage the buisness, or drive critical business engagements, especially resources, through a vicious competitor.

Using the Komodo dragon’s bite technique and the bacteria infested mouth, he stressed the connection that can endear the audience to achieve the consitent fruition of sale. Regular communication, builidng lasting relationships is key to building a business.

Despite the praise, his approach has its own gaffes. In few instances, the reader expected that he dug deeper into the idiosyncracies of business, the complexities and craft of business. Yet, it is a brilliant refresher for those who have engaged business stratagies and it is not a bore for those who are not attuned to it. For example, the topic, ‘Who Likes Bed Bugs?,’ Is worthy of being further expatiated. Although it explains the importance of a digital footprint, it did not expand the context and neither did it offer robust digital footprint strategies. Some infinitestimal editing gaffes exist in the book but they do not sour the broth.

Olulu’s book is a gift that keeps giving. It is crafted to leverage on the extention of a proverb. He has gone beyond the ants to learn great lessons from the survival and adaptive skills of animals. He has not kept these lessons to himself. In his high creative genius, he embodies life lessons for souls and minds who intend to better themselves and gain financial freedom.

Book Title: Strategic Buisness Lessons from the Animal Kingdom
Author: Olumide Holloway (Olulu not from Zulu)
Publisher: Self published (Olumide Holloway)
Year of Publishing: 2019

Femi Morgan is writer, public relations consultant and serial founder of creative brands. He is also the author of Renegade and The Year of Fire. He was shortlisted for the Glena Luschei Prize for African poetry in 2021. He lives in Lagos Nigeria. Contact: femimorgan@gmail.com, 08068108018


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