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19.10.2003 Feature Article

The Bid for Ashanti- The other Story

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In this unprecedented transaction (for Ghana) associated with Ashanti Goldfields, there is a lot that Ghanaians following the story can learn. Particularly, businessmen and aspiring youth can appreciate this transaction and the lessons that it indirectly brings. I am not partisan to any of the firms bidding, neither am I an investor, but I must say that the tenacity, style and salesmanship of Dr. Bristow, embodies the very values that may be missing in several business people in Ghana today, but most importantly basic values that our youth need to survive in our very competitive world today. This position has been taken solely on his pronouncements as far as the media is concerned, together with his public appearances regarding the Ashanti transaction, and does not border on any investigative research, as his person or personality has nothing to do with this piece. It is simply based on what has been observed since the bidding war for Ashanti begun. For those following the story, it is hoped that the whole transaction will not only educate and inspire businessmen and women, but also the youth and people of all walks of life, who wish to achieve something in life. Especially for those with dreams but think they are too “small” to pursue them etc. It is clear that the bidding between what may be seen as a “David and Goliath” situation has some practical lessons for all of us today,

Life is competitive, and it is important for one to understand that one has to sell themselves and their beliefs. We need to conduct ourselves as sales people either for our individual self or for our business entities. Each occasion presents an opportunity to make a solid presentation on your behalf to forward your own cause. As one follows this story, we see how Dr. Bristow sells himself and his story. He tells his story with a solid knowledge base of the markets in which he conducts business, full knowledge of his company, full knowledge of Ashanti and appreciable knowledge of his competitor. Knowledge simply empowers you to be a better sales person. Gut feeling has a place in risk taking but as far as running a solid business is concerned, knowledge is needed and our business people need to learn this and use knowledge in a proactive manner for their own success.

Dr. Bristow’s story however is told to a specific audience, which I believe as a seasoned businessperson is a calculated approach. One needs to target the story to the right audience, since just selling your ideas and yourself in an undirected manner may not be effective and may not produce the desired result. We see how Dr. Bristow takes his campaign to the people who matter, from the UK, U.S.A. to Ghana’s media to the Ghanaian public. A strong marketing research component is needed in business.

Obviously this is not cheap and requires resources. One also needs resources to secure his or her interests, as it takes resources to do anything substantial. Obviously the recent revelation of a financial house to support his efforts shows his relationships with the financial community he deals with and the role of resources in any business transaction. Relationships are equally important in all aspects of our lives and we need to nurture them. Our relationships with individuals, groups, and financial community must be upright.

As we follow the story we see it taking different turns but tenacity is what it takes. When one is convinced enough about a position, nothing stops you. Nothing comes easy and when we face obstacles we need to overcome them with a well thought out strategy, and not buckle under pressure or when we run into a brick wall. We need to have strategies, which take into account all possibilities or outcomes that may result from actions we take, so we are not caught in paths that we have no way out or no way forward. Simply put, let us put some thinking in our operations.

Risk is the other value that this story brings to our doorstep. We need to take risks and not be intimidated by “Goliath” businesses or others. Many local business people complain about multi-nationals but multi-nationals lack the local context knowledge, which many local entrepreneurs have. The multi-nationals may have resources, but we can use methods such as collaboration to diffuse this upper hand. Their size also makes it difficult to have flexibility, which small companies in Ghana can advantage of. In the same light we need to understand that our business record may hinder or open up future prospects, as such we should make sure we have sound business operations today based on delivering quality output with credibility being at the heart of our operations.

Today there are several bright, talented young people in Ghana with great ideas. However, if one reflects on the values cited earlier, many are lacking in one or a combination of some of these values.

For Ghana to have an economy that is driven by private sector, we need centered and grounded business men and women, who have the skills to run sustainable ventures which can grow and provide the country with the much need resources for its growth and it is believed that the leadership of the private sector, with the right skills and knowledge base can transform our economy if only they continue to dream, sell, seek resources, be tenacious and resilient in their approach, and take risk. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2003

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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