JSE listed company Old Mutual recently celebrated 170 years in the financial services business.
Speaking at a lunch, CEO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Ralph Mupita says the corporate longevity of the investment, savings and insurance group is attributed to four key factors. These factors contribute to the socio-economic progress of South Africa and markets.
Focus on the customer
“Give the customer what they want,” says Mupita. Businesses should focus on understanding what customers need and provide them with the right product.
Adaption and innovation
Over many years Old Mutual had to adapt business models and grow in different ways to reach customers. “As markets change, we had to adapt and innovate,” he says.
Be socially relevant in the markets in which we operate
This allows the business to be successful in benefitting the stakeholder more broadly. Businesses should be concerned about the issues communities are struggling with and should work to find solutions for them.
Take decisions and actions focussed on the long term
The decisions taken over the past 170 years didn’t pay off in the short term, but rather the long term, says Mupita. In today’s world, there is tension in companies as they struggle to make the right decisions for the long term, he says. Businesses should balance their short term and long term decisions, but the bias should be to do the right thing for the long term, he adds.
Customers are integral for businesses to be more competitive.
Recently appointed CEO Dave Macready has been on the job for over 21 days. He mentions five themes to ensure growth and competitiveness for the future.
1. Focus on the customer
“I have always found that if one puts the customer at the forefront of decision making … it almost always ends at the right answer,” says Macready. Legislation is forcing businesses to think about the outcomes for customers first and this should develop into a culture for businesses, says Macready. This means changing value propositions at various business segments and innovating channels to interact with customers directly and conveniently. Customers are integral for businesses to be more competitive. “Customers have aspirations in terms of their own future and in terms of the brands they want to associate with,” he says.
2. Manage talent
It is important to build a “talent pipeline”. This involves creating a great place of work where talent aspires to grow, says Macready. “Diversity allows for competitiveness,” he says as it allows businesses to reach customers in ways they understand and need.
3. Market share
It is important to be a significant player in the mass market segment. The business should retain market share and build aspirations that talk to the aspirations of the mass market. “Sustainability in terms of competing in that market is key,” says Macready. The middle market is where the real opportunity is and to be competitive businesses.
There are plans to have collaborations, internally within business segments. There is power in taking advantage of the synergy in collaboration opportunities.
This is about simplifying the ease to do business. It involves creating an omni-channel of interaction with customers. Simplification improves business and is a key element for competitiveness.
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