2019 was considered by many entrepreneurs as a tough year. Many SMEs lamented of the difficulties they experienced, and the lack of cash flow to effectively manage their businesses. If 2019 was tough, 2020 was catastrophic. One can only wonder what 2021 will be like.

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Amidst the challenges, during both years, disruptors won awards, and innovative leaders created return on investment through a culture of innovation. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.

Life must go on, and the role of a leader is to anticipate the future, by positioning him/herself to discern future threats and opportunities, and disrupting what is, with what could be. ‘’What we forget is that everybody sets their own journey. We are stuck in the past and we forget the future...If you want to drive your life using your rear-view mirror, you know you can’t go far. You need to be courageous enough to ask: Can i disrupt?’’ Joshua Ogiera, KCB boss (Dominic, 2020).

I love reading my Bible and specifically the book of Genesis, onwards. The story of Joseph changed my relationship with money. It often puzzled me how during the years of intense famine, God never instructed Joseph to freely give food to the people, reinforcing, from my perspective, the following verse: ‘’If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.’’ 2 Thes 3:10.
Instead, Joseph had to plan strategically:

1. Research and education: The Bible tells us that Joseph went through the land of Egypt to understand the crops, the conditions of the fields and the people in general. Joseph understood the significance of the job and his role in it. He did not take anything for granted. He researched about his target and the market. Remember that everything we do on earth contributes to expanding the Kingdom of God. Joseph researched and educated himself to effectively execute the purpose God had for him.

2. Strategize: The information Joseph collected helped him strategize. The Bible tells us that he started stock-pilling to protect his people from what was to come. Businesses operate today in a non-linear, unplanned and disruptive market. As a leader, what plans have you put in place to pile your stocks, and ensure consistent cash flow? Remember that they are three rules for success in business:
Rule 1: Don’t run out of cash
Rule 2: Don’t run out of cash
Rule 3: Don’t run out of cash.
What do you need to pile?

3. Value: During the famine, Joseph sold all his products in Egypt and Canaan, thus collecting all the money of the lands. When the money was over, he encouraged the people to exchange their livestock for food, before finally purchasing all the lands in Egypt for the King. Joseph was able to take these steps, because he understood the importance of value. People kept going to Joseph because he had what they needed ‘’food’’. Are you aware of the prevalent trends within your industry? Have there been (or could there be) any regulatory or legislative developments that could affect your market? How has your business adapted (will be able to adapt) around those trends?
Remember that money is the representation of the value that is created in an economy. The value you create drives the income you make. Are you aware of the trends in your industry? What value are you creating for your customers to keep them coming? How flexible are you in your business to accommodate the needs of your customers?

4. Being Christians not by words but by undertakings: Joseph prayed for wisdom to be able to lead its nation effectively. As a Christian, Joseph never took advantage of the people God entrusted him with, for profitable purposes. He understood that his leadership position was to protect His people. The Bible tells us that he never bought the land that belonged to the priests, and gave a seed to the people to sow in their own fields. He recommended that they give a fifth to the king during harvest, yet keep the rest for seed and for themselves and their families. Does your organization's culture reflect your faith?

As you prepare for 2021, the next chapters of your life could be the story of a leader who experienced a climb after a deep, a deep after a climb or a permanent deep- the choice is yours.

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