Ikenna is a finance professional with a flair for business development strategy. He leverages his experience in portfolio management, risk and compliance practices, business engineering processes and financial advisory to establish holistic and sustainable growth for small and medium sized companies. Driven by results, he measures his successful deployment of business development strategy for his clients in two simple ways; did his activities directly or indirectly increase revenue/profits and/or did it reduce costs.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Ikenna obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management Technology from The Federal University of Technology, Owerri. A few years afterwards he went on to obtain a Master’s degree in International Business Practices from the St Mary’s College, Twickenham, London and an Exchange Programme Certification with the Mountbatten Institute in New York.

He started his career as a private equity analyst with Cardinal Stone Partners Ltd., Lagos where he developed critical skills such as financial modelling, business valuation, reporting, research, data analysis and a lot more

His international experiences have been vital in his unique outlook to problem solving, relationship building, networking and a vital understanding of international business practices. He was engaged in successful roles such Risk, Compliance and Business Engineering at the 60 Wall Street Americas Headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG in Manhattan, New York.

Of all his achievements, he considers his work with the Nigerian Breweries limited most fulfilling. He was part of a project team that empowered over 300 businesses with a total amount of about three hundred and twenty million naira (N320,000,000) in grants for their Life Progress Booster Initiative. His unique insights in business development were useful in identifying, analysing, supporting, monitoring and evaluating the beneficiary businesses.

What made you choose your specialization in business strategy?

At an early age I discovered I got excited whenever I was examining the workings of an enterprise or exploring diverse ways to deploy money in order to make a profit. I wasn’t very entrepreneurial, but I discovered I enjoyed having conversations and developing solutions to problems that are unique to entrepreneurial environments. I discovered that I was analytical in my approach to problem solving and often spent time researching a subject matter, gathering relevant data and proffering effective solution’s that seemed unique and outside the box.

Why did you choose to register as a business strategy consultant on Kleos Africa?

These days, when people think of consulting firms, they commonly think of multi-million corporations in the middle of financial centres, occupying the top floors of high-rise buildings. And although this may still be the case with a lot of organisations, it seems that the whole lifestyle and culture of consulting is changing due to digital advancements. The digital world opens new opportunities for more virtual and freelance consulting opportunities worldwide, as it seems to be easier to communicate and complete tasks digitally.

Kleos Africa embodies this crucial transition and seems to have a grasp of the modern day requirements of creating an effective zone where clients and consultants interact to create lasting business solutions.

What is Business Strategy?

Business Strategy is the soul of an enterprise. It is what gives it its identity and marks its growth path. Developing business strategy is like writing a song. It’s an intricate process that cannot be casually ideated in a few hours. It’s a set of considerations, actions and decisions that a company takes to reach its business goals and be competitive in its industry. It defines what the business needs to do to reach its goals, which helps guide the decision-making process for hiring and resource allocation.

Why is business strategy important?

Without a proper documented Business Strategy, any Business Plan developed will be ineffective. In order to best determine the future direction of your business, it helps to understand what you are offering, how you are offering it and where you are positioned in the market to offer it.

In 1987, the Canadian management scientist Henry Mintzberg distinguished five visions for strategy for organisations. He called them the 5 P’s of Strategy. They stand for Plan, Pattern, Position, Perspective and Ploy. These five components allow an organisation to implement a more effective strategy when they are accurately defined.

What are the elements of a good business strategy?

 A good strategy contains refined sub-strategy elements. First of all, don’t confuse part of a strategy for a strategy itself. Being a low-cost provider or first mover in a market may be part of a strategy or the underlying logic of a particular strategy, but it’s not a complete strategy. It’s also important not to confuse your mission or vision with a strategy, even though the former are essential to the development and execution of good strategies.

A good strategy considers the five key elements in order to arrive at specific answers to five questions:

  1. Arenas. Where will we be active?
  2. Differentiators. How will we get there?
  3. Vehicles. How will we win in the marketplace?
  4. Staging. What will be our speed and sequence of moves?
  5. Economic logic. How will we obtain our returns?

Only when you have answers to questions about each of these five elements can you determine whether your strategy is an integrated whole; you’ll also have a better idea of the areas in which your strategy needs to be revised or overhauled.

What advice do you have for an entrepreneur who is considering creating a Business Strategy?

Business Strategy differs from a business plan. It can’t be drafted with a template. It requires an in-depth knowledge of the product or service being offered. It also requires a professional understanding of your operating environment, key competitors, historical trends, governing policies and laws, product/service economics and pricing, risks and a lot more. Whilst a business plan can be produced with the aid of templates, it’s often advisable for entrepreneurs to engage the services of business strategists to develop strategy as this is the backbone of every enterprise. A faulty strategy sets an entrepreneur on the wrong path often leading to a waste of time, valuable resources and eventual failure.

Like what you see thus far? Book Ikenna to develop a compelling business strategy as well as other financial services on Kleos Africa today!