Greetings Fellow Monkeys!
Welcome yet to another segment I like to call “Monkey Business”.
Current Location: Belum Rainforest Resort
A little bit of history about the area :
“Belum-Temengor Rainforest is where the wonders of nature come alive. Over 130 million years of age and encompassing 300,000 hectares, this tropical paradise is home to a vast number of species of animals and plants, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In fact, scientific studies indicate that this pristine forest, which remains one of the largest untouched forest reserves in Peninsular Malaysia, holds enormous potential for the discovery of more biological treasures.”
The Belum Rainforest is approximately four times the size of Singapore (suck on that!) filled with all sorts of flying creatures which make fucking scary noises. Aside from fucking scary bugs, this place is still inhabited by the orang asli who were the most efficient communist killers for the British Army. HEAD-HUNTERS my friends.
This isn’t a lot which you want to mess around with, give them an evil stare and they’ll chop your shit up and feed ya to the fishes in the lake (nasty buggers live in there too). You have NO chance!
(This place is not all that bad, this has to be the coolest rainforest which I’ve had the chance to drive into and stay for a couple of days on a working trip. Albeit over the weekend, but one needs serenity and peace to focus the mind. What better way to do this than to get the fuck out of KL and head on down to the jungle)
My point today, I’d like to draw parallels between the two worlds – the business world and the Belum Rainforest (or any jungle you fancy). In both worlds, there exists many creatures/business entities fighting for survival. This is the way of the world, as Charles Darwin posits with his idea of ‘Natural Selection’.
This fight to survive, so to speak, derives from the want to exist – to eat, to drink, to procreate etc etc. The want for profit, for growth, for diversifying are simply business terms to justify the need for existence. What is the true reason for businesses to exist?
- Job Creation.
- To provide goods and services.
Individuals or a collection of individuals come together to offer goods/services for sale at a price aiming for profits to make the venture sustainable.
This is the backbone of our economy.
This is the backbone of our society.
This is the backbone of civilization.
Back to Charles Darwin, survival of the fittest is the notion that if species cannot adapt to their environment, they will slowly shrivel up and die. In other words, extinction is inevitable if you cannot adapt to your surroundings. Use any analogy you like, be it Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” which focus is military strategy or even my mate Charlie’s theory, it all boils down to knowing your environment and adapting to survive.
Michael Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School. This modern day genius’ main forte is competition and company strategy. If you ever studied commerce, you will be enveloped with his thinking from day ONE to Year 3 in University (in virtually in every business school in the world).
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
(Sun Tzu – The Art of War)
Porter identifies this notion to being the most practical of all business knowledge. Understanding the environment in which you operate. He developed the Porter’s 5 forces model which evaluates:
- Threat of new entrants
- Bargaining power of suppliers
- Bargaining power of buyers
- Threat of substitute products
- Competitive Rivalry
These elements interrelate with each other to frame the competitive environment within an industry. This is a tool which many managers/entrepreneurs utilize to “know the game”. Before any business venture materializes, managers MUST understand the environment – this is absolutely crucial. Read the Sun Tzu quote above over and over again then hopefully you’ll develop the thinking skills needed to prosper.
Real World Application
Knowing the game is half the battle. My current venture involves activity within the floral industry. It’s a fancy word for flowers. Yes, thats right – fucking flowers. Did you know that it is an industry worth roughly around US$100 billion globally? Think about it, how many events require flowers? Valentines day, Mother’s day, Weddings etc etc.
People have a demand for flowers, I simply facilitate trade in fresh cut flowers.
I avoided making a beginners mistake by diving in head first without knowing whats in the waters by doing the appropriate groundwork which includes – knowing the proper importing procedures and requirements to bring flowers into Malaysia, finding the right suppliers who can provide the most cost effective product, knowing who are the current players in the market and what price they charge to their customers, how much customers are willing to pay for flowers etc etc. The list goes on and on.
This is the sort of hard work you have to put in before anything can materialize. This is Step 1. It is important to keep yourself in check by taking baby steps when confronted with a mountain of paperwork.
Back to the HEADHUNTERS – They know their shit when it comes to the jungles, from tracking animals to knowing jungle tracks so they don’t get lost. To keep things simple, my main message is this:
Know Your Shit.
It’s not all that complicated monkeys, everything just takes a lil bit of effort and thinking thus leaving ANYTHING achievable.
My last piece of advice relates to playing the saxophone (I play the tenor sax). You have to tongue and finger the fucker right to make beautiful sounds. Bears resemblance to women innit? =)
From the Belum Rainforest, Adios Monkeys!