kú ìkàl̀,

That greeting in Yorùbá that has no English equivalent! Let me give a scenario that can best describe when to greet in this manner; if you are walking pass an elderly person who is sitting down and you want to exchange pleasantries that is when you say such. Some make jest of us that there is greetings for everything in my mother tongue but I am delighted; I have a topic in my mother tongue for the 93rdedition of Versus Series.

For us who heard stories from our parents of the types of stores that existed while they were young; ‘Kingsway’ was the name that comes to mind. In our days, Shoprite would be the name that comes to the mind. The question is why are some brands ‘àbíkú’ meaning stillbirth while some are ‘àlọ́yè’ meaning ‘flourishing’?

Àbíkú is a phenomenon of building brands that are not sustainable. Such brands depend largely on the owners and at his demise; the company ceases to exist because his children squander the funds accrued from the business or there was no proper process, policy and process of running the organization. I would quickly want to add that there are some company that also go into extinction because they have refused to grown with time. For example, typewriting has lost its essence in our age.

Àlọ́yè is a state in which a brand is well nurtured and has a rich historical heritage. Without prejudice, there are some companies that have been in existence for centuries. These companies have gone through series of transformation over time; they would have survived series of storms equally.

There are some questions to ask, why do foreign brands outlive their founders but many African companies die with their founders? Are there books written by African entrepreneurs who have big businesses like foreign businessmen who have written about their success stories? There are a thousand and one questions to ask!

Likewise we need to learn to how to build sustainable brands that can outlive the founder. Well, it might not be the model of ‘big lawyers’ who get their children to study law so that the chamber outlives the founder but resourceful people who can contribute meaningfully to the overall business goal should be involved. What has made many businesses dead on arrival is the desire of the founder to single-handed enjoy the proceeds from the company. Equally, do not get to hoard knowledge because it makes you a ‘bad leaders’.

ni kòkó o rẹ̀ bá yè, (tí ò jẹ́ àbíkú) ló mọ̀ọ̀ lọ́ (òhun ló yè)
Your idea must flourish and not be a stillbirth.

Enjoy your week.


(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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