The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: The Real Grand Challenge for Business

Today OK Zimbabwe hosts its 26th Grand Challenge at Borrowdale Race Course in Harare and the organisers are expecting no less than 50 000 people to be in attendance.

The Grand Challenge has no doubt become an epitome of OK Zimbabwe's success and growing client base in the market.For a company that seemed down and out just a few years ago, there is no better way to show the resilience of Zimbabwe's economy and people than by hosting a bigger and better Grand Challenge than ever before.

There is no doubt that OK Zimbabwe is once again a force to reckon with in the retail business.

The re-opening of shops that had been closed, extensive refurbishments of existing stores, and acquisition of mega stores such as OK Mart has propelled the firm to greater heights.

OK's success has also spurred its competitors to sharpen their strategies with the likes of TM Supermarkets roping in Pick 'n' Pay as they up the competition.

Evidently, the competition in the retail sector has resulted in positive spin-offs for the country and the fact that OK Zimbabwe can host such a big event is a clear sign of better things to come.

It is a sign that not all is doom and gloom in the country as some would want us to believe.

There is much promise, and that is something we must all latch onto and build on.

However, it is important for management and workers at OK Zimbabwe and other retailers to note that the major source of success is not just management and board strategy, but is more importantly the women, men, girls and boys that walk into their shops day-in day-out to buy groceries and other products that are on offer.

Without them, OK will not be able to move the huge volumes of goods on its shelves daily.

Business is nothing without the support of the public.

This means every business, and indeed every organisation, in this country must learn to value the importance of the ordinary man and woman, the Average Joe, so to speak, if it harbours any hopes of being viable and relevant.

The years of economic hardship have created an unhealthy service attitude whereby many providers of goods and services think that they are doing the country a favour by opening shop.

Business should not think that it is being kind to us by taking our money.

Like it or not, bad economy or good, the customer remains king.

OK, we hope, knows that those people who have over all these years been buying from its various outlets have been loyal through thick and thin to the brand and as such they should not be taken for granted.

Customers at whatever retailer deserve the best possible service, which includes fair pricing of goods and services, because the money they are leaving there has been hard-earned and is difficult to come by.

Supermarket chains should be conscious about the needs and wants of the public.

It is, after all, the Average Joe who makes or breaks a business depending on the quality of service they get.

So, the real Grand Challenge to OK and every other provider of goods and services, is to ensure they are fair and offer quality at reasonable cost.

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