The word synergy is dynamic and happening, it is used in most business proposals but its meaning is simple: two agents working for mutual benefits that they could not get independently.
Rwanda is virgin territory as far as business is concerned, there are many sectors where if you opened a business you would one of a handful of players.
The market is not saturated overall but it is saturated in certain sectors. What you find is somebody wanting to do everything on their own, cooperation would really increase efficiency and profits. Synergies are not just alliances for the communal sake but ones based on business interests.
So if you were to open a hotel you would struggle to begin with, one of the reasons would be lack of complimentary industries. Take tourism as an example, it requires so many auxiliary services that have to be outsourced.
Laundry and linen, dry cleaning, gardening and landscaping, procurement, decoration, restaurant and catering, entertainment and functions and so many others but it is hard is hard to find them in Rwanda and in the numbers required to foster competition.
There is a saying that “during a gold rush the only man guaranteed to make money is the man selling shovels.”
Other than trying to create the perfect hotel, help the man who creates the perfect hotel, concentrate on one thing and do it well. Before long you can be doing laundry for several hotels and making thousands of dollars a week.
The flipside is that you provide top service, peace of mind is the best product you can sell a business or customer. Even if you are slightly expensive, a customer can pay more just for the peace of mind.
Rwandan start-ups have a tendency to do the basic things required, there is no urge to give more than you bargained for. That will only come with competition.
The worst myth that Rwandans tell themselves is that they need huge amounts of capital to start a business, you can start tomorrow with nothing. A man I know used to be a waiter in Kenya, he came here and trained 20 men in 5-star waiting standards, then hired them out to hotels as premium staff.
No money needed, just 20 eager learners and a good teacher. If you feel you have skills or a service that people need, then train the young and eager and start your company for next to nothing.
Look for your niche and exploit it, you can always diversify into other sectors but start in a little corner of a wider industry.
Hence synergy is always important in increasing revenues, reducing costs and manpower requirements. For the larger company it is a chance to stay lean with fewer employees focussing on the core aspects of the business.
For the smaller company it is a chance to expand, to be part of a wider chain, as well as make profit. For the customer it keeps the cost down by promoting efficiency and bespoke service.
The overall winner is the economy as a whole, business networks develop and embed in a vibrant sector.