Shape Café founder and CEO Itumeleng Hlabane believe that a business is not a business without a strategy, and so will host a masterclass for township SMMEs to discuss the importance of strategy. The Business Strategy Masterclass will be held in Sebokeng, Emfuleni, in the second week of August. It is the second such masterclass to be held by Shape Café, which is an African-inspired hybrid of coffee and ice cream enterprise.
According to Hlabane, the importance of strategy in a business cannot be overstated. He highlighted three types of strategy that businesses need to consider – corporate, business and functional. Hlabane told Vutivi News said that corporate strategy was the highest tier of strategy for a business. “For example, our business operates in the coffee sector, as we sell coffee and ice cream. Selling biltong would not be viable for our business,” he said.
“Sometimes you find that an entrepreneur is not failing because he or she is a bad entrepreneur, but because they are operating in the wrong sector and this is where corporate strategy comes in.” He then spoke about business strategy. “To give you an example, our establishment is not a manufacturing business, but a distribution business in that when we repackage and resell ice cream and coffee and do not manufacture it,” he explained. “We operate in malls using stalls so that when load-shedding hits we are covered with generators, and that is our business strategy.”
On functional strategy, he said he would be spending 95% of his masterclass on this issue. “When we talk about functional strategy, we talk about what a business’ marketing, financial, operating, and human resource strategy are,” the CEO said. The strategy was the foundation of any business, without it, the enterprise would fail. “Nobody sees the foundation of the business or even touches it, but it’s in the business activities, operation system plan, growth plan, and risk analysis of business,” he said.
Hlabane has hosted various masterclasses over the years. He illustrates the effectiveness of each type of strategy and, using case studies from small to large businesses, and physical and digital businesses demonstrates how they are significant to the success of any business. He is a graduate of the Gordon Institute of Business Science and has worked since 2010 with institutions like the Southern African Association of Youth Clubs and Business and Arts South Africa, where he was contracted to host and prepare a curriculum for art entrepreneurs’ mentorship programmes.