Election Means an Opportunity

The election for Mayor and councillors is a few months away and my Facebook feed is already laden with advertisements and posts of people who are running, of issues that are pending and public sentiments of the smelly controversy of the Wanganui wastewater plant.

So I feel compelled to write a post about politics on this business blog, after all business, as much as it wants to stay independent of politics, usually has to dance with it to succeed.

There are many business owners in Wanganui who have closed doors, especially along the Main Street. Everyone knows and talks about it. This post is for those who ventured to start new businesses in Wanganui, those who keep on trying and those who may want to try again.

Small business is incredibly hard. Small business in a depopulating town is close to impossible. I see business owners approaching me for ideas on how to propel their sales online. I see business owners get overwhelmed with online marketing, make expensive moves, some misdirected, some apprehensive. These business owners appreciate that we are living in the digital age. This clearly presents an opportunity. Thus they keep trying.

That's the thing, they keep trying. Because that is the only way to make things happen. This is what I want to advocate. The coming elections present an opportunity to the public to elect officials who can organise and build a city that supports business ventures and intellectual development.

I stress intellectual development because I do not want to promote a lot of *action* and movement like a headless chicken crossing the road.  A popular business saying: Activity is not equal to productivity.

The core requirement is a sound strategy with deep ethical foundations. The successful execution of a great growth strategy is motivated by fundamental values of a city, similar to the fundamental values of a company/business. I have seen many businesses fall apart even when they started strong because the fundamental values of the leader is flawed. I have seen many business owners start with *good intentions* and fail because the drivers of their behaviours were based on fear and conflicted values.

Hence I suggest to the public the following qualities of a true leader:
1. Forward thinking
2. Integrity - a clarity of values, a clarity of thinking
3. Well-versed, has world experience, has technical experience - all skills that will help him or her to create reasonable strategies
4. Objectivity
5. Respect for reason
6. Understanding of the real motivations of people, Empathy
7. Foresight of what people in general need even if they do not know about it yet
8. Critical thinking

The election presents an astonishing opportunity for Wanganui - an extremely beautiful town in New Zealand with the most affordable living and property.

We need to challenge our minds. Let's not shut down debate. Let's be open to ideas, to other ways of thinking.  Let us demand more from the people who want to lead us.

We work so hard every day, in the most difficult times and most unforgiving situations. But our duty as fully-functioning humans does not stop there. Our duty is to develop our minds and maximise our mental capacity.  I encourage everyone to push the limits. This is our legacy.

Leah VillanuevaDeguzman
a business owner who helps people infiltrate the internet

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