When I sat down to meet Stanbic Bank Head of Wholesale Clients, Shep Aisam, I got a lot more than I bargained for.In the midst of this, the greatest economic challenge that many of us will ever see in our lives, Aisam and his team’s focus on the future gives businesses of all shapes and sizes a blueprint to follow and build on, no matter what industry you may be working in.I left feeling energised, connected to my goals — and with a much clearer understanding of what exactly it will take to succeed in the ‘new economy’.Here’s what he taught me..LESSON #1 - Adopt an impeccable mentality.Aisam explained to me how Stanbic Bank is positioning itself to help stimulate growth across industries and lead the charge towards economy-wide recovery in the aftermath of this pandemic. Maintaining this focus requires a next-level mentality. ‘My team and I want to build a reputation for saying it can be,’ he says, very plainly. ‘In the face of uncertainty, Stanbic Bank wants to drive Botswana’s growth. We want to take on new challenges while others play it safe. We want to embrace this unique opportunity in our lives and careers to be empathetic, solve problems and open new doors.’.LESSON #2 - Concentrate on what you can control.COVID-19 has taught the business community many lessons, perhaps the most important of which is to re-define what ‘essential’ really means — and get back to creating value for the customer as priority number one.‘In Wholesale Banking, we have made use of this window of time to truly get closer to our clients, holding hundreds of remote meetings which have provided immense value creation opportunities,’ says Aisam.‘This dialogue with our clients gives us clarity moving forward — a priceless asset in times of uncertainty.’.LESSON #3 - Harness the knowledge economy.As the world reels from the socio-economic effects of COVID-19, Aisam underlines the value of up-to-the-minute market intelligence. ‘The pandemic is re-shaping entire industries. Our clients benefit from a team of experts working around the region who specialise in key sectors, such as mining, energy and renewables, manufacturing, consumer goods, technology and media,’ he explains. ‘This gives them access to the very latest in emerging trends and research: a long-term competitive advantage which enables them to make informed decisions, to do more — and be more.’‘When our clients work with Stanbic Bank, we can provide deeper insights that allow them navigate uncertainty and volatility with confidence.’.LESSON #4 - Focus like crazy on the customer.‘At Stanbic Bank, we work hard to attract, nurture and retain a special breed of Banker,’ he says. 'It’s a special mix of skill, experience — and a passion for seeing the world from our clients’ point of view. He tells me, 'Our institutional clients have very specific needs: to identify opportunities, grow their wealth and protect themselves from excessive risk. We passionately, consistently support them in the achievement of these goals. This connectedness is our secret sauce.'.NEW HORIZONS - Creating opportunities at scale.What will the legacy of COVID-19 be in Botswana, and what lessons can we learn from our collective experiences?The experts at Stanbic Bank have their say.‘We are seeing an accelerated rate of change in a wide variety of industries,’ emphasises Aisam. 'Many sectors will never be the same again, and we are seeing wide avenues of growth opening up.'Let’s take a closer look..Financial technologyMobile-enabled payment and transfer platforms are essential to ensuring that people can still transact despite movement restrictions and evolving shopping habits.These new cashless payment options support vital economic activity at all levels of the economy. COVID-19 has forever changed the way people pay for goods and services, setting fintech up to thrive in the long term..Manufacturing The mass-disruption of global and regional supply chains caused by the pandemic has underlined the importance of import substitution. COVID-19 teaches us clear lessons about acknowledging our weaknesses: as Batswana, we must become more self-sufficient in all areas of manufacturing. Those who invest now face brighter prospects than they would have in previous years..HealthcareHealthcare is priority number one, and will remain so for years to come. This applies the world over.Whether it is in the production of personal protective equipment, over-the-counter medication, testing kits and even vaccines, investment opportunities will be plentiful for entrepreneurs who can define their role in the medical ecosystem, find their own niche and fill it..Food SecurityThe drive to ensure food security will spark investments across the full agribusiness and food processing value chains.Over the past 18-months, agriculture has proven its worth in the region as a recession-proof component of any economy.As a result of the pandemic, this sector will become more important and diversified, as well as a greater contributor to GDP in Botswana. Your Friend.