READ: The Long Table

Well it is no longer a wonder in Nigeria that Entrepreneurs are the most heartless of them all in this country. When I say Entrepreneurs, I’m talking about Small & Medium scale business owners, usually just a venture or an enterprise.

I once met a Man, married with kids, Ordinary National Diploma from a Federal Polytechnic, works Monday to Monday, from 5am to about 10pm daily, as a Petrol Sales Attendants’ Supervisor (like foreman) for a wonderful sum of N25,000 (Twenty Five Thousand Naira only) a month. The first question that breezed through my mind was; How does this man Survive? How does he feed, cloth and educate his child? How does he cloth himself? How does he pay his rent? How does he transport himself to work?

His boss on the other hand, leaves in an Estate, has 3 vehicles of which the least cost about N2.5M in today’s Tokunbo market, and was not even in the country at the time of the interaction with his employee; Baba was on one month vacation from working too hard. Oh well.

The mentality of these entrepreneurs is the only reason why their business can never be passed on to their kids; if they died prematurely, then that’s the end of the business, and the kids are left with no business, except assets and cash, which of course once business stops, bank recalls their loans and other facilities, and since there’s no more business, cash and assets will be used to pay off these debts.

Their mentality is just Profit! Profit!! Profit!!! They have no vision; they just cannot just let go of control. They micro-manage every department, and keep the books vague. Earn no salary, and of course, just deep hand into the pot and take what they like when they like. Once they over spend (personal expenses of course), the next thing is to cut cost by firing or just enter an aggressive mode in which they start debiting their poorly paid employees for errors.

They have cannot grow because to grow is to let go and bring in people to see your books, setup a structure in which they earn a salary and only get to share profit at the end of the year with the rest of the executives, but then, they want to be the only executive, hence, Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O).

The truth about business is that it revolves around debt; hence, banks will continue to finance you so long as you keep getting demands for your Goods and/or Services. An investor will be willing to increase your capital as well once he sees a proper structure in which to invest i.e. one with transparency of finances.

The most important factor is you should take care of your employees, because they will take care of your customers. You cannot make over N10million monthly turnover with over 10staffs, and not spend N1million monthly on salaries, and not attract the best minds to come work for you and take that vision of yours to a level you didn’t see it getting in a shorter time than you predicted; don’t build a higher fence, make the table longer.





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