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What are you in business for?By Chibamba Kanyama on 9 Apr 2018
Running a business is very hard. I know a lot of friends who started businesses after a long spell in employment. It was hard-hitting. They applied for jobs into mainstream employment.
There are many reasons running a business is an enormous challenge. Business is largely about money coming in for every transaction you make. You, however, must make that transaction in order for money to come in. Those transactions will need to take place regularly for income to be regular. What you seek to avoid is money that comes in at intervals and yet costs require healthy balances in the bank. The moment there is a mismatch between the flow of business transactions that bring in money and the costs associated with making those transactions, it gets very stressful.
It is not only about ensuring transactions take place. It is not like sitting in your office and something happens by itself to bring in the money. You must manage the enterprise. It takes a lot of your time to manage the people that work with you. You should mentor them to always be at a level where their involvement makes that transaction happen efficiently. Most of those who work with you require regular monitoring because they have the capacity to steal from you. This activity alone is enough headache.
You must manage the money that comes in and goes out. Just last week, I was chairing a session arranged by the Zambia Development Agency where they brought in exporters to know about what they can claim from the Zambia Revenue Authority in terms of VAT refunds and duty drawbacks. The ZRA commissioners who made the presentations made me think business was not a worth cause. The exporters, generally ordinary men and women exporting honey, garments, crocodile skins, endured a lesson about computing and calculating coefficients to determine what was claimable. I told the investors, ‘Many of you hated maths at school and decided to just go into business; you see now you cannot run away from real numbers!’
In sort, with the exception of a spouse, there is nothing as demanding as running a business. It wants your time, your energies, your attention, your presence, your tender loving care and your entrepreneurial skills. Only one thing will push you forward: the ‘why’ factor. If you can answer why you are in business, then you will be a very successful entrepreneur. Why is this question important?
CAUSE EXPLAINS MISSION: Every day, I think about what my own business will achieve in the long run. I see beyond my own time on earth. For me, Bridges is the best gift I can leave behind me. It is not only those employees who will continue to work for it for the next generations but the impact it is expected to create for many Zambian businesses and individuals associated with it.
It is ‘the mission accomplished factor’, with the associated vision, that drives my adrenaline. When your business mission is strong, it makes you jump through the daily hustles and huddles with ease. If your mission is about legacy, serving people and uplifting standards of people, you will always respond to business challenges with enthusiasm and determination. It is about, ‘I am doing this business because it will change the complexion of my own society in the long run’.
REPOSITIONING PASSION: Everyone who is in employment regularly asks the question, ‘I am offering my everything for this company for a pay; suppose I did it for myself?’ This is a hard question because the very reason you are in employment is because you do not know how you can apply your competences to run your own business. Even if you know how to apply your skills to manage your own business, you may not have the capital and other resources to manage that business.
However, those who have managed to carve out and applied their skills into their own business will always feel like they have an answer to why they are in business. They are not in it for money, for glory or because there is nothing else they can do. They are in the business because they love it; it reflects their passion. If you are not in your passion, what on earth are you doing?
REPRODUCTION: The entrepreneurial activity is like reproduction. God said, ‘God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1,20.
We marry and bear children even when we do not feel like it because it is a natural thing. Similarly, subduing, which represents entrepreneurship, is part of human nature. If we all listened closely to God’s calling for our lives, we would be very active in enterprise. The human mind is wired with the ability to start something new and see it grow until it bears fruit. Producing and reproducing is part of us and, therefore, when we fail in business, we rise until we subdue. What are you in business for?
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