The anatomy of an entrepreneur


The fastest way to succeed is entrepreneurship. When your boss stresses you, quit and start your own business. When you become an entrepreneur, you have all the time to yourself. No one tells you what to do as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is the way to go!

These and many fallacies have perhaps been debunked by young entrepreneurs in Ghana. ‘Go to school, get good grades and get a good job’ was perhaps the first victim of entrepreneurship. For those who use the reason of having all the time for themselves, they can be likened to the tortoise that wanted freedom from its shell!

Jeremiah Buabeng

In a good attempt to create jobs and help solve the challenges of unemployment while contributing significantly to the economy, some critical young achievers purpose to shame practice of joining the long list of jobseekers – and rather be a delight for their colleagues and others by absorbing them into their entrepreneurial business.

The landscape of entrepreneurship has however proved unfriendly for many and, very importantly, a lot have learnt rudiments of the game in a rather rugged approach. In this publication, I get to share with you the unedited post of my good friend, Jeremiah Buabeng, a business leader who runs a group of companies including the plush Enije Restaurant located at Caprice in the heart of Accra.

In his rendition, he presents light to bring clarity on the doubts, dilemmas and fantasies that many have regarding our subject matter. I consider his revelations as essential building blocks for an entrepreneur. I find that his material conveys my exact thoughts and sentiments on the landscape of entrepreneurship – especially in our country, Ghana. Very importantly, reactions in the comment section of his post reveal more challenges business owners are facing – making what you are about to read just the tip of the iceberg. I promise you a sequel. Enjoy the read.

Entrepreneurship is dangerous

It can kill you – or, at best, give you mental health issues. It can make you depressed; or even worse, take you to prison. This is no exaggeration. An entrepreneur has to wear so many hats and fight so many battles at the same time that it can wear you out. Your job is hard, “but e no hard pass Entrepreneurship”.

An entrepreneur has to work on Sales

The job of getting customers to buy your product; that’s the hardest part of a business. For every 100 people you approach to sell to, only 10 or less will show interest. Eventually, only two may buy. Sometimes none. Then you have to start with your next 100. You can go about five rounds of such 100s and not even get 10 customers. You can go months without making substantial money, yet you are working with staff who will be paid; you are using airtime, data and fuel to attend several meetings, and designing and printing proposals.

While working on getting new customers, you also have to pay attention to the work being done for current customers

That’s the work of operations. They think they are the ones who do all the work. They have no idea how hard it is to get the client to give you the job. And very often they are the ones who mess up the job, get the client upset and make your business unable to get word-of-mouth referrals. They can make mistakes which cost you thousands of cedis.

And you probably took a loan to even finance the job. You also have to deal with tantrums from customers, some who expect you to answer to their calls/msg at night, at dawn and on weekends. You are with your wife at 10pm, then a customer is calling.

Then there’s your biggest problem – people

The employees whom you pay salaries to help you carry your burdens will themselves become a burden. It’s called Human Resource Management.

You have to deal with those who are underperforming

Those coming to work late or not coming at all, those with attitudes and behaviors that don’t align with your vision for the business, those who cannot be taught or corrected, hiring and training new people, firing old ones, persuading good people who want to leave to stay, dealing with betrayal of those who pretended to want to stay but were planning to leave, dealing with disappointment of those you trained from scratch who are now misbehaving, etc. Some will steal your clients, steal your monies, steal your supplies and steal your joy.

And then there’s administration, accounting and finance

That stretches from ensuring proper record-keeping of sales and expenses, invoicing, receipting, suppliers, inventory management and dealing with banks.

There is that big demon called loan repayment

You can raise hundreds of thousands of cedis to finance a business or project, yet it will turn out poorly and your lenders will be calling and threatening you.

Meanwhile, you owe landlord rent

Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is chasing you. Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has sent you a letter that they are taking you to court. Municipal Assembly is chasing you to pay Business Operating Permit (BOP). Employees are angry about salary delay. You, one person, are fighting battles on multiple fronts. Such a dangerous undertaking. It can maim you for life!

>>>the writer is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) by the International Association for People & Performance Development (IAPPD) and a publishing consultant assisting busy executives to write and publish bestselling books. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness, and as Events & Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. [email protected]

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