It is a truism that owning a company could be exciting. It is also true that associated bottlenecks in operating an entrepreneurial venture can be so frustrating and at times heartbreaking. Most young people attend seminars and workshops where they are encouraged to be innovative and explore the possibility of creating jobs for themselves and others. The usual academic schema of getting acquainted with the challenges and solutions to youth entrepreneurship is dotted all over the web and sincerely I’m not interested in presenting them to you in this write-up.
Dear upcoming Young Entrepreneurs here are the realities from my own experience here in Ghana. Well, you might pick some pointers and work it out yourself:
• Your Girlfriend/Fiancee or whatever you call your lover might leave you for someone else. Don’t be surprise; she may not be ready to wait for you to become successful in some years to come you. Relax, remain focus, and meet new people who share in your passion and dream.
• Your family may not readily understand you at the initial stages-first 2 years at least! They will put pressure on you to apply for REAL jobs with some lucrative institutions
• If you get the opportunity to travel to some developed countries it is assumed that you now have cash and your company is becoming profitable. Financial requests will start popping in. Be real-Tell them the company is still growing and needs more cash injection. (CEO of UT Bank can be your Mentor)
• You should not dream on being on any consistent income stream for at least 2 years! Well, unless you are lucky enough to win a contract of some sort from any of the government agencies-which is most UNLIKELY
• For now, just forget about the government! They have very funny policies and antics in support of young entrepreneurs (even all entrepreneurs). One day we will be taken serious, policy-wise!
• Please and PLEASE, if you are serious and desirous of growing your company and to avoid any legal ramification, pay your tax or any state charges to the relevant agencies. Be it the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VAT), the Social Security and Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Property Tax, Operating Permit, Environmental Tax.
• Get a travel insurance package. Very necessary! Don’t joke with it.
• Be knowledgeable or better still, acquire further knowledge!
• You have to think and work faster and smarter than the average Ghanaian employee and employer combined
• Donor Funds in support of Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in Ghana is only achieved on paper-if you doubt check one of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) project websites and tell me how many entrepreneurs are even aware of such support initiatives. You wish to apply for any? Check the guidelines first. Very restrictive. Technical jargons talking about provision of matching-grants and requesting a Service Provider here and there.
• Involve your University friends in your venture-at least one can help you prepare financial account for IRS free of charge. Remember to pay her when the business becomes profitable.
• UT Bank Ltd does have some friendly services in place. Do check them out! I did.
• Make sure your Business Plan is handy and accessible in both soft and hard copies.
By Solomon Elorm Allavi, Founder & Chief Operations Manager-Syecomp Business Services Ltd, Accra-Ghana