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02.05.2019 Feature Article

Start A Business. Yes, But Also Understand That Not Everyone Can Or Should

Start A Business. Yes, But Also Understand That Not Everyone Can Or Should

Unemployment is high in Ghana; everyone agrees. It is evident everywhere. Statistics have shown that unemployment is high and it is visible all around that people aren’t engaged. Underemployment, where people appear engaged but are not actually doing any meaningful work, is also common. Income in the form of salary or wages has never been enough for anyone everywhere. At least we all know these from books and successful business people.

In a developing country like Ghana low income levels have caused others to call us ‘magicians’ because a cursory assessment of an average worker’s income would show that the salaries we receive can (or should) only pay for a single room apartment; one decent meal for about fifteen days; and few clothes and shoes. How we manage to cater for the two remaining decent meals for the fifteen days (to make the standard three square meals) and the remaining three square meals for the rest of the days in a month among other needs are what qualify us as magicians. You may have to reread this part to get the drift. I haven’t even mentioned education, health, family etc. I’m sure analyzing that would qualify us to be superhumans.

Start a business! Don’t depend on a single income stream! There are several business opportunities out there! Salary is the reason you cannot afford a lot of things! Don’t wait for the government or someone to employ you! You can also start a business and employ others! All the mantras cannot be mentioned here for want of space. The points commonly made are that if you are unemployed start a business; if you are employed still add a business; if you are underemployed start a business to add up to your income and avoid wasting time.

While these are all correct we should understand that not everyone can start a business. Actually, many people should not start businesses. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Many people cannot start and run businesses because they do not have the right knowledge and understanding; they do not have the ‘capital’ and the environment or system that would support entrepreneurship.

Aside the reality that not everyone can or should start a business I ironically believe that the solution to the unemployment and underemployment situation is entrepreneurship. What I mean is that entrepreneurship is as much a mindset as it is an endeavour. Further, you shouldn’t forget that people’s lives and futures depend on your work. So even though your current work may not be ‘business’ oriented it does not mean you should add business.

Of course you can resign to start a business; but your work and clients or customers should not suffer because you don’t want to depend on a single income stream. The future of pupils and students shouldn’t be disregarded because their teachers are doing businesses. Patients shouldn’t suffer because medical officers and nurses are doing ‘business’ in their private practice. Police officers should understand they are paid to protect us by maintaining law and order; that’s not something we should be double charged for.

One of my best friends quit his nursing profession to run his construction hardware business because he didn’t want patients and colleagues to suffer. I have been buying Ga Kenkey from a woman who quit nursing to sell Kenkey because she figured that gave her more income and freedom than caring for the sick. I haven’t launched most of my business ideas because I don’t want my work to suffer. I suggest you do the same.

And oh, before you call me a moral bighead let me be clear. You can start a business alongside your current work. Just make sure it doesn’t affect your output. Resign if it does! And don’t forget that entrepreneurship requires a personality you may not have; some skills, knowledge, and motivation not everyone has; an enabling environment which could be lacking; unparalleled commitment level and resilience; and sometimes ‘lack’ which is not earned. My point is simple: I like business and money (who doesn’t?) but I also love what I do for a living and will not let anyone suffer even if it means I never execute any of my business ideas. I wouldn’t advise you do same. But I would strongly suggest you do same.

By: Mustapha Bin Usman
The author is a writer, entrepreneurship expert, business and life coach, entrepreneur, farmer, trainer, and teacher. You may contact him via email: [email protected] or on Mobile/ WhatsApp: +233 246 134 798 or visit his Facebook page:

Mustapha Bin Usman
Mustapha Bin Usman, © 2019

This author has authored 9 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MustaphaBinUsman

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