I look forward to a time when I can take leave from work and business is still going fine. I am currently about 40% there and still putting in the work.
Presently, we are developing a marketing and sales system for Mapemond that wouldn’t be halted if I go on a vacation to enjoy life. It’s part of our 2022 plans.
Can you take leave from your business?
Or do you look forward to such a time?
A business where nothing happens unless you are actively involved with daily operations is a trap and you should be working your way out of it over time.
Yes, in the days you are still trying to figure out things and getting a good footing, you have to be readily available and actively involved, but that is different from being obsessed with yourself in the business.
Imagine those who own multiple branches of their business, how do they keep them running without being present in all?
Systems, my friend. Systems.
The elderly woman who sells foodstuff in my neighbourhood now spends more time resting because, after the first few years of starting the business and teaching her children the ropes, they now have the competence to handle most things themselves. Her suppliers now also bring the goods to her shops.
Your employees are not your children, loyalty and long-term service is something they choose to give, it’s not something you force. They could leave at any time and you would have to replace them. How do you minimize the effect of people exiting and people coming onboard?
Systems, my friend. Systems.
Many of the primary and secondary schools that those who are 35years and above attended are struggling to survive mainly because they were centred around the founders who are now ageing and their children have their own career paths to pursue. What could they have done differently?
Systems. As the years went by, they could have kept revamping their business structure to enthrone a system that can provide better sustainability.
If you intend to do your current business for long, you will come to this same realization and it’s my hope that these lessons I freely share would enable you to navigate things better.
If this strikes a chord in you, then you are my Co-Traveler in business and it’s your kind that Mapemond is looking at working with, that’s if you are willing and open-minded. Let’s start the conversation early enough, reach out via inbox or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s our desire to see reputable brands and sustainable businesses emerge from Africa.
In all honesty, do you run a one-man business?
If yes, how do you intend to mitigate key man risk?
You can have a hundred employees and still be a one-man business.
Can critical decisions be taken without you?
Can business move on without you?
Over the weekend we had a virtual meeting with two investors abroad on behalf of a business venture here in Nigeria.
They sought to know what happens to their investment should anything happen to the business owner.
When the business is a sole proprietorship and the investment sum is small, it is easier to take the risk, but not when the investment sum isn’t a small amount.
Typically, we say “God forbid. I cannot die. Nothing will happen to me”. It is okay to have faith, but the preservation of people’s investments shouldn’t be on the basis of your faith.
You need to have a clear plan on how to mitigate key man risk (a concern for most investors), especially if your business is incorporated.
What should you do?
1. Find an IDEAL co-founder or partner, IF YOU CAN and give some powers to the person.
The next one is more important in the context of this discourse.
2. SET UP A BOARD.
Set up a functional board of directors. I don’t mean an advisory board, but a board of directors that is listed with the corporate affairs commission.
A board of directors can take crucial decisions. The board can even hire a new CEO to continue with the business.
You don’t have to consider death to think about these things. Government can create a regulation tomorrow that says the CEO of a company shouldn’t serve for more than a period of time.
You may decide to establish another company that requires your attention while someone takes over as CEO to run the other company.
So when an investor throws that question at you someday, tell them you have a functional board of directors that will take decisions in the best interest of the company and stakeholders should anything happen to you.
This issue is one major reason why we are not building trans-generational companies in Nigeria. Our sense of control and power limits the potential of the company and our vision doesn’t develop deep roots for sustained growth.
If you have registered a limited liability company, what is keeping you from setting up a proper board of directors?
You know that the listed directors you have on your CAC documents were just to meet the criteria for registration.
When do you intend to do the right thing? Are you even considering it?
If you really want to go big and build a sustainable company, think about these things and ACT.
We have resolved all kinds of challenges for the various businesses and organizations that we have worked with, but one challenge that always defeated us was raising capital for our clients who needed it to execute our awesome strategies.
We have deferred that challenge for a long time but finally decided to take the bull by the horn.
About one month ago, we silently created a network of investors called THE LOOP, which currently has sixteen members. The group was set up as a strategic crowdfunding model called “closed-loop capital” where investors pull funds together to finance viable small businesses and startups. Mapemond takes on the responsibility of preliminary due diligence and brokerage.
Within the last three weeks after the quiet launch, the group has already raised the sum of fifteen million naira for a farm startup, a restaurant, and a limestone quarry. At Mapemond, we believe that the end goal of brand development is to improve bottomline and that is why capital is a major component of growth.
We shall be working to grow THE LOOP into a full-scale investment management arm of our mission to build reputable, profitable, and sustainable brands.
You can reach us through our email or phone number below if you have any inquiries.
On structuring your business, there are a number of things to consider, but we will present just an overview.
Structure is one of the fundamental differences between being self-employed and owning a business.
In self-employment, the business is totally dependent on you. The business needs your constant presence to function. Decisions cannot be taken without you. Procurement can’t happen without you. Business is just a hustle.
In being a business owner, you create a system around the business so that it can keep running even in your absence. You can even resign or move on to other things and the business will keep running so long as there is good management in place.
So how is a structure set up?
First, you have to outline all that needs to be happening in the business for it to run effectively and profitably.
That then leads to the need for people who will get the outlined things done in an effective manner. The higher the quality of people you employ the better.
These people won’t be moving in various directions or doing what they want, they have to be aligned to what you want for the business.
Therefore, there should be clear instructions for each person (job description), performance appraisal (key performance indicators), and penalties (policies et al).
There also has to be clear reporting lines for each officer with you at the helm of affairs CEO.
However, even you need to report to someone and be put in check. Hence the need for a board of directors (for limited liability company) or an advisory board (for business name or yet to be registered business).
You will have to someday leave the position of CEO for someone else to take over, but you can move on to be the Board Chairman if you like or just a founding director.
Note that for each position you create, you also have to vest the needed power into that position without micro-managing. The business account will need other signatories. There should be other decision-makers at different levels and so on. There should be a succession plan for each officer that exits the business.
There are many more things in between but we hope that this gives us a good perspective on what structuring a business is really about.
Do you look forward to seeing your business exit the small business stage?
What needs to happen for your business to stop being a small business?
Can you handle your business becoming a company?
Look at your business, do you really have other executive officers?