There is a widespread belief that the economy is propelled by external sources of funds. The two most prominent sources of this “money” is the government and foreign direct investment (FDI). Due to the political concerns over Ghana’s stability during the Electoral Commission Hearings for most of the year, both foreign companies were uncomfortable to invest in Ghana and the Ghanaian government was not in a position to hand out contracts. Therefore, the knock-on effect seems to be “there is no money in the system.”
This negative sentiment has affected all businesses including my own. For instance, a friend of mine told me she has not sold anything for days. Nonetheless, the lights, people, and rent need to be still paid. My biggest concern is that I do not know when this uncertainty will end. Some people speculate that the government will issue new contracts in the first quarter of next year.
Oddly enough, on a personal level, I have been approached by three Ghanaians to either help them launch or evaluate new businesses (ecommerce, FMCG, real estate). Furthermore, a friend from the US wanted to explore outsourcing options. (Not sure if anything will materialize there.) You can hire a college-educated person in Ghana working a 40 hour week for US$1.66-$2.77 (GBP 1-1.66) per hour. You can get someone on National Service — required for all college grads — for US$0.69/hour. (Does anyone need help?)
So I’m definitely getting mixed signals as to what’s going on in the economy.
In light of this business environment, I want to divert staff members’s time to doing more high-value work. Given the difficulty in finding reliable, hard-working staff, I do not want to just sack them because of a — hopefully — temporary blip in the Ghanaian economy. My hope is that both Teresas can help me evaluate how to introduce an FMCG product in the local market. I may seem to doubt Ghanaian capabilities but there’s no denying that you have to understand the Ghanaian market if you want to sell to Ghanaians.
Another area I hope Teresa can help me with is the tedious yet meticulous data-entry aspect of building financial models. In order for her to be able to do this, she will need to increase her typing speed from 18 wpm to hopefully something north of 30 wpm. She will also have to become more familiar with Excel.
Ahhh, these are my hopes. The alternative is to either sack them and start with new staff or try to be Superman and do everything myself.