Redeploying Assets to Higher Value Work

December is a month of merriment.  Family and friends fly in from the US and Europe to celebrate the holidays and expats go in the opposite direction for winter break. Those who stay get caught up in all-day barbeque parties.

I’ve also heard that pick pocketing and armed robberies seem to go up during this month as desperate people try to get money to give to their families.  A different kind of Christmas spirit!

In light of these distractions, I’ve decided that our business will basically shut down for most of December.  Part of me thought I could lay everyone off for the month; I don’t think that’s very nice, though.

We’ll be open probably twice a week for the entire month.  One of the things that our business expects is our customers to call us for deliveries.  But they never do.  So this month we’ll just forget to call them except on those two days every week.

A better solution has emerged.  It may work out in the longer term.  I’ve assigned one Teresa to help me research on starting a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in Ghana.  A friend is interested in the space and I’ve committed to helping lead the analysis.  Teresa will help me with the data collection.   I’ve basically put together a list of questions and will put together an outline for the business plan.

This Teresa is good at chatting people up and she’s not easily discouraged.  Both are good qualities if we have to do research for this project. Since most Ghanaians charge foreigners a premium for being foreign, I think it’s best for her to go out and talk to people.

I’ve assigned the other Teresa to help me with my passion: stock investing.  I don’t have the resources to pay for Bloomberg or Capital IQ.  It’s kind of an experiment because Teresa II doesn’t know anything about accounting nor finance.  (She told me she wants to be a social worker.)  For the last two weeks she helped me collect information for a screen of companies.    For the moment, I want to look at prospective value stocks.  I’m having her read Joel Greenblatt’s The Little Book That Still Beats the Market.  She should finish by tomorrow.

Yesterday I introduced her to Edgar (www.sec.gov).  Obviously, I have to do most of the heavy lifting but I think it’s good to have a sounding board.

I’m also continuing my self-study of web development languages.  Let’s just say I may have been a little overly ambitious in my time frame for developing my own “dynamic website.”  Learning this stuff is like opening a can of worms.  I started with HTML/CSS, then moved on to PHP and MySQL.  Now I can see I’ll be learning JavaScript and something called Ajax.  I still want to do some C++.  It’s a soup of letters.

I think this is the direction I want to take my time and the business in.  Relying on tight-wad Ghanaians is very difficult.

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