The End of My Business

I’m reaching my “I don’t give a sh**” phase of the business.  Trading is much more profitable — and risky — than this business I supposedly do.  Now, I’m asking myself, “Why bother?”

Teresa I

Yesterday I had an argument with my last sales lady.  I had foolishly dismissed her before she had returned a Samsung tablet to me.  When I asked for it back, she claimed she travelled to Kumasi to take care of a elderly grandmother.  She was gone for 6 weeks.  Now that she’s back in town, she is claiming poverty so she can’t visit me in Osu to return the tab.  This doesn’t make sense.  How can you have money to travel several hours to another city but not 8 cedis to go to Osu in Accra?

Then she claimed that I had insulted her all the time while she was working for me and that she has nothing to show for working for me after all these months.  Yes, I criticized her work and work product because she didn’t produce.  We are not friends.  I’m your boss and if I’m not happy with something, then you’re sure to hear about it.  Furthermore, if you’re not happy working for me, then go get another job!  I’m not compelling you to work for me.  Again, it’s work.  That’s why I’m paying you.

After she went on and on — basically showing how ungrateful she is — I decided that I don’t need this lady in my life.  “God bless you this year.  Have a good life, ” I said.  She can have the tab but I really don’t want to see this person again.  She then asked if she could visit me in Osu.  I thought you don’t have money to come to Osu?  Lies! lies! lies! that they tell.

Teresa II

Since the office lady was out for two weeks to take exams, many of the tasks she wasn’t doing became exposed.  It was like lifting a large rock and seeing all the insects running beneath it.  Both electronic and paper records were in disarray, protocols were not being followed, and things were missing.

People “respect what you inspect.”   Honestly, I haven’t been inspecting much lately — and it shows.  But this type of situation hurts both sides.  Obviously, I suffer because my business is not being run very well.  But for Teresa II it’s bad to believe that you can do crap work when the boss is not watching.  Sure, you can get away with it for a while but, at the end of it, he’s not going to trust you to do much else.

Just like any other part of the world, “it’s hard to find good help these days.”  I finally understand what that means.  It’s hard to find workers who will place the interests of the business above their own self-interest.

Most people are selfish.  Got it.  But you can’t be so selfish and unwilling to take initiative that it comes back to bite you in the end.  It’s like going to the US Post Office or Department of Motor Vehicles.  All those workers seems to think you’re doing them a favor visiting their office.  Unfortunately, I’ve met a lot of people in Ghana who display this characteristic.

Most people are desperate for money because they need to eat, have shelter, and provide for relatives.  You say you want a job.  Ok, how about you be my office lady for 500 cedis/month?  Done.  She takes the job and begins work.  You teach her your systems and protocols.  Within a short while you will have figured out whether this person has initiative.  Unfortunately, most are happy with their 500 cedis/month.

What they don’t understand is that you are either rising or falling all the time in the job.  If you’re doing well, then I want to promote you, give you more work, and pay you more.  If you’re not doing well and you’re a pain to manage, then I want you to leave.  Very rarely do I want someone to stay in that job forever.

Farm

My company is not a farm that requires many people to do the same tedious job.  I want to minimize the number of people working for me, maximize productivity, AND keep my expenses low.  It’s better to employ one star and pay her much more than what you would for one entry level person than to pay for 2-3 mediocre people.  The former can do more, the business can grow, and everyone wins.

Thus, I’m even frustrated with Teresa II and her last days are upon us.  I’m tired of my staff, my customers, and my business.  Let’s just say I’ve had to make many adjustments that seem counter-intuitive if they were done in the US.   I’ve stopped learning anything from my business.  It’s really become a job that is unprofitable to operate.

Thus, I’m done.  Thanks for the memories.

PS: Actually, I will continue to employ the driver to pick up food and do errands for me.  Thus, for the handful of customers that I like, I imagine we will continue to operate.

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6 comments

  1. Yura Bryant

    Are you completely done with entrepreneurship or just that particular business? I know from first hand experience how employees can be more of a liability than asset (restaurant & large office building with more money going out compared to the zero coming in). What I learned is that if you cannot do it all, do not put full trust an anyone else when it comes to your business unless they earn that trust. If they do not share the vision of your business then in the long run problems will occur and cost you more due to someone else incompetence.

  2. Vera ansah

    Don’t portray the people in Ghana to the outside world as bad.and if u have smthing to say abt ur employees dnt paste their pics on your blog it’s a bad habit.All your articles tell the bad side of ghanaians but your country America there are crooks and bad people there than Ghana. if u think u r fed up go to ur country.

    • Thank you for your comments. These are my observations. If you want to write a blog about the frustrations of working and living in America go ahead… As far as I can tell, many expats who live and work in Ghana have similar experiences to my own. And yes, once I take care of my obligations, I will leave Ghana. Thanks, again for reading.

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