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The entrepreneurial process



IN both the developed and developing countries small businesses have become one of the engines driving economic and social development.
Studies carried out in a number of countries, including the United States, have shown that in addition to being drivers of economic and social development, small businesses are a major source of job creation and also a powerful source for innovation.
In the United States alone small businesses produce 14 times more patents per employee than large businesses. This shows the innovativeness of the small businesses.

It’s however not all roses for the entrepreneur who tries to enter into business. A large number of these start-ups do not achieve success.
It has been established through research that the main reasons for this high mortality rate is the entrepreneurs’ lack of ability to develop and manage their businesses.

It is therefore very important for an entrepreneur to understand the dynamics of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneur’s role as the main actor in this process.  The process of launching a business involves a number of critical phases that an entrepreneur has to go through namely, identification and evaluation of an opportunity, development of the business plan, raising funding, and determination of the required resources and management of the enterprise.

At each of these stages an entrepreneur should acquire certain skills and attributes.
The entrepreneurial journey starts with getting or generating the right idea leading to eventually building a successful business or not.
At each of these stages an entrepreneur has to take the right steps or actions, and any decisions that the entrepreneur has to make should be smart and highly calculated to ensure the success of the venture.

Social media has made us think building a business is a walk in the park.
It’s all glitter on the Facebook but reality is not. These businesses take time to build. Rome was not built in a day. Don’t just take a plunge into entrepreneurship because of excitement.

Before you make that bold move you need to know what you are getting into. The entrepreneurial process we will discuss is intended to highlight the issues that you need to be aware of.  In this discussion I will briefly touch on each stage but later on unpack each stage in detail.
The first stage in stepping out as an entrepreneur is finding the right business idea.

You need to identify and evaluate the right opportunity that the market will need. Without a business idea, you can’t start a business.
You will need to do a market research to determine if the people really need what you want to bring to the market. Ensure that the idea matches your talents, skills and that you are passionate about what you want to do.

You should have the capacity to execute your business opportunity or else it will end up a failure.
The second stage is developing a business plan. It doesn’t need to be very detailed but it will act as a roadmap of what you want to do. It’s likely that this plan will change as you get responses from the market about your business idea.
So be prepared to change it. The plan is not cast in stone. The plan should show what you are bringing to the market-your mission or why you have set the business.

It should also include the product, the market, resources required and financial projections.
The third stage would be the identification of the resources you will require to run the venture.
Resources will include money, machinery, human capital, materials and processes that will drive the business. These should be reflected in the business plan.

The fourth stage is very critical if the business idea has to be realised. You need to raise your seed funding to fund the venture.
Having drawn up the business plan you would have identified and understood the full financial implications of the project. There are many ways of raising the finances.

You can raise funding by getting an investment from investors, venture capitalists, or Government grants, a bank loan or borrow from friends or relatives. The last stage is getting the customers and run the business. Getting paying customers is the real challenge and this can make or break the business.

Your main goal at the outset should be to acquire as many paying customers as possible, at the lowest cost of acquiring customers possible.
Once you have acquired the customers you need to do everything you can to retain them. Losing a customer is very costly.
To acquire and retain a customer you need a quality product/service at a competitive price while offering exceptional customer service.
Happy customers will advertise your business. In this phase strive to make your business a success.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.
He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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LEC to switch off households over debts



MASERU – The Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) will from Tuesday next week begin switching off clients who owe it money.

The LEC issued a seven-day ultimatum to all customers who owe it on Tuesday last week. The deadline ends on Monday.

It is expected that the LEC will begin switching off households that have defaulted.

The state-owned power company, however, is not going to touch any government department or business entities that owe it on grounds that they are in payment negotiations.

The LEC move comes barely two weeks after it cut electricity supplies to the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) thus causing it to fail to pump water to communities countrywide for more than two days.

The LEC says it is owed close to M200 million by government departments, businesses and individuals.

The LEC spokesman, Tšepang Ledia, told thepost that the government and the businesses will not have their electricity cut because they are in negotiations.

“We are in negotiations with the government and businesses and hopefully they will pay,” Ledia said.

“We advise the ordinary people to pay their debts before the 20th of March 2023 or else we cut the services,” he said.

The LEC says it is running short of funds for its daily operations.

In December last year the company increased power tariffs by 7.9 percent on both energy and maximum demand charges across all customer categories for the Financial Year 2022/23.

Last week the LEC boss, Mohato Seleke, said postpaid consumers and sundry debtors owe the company M169.4 million.

He said unless the debtors pay he will be unable to buy electricity from ’Muela Hydropower Project, Eskom in South Africa and Mozambique’s EDM.

This, he said, could cause serious load shedding in the country and could be devastating for businesses.

Seleke said the LEC spends M630 million monthly to buy electricity.

“If postpaid consumers do not settle their debts this could prevent the LEC from being able to buy electricity which can lead the country to encounter load-shedding,” Seleke said.

Seleke said collecting debt from government department ministries was a challenge as there is an understanding that since LEC is a state-owned company, it will continue supplying government agencies with electricity and they will settle their bills when they have funds to do so.

Seleke said the LEC has lost M21 million to vandalism during this financial year.

Relebohile Tšepe

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Bumper payout for former mineworkers



MASERU – AT least 11 316 current as well as former mine workers are set for a bumper payout after Tshiamiso Trust began disbursing the first billion Maloti to workers who are suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis.

The payment comes two years after Tshiamiso Trust began processing claims for the historical M5 billion settlement agreement between mineworkers and six gold mines in South Africa.

Speaking at the payment announcement in Maseru last week, the Trust’s CEO, Lusanda Jiya, said it has been two years since they officially began accepting claims.

“Our people come to work every day with the mission of impacting lives for the better, and the first billion rand paid out to over 11 000 families is just the beginning,” Jiya said.

“We know that there is no compensation that will ever be enough to undo the suffering endured by mine workers and their families,” he said.

“However, we are committed to deliver our mandate and ensure that every family that is eligible for compensation receives it.”

Jiya said the Trust is limited both in terms of the time in which they can operate, and the extent to which they can assist those seeking compensation.

Broadly speaking, the eligibility criteria include among others that the mineworker must have worked at one of the qualifying gold mines between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019.

Secondly, living mineworkers must have permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB and deceased mine workers representatives must have evidence that proves that they (the deceased) died from TB or Silicosis.

Tshiamiso Trust has a lifespan of 12 years, ending in February 2031.

Over 111 000 claims have been received to date, through offices in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, and Mozambique.

The Trust is working with stakeholders in these countries and others to mobilise its efforts and expand operations.

The history of silicosis in South Africa goes back to the late 1880’s when the first gold mines began operations.

The gold was stored and locked in quartz, a special rock that contains large amounts of silica.

Crystallised silica particles can cause serious respiratory damage if inhaled.

In the earlier days of gold mining, dust control, health and safety standards and the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) were not as advanced as they are today.

Tshiamiso Trust was established in 2020 to give effect to the settlement agreement reached between six mining companies.

The companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Gold Fields.

The settlement agreement was reached and made after a ruling by the Johannesburg High Court as a result of a historic class action by former and current mineworkers against the six gold mines.

Justice for Miners is a coalition of interested parties in the mining sector launched at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg in 2020.

The Johannesburg High Court approved the setting up of the Tshiamiso Trust to facilitate payment by the companies to affected miners.

Keith Chapatarongo

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Farmers cry over cost of livestock feed



MASERU – Lehlohonolo Mokhethi is a farmer who has been running a successful poultry business, thanks to a small loan he got from a local bank.

He now has 300 chickens.

He says his vision is to rear 5 000 chickens by 2025 and employ 30 youths. But he is now grappling with a new challenge: the ever increasing cost of chicken feed.

That is threatening the viability of his business.

“The biggest challenge is that food prices increase every day, feeding is expensive,” Mokhethi said.

“It is quite difficult to make profit in business if each and every day food prices increase. Today I am buying a bag of food with a certain amount then the next day the price has increased,” he says.

“Our customers fail dismally to understand that food has increased and the Chinese are taking our market because they sell at a low price thus I run at a loss.”

Last week, a top attorney in Maseru who is also a prominent farmer, Tiisetso Sello-Mafatle, called a meeting for farmers to discuss these challenges.

She says the government must regulate the prices of livestock feed.

That is critical if the farming business is to succeed, she says.

Attorney Sello-Mafatle says farmers must come up with a structure for livestock feed prices which they would present to the government for gazetting.

“We should state our regulations and give them to the government to make everything easy for both parties because we cannot wait for the government to make regulations for us,” Sello-Mafatle says.

She adds that “farmers should be bullish about what they want and never have fear endorsing new things”.

“I will not be challenged or cry (because of) what life throws at me but I will cry when things are not happening the right way,” she says.

Mafatle says farmers need to know who they are and know the capabilities they have.

“This will help a farmer in becoming the best in any field they are in once they are confident about themselves,” she says.

Karabo Lijo, another participant, said they have to influence the cost of inputs in agriculture, especially livestock feed.

“We have to go back to cost-price analysis where as farmers we are able to derive the selling price and the break-even point in our production,” Lijo said.

“We can also derive the stable or constant mark-ups on our products,” he said.

“We need to do research to increase the ability to produce byproducts which are likely to have the longest shelve life,” he said.

The meeting urged farmers to diversify their products by introducing such things as mushroom farming. They said mushrooms can grow very well in Lesotho due to its favourable climate.

The farmers also demanded that there should be regulations on how land can be sold or borrowed in Lesotho.

Tholoana Lesenya and Alice Samuel

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