THIS week, we are introduced to an inspiring story of two students who out of sheer determination were able to pay for their tuition and exam fees on their own. The question is how many young people are out of school because they claim their parents cannot afford or the National Manpower Secretariat is not sponsoring them?
March 18, 2022
3 min read
Business start-up is mind-set first, money later
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The Atchar story indicates that it all begins with a purpose and clear goals of what it is you really want to achieve. What started as a short-term project to get out of financial trouble has grown into a big small-scale food manufacturing business with the potential to create hundreds of jobs and ultimately earn Lieketseng Maribe and her business partner a healthy return on investment.
In a country still grappling with high unemployment rate, this is a model story to emulate for both young and old to be creative and innovative to job creation and economic growth. Often, there is a misconception that you need lots of money to start a business. Yet, it is a mind-set - integrated strategy that along with a good business plan and some couple of hundred maloti - guides your dream towards a desired goal.
Yes, some businesses unlike the Atchar or steel wool retailing may need longer-term plans that require costly outlays for fixed assets, research and development activities, marketing, capital structure and major sources of financing. But the focus on the Atchar story shows how two young people dramatically reshaped their education and business prospects purely on the basis of attitude.
It is possible that sooner or later there might be a Cosmos atchar on every shelf in supermarkets and corner cafes as Enrich Stores have already started stocking the local brand. The two friends have revolutionised the way we think about starting a business. Expansion into the mountain areas and across the borders should be their ultimate goal that should make Basotho proud of a “made in Lesotho” product.
The Cosmos atchar’s success is tied to Lesotho as a developing market still with lots of untapped potential and we would like to see the partnership grow into a big company. We would like to see the business grow into a good employer that offers employees benefits.
Its mission statement should be about satisfying customers and promoting good corporate citizenship within the communities in which it operates.
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While profits are obviously the main aim of running a business, it should not come at the expense of Basotho commonly labelled cheap labour by state officials when trying to attract foreign investors.
The Cosmos brand should bond with employees and customers when translating sales and earnings as strong as the atchar.
Accomplishing its business objectives in future while building shareholder value requires that Cosmos practices sound financial management – raising funds to open stores and build manufacturing plants, deciding when and where to put them, managing cash collections, reducing purchasing costs, and dealing with fluctuations in the prices of mangoes, spices, other inputs and in the value of foreign currency as well as other risks as it buys and expands internationally.
Like Lieketseng and her friend, we must approach business by first changing our mind-set before dealing with different issues to starting a business.