Over the past few months or so, I have had the privilege of meeting some really great people who are doing awesome things in life. I am not talking of the superfluous, showy, social media hype…these are people doing amazing things and who you might not regard if you saw them on the street somewhere. As I studied them and observe the group of people I have been attracting over the past few years, I have realised that there are certain crop of people you need in order to scale in life, especially if you’re a business person. This list may not be exhaustive. But I am sure when you take a critical look at anyone who’s doing some amazing things or you ask them, you will notice they have these people on their team.
1. One who supports you in prayer
Business in itself is tough. You are going to deal with many things at a time. You’re dealing with employees, shareholders, board of directors, suppliers, and clients. And you’re assured that you will have some really stubborn people as part of this list. As a business leader, you will grow weary when all these people make daily demands of you. What you need in business, therefore, goes beyond just strategy and the ability to execute. You need serious prayers. There are times you might be weak to pray; this is where someone who supports you in prayer comes in. It could be a parent, a sibling, a partner, or just anyone who is genuinely interested in your growth as a person. If you fail to have such a person in your life, you’re sure to do so much but see little results.
2. An investor
I spent last night on the phone with a friend who runs one of Ghana‘s leading private equity firms (and he’s never made mention of this on social media). He educated me on what investors like to see in a business before they invest in your business. One sad reality he told me was that, the reason many Ghanaian businesses may never scale up is because they are not scalable (Maybe I will write a post on his lecture with me some other time). I asked him a simple question: What do I need to do in our business to attract investments? It turned out to be an hour-long lecture. As a business person, do you have someone like this as a friend, partner or part of your board? Well, unless you’re looking to running a table-top business, you can decide to ignore it.
3. A corporate lawyer
The general notion is that legal services are expensive. Of course they ought to be. They are not for the faint-hearted. However, a corporate lawyer will save you a great deal if you can invest just some money in having one of them on your team. He/she will guide you in making the right legal decisions such as: patenting your ideas, trademarking, and also helping to put your contracts together for you. What many do is to go online to cut and paste legal contracts. Do you really understand those oft-confusing legal terms? I don’t see why you want to worry your head over such terms. Leave them for the experts to do for you. Don’t be stingy. Invest in a corporate lawyer.
4. An accountant
A client of ours who’s turned into a friend took me through some really serious accounting lecture recently at the mall. He’s worked with one of the world’s leading beverage manufacturing companies and has hands-on experience in accounting. Since I met him, our records keeping in our companies have improved greatly. Today, we are able to measure certain parameters to make important decisions that we hitherto were not making. You need such a person to help you know what expenses to eliminate, how to keep up-to-date balance sheet and all the “accounting sheets.” Whatever you don’t measure, you can’t improve. Period!
5. A marketer
Business is not what goes on in the office. Business is on the field. Even as we have a marketing department, I have a mentor who takes me through such marketing lessons; how to better position ourselves to attract big sales. And I am blessed to have him double as my mentor in operations. When all is said and done, it is the sales that come in that will run your business.
Now, you don’t need people who have theoretical knowledge of these subjects. Those could be poisonous. You might even be better off without them. Get someone who’s been on the job for a while. When you do, you will be amazed at the level of growth you will experience in no time….that is if you’re ready to listen to them and act by what they say. Of course you need to have your own sense of judgment, guided by the Holy Spirit, to make the right decisions.
You can call this Business 101.
The author of this article, Jonathan Adzokpe is an author, conference speaker and CEO of Hetura Books, a fast growing Ghanaian publishing firm.