By Charles T.M.J. Dube
IN our last instalment we laid out how one would go about getting into a business. We did not mention how you would go about identifying a business idea and will leave this to a later date.
You will remember that my emphasis was on the organisational outfit your business could take, that is whether sole proprietorship, partnership, private liability company, public company, or even co-operative.
In the article, I only mentioned the Government’s role in one sentence, with the rest of the article giving tips on how one should go about starting a business.
Amazingly, all the feedback on the article was on how the Government was not creating a conducive environment for business and not on what the individuals were going to do themselves in light of the tips.
My simple response to most such responses was that they would never get a made-in-heaven environment to start a business anywhere in the world.
Real entrepreneurs acted, even in the presence of adversities.
This is why go-getters make their millions in war zones.
To some of us who are Christian, life consists of a perennial war between the forces of light and darkness.
To us, even here on earth, there is a war between mankind and the dragon and his angels.
You cannot afford to be neutral.
Even during the end, in terms of Christian mythology/beliefs, there will still be a war between the Lamb and Satan.
The forces of light under the Lamb, triumph over the forces of darkness.
In literature, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Michael commands the army of angels loyal to God against the rebel forces of Satan.
Armed with a sword from God’s armory, he beats Satan in personal combat, wounding his side.
The war against poverty, ignorance and evil is therefore one in which the agents of light cannot afford to listen to the prophets and apostles of darkness who are experts at singing halleluiahs of hopelessness and stagnation only.
The good book says they lived because of the blood of the Lamb.
The blood of the Lamb is in your mind.
It constitutes the right mindset.
In an epic book, The god that failed, that deals with conflicts in Euro-communism, a woman is quoted in the Spanish Civil War as having been overheard crying out: “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
We must therefore say no to being ruled by the environment and circumstances, no matter who shouts the most about hopelessness.
Even when faced with impotence in the face of the task to go liberate the Israelites from Pharaoh, God asks of Moses, what is that in your hand?
He had a walking rod and that became his AK47.
I should at this stage retract a little and ask the pessimists among us in this war against poverty: What is it you have in your hand?
Without waiting for your answer, I would dare and say, you have your brain between the two ears.
You also have the very bad environment you are gloating about.
You have a good climate, rivers, mineral wealth and other natural resources.
What are the shortage areas and what could you do about it?
If you were to produce a product, who could be your customers and what do they exactly want and what can they afford?
You also have the SADC and COMESA market.
Do you know what they want and what you can do to satisfy that market?
How about the global market?
The market is just too big for you, is there a market niche you think you could target?
Maybe you are astounded by the resources required for you to be able to meet your objectives, but, remember, Moses had a walking rod and no army to tackle Pharaoh.
God only demonstrated to him that what he had could conquer the world.
What he had was able to perform amazing miracles that led to the liberation of the Hebrews and even their provisions on the journey to Canaan.
We have the duty and obligation to build the walls of Zimbabwe.
Like during the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and others, there will always be Sanballat and Tobiah to discourage us.
They will sing songs of discouragement, touching on even some of the weaknesses we already know and are aware of, and yet like the Nehemiahs of yesteryear, we must soldier on, building the walls with sword girded by our side if need be, and or even taking turns to watch for the enemy.
The enemy includes the witches among us, the ones who are corrupt and plunder our national wealth with foreigners.
There are also those who come in as angels of light, yet they are there to destroy. Does Christ himself not say: “Many false prophets shall arise and deceive many, including the elect if possible.”
The difference between success and failure is all in the head.
The Rhodesian economy was set up between 1900 and 1924.
It is the bedrock of the current Zimbabwean economy and was surely established in the background of more challenges than you are crying about.
We have not done much to widen its base, which is the challenge we are currently faced with, as the Rhodesian economy was sufficient for the racial superstructure then, which is no more as the economy has to now satisfy the needs of every citizen.
I got reminded of my attachment to the Steel Authority of India Ltd in 1990, where they had framed on the wall and brochure some writing on winners and losers (SAIL is the biggest steel corporation in India, which was once mentioned in Fortune Magazine for business excellency).
Having lost the writing, I vividly remembered the one that said: “A winner sees a solution in every problem, while a loser sees a problem in every solution.”
In micro-economics, we have a graph that plots risk taking on the x-axis against profitability on the y-axis.
At the zero co-ordinate, there is zero profitability.
Those who fear taking risks or failure in life will never be counted among the affluent.
I have more respect for failed businessmen than I do for successful employees for the former are only wounded soldiers in the war against poverty.
All the unemployment figures we have are an advertisement for more recruits in the war against underdevelopment and poverty.
They are an opportunity for the indigenisation of our economy and the prosperity that we all cherish and look forward to.
Our future and that of our children is in our hands.
It is a time for us to show our ingenuity and creativity.
Let the child that is in us arise and conquer Zimbabwe and the world.
Fortune favours the brave.