Africell UG announced that they are closing their Uganda operation effective October 7. It is a sad situation. Often times when a business closes, especially a big one, people feel sorry for the employees … I think they should also feel sorry for the business owners.
It is not easy to run any kind of business, especially in “developing” countries like Uganda.
One thing that separates entrepreneurs from other people is that they are aware that business might go wrong, but they go in with both feet to make it work.
When I was leaving my job at Daily Monitor five years ago, the biggest question and fear of my friends, family and workmates, was – “what if business doesn’t work out.”
I was ready to make it work and even rejected some juicy job offers from people who had learnt that I had quit Monitor.
Did I fear that business might not work out? Yes I did … and I still do as I get into other ventures. However, I go in with a resolve to make things work.
Of course in my experience with business, some things have not worked out and others have not worked as expected, but some have done better than my wild imagination.
A dead business is not the end of life. There are always more opportunities. Most successful people have a graveyard of dead businesses that served as tuition for their success.
In fact my friend Dr. Innocent Nahabwe of “Treating Small Businesses”, a book anyone running an SME or intending to run one should read, says that sometimes you have to know when to bury a business and move on.
Sometimes keeping a dead business on life support (operational) can end up killing you too.
Anyway, I’m personally past the fear of a business dying. I take it just like life. Everyone will have to go one day, but while we are here, we live to the fullest.
I give a business my all, but once it doesn’t work out, and there are no projections for a better future, it’s better to close shop and do other things.
A critically ill business can get “medication” but a dead business should be buried.
Many people are carrying burdens of dead business because of “what will people say?” Sometime back, I was also a slave of “what will people say.” I realised that people will talk anyway, but they won’t talk forever and words won’t kill you. Often times, people are not even talking. They have their own problems.
Sometimes you don’t have to bury the entire business but you can “amputate” an operation that is not expected to heal and can kill the rest of the business. For example, do you guys remember that sometime back MTN had public pay phones with infrastructure across the country???
My friend out there who is carrying the burden of a business that passed away, pick the courage and go through the burial process. Tomorrow is a brighter day.
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