‘Poor governance stifle small businesses’

. . . entrepreneur speaks on how he learnt the hard way

‘MAPALO NKHELOANE

MASERU – The growth of small businesses in Lesotho is stifled because most of them are operated single-handedly without a board governing the business, entrepreneur Advocate Thapelo Donald Ntsiki, has said.

Ntsiki was addressing a Law and Business Master Class hosted by a youth organisation called Rakhoebo the Connect.

The National University of Lesotho (NUL) LLB degree holder, who is a practicing lawyer is also an entrepreneur and founder of Donny’s Fresh and Dried Fruits which hit the market in 2016.

Ntsiki is also the legal expert on the board of a business called Basali Tech.

He said he wants to fellow small and upcoming entrepreneurs by sharing with them the knowledge and skills he possesses in the legal practice and in business through workshops under his initiative called ‘Peer to Peer Education’.

A governing body is one of the major ingredients for the success of any business, he noted.

His business, Donny’s Fresh and Dried fruits, was doing quite well until this year he realised that the business’s struggle was not due to the absence of a market or cash flow but because it was a “one-man show”.

Ntsiki said he had learnt the hard way from his own experience.

He said he was running the business and making all the decisions by himself and he was answerable to no one until he realised that some of his decisions were not in the best interest of his business.

“I then decided to join a program called Inspire Innovation Business Training facilitated by Inspire Innovation Consultants which showed me the importance of having a person I answer to.

“In as much as I am the business owner and the brain behind it, there should be another person that oversees the operations of the business. I was therefore made aware that there should be a governing body for my business to prosper,” Ntsiki said.

He further explained that the interest of customers, employees, and external stakeholders can only be protected through good governance. This, according to Ntsiki, therefore means there should be leadership. He said the leadership should be one that is ethical and effective so that the business would be able to comply with the law and serve its sole purpose which is to make money.

Ntsiki said the best way to go about having a governing body is by appointing the Board of Directors.

“As a small business, it is easier to have a board if you are using what is called collaboration because obviously small businesses do not have the capital to pay board members.

“For example, at Basali Tech Company where I am a board member they do not pay me but any service that I might need from them I get it for free because we exchange skills and knowledge,” Ntsiki said.

He therefore urged small entrepreneurs to find collaborative means of working with potential board members so that even if there is no cash payment, both parties are satisfied. He said the board of directors can be made up of just an accountant, legal practitioner and a finance manager.

 

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