One of our participants, Herbert is a music teacher and a guitarist. I asked him yesterday to bring the guitar and he started the lessons with playing and singing to us. The performance was appreciated by everyone. During the two first days, we have studied the conditions of a company. We have looked at the geographical area, the person who educates and supports the entrepreneur, the entrepreneur himself/herself and finally the market of the company. The company is shaped by these four factors.
Today we looked at different kinds of ownership of a company as well as different types of businesses, trading companies, service companies, manufacturing companies but also agricultural companies. We have talked about the control function of the company in which the owner – entrepreneur has ultimate responsibility. He or she ensures the orderliness of the business, especially in the form of the book-keeping that shall show what works well in the company and what doesn’t work.
We have also talked a lot about understanding the value of money, by which we mean that it is an utterly essential asset in a company. In other words, you need to save some of the money you make to be able to keep your company going. Those who do not save money for investments in the company have little or no opportunity to develop their businesses. Maybe the only way to understand the value of money is to work hard for them. Then you have personal experience of how long it takes to earn every dime. Unfortunately, MSG have made the uncomfortable experience that it can be difficult to understand the value of the borrowed money. Easy come easy go, and where MSG expected the entrepreneurs to have at least a somewhat profitable enterprise, there was nothing but debt.
Development was our next topic. To start your own business on a small scale with your own money is probably the best way to become an entrepreneur and a business owner. The development potential is less dependant in money but more of good ideas. If you have a full wallet and no ideas, your wallet will soon be empty as well, however, if you have an empty wallet and your head full of ideas, then the wallet might be full eventually.
We talked about the responsibility of taking a loan. Every dime has to be paid back with the addition of interest If you are in debt you are not free. Then we talked about the issue of maintenance and upkeep of the equipment of the company, cars, tractors and other machines. On this point there is generally a lot to be desired. Taking care of equipment does indeed save money as well as provide increased profits. Here, there is money to be saved.
Then we went through the foundations of minimizing costs and maximizing revenue – an extensive subject and an important part of entrepreneurship. So far we have given them seven different financial statements to review. Most of them will become homework. Because of the amount of paper I hand out the group has given me the nickname “Monsieur Papier”. Our own troubadour finished today’s lessons with a wonderful song that even resulted in dancing, and then he led us in prayer.
Today we were visited by two TV teams who also made recordings. One private and one public television company. They made the recordings in Lingala, Kikongo and in French. They broadcast in all three languages.
After our workday and a short rest, we went to the restaurant Mami Wata with Astrid Stålberg. It is beautifully situated by the Congo river. We sat on a terrace right on the water. Bernt and I had grilled beef with fries and Astrid took sakasaka with chicken. Astrid thought that we needed to get out a little and see the town, and we agreed with her.