A National Business Anthem (Part 2)

The second dilemma in terms of employment growth regards aspiring new business. Employment growth in existing business is not enough to build an economy, there should also be employment growth through businesses growth. The problem is that a vast percentage of entrepreneurs cannot come up with the capital to finance their prospecting initiatives. Financial institutes will and cannot set them up as they only have your money to work with and you will probably become horribly depressed to hear one sad Monday morning that you cannot draw money from you bank account as the adventurous manager blew it on another person’s business idea over the weekend. Foreign investors are scarce as the political risk is too high in South Africa and the tendency is still to push the financially successful away rather than to pull the closer. So where, must the finances come from then? These people don’t have fixed assets to put up as collateral or rich relatives to lend a helping hand (Come to think, neither do I). Regional stock exchanges? I doubt if they will deliver in a financially viable pull towards investors, but I could be wrong. In the old days stockvels had value, but you must bare in mind that the environment was less complex and much more “open”. If Gotliep Jones announced in a pub that he had a gold claim and anyone interested could throw in twenty Pounds for x amount of shares, you would probably only loose your money if he did not actually strike gold. The risk is more accessible and you could monitor the activities much closer. If a stranger invites you today to do buy shares in his initiative, it is a totally different story. His business would be much more complex and less transparent than considering the probability of striking gold and secondly,
he could easily run away with your money and you will never ever track him down again.

So, the anthem. We have all the basic elements of the vision, we only have to compile the lyrics and then tone-set them. The chorus is dedicated to the decline of the symptoms of the real problem since they will fall away as the real problem is cured. Here’s my attempt, see if you can improve on it and let’s make it a living reality:

Verse one:

Let us work much more harder – and also so much smarter
Then our products will sell – and things will be well
As businesses will grow – so poverty will go
For households will score – through employing many more
This’ll allow our economy to expand – in our beautiful mother land

Chorus:

Down comes the crime
There simply is no time;
Up goes the health
Followed by more wealth;
There’s so much dedication
Through better education;
All races are so kind
Since money’s colour blind
x 2

Verse two:

Give the hungry not a dish – but equip them to catch their fish
For new business to make a start – let’s think wide and very smart
Allow our systems to adapt – to place them on the map
Good business is contagious – through all the different ages
Entrepreneurs are what we need – to plant the mustard seed

OK so I’m probably considered not ‘all there’, but as the word goes, Langenhoven was not entirely himself either, when he wrote Die Stem. I firmly believe whilst seeking serious solutions to our problems we have to lighten up somewhat regarding our relationships and practices. We cannot really teach anybody not to get AIDS or not to be a racist or not to steal or not to worry, but if we apply our attention to the real leverage points in terms of the ultimate remedy, a sound growing economy, these things will go away as symptoms of the real disease. This country needs an all encompassing holistic intervention touching all corners of society – adapting the education system to expose even the youngest to these business principles so that they can take responsibility and empower themselves since day one; providing parental training so that we set the right example to the little ears who are busy molding their mental models; it’s too late to leave it to business. Japanese students who stayed with families in our country for some time, all reported that they found the working parent to come home complaining about everything at work. Being irritated, wishing it were Friday and thanking God when Friday arrives, craving for leave and early retirement, expressing all these things loudly on a daily basis at home. What do the “little ears” hear? “Work is a bad thing, it is the place where my parents become unhappy. I dread the day I have to go there.” Does the shoe fit? Think about it. In Japan the parents and teachers make a conscious attempt to make the future business people believe that work is a
good thing. Japanese kids are looking forward to this wonderful day and you don’t have to beg or drag them to work. Some key players in South Africa will have to come together to plan this far-reaching intervention to launch a total onslaught on all parties in the economic mix.

For all this we need (maybe a bit less democracy at present and) a vision from the top, a destination … and why not make it alive through an ever-green Business Anthem that will reach all ears at all levels?

By Dr. Deon Mushavi Huysamen:

Published: Management Today – May 2002

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2 thoughts on “A National Business Anthem (Part 2)

  1. Hi Herbie,
    An intersting topic and the destination of many years of musing in my mind.
    Governments and their taxes and regulations are probably the biggest damper to free enterprise and the creation of wealth. Governments are notoriously unproductive, inflexible and non-reactive.
    I think a lot about the Industrial Revolution – a quantum leap forward for GDP in Europe. I think too of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in the U.S. – again a quantum leap in creating the economic powerhouse that the United States still is today. When these two huge economically transforming events were taking place, governments were almost caught napping – had no idea what to make of it but enjoyed the increasing tax revenue which funded their wars, Empires etc etc so just let it go for a while. Particularly in the U.S. the term laisez faire (probably spelt wrong!) became part of the vocabularly. The [successful] insistence that government keep its nose out of the free markets and private enterprise.
    Of course there was a price to pay for this huge expansion in GDP. Charles Dickens made a very good living and left a lasting legacy describing the consequences of rampant free markets! Money looks after money, it ignores the least amongst our societies. Eventually governments in Europe and the U.S. were forced to intervene to put a stop to things like child labour, mind-boggling environmental degradation and exploitation of the poor and vulnerable.
    Of course as governments tend to do, they went even further than they probably should have and worse still, they exported their new laws to countries that did not have the benefit of the quantum leaping rapid GDP growth. Soon there was social security and medical care and a wave of other social benefits which cost money which leads to increased taxation which leads to a decline in motivation to be productive.
    So thats just a few thoughts from me. Bottom line is that no society has yet mastered the ability to get the balance right between free enterprise and needed regulation. China is not doing too bad a job though I guess…………

    • Hi Greg, Thanks for the feedback. I agree finding the balance is difficult. Especially when an institute is given the mandate to find it. Personally I think it is an individual responsibility – this includes voting and running your own business.

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