By Sycorax Tiyesa Ndhlovu
Mwape Musonda, a colleague of mine ignited a series of thoughts on how to look at life to improve on one’s living standards when we met at University of Zambia (UNZA)’s Ridgeway Campus recently.
Mr Musonda said to me: ‘Ba Kalamba, just imagine the money you have spent today in terms of food, transport and other planned or unplanned expenditures. For you to have spent all such monies, it means you worked for that money before; or you have borrowed. If you worked for that money before to spend it today; it means you have to continue working in whatever way for you to raise money to spend in the coming days. Borrowing money from somewhere implies that you have to work hard to raise money to pay back from where you borrowed; and continue spending on your daily essential needs of life.’
Then, using the English adage, I asked: ‘So a human being is supposed to be always as busy as a bee?’ ‘That’s right. Without working hard every day, you can’t have money to spend tomorrow;’ Mr Musonda said while shaking hands with me with an assuring face and a smile on his face.
This reminded me of the Biblical instruction which God; The Creator gave to Adam and Eve after the two committed the first sin. God told Adam and Eve: ‘From now onwards, you will work hard and sweat for you to eat (Gen 3:16-19; Good News Bible).’
Such illustrations demonstrate that if everyone treated his or her life as a business, everyone would be living a full and descent life as it was in the Garden of Eden. Look at those who are serious with their businesses!
They are always busy to raise enough money every day for their lives.
Life is a series of small and big projects. One has to complete each project at the right time; and achieve the desired results. To achieve this, little or no time and other resources should be wasted. This is what makes life to be a business.
And every normal human being should have a purpose for his or her life. It’s a purpose for one’s life which creates a series of projects that should be achieved effectively and efficiently. Therefore, it’s what you do every day to achieve each objective that leads to the purpose of your life that makes your life a business.
From looking at life as a business, each person should have a vision, mission, values, goal and objectives.
To succeed in reaching your objectives at appropriate times, one is supposed to have good strategies. This means life without strategies to achieve personal goals can be worthless.
Therefore, look around at your available economic resources. How best can you use such resources to improve on your life business? It’s from such a background that one of the business experts defined business as economics in action.
This implies that as economics talks about prudent allocation and utilization of scarce resources such as land, labour and capital; including time and entrepreneurship (management) for specific purposes, every human being should look at life as application of economics.
Using available economic resources of any amounts effectively and efficiently is critical for one’s growth and sustainable development processes in life. Basic business management knowledge and skills facilitate someone to achieve such a status within a short time.
And a management guru, Peter F Drucker said: ‘The purpose of every business is to create a customer.’
From Drucker’s views on purpose of every business, you and I should always be creating customers who can buy our goods or services. Money from our customers will help us buy some essential needs for our lives; invest further in our businesses; and in the process, improve on our living standards.
For you and I to achieve this, we need to develop effective personal branding. Adhering to your personal morals, values and principles is helpful in life business. Developing effective human relations and marketing skills which can attract more customers to our life business is also vital.
But someone might argue that he or she has none of such factors of production. Such an argument isn’t realistic. With five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling/touching); and probably able-bodied, one can at least have personal or family labour.
Use whatever factor of production you have effectively and efficiently to acquire one or more other factors of production to improve on your life business.
Again, someone is wondering how time can be an economic resource if someone isn’t employed; and is always free to do what she or he wants.
Yes. The fact that one is free to decide what to do and when with his or her time makes time an economic resource because if that time is used to add value to oneself; or to raise some money of whatever amount, then, it’s an economic resource. Economic use of time can contribute to catapult a person’s life from a lower stage to a relatively higher one.
Strategies in using time and acquiring other economic resources such as land, labour and capital at individual and family levels in a challenging macro-economic environment separate boys from men in life business.
To illustrate this point, the other time, I was telling another friend of mine that, look at life like every around 02:00hours; or around 03:00 hours, a republican president or a finance minister puts a national cake in the centre of a country, each province or in a centre of each district; and any citizen is free to wake up at any time to go and get a share of this cake.
Thus, the time of waking up; and the effort each citizen makes; and how much you get from this national cake depends on choices on how you allocate scarce economic resources to your economic activities in your life.
If you choose to be selling chibwabwa; instead of studying for a vocational or professional field; or to be working in a low paying job for many years; instead of doing personal business where you can earn more than you get as a monthly salary, is your own choice of life business.
This implies that when you experience high levels of economic challenges, don’t blame anyone; especially if other citizens are making remarkable progress in economic advancements under the same government’s provision of enabling environment such as favourable investment policies, schools, colleges, universities and increased road network throughout the country among others.
The way one uses his or her time can give that person access to other important resources such as a relative amount of capital and land. The so-called factors of production (land, labour and capital); and now some management books include time and entrepreneurship; are critical in improving one’s living standards.
While every person has the right to relax, it’s not helpful for one to be always resting. Doing what doesn’t add value to your life is another way of impoverishing yourself and your family further now and in future.
For a business to realize a profit, it should effectively and efficiently transform its inputs into valuable things or finished products or into desired services which it can sell.
Moreover, if a business is to sustain its smooth operations, top management should continue learning new management ideas; and product’s or services’ innovations; and apply them to their business accordingly.
Continuous and relatively increased capacity building, saving and investments in business leads to sustainable operations of that business; and if management of such a business is effective and efficient, such a situation leads to expansion of that business.
Fortunately, what is true to business operations is also applicable to one’s life business. It, therefore, surprises one to see some people highly committed to official duties; but very unconcerned about their own personal life business’ advancements. The way you think and apply yourself in official duties should be how you manage your life business; and vice versa.
Yes, one can talk about government inability to facilitate genuine job creation, economic empowerment such as affordable loans and what have you. But why is it that some people have made it despite inadequate government facilitation in such areas?
And if government doesn’t facilitate your growth and sustainable development process as you perceive it, so what for your life?
Why is it that some foreign nationals left their countries; and came to Zambia where some citizens perceive successive governments as not providing enabling environment for one’s sustainable development process?
If some foreign nationals come to Zambia to create customers for their life businesses, so can most of us, Zambians do.
Don’t just see negative things in Zambia. With many rich natural resources in our country, there are many positive things among the negative ones you see!
As one of the Chinese proverbs states: ‘Every journey starts with a first step.’ Don’t wait until you have a lot of money to start your life business. You can start treating your life as business at any age and time with any amount of resources available.
Most of those you perceive to have made greater strides in improving on their lives more than you started in a small way with meager resources. You can also do the same for your better tomorrow.
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