How businesses die with owners
Published On February 6, 2015 » 3988 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Features
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Eavesdropper logoIT has been the case most of the time that once people who established businesses die, the surviving relatives, especially the children, fail to run the establishments.
The children and relatives fail to run these businesses because they did not have the acumen to do so.
In some instances, property grabbers who were usually uncles or brothers of the deceased got the opportunity of reaping from where they did not sow leaving the widows and the children with nothing.
But in most instances, the businesses went under due to poor management. If for instance the businesses were those of running grocery shops, bars or a fleet of mini buses, when owners died, relatives and children shared the property and started to run them individually, but they could not go any far.
The end results have been that those businesses crumbled and the surviving children and relatives who entirely depended on those business establishments became so miserable because they had no other source of income.
However, it is not only children and relatives of business men and women who face hardships when these people died, even some of those people who solely depended on relatives who were Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) or Managing Directors (MDs) or any other bread winners have had similar experiences when these people were no more.
It is not easy to say why some people failed to cope up with life once faced with the demise of these bread winners, but one thing for sure is that there is no sweet without sweat just like there are no roses without thorns.
So, inheriting something that someone else really worked hard for and making it viable is not as easy as one would think. It is different when one started a business which grew up and other people joined to partner with him and turn that business into a company.
Because of this, it is advisable to work hard if we are to sustain ourselves once our fathers, mothers, uncles, brothers or indeed any other relativeswho  were our pillars bade farewell.
A couple of weeks back, I was in Kawambwa district in Luapula Province, where I had gone to sort out a problem.
Because my hair and beard had overgrown, I decided to go to a barbershop to have a shave. There were a few people waiting to be shaved and this being the only barbershop nearby, I had to join the queue.
It was while here when a young man, probably in his twenties, walked in. His chin was heavily bearded while his head was full of unkempt hair. Indeed, this young man needed a clean shave.
Since there was a queue of about four people, the young man told the barber that he would come back later when there would be no people.
The barber, who also appeared to be in his twenties agreed and told the young man to come back later. When the scruffy looking young man left, two friends of the barber laughed and commented that the man was promising that he would come back later as if he  would pay for the hair cut and shave.
“When he comes back and finds there are no people, come and sit here and pretend you were also having a shave and he will go back again. By the time he will be coming back, I will have closed the shop,” said the barber.
The time was 18.00 hours and by the time my turn to be shaved came, it would be around 18.30 or 19.00 hours.
But why were these people against having this young man have his hair cut and why did they think he would not pay for the service? I developed some interest and wanted to know why they held that young man in that view.
“Tamwamwishibaulyaumugaizibamudala?”(You don’t know that guy big man?) one of the men asked me.
Of course, I did not know that young man. Besides I was a stranger in this place and so I explained to them why I was in Kawambwa. It was then that I was told about that young man. Why they thought he could not pay for the hair cut was because they knew that he had no money.
The young men narrated to me that the young man was coming from a very reach family and his father ran a chain of shops. After his father‘s departure, the family shared the spoils and each one had an equal share.
That young man was even called a director when he was running one of the shops he inherited and he was driving an expensive posh BMW.
He had a lot of women whom he entertained night by night at night clubs. The young man also started drinking like fish and he never listened to advice.
Soon, the business was flopping. Goods in his shop were depleting and he could not replenish the stocks. His BMW developed some problems and he could not buy some spare parts. Instead, he sold the vehicle and blew all the money.
It was at that time when the young man left Lusaka to join some relatives from his mother’s side in Kwambwa.
I was told that it was not only the young man whose business had flopped; his elder brother was also grappling after squandering his share of the wealth. Currently, the man shuttles from Zambia to South Africa where he buys commodities which he vends in the streets of Lusaka, but there is nothing much for him in that kind of business.
“That young man is now a pauper, big man. He moves from place to place begging. He often comes here for free hair cuts and at times we sympathise with him and help him and at times we chase him away, especially when business is slow,” the barber told me.
He had just finished explaining this to me when the unkempt young man came back. I looked at him and felt pity.
Seeing that there were about two more people waiting to be shaved, he smiled and announced:”Nalabwela”( I will come back) as he turned to go away.
I asked the barber how much he was charging for a shave and a cut and he told me it was K5. I had reserved K10 for both a shave and the trimming of my hair as Iusually pay that much at some barbershops in Ndola.
This meant that I was going to remain with K5 change. I thought, for once, it would be better for me to play a part of a Good Samaritan and I told the barber to shave the young man on my account hoping that I would also be rewarded some day for my kindness.
After I had my shave, I found the young man hanging around outside the barbershop. I told him that he should go in the shop and have his shave and cut for I had already paid for him. The young man protested that I should instead have given him the money because he would have had a free service.
I told him to go and negotiate with the barber but I doubted whether that barber would have agreed with that, but then I had played my part of a GoodSamaritan.
It was because of this young man that I remembered about what someone had told me about another young man whose father was the MD at a company in Ndola.
The young man who had completed his grade 12 at a secondary school was wallowing in poverty after he lost his father three years ago. Earlier, he lost his mother, but the young man did not think he would lose his father so soon after losing his mother.
When his mother and father were alive, this young man did not know the meaning of hardships. In the morning, the house servant – or is it the house maid would inform him water for bathing was ready. After bathing, he would be told breakfast was ready and after breakfast he would be told the driver was ready and waiting for him outside to take him to school.
After school, the driver would pick him to go home. From school, he would do a bit of reading or watching TV or playing with his lap top.
When his father passed on, it was a sad story months later. People came to evict him together with his uncle (his late father’s ageing elder brother) whom he was staying with because some relatives (property grabbers) had sold the house.
His uncle decided to go to the village somewhere in the Central Province while he was rescued by a good neighbor who advocated staying with him until things were okay for him.
But this young man proved to be so lazy that he could not even make his own bed when he woke up in the morning to say nothing of sweeping the room he was offered to use free of charge.
One day, the man who had offered to stay with this young man came home very late from work. The young man did not know how to cook anything – nshima or rice –   and there was mea lie meal and rice in the house.
When the owner of the house came, the young man complained that he was very hungry and when he was told to cook, he complained that he did not know how because he had never cooked before.
The good neighbor was surprised to find out that the only thing the young man would do was to make himself a cup of tea or coffee.
After failing to cope up with this young man, the neighbor decided to dispatch him to his aunt whom he knew was staying in a slum within Ndola.
The aunt, though poorly married, accepted to stay with the young man in the swarming township. The young man now just moves from one tavern to another scrounging for opaque chibuku beer after having had led a luxurious life made possible by his father who is now no more.
There are many such type of people who could not make it on their own after losing the people they depended on.potipher

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