Entrepreneurial back
Derick Seagers
Published: 01-JAN-03

Back Office Support is vital to managing successful small business, believes Derick Seagers

Employment creation is the biggest single need facing Africa with its current socio-economic problems; millions unemployed and in need of food and shelter for themselves and their families. We, as Africans, should not accept nor grasp this as a way of life for future generations or ourselves on this great continent.

Under current global economic trends, businesses are downsizing, retrenching and going under. The task facing Africa's businesses and governments is almost overwhelming as they seek to develop leaner operations. However, there appears to be an African consensus that the answer must rather be sought in small business enterprises and entrepreneur- ship where both individual and informal alliances can collectively raise sufficient capital without borrowing.

Entrepreneur can start up businesses with either family members or at most two employees. What is essential is a good grounding in business principles coupled with vision, creativity and determination to create new industries or new solutions to social problems. Fighting to survive in an ever-increasing market today requires dedication and diligence to the product or service with little time left over to deal with the administrative and statutory requirements of the corporate and government machines.

Back office support (BOS) provides a means to outsource the administrative tasks of a business without losing control of them. An ideal situation is to network with a BOS provider that can research and advise on the best solutions in venture capital, human resources, labour relations, compensation management, taxation and accounting, office administration and corporate governance.

The development and training of entrepreneurs is key to Africa's future in the greater world economy where we create our own wealth, business and jobs for others. BOS offers back-up to the entrepreneur as it takes away the fear of going it alone by being a supportive partner that helps fledgling businesses meet the large range of requirements to climb to the top.

Entrepreneurs often find themselves in the unfortunate position of being financially too small to warrant the expense of full time specialists in BOS and yet not big enough to afford out- source solutions from consulting houses. While large consulting houses can lose the attention to detail when providing solutions to the smaller business. Having individual specialists looking after the BOS aspects of a business can thus prove costly and also

The development and training of entrepreneurs is key to Africa's future in the greater world economy where we create our own wealth, business and jobs for others

frustrating to the entrepreneur in terns of the time and effort required.

The concept of having BOS solutions tailor-made for small business and at an affordable price is a step forward in creating an entrepreneur economy where Entrepreneurs can get their questions, queries and solutions dealt with in a professional manner as though they were running a large corporate business.

It is a fact that Entrepreneurs cannot stay competitive and focused on the success of their business while still having to deal with the many administrative and statutory functions required of them.

In the last decade entrepreneurs have had to comply with changing government rules and regulations as well as interference from international organisations bent on creating another Europe or America economy in Africa, This pressure has somewhat suppressed the free-flow of entrepreneur movement into new markets as well as their expo- sure to the rest of the continent.

Entrepreneurs are now looking for efficient cost effective solutions and the most desirable is outsourcing their BOS tasks. Even though the automation of functions can help to some extent, entrepreneurs require the personal attention of a BOS service. As entrepreneurs become aware of outsourcers, and time to be saved the strategic value of good BOS can be realised-

A good BOS service is invaluable as it is able to deal with groups of entrepreneurs and builds alliances with:

  • Private and government funding houses that empower the growth of small business
  • Professional associations in the industry that are able to provide marketing opportunities
  • Financial and investment brokers that are willing to broker affordable deals
  • Chambers of Commerce and Business
  • Educators that play a major role in the development of entrepreneurial and life skills.

Successful BOS not only provides the entrepreneur with vital administrative support but also allows support growth and the ability to compete in the marketplace

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