Official registration of businesses in Nigeria with CAC comes with a lot of stress. One of the processes is that you submit about 3 business names for your firm search and if there is no corresponding name (s) of businesses within your area it may be approved and you’re good to go. Every name submission from the firm comes with a charge this means that if the names submitted for approval with CAC are rejected 100 times you keep paying so far you want your business to be registered.
For unregistered firms who gave themselves business names before attempting CAC registration, it is more likely that the names will change.
This firm discussed with me they needed a separate bank account for their business and the bank requested a CAC registration.
The firm owner (s) complained about how they submitted names and they were rejected and they kept paying, but finally, on Friday last week, one of the names they submitted was approved. They are happy about this and hope to open an account for the business before resuming a new session.
This is one of my committed respondents, she is always available to provide survey answers and FTs on a weekly basis even when she is busy. I shared the challenges she’s having with her employees some weeks ago. When we visited her yesterday with our able project manager Mekdes she attended to us as usual but she was looking so unhappy that Mekdes had to ask if she was usually looking unhappy every time I visit. I replied to the PM saying that she must be unhappy because her employees are not showing up at work and it’s not easy working alone. As we were leaving I approached her and told her what the PM noticed. Then she opened up that she was not happy with the way one of her senior apprentices disappointed her. That she called her last week and she said she will be at work yesterday but to her surprise, she didn’t meet her or she is yet to resume work. Yesterday was the Tailors Association meeting but she can’t go because there was no one to stay in the firm. She also said if a member of the association mark absent three times that the committee of the meeting will come to the firm to seize their working machine and she will be unable to work. She said that was why she was worried as she didn’t know what to do. In conclusion, the PM probed her on her personal expenses which she mostly doesn’t disclose when I ask her. She gave an estimate of her daily personal expenses which I recorded on my FT.
On my regular visit to this firm yesterday, thankfully the firm owner met me there, and as I was about to ask him to give me an audience to administer some pending surveys, he was fast to tell me that he would be leaving the firm soon. Before he got in, I and his employees were just having a chit-chat as they have gotten used to my visit. Then I noticed one of them was absent and asked after him, one of them responded that the firm owner suspended him over the weekend. Then I asked Mr. Firm owner what happened, he opened up explaining that that particular employee had a nonchalant attitude which he has complained severally to him but he refused to change. He said he gives him the time to go for prayers at intervals yet he abuses the opportunity by spending extra hours, claiming he went for prayers. He said he couldn’t take it anymore so he just suspended him till further notice but it would eventually mean dismissing him in the long run.
Prior to yesterday’s visit, I remember the firm owner told me about employing one of his old employees on a contract basis. This employee has gone to start up his own firm like ten years ago but they still kept in touch. The contract entails that he will come into the store and take several shoes that need repairs to his workshop to repair them and return them once he completes the repair. The firm owner said they agreed on paying him the sum of N50,000 monthly. Yesterday he notified me that he paid him half of his contract fees over the weekend and by the end of the month he will pay him the balance.
I am glad to announce that this firm has finally resumed its operation since it was temporarily closed. She got a new employee, has done some renovations, and stocked up livestock, all these were possible with the aid of a loan she got so as to recover due to the dastardly event of avian influenza that happened last year. Necessary financial transactions got well detailed so expenses only for now.
When I got to this firm today, I observed the firm owner was not happy, she explained to me that her employee gave her a week’s notice and left last Saturday, it was painful because this employee has been with her over time and he has been reliable.
When I got there on the 5th of July, I observed they are not working and the generator was not on, the respondent explained that her landlord passed on yesterday evening so they are not working today just to honor him.
When I got to this firm today I observed a new direct image machine, my respondent explained that she bought another machine because the one she was using was faulty and she will spend up to 150,000 naira to repair, so she thought of getting a new one first, then repair the faulty one later.
It is safe to say this firm has not exactly been lucky in getting trustworthy employee(s).
After the last employee stole her money and also collected money using the name of the firm owner to collect money from a POS agent close to the firm and disappeared.
The employee before the last stopped coming after asking for advance payment.
The above amongst others have been her experiences with her employees.
This time, she got an employee that seemingly looks innocent and religious and she was glad her worries were over until she started noticing that all of a sudden, the new employee that didn’t use to spend money on sweet-toothed things started buying a lot of different things to eat, satisfying her cravings.
So that made her start observing her closely. According to my respondent, she said she had N200 in her money safe before her employee offered a service of N200 to a customer, then she said added the N200 she made to the one to the safe, but when the firm owner checked, it was only N200 she found there, meanwhile, it was supposed to be N400, but employee insisted that she has no idea of how.
That increased her suspicions and she said she will continue to monitor her employee closely.
Code: NG164 and NG190
I saw an act of collaboration between two firms that produce feeds. Actually, this is how they dry their feeds in the rainy season. The firm producing this feed has not gotten a dryer yet and is using that of another firm to dry their feeds. The firm that has this dryer experienced theft earlier this year where most of her machines were stolen and has not recovered ever since. So this dryer has not been in use by her for a while because she produces outside the firm. I was happy to see this actually as we just did the second round of the competition survey.
Both my supervisor and I had a very enlightening session with my respondent, a medical director at her laboratory on Friday, as she was very open about her thoughts regarding especially the end of survey questions.
She disclosed her appreciation for the detail of the diaries project adding that though she felt wearied participating in the time-consuming sessions sometimes, it made more sense as she looked back, especially as impacting her young business in the area of always noting tiny details in running the business and seeking areas to work or improve upon.
She ended up with a changed outlook to record keeping as evident in the firm’s detailed records.
Her worst event in the diaries year as she narrated, was her then and only employee abandoning her role immediately after being paid her December 2021 salary before Christmas. Respondent was shocked and so sad especially considering her busy schedule with personal concerns at that period. She added that having to run the firm all alone in January 2022 was really draining for her.
She also relayed her recent experience with faulty autoclave and incubating machines which were bought brand new, have barely lasted 1-year, and with constant issues which worry her much.
She also took some time to explain her expansion plans by selling bigger business and organization clients to subscribe to the firm’s new health management program as soon as possible.
On a jovial note, she reminded us that notwithstanding the nature of the study as explained, she was expecting something worthwhile from The study as she hardly believes an organization like ours has no immediate plan to alleviate any of our challenges
She also helped reach the firm’s minor supplier on the phone as promised, as I conducted the supplier survey.
Thankfully, the interview session lasted a long round as the respondent had scheduled a more convenient hour for the session.
The respondent disclosed progress the firm had made in starting off a branch of a rice processing factory inside a major village market last week due to severe competition recently, and how the firm weathered the challenges of added logistics expense to sort these issues.
The firm owner into leather goods production talked about how challenging the past week has been running the firm alone.
According to him, he currently can’t afford a salaried employee, reason he was still looking at another apprentice employee.
He used the opportunity of the End of survey session to solicit some form of assistance as according to him, he wouldn’t stay on the diaries answering questions all year without expecting some assistance at the end.
The past few months have been tough for this firm and they have devised means to cut down costs and integrate their different operating locations into one. The manager made me realize that their monthly sales have reduced while their cost keeps increasing with the cost of materials rising daily.
Let me take you down memory lane when I shared a story about the different locations they operate from, which are: the walk-in outlet and production outlet which are in separate locations.
The production outlet is a rented property with all sorts of bills attached to it. The issue with this location is that they experience inadequate power supply, which turns out to spoil most of their baked products and this also makes them spend so much on diesel to keep the place running.
Their new strategy:
Move the production outlet to the same location as the walk-in outlet and expand the walk-in to contain the production department using one of their owned properties in the location. They have also reduced the salary as well as the working hours/days of two of their staff. One of which is the part-time accountant and the cleaner. All of this is in a bid to reduce their operating costs. The manager told me that reducing the working hours of the accountant indirectly increased her tasks as she needs to check the financial recordings of their staff critically to avoid errors before submitting them to the accountant. She says they will have to weather the storm pending the time things gets normal again.
Code: NG634 and NG454
On getting to this firm for my regular visit the manager of the bakery who happens to be my respondent on the supplier survey gave me an appointment. As I walked into the bakery it was unusually quiet, and I wondered what went wrong. As I got to the office of the manager, I asked what was going on, then she said the bakery was on strike as a result of incessant price increases of flour and other baking inputs.
When I visited some days after the strike, the two firm owners were so unhappy as they experienced low sales after they resumed after the strike. They said they had to reduce the sizes of the bread and slightly increase the prices of the bread, they said customers reduced what they normally buy which means they will reduce what they produce daily to avoid wastage. Hopefully, their sales will pick up gradually.