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The Business Plan is Dead, Long Live the Business Plan

In the previous delivery I reviewed Business Models, primarily what it means and the main elements to think through when compiling your Business Model. Based on the number of hits, it seems that this is not a very popular topic. I think the term “Business Model” makes people uncomfortable because it seems confusing. Maybe consultants and academics are to blame for this state of affairs by unnecessarily complicating the concept, but I stand by my belief that thinking through your Business Model is a critical part of the entrepreneurial process. In this delivery, I want to tackle a controversial topic in entrepreneurship, the Business Plan. I want to do it in two parts, firstly debating my raison d’être for the Business Plan and then in the next delivery, sharing some pointers on how to construct a compelling Business Plan.
It’s all about planning
I have mentioned previously that I lecture the Master’s Degree module on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business. The reason why I am mentioning it again, is because I want to refer to the occurrence that in every year’s class, there are always one or more students which seriously doubt the necessity of a Business Plan. This usually leads to some intense debate in class and over the years I have come to notice that the main argument for the “anti-Business Plan” faction is that they usually have a reference or two of successful entrepreneurs who became very prosperous without the use of a Business Plan.
Connecting over the years with many people who are aspiring entrepreneurs, I can also give some anecdotal evidence that writing a Business Plan is not every entrepreneur’s favourite part of entrepreneurial journey. So it does beg the question, do you really need a Business Plan?
First, let me refer to some research done on the topic. It was not very helpful. In essence, I came across research which found that entrepreneurs who began with formal plans had no greater success than those who started without them. On the other hand, I also uncovered research which found that writing a Business Plan greatly increased the chances that a person would actually go into business. In fact, the chances were actually found to be two and a half times more likely that the person would go into business.
So where does this leave us? In my view, it is a matter of depth. What do I mean by that? Well, every business has to start with a plan, whether it is just a mental construction never committed to paper or a more advanced description jotted down on the back of an envelope, or a 100 page document going into the finest detail. An entrepreneur absolutely has to think through things before launching a business, and that makes it a Business Plan in my books.
There are certain situations where formalities dictate that you have to submit a Business Plan – like for a business loan application from a bank – where you do not have a choice in any case. But I argue that when it comes to planning for starting a business, it is an indispensable tool. I mean, it is called a Business “Plan” for a reason! For me, the golden rule with regards to planning is: “Don’t just think it, Ink it”! When you write things down while planning (or thinking through “everything”) it triggers other ideas, helps you to organise your thoughts and get clarity of thought. So, I argue that no matter what your perceptions are of the Business Plan, or in what format you construct it (on the back of a napkin or a very professional document), if the Business Plan is used for what it is intended, i.e. planning, it serves a purpose and must be part of the entrepreneur’s arsenal.

About The Author

Typesetter

Today the Typesetter is a position at a newspaper that is mostly outdated since lead typesetting disappeared about fifty years ago. It is however a convenient term to indicate a person that is responsible for the technical refinement of publishing including web publishing. The Typesetter does not contribute to editorial content but makes sure that all elements are where they belong. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.