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The risk of not understanding risks – Part II

I am on the topic of entrepreneurial risk. Previously I made the case that the statistics on failure of start-up business are terrible and it begs the question, why is the failure rate for start-up businesses so high? More specific, are the risks for starting a business just too many and too high? This lead to my conclusion that the cause for the start-up failure are not the risks per se, but rather the fact that the prospective entrepreneur is not aware of the risks and how to handle it.
The major risks for entrepreneurs were identified as: Product risk, Market risk, Financial risk, Team risk and Execution risk. In the previous delivery I addressed Product- and Market Risk and in this delivery I want to discuss the remaining three.
Major Risks
So let me kick off with the risk most entrepreneurs probably think is the biggest risk when starting a business – Financial risk. There are two ways of looking at financial risk. The one is the risk of the entrepreneur losing a lot of his or her own funds, and the other one is where the business runs out of cash – usually the end of the road for any business. Concerning the first viewpoint, depending on how you’re funding your start-up business and how much revenue you have access to early on, your financial risk could be enormous. You might have invested your personal capital into the business, or you might have sacrificed a steady income from a more reliable long-term career path to start the business.
For the second viewpoint, when you start a business, your business revenue will likely be inconsistent, leaving you with unpredictable income and occasional shortages. Considering viewpoint one and two, if too much of your own capital is tied up in the business, the risk of failure is very real, and could leave you with limited options for recovery. So, do what you can to limit your financial liability. Seek outside funding, and if possible, find a supplemental source of income so you aren’t wholly dependent on entrepreneurial returns.
When you first start a business, you won’t have a full team of employees working for you. Instead, you’ll probably have a small, tight-knit group of people working tirelessly together in an effort to get things up and running.
You’ll have to put an overwhelming amount of trust in them and this makes Team risk at the same time, the most crucial and least predictable element of any business.
The right combination of experience, contacts, and temperament among your starting team can vastly increase a venture’s odds of success. So the risk here is that failure to recruit, motivate, and retain the right people can have devastating effects on your business.
Businesses fall apart when people develop major rifts – for whatever reason. Mitigate this risk by establishing a clear vision and culture from the beginning that the entire team can rally behind, and you must manage strong egos, and mediate personality clashes and disagreements effectively.
Lastly, it’s one thing to say you’re going into the business of making and selling “product X”. It’s quite another thing to master the actual mechanics of making and selling “product X”. Execution risk addresses questions like: Can you manufacture your product or deliver your intended service? Will your product/service work as intended? Can you find reliable vendors? Can you optimise the logistics of product distribution? Can you create an effective product support infrastructure? Do you have a backup plan to keep your business running when an accident destroys some key equipment in your business? When it comes to managing execution risk, it’s all about careful planning and watchful management. Most important, learn from other people’s mistakes, entrepreneurs do not always have the luxury of making their own mistakes.

About The Author


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


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.