Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, a co-founder of the defunct UT Bank has issued a caution to business owners, advising them to maintain a distance from pastors, politicians, traditional rulers, and even their own families in order to ensure the enduring success of their ventures.
Speaking at the 25th-anniversary celebration of Fairgreen Limited in Accra on July 26, Mr. Amoabeng described these influential figures as “necessary evils” that should be handled with care.
While acknowledging that politicians and pastors can offer valuable connections that boost a company’s status, Mr. Amoabeng warned that they may also exploit the business for personal gain.
He stressed the importance of vigilance, cautioning against accepting chieftaincy titles that could burden a company with financial and time-consuming responsibilities, such as funding durbars and supporting the community.
“Politicians and pastors are necessary evils because they can give you the right connections. However, they also need to milk you, and they can raise your company to a high status if you have the right relationships. But be careful. Don’t accept chieftaincy titles. They will drain your finances and time, and you will be responsible for the expenses of durbars. These are the things that have set this country back. Make sure you don’t fall prey to any of them, whether it’s the church, chiefs, politicians, or your own families. You have to navigate carefully,” he advised.
Mr. Amoabeng also advised business owners to resist family pressures influencing employment practices, emphasizing the need to make tough decisions and fire family members if they jeopardize the company’s interests.
Moreover, he urged the leadership of Fairgreen Limited to establish a distinct working culture, free from the negative traits often observed in Ghanaian society, such as laziness, jealousy, and excessive reliance on religion, which can hamper productivity.
“When you start a business, you are under the radar and can be a bit protective. But as you grow, you come under pressure. I call this pressure ‘dealing with the devil.’ You must deal with them. You can’t avoid them. Family, friends, and relatives will ask why you are always employing strangers when your family members are available. They want to kill the company. You need to be strong enough to fire them when they do something wrong. If you don’t have the will to fire them, don’t appoint them,” he said.
Concluding on a hopeful note, Mr. Amoabeng expressed his desire for the long-lasting prosperity of Fairgreen Limited, celebrating its growth from humble beginnings in a garage to securing international contracts. He hoped that the company would endure for a remarkable 100 years.