In Africa and more specifically Ghana, many people have wallets or purses that are just like onions. Anytime they open them, tears form in their eyes. As funny as this may sound, it’s actually a serious issue that needs to be addressed. To ameliorate the plight of many Ghanaians, doing business is key. Not just any kind of business but good and profitable businesses. The government and many major entities do large scale businesses that make up the bulk of national business. However, individual businesses contribute greatly to the overall economic development of Ghana and getting it right is all that’s needed to sustain our economy and develop. One party which does business with Ghana a lot is the foreign community but these are the same set of people who often get it wrong when it comes to how Ghanaians do business. Researching how different countries approach business can give you some brilliant inspiration for your own, especially if you also get some basic business coaching to top it off. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website examines how Ghanaians do business.
Trust is key – Maybe, this is the solid rock on which many business deals stand. It is generally believed that once a business is built on trust, then it is more likely to succeed. Although businesses between two or more people should end with all parties involved going home happy, this is sometimes not the case. Greed leads to mistrust and that may result in so many issues that ruin business deals. Ghanaians are naturally trustworthy people and although you may hear of little cases of mistrust and greed, the basic element of doing any form of business in Ghana is trust. A Ghanaian is more likely to give you access to his warehouse or other business documents the moment he trusts you. Once you prove yourself to be trustworthy, then we are in business.
We are law-abiding – In many other parts of the world, crime may be overlooked to some extent while the law only works in certain cases. Citizens and businessmen may take the law for granted and will never consult a lawyer or refer to the law while doing business. In Ghana, however, the story is a bit different. Ghanaians have a culture of being law-abiding and always refer to the law in any business dealing. If the business is not backed by the law, then it is more likely a Ghanaian will not get involved. There are a few exceptions where some people have been apprehended for fraud and going against the law. These, however, are very rare. In Ghana, once the business is big and involves a lot of money, then there has to be solid documentation backing it. Many businesses around the world will use software like that from Axxerion to help with contract negotiations and all of the legal side of things, such as any legal clauses. In Ghana, a lawyer is called upon to be present at all meetings and contract negotiations in many cases.
Respect and concern for partners – Ghanaians are lovely people and aside their hospitality and friendly nature, they have respect and concern for the people they do business with. You will seldom find a situation where a Ghanaian plans a meeting with his/her business partner and doesn’t show up with no prior information about his/her absence. In case things don’t go so well, trust a Ghanaian to be concerned about his partner and at times even offer personal and financial help. Respect is another thing that comes naturally to Ghanaians. To even think of outsmarting or playing their business partner is far fetched. Although there are rare instances where you hear of fraud and dishonor, Ghanaians are generally respectful and always show concern for their partners.
Evidence based – Who buys stuff without seeing them physically or even pictures of it? Ever seen people who are so conscious about evidence before doing business? Yes! That is how it works in Ghana. Ghanaians strictly abide by the adage ‘’seeing is believing”. Before a Ghanaian does business with you, you must have clear evidence of the product or a good review of the service you say you can provide. If you are selling a house, they will demand to see the property and inspect it with a professional before they even consider negotiations. Don’t be surprised to arrange a meeting with a Ghanaian businessman only to get there and meet two people instead of one. Don’t be alarmed, the extra person may be the quality assurance specialist. We always want to be sure what we are getting into is genuine and worth the money.
Accountability – You may have spent someone’s money and gone free. You may even have done business with someone who didn’t care about the details and how much was spent on what. You can be sure that person is not a Ghanaian. Ghanaians love accountability. Every penny spent should be accounted for and that brings about transparency. You know everything that is happening every step of the way and so do your business partners. This way, trust is built without even forcing it. In the end, you can track every purchase, every payment and calculation of profits or dividends shouldn’t be difficult.
As a tourist or business traveller to Ghana, you may have heard stories about how Ghanaians do business. Some may be true and some may be totally false. Although everyone may judge from his own angle what exactly the business way is in Ghana, these few key points should help you when planning to do business with Ghanaians.
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel