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Notes for Participants

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Workshop Handout

Notes about training needed for running a micro enterprise for income generation

Skills Needed for Generating Wealth:

Almost anything necessary to run a business can be included in the list of skills needed.

The kinds of skills needed can be put into several categories:
  • Credit skills: borrowing money, dealing with banks or other creditors, interest;
  • Financial skills: keep accurate records, make budgets, calculate profits and losses;
  • Planning and Management skills: to manage people, physical resources, finance;
  • Communication skills: speaking, writing, reading;
  • Marketing skills; research, sales, entrepreneurship; and
  • Technical skills: the applied physics, chemistry, biology, craft and artisan skills of a chosen profitable and productive enterprise.
This handout identifies and briefly describes some of those needed skills.

Credit Skills:

Skills are needed to be a customer of a bank.

A bank can appear be a very threatening and fearful place, until you become familiar with it. The customs and expected procedures may look like they are foreign and incomprehensible, until you become familiar with them. You need to learn about the nature of credit, the institutions that provide credit, and the people in those institutions.

The skills you need are the understanding of credit, principle, interest, service charges and all the methods and procedures for borrowing and returning money. You will practice all these through the Umbrella Group.

As with most other skills, the best method of learning about credit is by doing.

Financial and Accounting Skills:

Unless you can always know your financial position, and calculate their income and costs, they can get into serious financial trouble. The range of accounting and budgeting tasks that you need depends on the size and complexity of your enterprise.

The most essential skill (and habit to be encouraged) is in keeping a daily accounts ledger, no matter what the size of your business. The first training in accounting, therefore, will be in financial records.

You should have a business planned and, during the accounting workshop, you will prepare financial documents specific to your planned or ongoing enterprise. These will start with recording (eg ledger) exercises, and go on to reporting (eg financial statements) exercises.

Planning and Management Skills:

You must know how to manage your business. You must know how to mobilize resources (inputs).

You must know about people; not staff at first, if you are starting very small, but suppliers, family members, customers, investors, authorities. Skills in human interaction are necessary. Many management skills were described in Management Training.

Management and planning skills include the identification of needs, the generating of goals and objectives, locating of resource, identifying constraints, devising possible strategies, choosing the most effective strategy, and determining important details such as budgets, monitoring methods, clarifying roles and tasks, devising work plans, and making changes in response to evaluation.

These need not be very elaborate, sophisticated, or written down, but you must discuss and consider them. You must demonstrate that you have considered all these issues and made realistic decisions.

Communications Skills:

It is impossible to run a business without knowing how to communicate, sending and receiving.

If you can not read or write, and a relative is helping you by reading this to you, then basic literacy would help. Functional literacy means that you learn only what you need to use. This is not the place for Shakespeare. See Literacy. If you can read (this) and write, you need to ensure your skills in filling forms, writing records, and reporting, are adequate.

Further, communication skills include the ability to inform, and to listen. You need to be able to listen to what your suppliers and customers are saying, and communicate well to them.

Marketing Skills:

It is useless to invest your resources in producing something of value, and then not be able to sell the product. Sales provide the cash for repaying the loan and any other debts, paying yourself and others a fair wage, and paying for all the other costs of production before taking a fair profit.

Marketing skills include knowing how to find interested customers (including research skills for finding them), and how to present the product in a manner attractive to buyers.

No matter how enthusiastic and optimistic you may be, your business will not be viable if you can not sell her product. You need a realistic marketing plan and strategy. See Marketing.

Technical Skills:

The most needed productive activity in poor countries is the initial processing of agricultural products (eg pressing seeds to make oil, making soap, preserving fruits and vegetables). For you to run a successful business, then, you must know a sufficient amount about the processing; technical knowledge.

Small scale enterprises in the following sectors are encouraged: off-farm agro-processing (milling, baking, fish-smoking); artisans (farm equipment repair and fabrication; brick-making, weaving, construction, tailoring, carpentry), food preparation and petty trade or marketing.

Visit operating processes and enterprises, different kinds and sizes; talk to owners and workers. Teach yourself how to process the product.

Beyond the Skills:

Beyond this set of skills, which can be taught by others and learned by you, there are some more important things for you to have ─ values.

These are: integrity, honesty, dependability, willingness to do hard work, reliability, desire to sell a quality product and replace it if it is defective.

They can not be taught but need your willingness to practice them.


Training Workshop; Banking Procedures and Skills:

Training in Bank Procedures

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2011.06.06

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