A one-man business, as Nigerians like to call it, is a business or a company owned and controlled by a single individual. It can range from a business in a small shop to a very big business with hundreds of employees.
A one-man business can easily be recognised by the share control exerted by a single individual who can be the chief executive officer and/or chairman of the company.
Despite being the foundation of most economies including Nigeria, one-man businesses are viewed with disdain by a lot of Nigerians. The reasons are many and diverse, but we will list the most common reasons why a lot of employees dislike them.
Power to hire and fire - One-man business is often synonymous with high staff turnovers. Owners of these businesses can hire or fire at will and without recourse to anyone. They often breach employment contracts, forgoing an employee's right to compensation. This is one of the major reasons why employees hate them.
Frequent interference in daily operations - A friend was complaining recently about a radio station where the owner of the business personally selects the song that will be played by his DJ's. One-man business owners are often guilty of meddling with business operations in such a way one may infer that they don't have much trust in their employees.
Lack of a structure - One-man business often lacks formal organisational structures common with multinationals or publicly quoted companies. Even when structures exist, they are often not adhered to, resulting in business owners flouting the same order they hope to instill with the strictures.
Poor remuneration structure - Someone once complained to us about not being paid for months by his employer. What surprises him the most was that the owner of the business still takes whatever cash is left in the business to fund the construction of a mansion he is building in Banana Island. He also flies business class for not just himself but for his kids; yet he can't pay staff salaries. One-man businesses are quite guilty of this behaviour and this is another major reason why they are hated.
Over-reliance on one person - A one-man business that sells furniture and fittings recently collapsed after the CEO passed on. This is often the case for most one man businesses and a huge concern for its employees. They see it as a threat to job security and business continuity.
Financial recklessness - Owners of one-man businesses are often reckless with their spending, refusing to accept advice or purposely shielding themselves from being advised. Their financial recklessness is the main reason for the failure of these businesses. Employees identify this as a major threat to their job security
Successors are always family members - Most one-man businesses, in a bid to keep the business within the family, often appoint their kith and kin as successors even though there are more competent hands. The impact this has on the career of an employee is one major reason why they quit.
Lack of standard operating processes - They also lack basic operational guidelines that can be found in most structured organisations. For example a CEO can decide to spend money from the company's bank account without following the right process of allowing the accountant to raise a payment voucher.