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- 1 So, don’t start a business if…
A lot of people have these dreams – even if they don’t talk about their ideas and goals all the time like some do, they are hopeful that one day, soon, they too could start a business that could in a few months or years be among the top 100 mid-sized companies in Kenya.
Everyone wants to be their own boss.
To have no one telling them what to do.
To finally turn their backs on their morning to evening job that demands more from them than the compensation they get each month – the salary minus income tax.
And so watching all these TV shows (like Shark Tank, Seeds of Gold, The Entrepreneur and The Profit), reading great stories, in books (like Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Millionaire Fastlane) and articles of successful entrepreneurs in Kenya and other parts of the world, making billions and hundreds of millions in revenue and profits, it is easy to see why someone may be enticed into starting their own venture – and finally roll out a service or product customers and clients are happy to pay for.
Look at when everyone was tired of paying rent to their harsh landlords and decided to buy their own plots even if that meant taking a loan so that they could finally have a place of their own where they call home – their own property.
It looked like a good idea for so many. And they probably learnt a lot in the process of getting loans from the many saccos, micro-finance institutions and banks in Kenya ready with their secured and unsecured loans…to finally paying for the land, getting their title deed and constructing their houses.
Some out of pure excitement did just what everyone around them at that time did (or wanted to do).
Which is not a bad thing 100%.
But some, looking back, know in their hearts they could have made a better choice with the money they had. And here I am not just talking about the remorse that be-fall many buyers once money has exchanged hands and they in return, for parting with their money, get the product or service they wanted.
Am referring to the kind of honest reflection, where a person, realizes that for the potential and dreams they have, they could have made a better choice.
Right now, entrepreneurship in Kenya, is being encouraged! Which is a good thing. There are many stories of people making a killing with their choice of venture, making millions and hundred of thousands of Kenya shillings every month on top of doing a lot of good to the society.
Financial institutions and chamas (investment groups) have all kinds of loans and many people are diving in…borrowing money to start small and grow their business.
And many of them succeed, despite the failure rates of businesses in Kenya.
But many others fail.
And some fail, miserably – and are crushed hard, especially if they took a loan and – as is the case when people are excited – didn’t practice strict discipline managing their money (using it for what it was meant for, spending wisely and thinking long term).
Some promise themselves that they are going to work hard and be frugal, but don’t.
In cases like this, failure is inevitable.
That is why if you are going into business and dreaming of registering your business and turning it into a profit making company, serving customers in and beyond the boundaries of Kenya, you have to be honest with yourself and dive in only when you know how you are going to manage your strengths and weaknesses to help you best start and grow your business.
So, don’t start a business if…
1. You think you need a lot of money to get started
You can always start with what you have, live below your means, spend wisely and patiently expand your business’s client base, revenues, profits, your means and quality.
Thinking that you, as mentioned in the free ebook 10 Things to Look at if You Are Thinking of Starting a Business in Kenya, need more in capital to get started is often an indication of a lack of self-discipline when it comes to money management.
With more we always think that reaching our goals becomes easier, which is true in most cases. But what’s the point of having more when you know your weaknesses (bad money management skills) can quickly crush your little empire to dust?
It’s better to have little and grow with that while learning the priceless lessons of
- being innovative with less
- being contented and ready to do whatever you want to do with that which you already have
- learning better ways to reach your market with less instead of always entertaining the mindset of outspending your competitors – which can force you into getting more financing without treating the real issues like poor money habits
2. It makes you feel like a snob
If you read somewhere about how the poor and the rich spend their time and read countless articles telling you the awesomeness of quitting your job to start your own business, it is easy to grow some snobbish lump in your brain.
If you don’t get rid of the lump quickly, you can find yourself going into business thinking that you are better than the people who wake up early each morning to work jobs that pay less than Kenya Shillings 30,000 a month.
And like cancer, things can get bad quickly, if the snob in you goes too long unchecked.
The snob in every entrepreneur is good – if directed correctly. It’s not something you use to measure yourself against others doing worse than you in life.
It is something you can turn into motivation, confidence and a drive to always solve problems – by giving your customers and clients the best products and services possible.
It is not something to use as a tool, showing off, while putting others down.
Deal with the snob in you.
Cut him to size.
Rule over him.
That way, it won’t ruin you – and the bulk of your time will be spent on the one thing that matters a lot in business – making everyone (you, your customers, employees etc) happy by finding what it is they need or want and giving it to them.
3. You keep hopping from one business idea to another all the time
Is it possible for one human being to start an Amazon, a Google, a Safaricom, an Equity Bank at the same time?
You tell me!
What I am saying is focus on one thing and make it profitable before you hop elsewhere, even if you want real bad to be a serial entrepreneur.
Pole pole ndio mwendo!
Even if you say you are going to work smart and not hard!
You can fool many people with your multitasking abilities and all your business prowess but you don’t have to fool yourself.
So, if you are tempted to just hop all over, trying one business idea after another, chasing for the best ideas, stop.
Most ideas can turn you into a millionaire if you want that!
Focus now and expand when it is the right time.
4. You easily get frustrated and hate doing the hard work
Because people with this tendency always look for someone to blame when things don’t turn out as they expected.
Don’t believe everything you read, even from the so-called business experts and successful entrepreneurs – but give that little voice in your head, that never lies, the freedom and liberty to show you right from wrong, opinion from fact, cause from effect and supply from demand in various industries and niches you venture in online or offline.
Businesses are just hard work as day jobs. And in most cases they demand more from you because it’s ultimately the decisions you make that influence the numbers in your balance sheet and your real business plan.
If you are lazy, and can’t find good people to hire (and compensate them well), it’d be better to straighten a few of your habits, and learn to give your goals deadlines, before you start that company.
Just because you read a story of someone making millions of shillings a year doing dairy farming doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing – and follow their exact plan of execution.
You are better of using their story, only as inspiration, to help you sharpen your own ideas and plans of execution. Nothing more!
Why am I saying this? Have you ever wondered how some people have day jobs, take good care of their families and still run successful businesses of their own while there are many others complaining of lack of time (or capital) or something like that?
Well, when you read their stories, pick from them something you can use to make things better for you as a person. If you think you are too busy to start a new company, learn how they manage their time. Stop complaining.
5. You think you just need that best idea before you start
How many brands of phones have you had till today?
I guess more than two, right?
And what do you do with the phones?
Basically the same things: text, call, listen to songs and radio, surf the internet, store files, take photos (selfies) …
Even you can enter into a crowded space (by niching down and then strategically expanding into new markets) like the phone companies and be profitable.
Sometimes the best ideas are simply the basic old business ideas refined to make the user’s experience better.
Actually, that’s where the biggest difference among the phone brands shine.
There are plenty of bus companies, hotels, tours and travel companies, restaurants, hardware stores, supermarkets, courier companies, butcheries, mobile money services, taxi services, classifieds websites, online shops, garages, used car sellers, phone and smartphone accessories sellers, tablet and laptop brands, food packaging businesses, social networks, storage providers, real estate companies, dating sites, plumbers, beverage makers, electronic repair businesses, radio & TV stations, millers, welders, furniture companies, building / construction material providers, fresh vegetable and fruit vendors …
Same old ideas, different players, many approaching the same ideas from a different angle or executing in different locations and providing solutions to a market segment of their choice.
The profit is not just in the idea, it is in its execution. The execution is just ass important ass the idea.
PS: Download PDF >> 10 Things to Look At if You Are Thinking of Starting a Business in Kenya >> Here’s the link.