How to start a business

The pandemic has helped to launch many new business owners. Here are some steps to consider on your entrepreneurship journey.

  1. Is this something you really want? You MUST decide that this is something you are going to do and see through to the very end. This is not some hobby you’re trying out.
  2. Courage? Do you have the courage and strength to see this through? Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.
  3. Endurance? Will you endure all troubles and push your project to success? Persistence is the most important trait you will have to develop as a business owner.
  4. What product or service? You have to decide which product or service to trade in. You could use trial and error but it is expensive. Do some market analysis and identify some gaps in the market. For instance we launched the enkooge tamarind juice after we had noticed gaps in the market. There were similar drinks but they were not very popular or widely available. You also have to consider your competence in providing the product or service.
  5. Which customer? Identify your target customer and be very clear whom you want to serve. A friend recently launched a delivery business for fresh dressed kitchen. She is targeting, restaurants, muchomo joints, hotels, and corporate people.
  6. Distribution? What is your delivery model? Is it a shop, door to door, online? Do you needs sales agents, middle men, wholesalers, etc.?
  7. Marketing? How will you get the word out? Will you use word of mouth, radio, door to door, Whatsapp, Facebook, TV, etc?
  8. Pricing? Are your prices competitive? Are the margins sufficient to cover your costs? What is your product costing?
  9. Location? Where will your business operate from? Will it be home based with a delivery model? Will it be in town or upcountry?
  10. Funding? How much do you need to take off? Can you survive for a year without profits? Where will you get the capital from?
  11. Business partner? Who are your business partners? Choose these ones slowly and carefully like you’re choosing a spouse.
  12. Hiring? Will you need extra hands? How many people will you need? How will you select the right candidates? Hire very slowly!
  13. Legal issues? What’s the legal form of your business? Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, or company?

Starting a business is no easy undertaking but it may be the only option given the current economic conditions and unemployment levels. The beauty is that entrepreneurship is also a skill which can be learned through study and practice. Anyone with a bit of courage and endurance can start and run a successful business.

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