Survival tips: Living up to the challenges in your new venture

Capital to start up business remain a major impediment for business thirsty graduates. Many banks in Kenya rarely extend loans facilities to start ups.

 

Many graduates, however, are turning down this seemingly preset life offer by getting into the business world, thanks to the motivational stories they read.

Entrepreneurs who are doing well failed at one point. That’s right. You could say it’s a never-ending, always-fashionable trend. Entrepreneurs, whether they’re dirt poor, millionaires or even billionaires, just keep on losing. Don’t believe the hype.

That’s the real state of entrepreneurship. If you want to go into business for yourself, get ready to fail.  But don’t worry. You’ll at least be in good company; where successful people have actually failed, even over and over.

Understanding the cause of a failure in your business, be it as simple as delayed tea for the staff, all the way to a gross mismanagement of funds at the accounts office, will always have its fair share of impact to the overall running of the business.

This equally has a starting point. You must then deal with the symptoms.

It is highly probable that at least someone has thought about your new business venture. So it is actually advisable to turn twist your new business to suitably fit your dream. Competition sets in, right from day one of your operations.

Samuel Ruigu, founder of Mwea based manure manufacturer Safi Organics and a winner of Sh. 2.5 million Total Eco challenge, says that handling competition is highly pegged on pricing of the end product.

“What matters is how you price your products. Like for us, our product is way below the manufactured fertilizer. In addition, no one else is manufacturing this kind of product, so we have an assured penetration,” he says

Getting into retailing beauty products, for example, means that already someone next door is putting up a shop selling the same products. Or simply expect a shop dealing in  the same line of products in your vicinity.

You must, therefore, craft your idea so that it sinks well into the market, grab the numbers and diligently serve it.

Hiring staff

From blue chip companies to singly owned companies, staff is a crucial asset to the company. It is the staff that will create a profit or a loss in any business venture. Samuel agrees that his journey of hiring has not been an easy ride, down from a sweeper in the office to the finance director to handle cash flowing in and out.

His approach, however, is simple. He does all sorts of interviews.

While many small businesses may not be in a position to advertise for a new position of a cleaner in the office, he argues that this is an important step in hiring. It will then be possible to put a staff on radar, based on what their interests were while being hired.

It is on this premise that he argues that interview is a good catalyst for a transparent employment offers based purely on competence.

“You have to go an extra mile to interview all the staff, in fact practically. One can claim that he can mix content for production of manure well but on a keen look, you realize that they are not up to the task,” he says.

He however cautions of the possibility of heaping your friends in the company to dismantle any little progress that may have been made.

Financial issues

Many business entrants would decry lack of finances to pursue their dreams. No one makes money, but it can be found. Samuel notes that sometimes, it is of value to talk to friends about your new plans. That is how he started his plant. He is currently looking at getting into the larger East and Central Africa market.

Taking your financial woos to the bank may not appropriately solve your impediments. A bank may require that you proof your ability to repay the loan.

Unfortunately, you may not have the collateral to get out of that bank with a stash of cash.

Samuel believes that friends have played a key role in the financing of his business which is currently up and running.

Based on this, it is therefore important to carefully select friends who are intrinsic to your dreams. Friends should help you out in that cash crisis you are contemplating about.

Customer Trust

It was never rosy for Samuel. In as much as he went touting how his manure is the best, the people of Mwea who only believes in natural growth of rice to maturity, never saw the need of having to purchase his manure to supplement their soils.

While many companies promise to deliver quality, they instead deliver quantity, which is substandard.

There are cases when he had to go an extra mile of recalling some of his products, running into losses, thanks to his ambitious customers.

A product made can be remade, but a customer lost may walk away with others.

“Customer trust cannot be bought, it is earned,” ends Samuel.

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