Entrepreneurship in Africa especially the Sub Saharan has been a topic that has drawn a lot of attention from a good number of people. It looks like one of the viral trends of the 21st century since the rise of”self branded” entrepreneurs has been rampant. Well, the rise of startups across the continent is of course a positive indication that we are heading the right way considering the fact that the levels of unemployment are discouraging.
However, there have been countless cases where startups have failed to survive within their initial stages of development due to so many factors which can be avoided at zero cost. Entrepreneurs should be in a position to maneuver these pitfalls if they need to stay afloat in business.
Defining the Unique Value Proposition
Figuring out clearly what makes your business unique among its competitors is “more than” important for a startup. There is no doubt that a unique idea works because of its uniqueness. Startups may not necessarily have to create a whole brand new idea to disrupt the world but adding value to an already existing idea is one of the ways a business can stand out.
The specific approach a business has in place for solving a particular identified problem is basically what startups should be thinking of. It is crazy that some entrepreneurs have already developed their own social media platforms just like Snapchat or Instagram because the idea made a fortune but it is unfortunate that these ideas have failed to leave a mark failing terribly.
Knowing your targets and goals
I have been able to interact with some of my friends who have started their own businesses and some of the surprising responses I get when I ask them about their goals set for their businesses. Some of them tell me that their goal is to be one of the recognized brands in eCommerce and some in Marketing which is definitely a good achievement but how exactly can a startup measure that? Goals should always the attribute of being measurable. Startups should therefore at some point come to reflect what they have been doing for a period of time, only measurable goals can give out a clear picture of where a business is heading.
A realistic and reasonable goal can be something like setting up a target of reaching ten thousand email subscribers for an eCommerce startup. At least it is possible to see what you have been able to achieve.
The Real Task
Before taking a step forward creating that business website or printing out a bunch of flashy business cards, it is important to sit down and have a complete plan on how you will generate your own revenue. It is crystal clear that businesses run and sustain themselves through the revenue. Start by asking yourself, How can I make money today and the whole of the week? It is painful coming to realize that you cannot go on with your business after putting all the resources and sacrifice because your startup does not have a clear revenue generation model.
The best thing entrepreneurs can do is run a presell and see if people are willing to pay for the product or a subscription package when a service is being offered. If you are able to make sales with a good return through revenues, congratulations you have a business but if it is otherwise it is the best time to adjust the plans in place.
Establishing a Plan to Improve the business
After a business is now able to make money progressively throughout the week, it is certainly the time to focus on the goals that have been set. It may be building the product or service offered to higher standards, marketing or recruiting human resource. These simple plans are crucial in insuring that the business grows and they actually give you the confidence that you are on the right track.
It is at this juncture that entrepreneurs are able to distinguish themselves from the”self branded” wantrepreneurs who normally have no focus on solving the real problems. Africa faces a lot of challenges as a young and growing continent, it is through these challenges we should discover opportunities