Dear entrepreneur, these mistakes will kill your Start-up even before it begins

By / March 24, 2015 | 2:21 pm



Mistake that kill startups

Majority of entrepreneurs in Kenya survive through their days as they struggle to make it work. A myriad of challenges make it tough to break even and make profits.

However, there are 18 Mistakes that we always indulge in that guarantee a still birth even before we launch our idea or start up. These are:

  • Location makes or breaks a start up. Always set up in a place that creates an advantage for you and the employees and partners. Failure to get this right, will doom the business from the start.
  • Having a start up with a single founder. This raises the risk factor 1000 fold and creates doubt in your potential partners. One thing that cost me business was the fact that I was viewed as a one man show. Have a partner who helps you run the business. Divergence is KEY to any enterprise.
  • The 3rd mistake we make is to ignore diversity and focus on a marginal niche that does not bring in returns enough to make the business break even and make profits.
  • The fourth mistake is an entrepreneur having a derivative idea that makes no sense and the target audience cannot grasp it hence they cannot understand what your business is all about. This is a guaranteed still birth.
  • One of my greatest weakness has been, being stubborn and obstinate to a level that it’s cost me a myriad of opportunities. One must learn to be flexible and adapt to the dynamics of entrepreneurship and the business they are focused on.
  • What has been the greatest weakness for us, at Soko Directory for example, has been the hiring process. It’s been the single most destroying factor and it took us losing key accounts to learn just how to hire and hire properly. Entrepreneurs must hire character and train skill if they are to navigate the growth segment.
  • Having a product is one thing. Choosing the platform to launch it or to have it used by the target audience is KEY and this is why we fail. We always have the wrong platform.
  • Fear seems to hold us entrepreneurs back in launching our ideas. The slowness in launching always has a killer effect on our business and we fizzle out. Launching too early on the other hand will kill you instantly if you are not prepared for what’s out there.
  • Research is key as it prepares one to know exactly when too launch. Understanding the dynamics of this is key.
  • Biggest problem with most Kenyan entrepreneurs is that they are wannabe entrepreneurs and they are copy cats! This means they launch products and/or services based on what others are doing with no specific user or clientele in mind. They are all over the place seducing every available customer instead of having a niche target.
  • Capital is challenge to every business and it becomes a chronic issue when a start up raises too little money. It’s like travelling to Webuye from Nairobi and you fuel just enough to get you to Salgaa. This is a self-defeating aspect and my advice is always raise enough capital first before you launch.
  • Problem with us entrepreneurs is that we spend too much on irrelevant things in the start up trying to impress people who do not matter and have no clue what you going through. We buy things that do not support the business at all! Too much of something is wrong and raising too much capital will choke you. Temptations will override your desire to see your business grow.
  • Investor relations and management is one thing most of us have no clue how to tackle. Our relationship with investors define and set the tempo for future financing options. Failure to manage this leads to ultimate failure.
  • Any business’ focus is to add value to clients and enrich their experience with their products and or services. At the of the day, they are the ones that are bringing you the money anyway. However, most of us grow horns the moment our business grows a bit and we ignore the realm of customer care and sacrifice them for profits. Lesson is; always put the client first and all will be well, not profits.
  • To grow, we must get our hands dirty. We must lead the rest as vision bearers. We must put all the details within the big picture if we are to grow. Fail to train and lead as a team player, leads to failure.
  • Team work is the epitome of success and when founders or partners fight, the end result is one; failure of the start up. There must be ways to deal with disagreements too be able to save the company. My advice is to always have a legal advisor for the business.
  • The 18th most toxic mistake is an entrepreneur having a half-hearted effort to see their business succeed. This is a toxic mistake that is adapted by employees and the business does not grow to its potential.

Dear entrepreneur, avoid these mistakes and success will be yours.







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