Are you thinking of establishing your own business or company? The most important thing that you should know is how to build and sustain a strong business. These are the five important rules you should follow if you want to start a business that lasts.
The first question that you ought to ask yourself is,
What business am I in?
Many people set up businesses without giving any thought to what their business is actually about. You cannot manage something that you do not know. You have to be familiar with whatever you are aspiring to start. So, what is your business? How would you even know your customer or even what kind of employees you need if you don’t know about your business yourself. So, first, know what business you’re in. What product/service are you offering? What is it all about?
The second and most important question that you have to ask yourself is
As simple as that. Why? Why do you want to start that business? Do you want to start the business because you have seen others doing it? Do you want to start the business because you feel there is nothing else you can do and you think business is the only thing you can go for? You know, just to pass time. Do you want to start the business because you want to make profit? If you answered the above questions with a big ‘YES’’ then don’t bother starting a business because you will fail. A business built on the above principles rarely lasts and if it does, it is because the owners often change tact along the way. The best reason why you should start a business should be to solve a real problem people are having. A business that is established on the grounds of solving a problem is the best business with the longest mortality rate. When you identify the problem, then you will be in a position to define the kind of business you want to establish and what exactly you want to accomplish.
The next item on your agenda should be
When do you intend to set up the business and how long do you plan to keep your business running. Knowing when to start your business gives you an opportunity to plan. You will be able to know what you need for the establishment of your business and be in a position to bring whatever infrastructure you need to put in place. So, when do you intend to start your business? It is not mandatory for the timeline to be specific but it should not be vaguely infinite. Do not just say ‘I will start the business this year’. Having a defined timeline makes you accountable to yourself and helps you plan your time better, not to mention the thrill of solving a real problem people are having.
What you have to know is that the items on the 5Ws and 1H are not meant to flow chronologically. One can come after the other or before the other.
The next item that is very important is
Who are the people you’re building your product for? The ‘who’ here, is all about your potential customers. These are the people who will determine the sustainability of your business. These are the people who are the main reason why you are setting up that business. Without customers, then there will be no business. This is your market. Create a niche for yourself. Most markets are segmented. Choose your own segment, study it keenly and know what the segment already has, what it is missing and what it needs done. Remember, this is very important. No customers, no business.
Here comes what troubles most people who want to start businesses. Where? Where do you plan to establish your business or your company? Your business has to be at a strategic position depending on the market you chose for your product. The choice of where to set up your business is very important because it influences most aspects of your business; from access to raw materials, infrastructure development, security as well as nearness to the market. Your cost of production largely depends on the site that you will choose to set up your business. You may decide to buy a piece of land and build your business on it or just rent out an apartment. Renting out an apartment is good for a seasoned business but establishing a company on your own piece of land is also a good way to do it, if you have the means. However, land has become very precious in the current times and therefore, very expensive. Before coughing out those millions to buy a piece of land, first be sure the business is worth it.
The last item on the list is,
How do you intend to run your business? Do you have a detailed plan of execution? How do you intend to reach your customers and actually get the to buy your product? This is where such important issues such as marketing comes in. Marketing is key to your business. Someone once said that establishing a business and not marketing it is like winking at a girl in total darkness. So, how do you intend to run your business?
If you want to know why many people in Kenya start businesses without knowing why they are starting that business in the first place, then visit your rural area and you will know why. Take a trip to Western Kenya for instance, you will be surprised to note that after every 100 or 200 meters, there is a posho mill. That is not the problem. The problem is, those who established those poshomills did so because others were doing so. One wakes up, sees a neighbor with a posho mill and he/she also goes for the same ending up with a bunch of businesses offering the same product to the same limited market.
If your neighbor starts a posho mill business, you bring in your cereal business and let the other bring in vegetables or fish. Now, that is business.
Article by Juma Fred.