Why Mentorship is The Solution to Challenges Facing Startups in Kenya

By Lynnet Okumu / Published September 1, 2022 | 8:35 am




KEY POINTS

No matter how great your products or services are, it’s a crowded marketplace. And it’s growing all the time. New rivals can quickly come and turn the tables.


Mentorship

KEY TAKEAWAYS


MentorMe promotes jobs and business for mentees in Kenya through a Kenyan-German mentoring program, with mentoring, training, and networking.


In the world of business, beginnings are never easy. Every startup founder knows from the outset that there are going to be obstacles. But sometimes, they can still surprise you.

Whether that’s because you just didn’t anticipate them or not, you might be unsure of the best way to respond, or you don’t yet have the resources you need to address them properly.

Here are some of the main issues to watch out for, and how you can use mentorship as a tool to help in planning what to do when they crop up, or to just avoid them completely.

Poor management

Many startups have failed due to ineffective management. A management team that worked well in the initial stages may find itself struggling as the startup expands, as they’re tested by anything from poor sales to market conditions as well as just poor skills.

You need to have the right people to make the right decisions. One way of doing this is to build transparency into your management team’s decision-making process, so everyone on the team knows how the important decisions get made.

Moreover, be upfront about what is and isn’t getting results, and if you spot any underlying longer-term issues, address them as soon as you can before they become major problems.

Having sharp-minded people who can come up with real solutions needed in the business is vital for the growth of your start-up.

Competitors

No matter how great your products or services are, it’s a crowded marketplace. And it’s growing all the time. New rivals can quickly come and turn the tables.

To thrive in a market full of competition you need to analyze and know what your business stands for. Ask yourself such questions as what makes your company different. What makes your products special? What makes your brand unique? Or why would someone choose you over your competitors?

However, don’t just define yourself solely with your competitors; you need to be confident about what you’re bringing to the table.

Ensure you keep up with the rapidly changing landscape ad armor yourself with the right strategy. This will define your success or failure.

Time management

Many start-ups have failed as soon they began because the managers did not manage their time well.

Of course, there are a million and one decisions to be made and only 24 hours in a day and sometimes you might feel like there is not enough time, but you can start by eliminating or minimizing distractions.

Focus your time on important issues and forego anything that gets in the way of running your business. Set your priorities on decisions or actions that will bring impactful, measurable, and positive results to hit the target.

Finding the right people

Certain skills are crucial not only for your business to survive but also for it to grow. Knowing the exact skills, you need and how to get those essential people on board might determine how well your startup thrives.

For a small team, not having the right people in terms of employees as well as mentors can create severe bottlenecks and stall the rollout of new products and services. These are hold-ups that no startup can afford, especially in the early days.

And, as your company grows, you might find yourself facing another tricky personnel problem. Imagine realizing that you’ve hired the wrong people or the right people in the wrong roles.

That’s why it’s so important to make it a priority to lay out your hiring strategy right at the start. Then, when you’re clear about what you’re looking for, strategize key hires and think carefully about whether each role fits in with the goals you want to achieve.

Lack of planning

It’s worrying how many startups falter because they “forgot” to plan. Or maybe they really did but forgot or just assumed all the other bases. Key areas like sales, development, staffing, and skills shortage should all be a part of your business plan right from the beginning.

You need to plan for the things you can’t plan for, too. That is, even if you can’t prepare for every eventuality, you need to know what you’re going to do when events take an unexpected turn. If your business plan is all optimistic and fails to allow for surprises, then you’re heading for big trouble.

Lack of mentorship

A startup may have a great product or idea, but lack the necessary guidance, market experience, or knowledge to take it to the next level.

Many entrepreneurs are unaware of the importance of having somebody you can lean on when major decisions must be made, or even when you need a sounding board who has already been there and done that.

Even though not everyone will have access to mentors, if you don’t seek out wisdom from inspirational founders you admire from other sources, like books, articles, or podcasts then you’re in for a rough ride.

Technology has placed everything within reach and now, finding a mentor is as easy as tapping keys on your phone or laptop. Platforms and organizations such as MentorMe have made this possible. Through them, people can either become mentors or mentees.

MentorMe promotes jobs and business for mentees in Kenya through a Kenyan-German mentoring program, with mentoring, training, and networking.

The program supports women and men in Kenya from the age of 18 who are jobseekers, entrepreneurs, owners, and managers of MSMEs with a special focus on youth, women, and the green sector – as mentees.

As a mentee, you can choose from a pool of thousands of mentors one Kenyan or German mentor, a woman, or a man. Your chosen mentor will be experienced in the profession or business area where you seek guidance and expertise.

The upskilling training and inspirational events of the mentoring program will help you further to overcome your challenges on the job and to achieve your professional goals. Visit them here https://mentorme-ngo.org/mentorme-kenya/?lang=en and find a mentor today!






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