Commonly Asked Questions About Startups

In startups, there are three categories of people; those who invest due to lack of alternatives, those who need an extra source of income for financial security, and those who are passionate about a specific sector.

There are a growing number of people turning to small scale business. For reasons such as monotony in jobs, high demands from the managers, retrenchment, toxic working environment, and minimal income, just to mention a few.

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Admittedly, while some plan early, others face the responsibility of making quick decisions on how to earn. This leads to a series of questions making it hard to move forward.

When it comes to capital, bookkeeping is essential.

1. What do I need to know before starting a business?

a. Your business is your responsibility. From acquiring customers to retaining.

b. What are some of the regulations when investing in the selected business? Think and inquire about business and health permits, taxation regulations, and other requirements.

c. Entrepreneurs solve existing or future problems. Sometimes the target customers may have a problem. If the product or service solves the problem, the period between introduction to the market and acceptance decreases.

d. Your target customers and their demographic.

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e. Your business accessibility to your customers. They need to easily reach you.

f. Entrepreneurs also need a working ethic. You may specify that you will not give items on credit and if you must, how will you ensure the debtors pay on time?

g. Your friends may not be your customers. This is not a direct indication of poor products or services, but their preferences and relationship with the current suppliers.

h. Check on your competition and what they’re up to.

i. What is your marketing strategy?

j. Which are the possible risks and how will you avoid them?

k. How will you venture into the opportunities that emerge?

2. Which is the most profitable business?

All business can be profitable or experience losses.

For a business to be profitable, soft and hard skills must be on the table and in abundance. They include current demands amongst the target population, marketing strategy, location, passion, commitment, patience, accountability, and flexibility.

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Depending with the demands of the product or service, needs of the target population, their economic standards, the problem you are trying to solve and its believability, the startup can bring thousands after a few weeks.

Study the market adequately and decide on how you’ll cope with the competition.

3. How much capital do I need?

There is no standard value or range. Some start with an idea, which they sell to established firms (wholly, partially, or form partnerships), or to individuals. Some entrepreneurs who had an interest in selling clothes confessed starting with two or one piece, saved the profits, and climbed the ladder. You may not have the idea to sell or get the candidate for it, but a sense of direction saves the day. That is, taking other jobs and saving for that one dream.

4. Is entrepreneurship better than employment?

The answer depends with what you want. Each has pros and cons hence should not demonize what does not favour you.

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5. Which is the most effective marketing strategy?

Do not rely on one marketing strategy because even the most recommended can fail if not maximally utilized.

Also, choose the most appropriate for the business. For example, television ads increase the audience reach, and preferred by many companies. Surprisingly, Lamborghini does not invest in the ads because they believe their customers rarely watch TV or play video games.

6. How long does it take for businesses to thrive?

There is no standard time since we interpret thriving differently. To some, it is the monetary gain and to others it is about how many people know about the product or service even before viewers and admirers become paying customers.

Nonetheless, the quality, economic capability of the customers, environmental stability, pricing, customer service, user-friendliness, availability, and marketing strategy have a huge impact on the period between launching and getting the anticipated amount of attention or money.

Got questions? Want to add more? Leave a comment below

Entrepreneurship vs Employment: Which One Suits You Best?

Some people have adopted a toxic habit of demonizing what they have not possessed.

After frustrations, they’ve allowed negative energy to settle in their bones and brain and come out as insults and ridicule. Some have taken to nicknaming many, if not all, successful people as corrupt and drug smugglers or female leaders as prostitutes. Sadly, some don’t seem to tire and have extended the habit to the dilemma between seeking jobs and starting small businesses.

In Kenya, there are thousands of unemployed youths and graduating from reputable universities and with good GPAs have not put them at the frontline of getting the jobs they desire, or even at entry level to work their way up.

The dilemma of starting a small-scale business and seeking a job is not new.

There is no concrete answer as it depends with what you want. Each has pros and cons hence should not demonize what does not favour you.

Success depends on environmental and personal factors. For example, in sectors where positivity and collaboration are necessities, fulltime pessimists are rarely retained. Disappointedly, some campaign against formal employment never mention they were the problem. Let’s face it, not all jobs are about bosses raining insults, setting impossible demands, working in poorly-ventilated offices, or living in the office and visiting home for a few hours.

It takes a hefty amount to run a successful business, but the challenges are not conclusive that the business cannot thrive.

Advantages of self-employment

• You are your own boss
• Paves the way for growth by getting out of the comfort zone.
• Freedom to do what you want or love, in your means and time.
• Nurturing leadership skills
• Flexibility of the income
• Personal relationship with the customers
• Opportunity to test different projects
• Sharpening decision-making skills
• Learning to be a self-starter because the income depends with the efforts put
• Availability of personal time
• No limitations to what you can do
• You choose your customers
• You become visible unlike in some organizations where your efforts can go unappreciated or unnoticed

Disadvantages of self-employment

• Minimal understanding of the challenges
• Inability to forecast due to financial constraints to upgrade or high experts
• Multitasking
• Unsteady pay
• Risk of personal relationships paving the way for accumulation of loans.
• Lack of external input. An extra opinion is always important and doing everything on your own can make the business dull but getting another person’s opinion even if you won’t use it reminds you to look outside the box.
• One can develop time insensitivity. Time is money and because some open and close whenever they want, it might be a challenge living in an area where things are done within a specific timeframe.
• Lack of social life- it’s always important to have someone, not necessarily a circle of friends, but a few people so you can see, learn and appreciate their points of view and improve interactivity skills.
• Sometimes shifting to formal employment is a challenge- one, maybe because the entrepreneur has adopted the habit of dragging self and working on inventories whenever he or she deems best. Sometimes a substantial amount of pressure is important to send one off the comfort zone and explore saves time and helps identify opportunities/ upcoming tragedies at an early stage
• The business may not offer the best learning experience- let’s admit that there is more to growth than money. We also need intellectual growth that is present in the corporate sector.
• Risk of developing polarized perceptions. That is, thinking that what you do or say is right and anything else is wrong. Developing and nurturing a polarized mindset makes it hard to interact and have deep conversations with others.

Advantages of salaried employment

• Learning how to interact with colleagues and those in high management skills
• Guarantee of monthly payment
• Exposure to challenges and growth opportunities
• Great flexibility
• Holiday and leave payments
• A fixed schedule
• Job advancement

Disadvantages of salaried employment

• Monotony
• Lack of personal time
• Can become invisible in large organizations
• May never step of the comfort zone
• Difficulties hunting for a job if fired

Weigh the options and choose what favours you the most