You will always have many questions in your mind when starting a new business. Are you doing the right thing? How fast will your business grow? And many other similar concerns.
If your plan is to start a venture in 2018, know that you can’t escape from this. But there’s a way you can ease the burden of worry on your mind. You can segment the stages of a new business to be able to internalize everything in a simpler way.
There are 4 stages of a new business and each has a milestone you can aim at:
This is the “you don’t need money to start a business” stage. It’s about sinking your teeth in the game by putting your business concept on paper. You have to refine your idea, by playing devil’s advocate, to be able to answer most questions that come from naysayers about you starting a business.
The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is rushing through it. This will only lead to blind spots that will trouble your business later on.
Ideally, at this stage you either use your savings or some soft loan from family, friends and the like. You are in the process of developing your product/service and finding a means to go to market for the first time. Are you going to give samples? Discounts? That’s your decision. Your aim should be to match your written concept with the constraints of actually going to market.
The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is not responding to external feedback on your idea. How dare they say you’re wrong? Where’s their business? You’re a small business, you’re supposed to be flexible.
Everyone starting a business must appreciate the amount of time it takes to get here. This is the self-sustaining stage when revenue allows you to have working capital and wean off your cash reserve. You can also start thinking of external debt from banks, saccos because, hey, you have proven your concept. You also need to start bringing in talent so you can go back to your core strengths, and preferences.
The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is panicking. All the ‘optimistic’ stuff in your business plan will take longer and the ‘negative’ aspects will be greater than you anticipated. Murphy’s Law.
Many will be called but few are chosen (go to church this year, haha). Many Kenyan entrepreneurs never get to this stage. Among the few who do, they enter a plateau way too soon. This is the sweet spot where you enjoy sustained profits and your next goal becomes growth.
The biggest mistake your new business can make at this stage is failing to innovate. It doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with a new product. Innovation is everything that helps you improve your profit margin.0