The fact is that the odds are stacked against new businesses. Half of them will shut down within five years because of challenges that they do not have control over. What about the ones they do have control over? How did they manage? These are important questions which do not really concern teething businesses and SMEs. The import here is to ensure that your business does not tumbledown and join the long list of failed businesses or that has been acquired.
Success won’t come overnight
It takes years to build successful companies. You must invest all required hard work and perseverance. While an entrepreneur might have a great vision and quality products consumers want, there can’t be an expectation of a huge payday immediately upon launching a business. It is a slow and steady build. Instead, be realistic and set a timeline that measures small attainable goals and successes. Focus and commitment, executed on an enduring level, will ultimately deliver success.
Starting a business doesn’t have to require a large investment, but some new business owners feel that they need to spend a lot to purchase the best of everything from marketing help to equipment, to software. There are usually other, less expensive but equally viable options available if you’re willing to do the research. Creating and sticking to a business budget to curb overspending is always an excellent idea.
Focusing on too many things at once
The easiest way to lose focus is to do too many different things at the same time, especially as an SME. Someday your business will be overwhelmed, you will have so many disgruntled customers. This is not good for your business. When Jumia kicked off in Nigeria in 2012, it started as an eCommerce company offering a platform to order appliances, gadgets and household items. As Jumia grew, so did its offering grew. It enhanced logistics with Jumia Services, created its own payment platform with Jumia Pay and you can order food, book flights and hotels. This is in a space of 6 years. So, as an SME, focus on one specific goal from the onset and expand as your market share expands.
Not delegating tasks
Many small business owners feel the need to take care of everything themselves. Remember, there’s a reason why companies hire employees: they have a job to do. So don’t be afraid to delegate appropriate tasks to appropriate people. Otherwise, there is a risk of becoming unable to direct the proper level of attention on the task at hand, rendering a business incapable of reaching its full potential.
Employing the wrong kind of people
It’s nearly impossible to have a flawless track record when it comes to hiring, so it’s inevitable that at least some of the people you hire simply won’t work out. Having the right people in place is critical for the success of any company, and it’s even more critical for small businesses. So, hiring the wrong person for a business can be just as important and can set your company up for failure.
Not defining your market
An entrepreneur might think a particular product or service is the best idea. But without knowing the target audience and which other companies are also focusing on them, it will be significantly harder to sell the idea. If a business’s market isn’t clearly defined, it is nearly impossible to decide on how to best position the product or service in a way that is compelling. Comprehensive market research is imperative in identifying robust customer personas prior to launching a business. By knowing whom to target and how to effectively communicate with them, a business will be strongly poised to successfully thrive and grow.
Avoiding new technology
As a small business, technology can provide new opportunities, help you do our work more efficiently and even help you save money. New technology may be intimidating and require time to learn and understand, but an unwillingness to adapt to technological advances can hurt your business in both the short- and long-term.
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