Want to start a Business in Kenya? – Fear is a common companion to anyone set out to do one thing or the other for the first time…. Entrepreneurs are no exception. Fear shapes what we do and almost becomes the differentiator and core decision maker of what we choose to do and what we don’t do.
In Kenya, embarking on an entrepreneurial journey seems fairly easy when you think about it but it is a road paved with fear and uncertainty when the foot touches the ground. Here are some of the common fears Kenyan business aspirants face before they start a business in Kenya and a little motivation to help overcome them.
When it comes to business ideas, Kenyans are front runners. There are over 100 business ideas in Kenya that can be set up with less than Ksh. 10,000. It’s very easy to come up with a business idea but difficult to set it in motion. Most Kenyan entrepreneurs get stuck when it’s time to hit the ground running and set up the business they desire to, no matter how small. From writing a Business Plan to getting proper company documentation, most people get stuck somewhere in between not knowing when to proceed and how to proceed all the while fearing what skipping a step would do to their endeavors.
It’s okay to get stuck. Take a step back and review your business model. Do extensive research on similar businesses and if possible, and most recommendable, find a mentor who has trodden down your path and come out successful. Seek the help of Business Consultants; they exist for a reason. They know step by step the journey of starting a business; what to do and when. You can get help with your business plan and registration – before you know it you will actually be 10 steps further than where you were. Seek help when you’re stuck. 2 heads are better than one!
This is an understandable fear. One of the most important requirements of starting a business is capital. While some people swear by loans and investors, we know it’s not that easy, especially for a small business owner in Kenya. Loans and investors don’t fall from the sky – neither do they take your pitch and run with it. Before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, always rely on yourself first. Get a financial Advisor and work with the capital you acquired for your business and plan for it. Know what to save and what to put back in to your business. Growing a business is a slow but sure process. With proper planning, financial discipline and patience, you will never lack or run out of money.
By the time an entrepreneur sets out to start a business, he/she has done market research and knows a thing or two (or more) about the product or service. However, some people tend to get cold feet when they assess their industry and find out that their competitors are ‘experts’ in the industry. Kenyan industries are highly saturated and being a newbie in the market can be frustrating; almost like a small fish swimming among sharks.
Not being an expert does not mean that you’re not good enough. It just means that someone somewhere knows just a bit more than you do because they have been in the game just a bit longer than you have. It has nothing to do with the level of success you will achieve as you set out to start your business. Being a newbie is totally fine; it gives you room to grow and learn. They say ‘Trust the Process’; learning is a process- trust it. Believe in yourself and somewhere along the line a newbie will look at you and call you an expert.
A lot of entrepreneurs fight to get a stampede of customers when they introduce their product to the market. Rightfully so, customers are the biggest return on investment. However, don’t put too much pressure of getting a swamp of clients. Kenyans can be generally stubborn, and getting new customers could be quite challenging. Remember what sought you out to start the business in the first place – delivering a product or service to the best of your ability. Just focus on that, along with customer satisfaction and effective marketing. In no time, customers will start streaming in, loyal customers will make referrals and before you know it, you will have a pipeline of clients. There is no rush or formula; again, trust the process.
This may not look like fear but it is for many aspirants looking to start a business in Kenya. They fear venturing into that field, for fear of being laughed at or seeming crazy; especially those with unique business ideas and those quitting their day jobs to start their own business. Kenya has a plethora of odd businesses that makes thousands to hundreds of thousands of shillings a month/year, like selling potatoes from the back of a pick-up truck at the side of the road! So yes, anyone who wants to start their own business is very crazy – a good kind of crazy because they are taking a risk. Risk takers always eat the lion’s share so go ahead! Be crazy!
This should be at the top of the list because it is the biggest fear of them all. Nothing in this life is guaranteed, and so is business. Are you likely to fail in your first few months or years in business? Absolutely. The best of them all have failed before succeeding; read any Kenyan success story and see how this falls true. Just remember to fail is to fall down and not get up. To fail is to make mistakes and not learn lessons. To fail is to quit, even before you try. After fear of failure is fear of the unknown. After I fall, will I get up? And when I get up, will I fall again? It’s thrilling yet terrifying not knowing what lies ahead; more of bittersweet. The trick is to take the bull by its horns – take every hardship as a challenge and aim to conquer it. As you tread along your unknown path, the road will begin to get clearer and clearer.
Remember, the fears we don’t face become our limits.
We are happy to Hold your hand and help you start a Business in Kenya to realize your dreams.