In a continent with a population of around 1 billion + people, there are bound to be new businesses springing up on a regular basis. A large percentage of these businesses are small and medium scale businesses that set out to carve a niche in the African business ecosystem.
Things are changing rapidly across Africa, new ideas flood the streets of the millennial generation.
As the global word sets it’s sight on Africa as the next frontier for investment, Africans also have to look onward and build businesses both big and small across all mediums and forms of life to carter for the New Age.
Starting a business doesn’t come without challenges, and setting up shop in Africa isn’t any different. In fact, some would argue that starting out in Africa comes with challenges peculiar and exclusive to this part of the world, and to that, I agree, with basic needs like electricity for instance, which is a given for our western counterparts. Though there are a lot of challenges, potential business owners are not deterred by the inevitable roadblocks, as long-term profits lie ahead, with the right organization and structure. Today, we have young individuals making strides in their fields, and opening doors for others to also break into the African business space [WAFFLESNCREAM, Lucid Lemons, 90’s baby, Severe Nature, Paystack, BAAB Media, are a few names that come to mind].
So, what does starting a business in Africa entail? First of all, you need a bit of capital [not necessarily a lot if you know what you’re doing], and how to leverage relationships from your peers and colleagues in your field. Also, you need the internet, which as we all know is not a cheap commodity in emerging Africa, but a small price to pay considering the pool of opportunities it makes accessible, I recommend a good social media presence to start with. Electricity is also very important to start up, and the main reason why this factor is more important than it should be is our lack of adequate and regular power supply to all parts of the country, which I discussed previously. Whether you’re setting up a physical or digital space, constant electricity is important. It goes without saying, that having a physical space is difficult to maintain because you must account for daily costs of running, salaries, fuel costs etc, making it work if you have the resources to, should not be rocket science to a driven entrepreneur.
Above all, creating relationships with other businesses and individuals in your field should not be taken for granted. Some business owners feel they have it all figured out, and typically make a shit load of mistakes along the way. There is no substitute for experience and good instincts. Having a mentor would definitely not hurt, they provide answers to real-world questions that relate to the growth of your business –watch out for power tripping mentors though, they are the absolute worst. At the end of the day, no one is an island, and you will need all the help you can get if you decide to embark on this journey that is building a business.
And please remember this, for your business to grow, you need to have a plan. There’s a popular saying amongst forex and stock traders “Plan your trade, and trade your plan”. If you plan out all the aspects of your business, and follow those plans, you’re on a course for success.
Time is fleeting. Go out, and start your business, it’s both exhilarating and terrifying but, it’s a considerable step up from just talking about the things you want to do. VAMOS!