Do you have a succession plan for your family business? The time is now to secure the future of your business. 

Taking a close look at several businesses operated  in a country, the true picture of the result is that they are mostly family owned involving either nuclear or extended families. This clearly shows that these businesses are the country’s  economic powerhouses that to greater percentage controls local, national to global economies.

With all that said, there are several studies  done on family businesses that is raising  redflag.  According to Conway Center for family business research, more than 30% of all family – owned businesses survive into the second generation. Twelve percent will still be viable into the third generation, with 3% of all family businesses operating at the fourth generation level and beyond. These findings requires a lot of close attention inorder to tackle the many arising issues from these businesses in terms of challenges faced, succession planning to ensure development and survival of family businesses from generation to generation.
Family businesses has its own set of unique setbacks they face in the journey of growth and development from stage to stage, below are some highlights of the challenges faced:

  • Sibling /family rivalry – discomforts and misunderstandings  between family members either sibling/sibling or sibling /parents or in-laws always create a diverse political situations that works to the downfall of most family businesses. 
  • Overlapping of roles- In most cases roles and responsibilities are not clearly outlined according to abilities, this causes overstepping on others duties and inconsistencies in undertakings. 
  • Lack of talents – most of family members are always involved in the management& running  of the business even without emphasis on particular abilities and skills required  to perform assigned task, they rarely hire external employees with the talents to fill various position as they feel threatened by them.This has consistently threatened survival and development of many family businesses. 
  • No succession plan- Some owners of the family businesses find it very  unnecessary to think that at one time they would die, retire or encounter some disabilities relieving them from management of the business, many  owners fails to train, mentor or prepare successors  for the next generation of the business hence most of them rarely survive beyond third generation.  
  • Resistance to change- The older generation who are mainly the founders of the family business always feel comfortable with  maintainance of status quo on style of operation of the business and mostly frustrate efforts by the younger generation to bring about new spirit of change on how business affairs are handled.  
  • No clear exit strategy – Plans on how to close down the business or sale it when situation arises is always not considered by most owners of the family businesses.  
  • Controlled opinion and vision- Running of most of these businesses are always entirely family affairs and external skills and opinions of employees are rarely considered. This always excludes diversification of opinions that might grow the family business. 
  • Separation of family and business – The balancing act of family and business affairs has always been daunting task for several family business. 
  • No clear employment policies – Proper guidelines  on how to hire employees to various management positions remains to be an issue as most family members are always engaged in some key positions even without proper academic qualifications, skills and expertise required thus offering less interms of their role performance. 
  • Lack of long-run strategic plan – Designing business model and mechanisms that  adopt changes for  improvement has proved to be difficult as various generations remains comfortable with what is successful to them without consideration of the next generation. 
  • Lack of training –there is still laxity on training and development of employees to fit  various rapidly changing roles and tasks  thus  hindering space for business growth. 
  • High-turnover of “outsiders” employees – employees who aren’t family members always feel greater opportunities favors family members only thus making them sidelined in most of management roles and decisions forcing most of them to bolt out of the business due to frustrations and sidelining.  

Overcoming the challenges 

  • Unwavering mutual trust – family business must uphold spirit of trust just like any other partnership business, everyone should be given space to perform his/her duties in line with  agreements to reduce possibilities of conflicts. 
  • Consider external perspective – Accommodating external views from advisors or even non-family staffs brings fresher and unique outlook in addressing several issues in running the business. 
  • Effective communication boundaries – proper communication structures  minimizes conflicts and provide appropriate avenues for addressing issues. 
  • Eradication of nepotism – Opportunities should be offered fairly to everyone and every household based on merits and abilities so as to create sense of ownership of the business and lower  political temperatures. 
  • Employment policies- Appropriate guidelines should be established  so that  anyone  involved in running the business affairs must meet requirements ranging  from academic qualifications, talents and expertise before joining the team, this will boost competence in the business. Being family member shouldn’t be considered as automatic qualification even without being eligible to set guidelines.  
  • Succession planning – It’s never too early to start succession planning, family businesses can involve experts and advisors to see them through as well as engaging family members in the same for smoother transition and future survival of the business in the next generation. 
  • Operation agreement – understanding should be set outlining duties and responsibilities in line with the abilities of an individual in the business to reduce overlapping of roles and conflicts. 

Now that succession planning is proving to be an ideal issue for several aspiring and existing family business entrepreneurs, it’s very much necessary to learn and get insights on the same. Succession planning presents best chance  for maximization of opportunities and creation of multi-generational entity that embryoids family values and vision from generation to generation. According to Family Business Institute, 88% of current family business owners believes the same family or families will control their business in 5 years, but this is contrary to most of the succession statistics as survival of family businesses from generation to generation is glowingly becoming  unachievable due to unproper succession planning  element. Infact the clear state of succession is summarised in a statement  “The founder works and builds a business, the son take it over and is poorly prepared to manage and make it grow but enjoys the wealth, and grandson inherits a dead business and empty bank account”  

Many disregard succession as they fix their minds not to think of retirement, death or even disability. Why is succession planning paramount in family business?

Smooth transition of ownership – having all structures in place addressing management, estate taxes, liquidation will guarantee more professional and efficient change of control  in running the business from generation to generation with minimal setbacks. 

Guidelines for succession planning 

  1. Create viable goals and objectives- Review current succession plan and make adjustments where possible so as to accommodate the desired goals. Consider creating joint vision, mission, goals and objectives for generation to generation, having everyone in the family business involved in  developing the goals brings out the sense of ownership. Family business owners can as well incorporate external professionals/advisors  and experts to sharpen its ambitions in right direction. 
  2. Structure decision-making process –Every decision made should be inclusive and informed in line with the business structures, dispute resolution mechanisms should be in place to tackle any arising conflicts. Every decision made should be formal and documented as part of the succession plan and every details of any step  made must be communicated to everyone in the family business.
  3.  

    Establish succession plan-

    clearly identify  who are the successors thats those who will be owners and management team, all roles and responsibilities of each person in the business needs to be clearly articulated and understood by all. 

  4. Create a business and owner estate plan – buying or selling agreement should be fair resonating the value of the business, this can be done by the help of financial experts in valuing the business. All the tax issues need to be addressed  upon transfer of ownership, sale of the business or death of the owner so that the business isn’t negatively impacted during succession. Review owner estate plan to reduce taxes and inconsistencies during  transfer of assets to remaining owners. 
  5. Create the transition plan – timeline for implementing the succession plan must clearly stated, purchasing options either internal or external financing should be determined for efficiency. 

Tips for consideration on  succession planning 

  •  It’s never too early to start planning – succession planning should start as soon as possible due to uneventful nature  life of business and ownership, starting at even 10 years before next generation is prudent as it provides adequate room for putting everything in order.Exit strategy remains important and should be predetermined, all these boosts smooth transition. 
  • Incorporate all stakeholders in the planning process – every member of the family business should be involved in every decision making process  and entire succession plan for creation of common vision and sense of ownership of the plan and business. 
  • Realistic outlook at family – owners must focus at the strengths and weaknesses of his /her siblings so as to ensure duties and responsibilities are realistically mandated, incases where there’s  lack of required talent or ability internally, family businesses should as well outsource without frustrating productivity of the business. 
  • Train and mentor successor – succession is a process and successors should be involved in the activities of the family business learning all aspects of operations, training and mentorship  as key to their development inorder to adequately fit in future roles. 
  • Engage external advisors with the planning – owners can seek support from attorney, financial experts or even consulting companies specialised in family business affairs to take them through all dynamics of succession planning. 

Family business remains to be key pillar for many households even as many aspiring and established entrepreneurs have the inspiration to involve their kids to the entrepreneural culture as early as possible a move that some see as the answer to unemployment crisis in many countries. By understanding the basics of family business especially on succession planning highlighted above,  this  should be an eye opener to ensure their sustainability these powerhouses,ACT NOW. 

“succession planning helps build the bench strength of an organization to ensure the long-term health, growth and stability” – Taela Wilson 

Debt collection is a major headache to SMEs, it’s time we talk the way forward. 

Cash flow is a key element towards business growth, this can be easily influenced by several factors holding up much of the cash that the business could be using to spearhead its survival and advancement. In this article major emphasis will be on debt management issues affecting several SMEs, It’s  very evident that business owners continue to suffer in the hands of bad debts, customers that “don’t want to pay”, customers that are “very forgetful” when it comes to making payments, friends and family members who still find it hard to understand that business is completely a different entity from  their relationship,the list may still go on and on according to your own experience as an entrepreneur. It’s very much in order to tackle  this issue and make insights that will renew  hope to many  falling entrepreneural dreams on debt management.

Tacts to improve your debts collection efforts 
Always take a positive move – When making credit sale it’s prudent to issue an invoice after which  you follow it with a reminder to  customer on terms of payment. Whenever a customer fails to pay within the stipulated time frame, try to be human enough and get to engage the client to understand why the payment was not made as this will allow room for negotiations and better grounds for debt recovery. 

Do much of follow-ups – Always ensure you get in touch with your customers after making credit sales, have all their contact information and make effort of communicating with them through messages, emails, phone calls just to ensure they are reminded. Your tone during the communication should be positive as much as possible so that the message passed down to the recipient is in the right manner. 

Diversify debt collection channels – have several alternative channels that can lead towards debt recovery in the event of failure of one, emulate the technological development by having in place debt management softwares, better communication channels, debt collection agents among others that may work well  within your capability. 

Assign a staff for debt collection – Having an employee specifically in charge with debt recovery within the business will undoubtedly prove fruitful . Ensure that the employee is properly motivated and work closely with them providing any necessary support needed towards the success of their roles. 

Debt collection agents – always be more than ready to work hand in hand with external debt collection agents to spearhead debt recovery in a very professional way. You need to do the background check of the agent to ensure its legality towards the task and elements involved.

Background check of debtors –critical information about debtors needs to be known even before writing an invoice, you need to know their  credit worthiness,capacity to payback, conduct as it helps in making informed decision. Information from other institutions such as banks on credit worthiness can help avoid bad debts. 

Clearly stated payment terms to be observed – Ensure your payments terms are properly stated in brochures, website and other available flatforms  that can be assessed by customers to easen payments.The  procedure should be simple to use as well as the  language so as to favour every client. 

Have agreement with the  debtor properly written down – this move portrays seriousness of the contract that calls for adherence from the debtor within the stated terms. You will be able to get critical information from the client that will easen your task towards debt management at any avenue whenever there is breach of the contract. 

Be ready to take legal action – whenever your other debt collection tacts fails, be more than willing to seek legal intervention to show seriousness of the matter to the debtor. You need to know that the life of your business depends on the recovery of your cash hence any legal effort towards the same is so much inorder. 

Always keep on hold all the services and goods enjoyed by the debtor until previous payments are made – policy in place stopping the debtor from enjoying credit services before making previous payments as per the agreement will expedite debt collection so as to continue enjoying other business services by the client. 

Write a demand letter – You need to understand that what you seek from the client is actually your money, after trying other polite avenues to seek payments without success, it’s necessary to pen down a note that will actually compel the debtor to honour the deal. 

Give negotiation a room – some of these issues are best sorted out by bringing your debtor on table and get to understand his/her current situation limiting the payment agreement. You can settle down on a certain percentage waiver or restructuring of the payments agreement  to accommodate the current changes. Legal route that at some point  you may opt to seek might be much expensive than the amount you need to recover hence negotiation can work well to save the day. 

Ways of avoiding future bad debts 

  • Design properly structured payment guidelines – ensure that the language used in the payment policy is simple and understandable by the customer for efficient use. The guideline needs to encourage prompt payment for quicker cash recovery. Upfront payment of atleast 50%of the cost of the product should be emphasized in the guideline to ascertain seriousness of the debtor towards payback. 
  • State due date for every payment – stipulated time frame will confine the debtors efforts towards adherence to payment guidelines so as to avoid any penalties that may be in place. 
  • Bank on persistent reminder – with the updated information records of debtors, be consistent in communication with them to keep them informed on payment requirement. The continous reminders will work to your benefit to avoid bad debts. 
  • Have proper customer information, contacts, addresses – key information about the customers such as history of credit worthness,conduct, capability of payback helps in making informed decision before writing an invoice that may result to bad debts. Always ensure contact information and addresses of your debtors are up to date for effective follow ups and communication for debt recovery. In cases where the debtor changes contact information as well as  addresses and threatens debt recovery capacity, always involve any institutions or agency that may have links towards getting to them.   


“cash flow in business  is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas station ”

Thank you for reading my blog,let’s keep interactions going on as we share entrepreneurship issues for business developments. See you next time as I shall tackle different topic and issues. 

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Twitter : @onyangoowino1 

Cultivating entrepreneural culture and education among our children at early stage is unregratable move ever 

Children easily emulate habits from senior people around them, the habits may gradually translate to culture which may have either positive or negative impact on them. Some parents are increasingly becoming too much busy for their children and hardly find time to monitor, guide and mentor them.A good number have also put emphasis on the academic development of their children forgetting to take some interest in other unique skills, talents and abilities that they may have that can better equip them for the future,putting alot of emphasis on this is continously translating to alot of graduates who can barely successfully engage in other activities aside from the theory work in class.

As a child my parents would engage me in every bit of their job, I grew up knowing what kind of job they did and the challenges it involved which is a unique case to many parents. My father would rarely give you little pocket money for free and would constantly engage us in few job in the farm alongside with him in order to get taste of his money, “You have to sweat and work in order to get off money from another person’s pocket” he strongly believed in that and even supported any kind of entrepreneural effort we made, he gave us capital to venture into sugarcane business and would source us based canes for sale and make us deliveries for sales. Being a school teacher, he offered us market opportunity for ice creams that we processed locally and sold at his work station, this went well and translated to good profits as we grew our entrepreneural abilities. Every evening after classes, it was business unusual for us, we could no longer engage in play and time-wasting with other fellow students back to home as we had to timely report to work station for doing sale for some food products such as popcorn, potato crisps, roasted groundnut that my mother processed, during weekends we could help her in the processing of the products and help meet the demands of market orders whenever it came in. With this and more engagements that I did at that junior age I can firmly  atest that it has positively impacted my adaptability skills and perception  in life. 

Countries which are regarded for their robust entrepreneurship ecosystems, have made it a priority in making the education for young learners widely accessible. The fruits of the effort has been widely evident in those entrepreneurship powerhouse  areas atleast helping shape  the attitudes of the  young people  from job seekers to job creators and more so promoting the sustainability of start-ups which majorly fails during their first year of inception. 

Ways of promoting entrepreneural culture and education among our children 

Resilience – Young people need to know that whenever you fall it is prudent to get up and keep the move going, no turning back. In business, challenges are inevitable and should not be allowed to pull one back towards the journey of success.Our young ones needs to grow up eliminating this deep rooted negative thinking towards failures and challenges for easier sail in the entrepreneural boat. 

Risk taking – Every entrepreneur must be a risk taker in his/her own capacity, Young people must grow up knowing and undertaking this key aspect of entrepreneurship. With the limited resources children may have, they can always be  exercising this trait by not being limited in any attempt to try out any entrepreneurship thirst. 

Taking positivity from failures – Most of education systems demonize failure. As an upcoming entrepreneurs, young people needs to see failure as learning opportunities and alot of positivity needs to be taken out of it to ensure future success. 

Wealth creators – Most entrepreneurs don’t logically get satisfied of the achievements or wealth and are always mindset of growing more from the current position. Children needs to be supported and encouraged to venture into various small enterprises at that early stage and get to learn of how to acquire income and idea of running enterprise. Children participating in activities such as making cookies, chocolate, ice cream, washing cars etc should be encouraged as they are eye openers to the young ones on means of making cash out work and hobbie. 

Visionary – Helping your child to set up a vision and having guiding principles towards the achievement can’t go unrewarded. Successful people always set a vision which they live to achieve as dictacted by daily actions. 

Time Management – This is a key entrepreneurship trait that needs to be instilled in our children at early ages. Time management helps in accomplishments of various tasks as per the guided timeline and this works to the advantage of any entrepreneur.Our children getting this right at early stage will surely be unregratable.

Open savings account – children are not tought on how save and grow money unless he/she is a business student at high school or college level, make it a habit of letting your kids make saving of the little money earned and monitor how it grows to able to accomplish certain projects. Through this, they get to view money in different perspective having the ability to achieve something great. 

Entrepreneurship character traits to reframe way of thinking – The various key entrepreneural traits needs to be encouraged among our children inorder to change their perception of thinking towards various issues. The various key success traits will always be guiding principles to our upcoming entrepreneurs for their future success. 

Brainstorming for business idea – Having the children to freely engage their brains and come up with creative and innovative ideas that responds to challenges as well as opportunities is great boost to future of entrepreneurship. 

Exposure to several entrepreneural activities – Allowing the children to participate and attend entrepreneurship activities such as exhibitions, trade fairs, market sales, promotions, business negotiations, financial management  helps in encouraging the young ones towards business at early age. 

Benefits of entrepreneurship education to the children at early age 

  1. Encourage risk taking and ability to learn from failures – children are able to adopt the daring aspect regardless of outcome that may be involved, this is number one aspect that any entrepreneur must uphold and live with. Viewing failure as learning opportunities to ensure future success is also an important value of positivity that will help the young ones walk smoothly in the entrepreneural journey. 
  2. Identify and recognize opportunities – challenges are seen as major source of opportunities by most if not all entrepreneurs. The children are equipped with expertise to be problem solvers other than complainants, they are taken through creativity and innovation to be able to come up some of the best ideas, children have some of the best ideas that just need mentorship and support to be actualized. Let the young ones to think freely and support any effort shown towards entrepreneurship. 
  3. Understanding of the entrepreneural process – children are taken through basic entrepreneurship activities from idea generation, product development, marketing. This puts them at better place in the move of understanding the business dynamics. 
  4. Empowerment skills – Basic business skills such as financial management, marketing, negotiations, opportunity costing are gained by the young generation that puts them at best position for future survival and sustainability of ‘future’ businesses. 
  5. Entrepreneurship traits – key success entrepreneurship qualities are introduced to the children and they get to emulate them in their undertakings such as time management, visionary, discipline, risk taking. All these helps in boosting the entrepreneural abilities of this generation. 

Let’s get out and empower our kids for the future, it’s not all about academic papers and success that defines prosperity,ignite the technical skills, talents, creativity and innovation to the young ones inorder to better place them for the future survival and adaptability in this rapidly changing economic environment. Inorder to improve our Industrial, manufacturing, job creation, business sustainability for economic growth and development it is key to heavily invest in our kids on entrepreneurship, technical skills, creativity & innovation as well as talents nurturing for the better. 

“If you’re interested in living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them “-Ryan Freitas, About. me co-founder 

Let’s Grab The Entrepreneural Opportunities In The Industrial Corporations. 

Opportunities have wings and they can fly away anytime. An entrepreneur should be person who is outgoing and always think of networking as an asset to his/her enterprise for entrepreneural growth. What exists and happens near you that may have an impact to your dreams should always be at your finger tips anytime and explore ways of positively dealing with it.
It’s unfortunate that a corporation or any facility may be within your locality and reach but you don’t have any idea of what it does and how it can directly impact you. In Kenya for example, there are several corporations and programs geared towards achievement of the Millennium development goals of vision  2030 with facilities and resources adequately set aside for the same  but it’s with no doubt that majority of youths  are not aware of the opportunities that exists here, can we blame this on ignorance?Inadequate marketing? Poor public relations?  or what. With the current situation at hand it will be in the best move if all stakeholders  identify their weaknesses and make an effort for the better exploration and utilization of these facilities and resources. 

In this blog, I will explore several entrepreneural opportunities that exists within some reputable industrial corporations in Kenya that have the ability to transform the lives  of many in their various entrepreneurship journey.  

  1. Kenya Industrial Estates  (K.I. E)

This  is an industrial corporation under ministry of industrialization, it’s mandated to promote indigenous entrepreneurship by financing and developing small scale and micro enterprises. It’s main products are as follows:

  • Business Advisory services – Here entrepreneurs get to be equipped with several business consultancy services ranging from product development, marketing, financial management, business management and any other aspect that may be of good impact and useful to the entrepreneur despite level of the entrepreneural journey. As an entrepreneur you may have queries in various areas for your success, it’s very advisable that you involve the professional advise for most informed decision making. You get to understand and approach various arising issues such as technology,economic changes, competition,  value addition etc for your business good. 
  • Financial support services – Many entrepreneurs face financial challenges and resort for bank financing, this corporation gives an opportunity for long term credit facilities to  micro~small and medium enterprises for acquisition of assets, working capital at favourable rates. So if you have a good business idea with  ability  to improve the industrial sector then go these financing. Special credit facilities are also allocated for the marginalised regions and groups to boost MSMEs. 
  • Development of Industrial Estates and provision of MSMEs incubation services– This corporation has several industrial estates centres all-over the country, within these centres they provide shades, workshops  and grounds for MSMEs to operate at subsidised costs. Another key product here is business incubation where MSMEs get their ideas developed and undergo all kinds of business training &  mentorship, upon graduation they are  accorded with the necessary resources for the setup of industry and successful  operations through continous support by the corporation. 
  • Value addition – In collaboration with other stakeholders , KIE is bridging the gap in the industry where entrepreneurs wants to advance the productivity of their raw materials, value addition boosts your business competitive advantage as you will be step ahead of your competitors. This concept has ability of transforming the agricultural sector where entrepreneurs get to make several useful  products out of same raw material hence improving it’s value. 
  • Business development services – From an idea stage, entrepreneurs get the idea transformed to a business with its all aspects developed and entrepreneur equipped with skills to operate the business. This is done according to the requirements of the business idea. 
  • Linkages between small businesses and large corporations – MSMEs get networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and marketing services, sub~contracting is also another key product as small business enjoy several opportunities to work with the big corporations for services and product provision. 
An incubated SME at KIRDI packing soya drink

  

2. KIRDI 

This corporation is mandated to undertake multidisciplinary research and development in industrial and allied technology. It has several programs that you need to know as an entrepreneur namely :

  • Development of small and medium Enterprises with an objective of enhancing and transforming them into industries– From idea stage, the product of the SMEs are successfully developed to business through assistance of the professionals and collaboration with other stakeholders. 
  • Establishment  of an incubation fund and development of an elaborate incubation programme involving key stakeholders, to mitigate against the low survival rate of the MSMEs– Incubation programs under Kirdi Enterprise services (KES)  are in various pilot plants mandated with several duties such as food processing, ICT, engineering development services, leather development. The incubation program takes a given period time within which the incubatees will undergo product development, training and mentorship programs for effective business management. Later on after successful graduation, the SMEs is equipped with the necessary resources to set up the developed industry outside to promote entrepreneurship and job creation. 
  • Provision of training and consultancy services – these services are not limited to incubated SMEs only, other external entrepreneurs with desire of knowledge and skills in certain area of interest such as food processing, ICT are trained on the same and expert opinions offered by the professionals to address various arising issues. 
  • Sale of the intellectual property based products and services – After successful product development, the product must conform with the quality standards for market use, the corporation assists the SMEs to get this through collaboration with other stakeholders and opportunity to use the corporation intellectual property at relatively lower fee for quality assurance. 
  • Network and synergy – networking is one of best assets an entrepreneur should ever have, here entrepreneurs get to interact with others through programs such as exhibition, plant visits, investment forums under the corporation banner, working together with other entrepreneurs and stakeholders the SMEs get collective effort to advocate success of their enterprises. 

Let’s get out and maximize the use of resources that are available and idle in these corporations  to boost our entrepreneurial abilities. 

More still need to be done by these corporation on investing in marketing especially on social media platform so that the youths who are the targeted audience to get to know of these opportunities, sponsoring events and more exhibitions and external trainings will also reduce public ignorance on the same. Customer care services also needs to be reconsidered, when a customer visit the firm they should always  get satisfactory services within stipulated time and with the right professional. The staffs should always be there to serve the customers, here still need adjustments as most of public service staffs tends to stay away from duties or report late to work as compared to private sector. This tends to discourage several customers. 

What viable business should I venture into?  

Sizeable number of people ranging from youths to women regardless of economic class are looking for better ways to be self sufficient & boost their personal financial stability, their best destination that they continue to embrace is entrepreneurship.

There are those with financing required for their Ventures but still face setback of how to identify viable business to run, and lack those to adequately advise them on the best move to take hence they remain undecided and continue to procrastinate thus slowly killing their aspirations.
You will agree with me that the mostly asked questions here are, what business should I start?, What business can I start that requires little capital?, What business will give me quick returns?. Unfortunately there is no straight answer to the questions that I can give you since several factors needs to be considered before deciding on particular viable venture to suit you.
In the move to help you and others who have had these  questions continuing to cloud their minds, I will dissect the query to atleast leave you in a better ground to further your entrepreneural expectations.
First you need to understand key considerations that determines viable business idea for you.

  • Passion /interest – I consider this as the number one determinant of a successful business idea. Knowing something that you love doing brings up opportunity for viable venture. If you have passion in guiding and directing others, then it offers you better ground to start a consultancy firm. Passion is very key in business as it will always give you the inner drive to run the business despite the challenges that may be present. It keeps you going. Best ideas are founded from the love of the activity. Don’t run into an idea that you don’t enjoy doing  as it will impact the business in the long run. 
  • Challenges as opportunity – Best business ideas tends to solve the problem identified in the market as customers will tend to embrace it much better. In business you need to know that it is not all about money but solving and satisfying  customer’s desire hence others will come into place. If your locality faces problem of water borne diseases and lack of safe water for example,  then it’s viable to venture into water treatment and safe water supplies. 
  • Market gap-when you do market research you get to understand market better by weighing into what is in the market and customer’s expectations hence enabling you to come up with an idea that will be viable in your locality. You need to do this in your own market because what may work for others may not work for you so are required to be smart. 
  • Available resources around you – It’s prudent to make use of what you have within your reach as you aim to grow later. The resources will support success of the business and provide you with the opportunity of a business. For example you may have a vehicle that most of the time remain idle in your compound, it provides you with the opportunity to turn it to part time taxi business rather than having it idle. You need to have entrepreneural mindset with the limited resources that you may have. 
  • Knowledge, skills and expertise – The knowledge and skills you have will offer an opportunity for viable business believe it or not. If you have some skills in automotive maintenance for example,  then it presents viable chance to start and run your own garage. Direct your expertise to the right use. 
  • Government regulations – Following government policies and regulations determines the best idea within your environment, it must always conform to the policies set a side. You need to understand this and other several factors that determines success of a business. 

Second you need to explore and understand avenues where you get to learn of business opportunities  which you can  later live to implement, 

  1. Media – Key mandate of media is to be informative and educative as much as possible, spare your time to follow entrepreneurship programs  on your television, radio,newspapers. Many have benefited from such programs such as Shark tank, learning from other entrepreneurs and opportunities available gives you the idea and urge to settle down on some good idea. Mainstream media has taken the whole thing to the next level, you get to learn from several blog posts, youtube instructional videos and many more. Maximize these platforms  to grow. 
  2. Hobbies – That thing which you enjoy doing can lead to viable business, if you love music for example, you can rise up to be music trainer and grab the opportunity in those schools who may be in need of trainers and instructors. Several people are making their earnings from playing which was just a hobby, so think ahead about your hobby and talent. 
  3. Trade fairs and exhibitions – Maximize these platform as you get to learn about new product in the market and creative ways of advancing and improving your products hence coming up with new and improved ideas for your market. It also provide platform for networking that should be an asset to your entrepreneural journey. 
  4. Research – Through research you get to identify the gap in the market and customer needs to fullfied thus giving birth to a business product. 
  5. Creativity and innovation – This is critical part that plays role in idea generation, several methods are used here from brainstorming to benchmarking which all leads to creation of new and improved product in the market to beat the ever increasing competition. 
  6. Knowledge, skills and experience – The experience in a particular field helps in developing business idea. 
  7. Response and complaints – proper channels for interactions with customers provides opportunities for business idea to satisfy customers need.

Lastly, I will try to outline several options  of business ideas that you may evaluate and implement if suites you, they generally require  relatively lesser financing. You can further learn from the several sources as highlighted above. 

  1. Restaurants – In food industry you never go wrong,With passion, skills in catering and hospitality then this might be a good business. 
  2. Fashion and design – This  market is wide and dynamic that requires creativity and innovation to survive, if you have some determinants that can suit the business then don’t hesitate, live your dream. 
  3. Consultancy services – This you can offer in accordance with the knowledge, skills and experience that you may have in a given field. Get paid by offering your guidance and advise. 
  4. Laundromat – opportunity for this business is just amazing, from colleges to apartments people tend to be busy but need to be tidy in their clothing, provide the service and earn cash. 
  5. Cleaning services – Many companies are opting to provide tenders to cleaning companies to do cleaning in their  premises, it’s an opportunity that you can maximize. 
  6. Agribusiness – Farming is one of the best ideas that you can hardly fail, use the resources you have and expert opinion to venture into it. It’s has even reached to the  level of value addition so the opportunity is just great. 
  7. Online business – several people are earning money online, blogging, freelance writing,social media marketing are some of the opportunities. Get to learn more on this and maximize the platform. 
  8. Day care – Most of the parents are busy and needs security of their children while away at work hence increase in need for the day care, if you have the love for children and always care for them then make a try of this business. 
  9. Gift packaging services – Designed and branded packages are increasingly embraced, earn money especially during festivity and events by venturing into this business. 
  10. Music instructor – several schools and groups needs this expertise, turn your hobby, skills and knowledge of music to earning  cash. 
  11. Photography- There is constant need for quality photos by clients during events and celebrations  if you have what it takes interms of resources and passion then tap into the opportunity. 
  12. Event manager- Everything is going professional and clients don’t want disappointments during their functions. Events such as birthday parties are taking same direction. Assure your friends of your capabilities in this area and get to earn cash.  
  13. Interior decoration – Your expert opinion and service provision here is key to this lowly untapped market. 
  14. Cyber Cafe – Cyber services are required everywhere with the current technology. 
  15. Second hand materials – This taps into the large market of the middle class and Lower class income earners. They are affordable, unique hence loved by many. 
  16. Fruit vending – Due to increased proper nutritional awareness, proper eating practices is increasingly embraced. It requires little capital to start but return is guaranteed. 
  17. Hawking – Move around to the busy areas and meet the customers with the products that they mostly need. It’s a very flexible business and easy to start. 
  18. Mobile garage – Be more creative and get out to meet and provide services to your customers where they are rather than them coming to your garage. It will thrive. 
  19. Website development – more small business and companies/organizations are increasingly demanding for website to meet and interact with customers virtually. Get your expertise and knowledge here to get paid. 
  20. Mobile app development  – This is new idea but continues to be relevant as there is increased users to drive various agendas. 
  21. Courier service – partner with stores, offices, organizations to deliver goods to their clients. Online shopping provide better opportunity for this business. 
  22. Movies shop – sell new movies, documentaries, songs to customers, entertainment industry is loved by many, tap onto it. 
  23. Water refill point – Get bottles and treatment plant and get the business running, safe water is a necessity. 
  24. Milk dispenser – Fresh milk at affordable price convenient to customer capability is great opportunity. 
  25. Cosmetic and boutique – Tap into this fashion conscious group and provide their needs from body lotions to trendy and classy clothes. This may thrive well near colleges, town centres where target market are mostly based. 
  26. Recreational centres – Recreational activities is increasingly valued by many, especially for children.so you can provide swimming, merry go rounds, face painting, skating for the children at a fee especially during weekends, fundays and holidays. 
  27. Moving companies – Hundreds of people relocate  to different places such as homes, offices everyday and requires proper and professional handling of their properties when moving out to new place, You can tap into this by providing the services required in addition to partnering with other service providers that customer may need such as interior decoration, plumbing, electrical services.
  28. Baking – With increased nutritional consciousness, there is demand for composite baked products of increased nutritional value due to its  natural nature such as sweet potatoes bread, banana breads and buns. You can go ahead and get the necessary training about this and utilise the available raw materials within your locality to grow your business. 
  29. Car wash – Many people require their locomotives to be cleaned, With call for recycling and water conservation  there are technology in place that puts this into consideration and also mobile making it even convenient to serve customers who may not want to come to your car wash point. With or without the technology this is a business that is easy to start just with the simple resources required. 
  30. Business plan writing – There are many entrepreneurs out there with business ideas but don’t know where to start from, if you have the knowledge and skills  and a laptop then get out there and let this group get to know importance of the business plan and help them in drafting one at a fee. 


    This is just an eye opener to you, get out and do  more on your  research and look for advice of business mentors to help you realize your entrepreneural ambitions. 

    “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%”-Rob Kalin, Etsy founder. 

    Thanks for reading and see you next as I will address other entrepreneural issues. Let’s grow together. 

     

    Employee and employer theft continues to stagnate many small businesses..Should we just surrender? 

    Once bitten twice shy, I once came to believe that as an entrepreneur you have to learn from your mistakes and failures are just part of on-the-job training. 

    I owned a very vibrant boutique shop with some few employees just to help me in sales and distribution and everything went well until some period when I could no longer make day to day supervision and management due other demanding engagements that I had, I started receiving disturbing responses from my customers about price hikes, unreliable working hours, unavailability of stock just to mention. I had to spare some good time from my tight schedule to evaluate the business performance looking at the various accounting books, sales pattern in an effort to ensure the business doesn’t take the most feared direction of slow and silent death. The results were clearly showing a very properly planned scheme which was slowly but painfully reaping alot from the business. Atleast I realized this before everything has worsened, the profit margins was on its way to downfall. 

    I may not have experienced much of this but through day to day interaction with other small business owners, the theft cases has been major stumbling block to their success.
    Most of the studies conducted shows that small business are mostly affected by the thefts, supervisors and employees agrees to steal to make up for low wages atleast as shown by one of report. If you steal nothing you are portrayed dangerous because you’re a potential rat, If you steal too much you are well dangerous because your actions puts everyone at risk hence you will be rediculed and shunned by peers another study says . All these studies and experiences translates to how our small businesses are continously being chocked to death and hence calls for reevaluation of tacts to curb the menace.
    It’s prudent to diagnose  this  problem and get to understand what bring these thefts to our businesses, some of the responses I got from employees who have once been victims is that:

    1. They feel mistreated and disrespected in the business hence the best way to revenge is to steal from the business. 
    2. They are overworked and underpaid leading them to theft in order to get much that they need. 
    3. Everyone does it so one has nothing to loose, this is so unfortunate indeed. 
    4. Some does it out of excitement just to get away with it. Are you also surprised with this? 

    Upto to now I know that you have some idea on how these people does this stealing and what they steal. Just to mention a few methods used :

    • Collaboration between workers and suppliers to hike prices, fake supplies. 
    • Manupulating books of accounts and having fictious accounts 
    • Taking cash from till box
    • Transferring business stock home 
    • Leaking vital information to competitors just for personal gains 
    • Continous discounting to friends and family 

    These theft cases have even reduced trust within the business leading to tough time running the small businesses thus calling for more  professional ways of prevention and control if we can’t eradicate it so that sanity and life can be reassured in the business. Below are highlights of some of the measures and steps that small business needs to consider in the fight rather than choosing the option of surrendering and living with the problem :

    You need to properly know and understand your employees 

    This is a precaution that you need to take even before hiring the employee, take time to research about his/her background, contact referees and even previous employer for better understanding. Get also to know reasons for them leaving past job. Even after hiring you need to closely work and evaluate the employees just to identify any suspicious changes. Have some good relationship with them in order to provide condusive working environment. 

    Close supervision 

    You don’t need to be at the neck of the employees all the time but you need to know what they do so that you can identify any gaps, do constant follow ups and evaluations to ensure everything is running in the right direction. 

    Encourage cash less transactions 

    Cash less transaction limits the temptations of picking cash from till and improves accountability as cash are less handled by employees. You can encourage mobile transaction and other cash less system within your business capabilities. 

    Have different individuals handle different tasks 

    This will improve accountability within the workers as mistakes and schemes of others in the system can be easily identified. It also limits the room for covering up for plans of stealing which could be easily be done by one individual doing different tasks. Just for example you can have different employees dealing with invoices, banking cash, store keeping, sales etc. 

    Continous audits 

    This you can do on weekly basis and is more prudent to involve an outsider who will diligently evaluate the books and raise audit queries where necessary. Doing it on impromptu basis can send good message to the employees to be always timely and accountable in undertakings. 

    Computerised security measures 

    Technology has advanced and small businesses should focus on the long run importance of embracing it despite the cost. Consider having surveillance system that monitors closely and daily activities of the employees and customers in the business. Adoption of screening system to identify fraud is also advisable. Computerised financial and inventory management systems also helps in determining inconsistencies hence you can work closely with experts to help you employ best technique for your business. 

    Create and sustain a platform for reporting fraud 

    Having proper structure  in place to ensure anyone in the business can report fraud is one of the best way of dealing with the theft as it makes everyone responsible without fear of victimization. You can use the report to properly conduct investigations before taking actions. 

    Have in place company policy and let everyone understand 

    Company policy gives clear precaution and guidelines that everyone in business get to understand and adhere to, failure to which he/she will have to face the consequences. 

    You can consider having amnesty day 

    This provides the employees with opportunity to return all the stolen properties of the business without facing any legal implications, this has worked in various cases and can work for you as it will provide second chance to fraudsters to make new beginning with the business. 

    Rotation of employees to various duties 

    Keeping one employee in the same job for a long time can be breeding ground to adopt some unscrupulous methods in the undertakings. This will ensure accountability of each person as there will be no room for messing up and waiting for others to come along and clean your own mess. 

    Insurance cover 

    Much can be said but business fraud is close to inevitable so it is very advisable for the small business to have insurance covers against theft to atleast lessen the loss whenever it occurs. 

    Treat you employees well 

    Having a happy and satisfied employee is one of the key secret to business success. Have a listening ear to the concerns of the staff and treat them with respect so that they feel more comfortable and part of the business hence all their actions will be driven towards the policy and goals of the business. 

    Before I close up on my blog , I need to write alittle more about about the employers who are as well involved in the theft but less are talked about their cases but they continue to hurt the SMEs. They are always not  supervised, audited just to mention a few, what should business do on their case? 

    • Adherence to the company policy, rules and guidelines should be followed by all despite the rank and incase of violation of any proper steps should be followed. 
    • Involve professionals to run the business, having a neutral and expert to run the business will be the move and give room for external questioning. 
    • Employer need to be self disciplined and should shy away from any action that may harm the goals of the business. 
    • Have external auditors who will constantly evaluate any gaps in the business and propose necessary steps to be taken.

    I personally employed some of measures to curb theft when my business was facing the same challenge many of our SMEs goes through and I can proudly say that the results was positive , we live to learn from each other and I hope this blog post today will help you handle better the worry of theft cases if you are already in business and to those who plans to be involved in business the post will atleast back up your plans and decisions. 

    It is always right to detect a fraud, and to perceive a fully, but it is very often wrong to expose either. A man of business should always have his eyes open, but must often seen to have them shut“-Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. 

    Let’s keep interactions going so that we improve our entrepreneurship abilities, thank you for reading. 


    Are you having hardtime operating part-time business? This is all you need to know 


    It’s now crystal clear that close to everyone in full – time employment /engagement have opted for part-time entrepreneurship project while some are still haunted by the idea but are just evaluating the best business idea to bounce on, regrettably, to some it’s only courage still drawing them back before getting everything up and running. Surely times are tougher but people still have bills to pay and live the better if not the best lifestyle they have always yearned for, side hustle is the only solution many have resorted to as the formidable saviour.
    Dedicating to the entrepreneural life requires alot of hardwork, focus but people juggling between full-time engagements and part-time business faces plenty of challenges but still they learn alot from the management contributing to their personal growth and positive impacts on the various undertakings. I can boldly and confidently testify that more goodies come along with the side hustles other than concentrating on the end of the month salary which may not satisfy your needs for long,alot of companies are doing retrenchments while others faces receivership among many more risks involved in employment, what back plan do you have in occurance of such scenarios?
    For those already involved in part-time business have ever thought of transforming your side hustle to main hustle? before that great break – through, let me share with you some insights that can be governing tool towards running and maintaining part-time business successfully despite challenges.

    Commitment 
    For any decision made a sacrifice must have been made as well, You need to prepare psychologically on how to spend some of the extra time that you previously had, no much of TV watching, little disruption  of  the family and friends time as the bonus time will be spent on managing the enterprise as well as networking . It’s also very key that you know and understand your self so as to identify what you are best in and put focus on it. All in all, all effort and discipline should be directed towards business success. 

    Constant evaluation of the business idea 

    Putting the project into operation you get to learn what works best for you and not, through regular evaluation from the laid down structures including feedback you can easily abandon others driving the enterprise back, have the courage to make adjustments to suit business  environmental changes for success. 

    SWOT analysis 

    There is nothing as important in this jungle business operation as dissecting and identifying your strengths and skills that the business shall depend on for success, if it’s blogging then use it to promote your business brand. Knowing your weaknesses and threats help you in making key decisions  for the good of the project such as outsourcing other experts to help you manage tasks that you are limited interms of knowledge and skills. 

    Uniqueness / competitive advantage 

    Your part-time business is also in fierce competition with others hence you must always strive to be upfront to the advantage of the enterprise. Focus on creative service provisions, unique products, marketing, public relations just to be always ahead of the competitors. 

    Achievable and realistic goals 

    Goals are always driving factors to success, this can be broken down to short term such as daily, weekly and monthly under laid down targets, you should always strive to achieving them for common good. Everyone’s effort in the business should be articulated to the common goal set. The goals should be set according to the capability and resources within the business. Achievement of set targets need to be recognized and celebrated in order to keep the momentum of hardworking. 

    Outsourcing 

    As a part time business owner you need to work closely with others in different field of expertise that are necessary in the business. After identifying the weaknesses, it’s very advisable that you get help from outside to boost further your ambitions.If you are continously face daunting tasks of marketing, then don’t shy off to involve an  expert to work things out for your business. 

    Time Management 

    This is one of the  critical attribute that a successful entrepreneur have to portray. Balancing between the daily engagements and the part-time business you have to program yourself well so that either of the hustle is not affected. Do the right thing at the right time and in the right place should be guiding principle here, while you are are in your full time engagement concentrate and give your best while the extra hours after or even before the daily undertakings should be promptly used for the better of your project. Plan your time well and remain discipline as possible so as perform your tasks as per the targets. 

    Build on support from family and friends 

    Having full support of family and friends rallying behind you is one of greatest boost you can have as a part time business owner, explain them what kind of the business you are involved in, risks and challenges that may be involved but give them hope of the benefit of the business when it succeeds, You can bank on involving some of them in the operation either in your presence or absence. They can simply help cutting costs that you may incur by outsourcing employees. 

    Have a coach /mentor 

    You atleast need someone to share your worries, challenges and plans with so that you get their expert opinion and guidance to atleast keep you on track. As a part time entrepreneur you can engage others who may have succeeded in running parallel businesses and experts in various business fields to give you the entrepreneural nourishment. 

    Positively embrace failure and learn from mistakes 

    Failure isn’t an option it’s the entrepreneurs on-the-job training, through operation of the business you will fail and it should be a better platform to learn to better the future. Being in part-time business, learn from your own mistakes made and strive to better things from the experience. 

    Management skills 

    Any business involves management of resources, either financial or human resources. These skills are key as both resources impacts on the business, as a part time business owner for example you may be working with several employees and it’s very important to ensure their welfare and needs are catered for as well as smooth relationship with them as they interact with the customers on daily basis hence little discord may  negatively impact on the customers loyalty to the business. 

    Focus 

    You should have vision of your business properly articulated with the objectives all put into perspective for everybody in the business to understand and work towards it. You should be careful from any kind of distraction that may drive you back but work towards the common good and plans you set aside for your project. 

    Training and personal development 

    As an entrepreneur you must find time to be involved in any personal development programs organized by various groups and institutions, this will always improve your ability and confidence on different issues. It will as well equip you with knowledge and upper hand on how to tackle current business issues. You should trickle this down to your employees if any for the common good of the business. As a part time business owners going for trainings and short course on business management and any other important subject  may be viable. 

    Good public relations machinery 

    Maintaining positive and mutual relationship with your customers should be unquestionable. Ensure you have platforms where you regularly and timely interact with your customers in order to get their feedbacks on various issues for proper decision making. Ensure quality service provision for the sustainability of the business.

    Effective business plan 

    Through business plan you are able to articulate your idea and realise various gaps faced in the business requiring adjustments. The business plan will always give direction on various issues and highlight prior preparation on key business areas such as financing, marketing, management so that future challenges are minimized. 
    Having the above factors in mind and action,  then running a part time business should be close to easy if was  not easy to you previously. For those aspiring to go into side hustle you are better placed having read this article this early you are good to go just kill that enemy of entrepreneurship that’s procrastination and get things working now. 

    “If you are interested in the living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them”-Ryan Freitas, About. me co-founder.