So you’ve set up a good foundation for your business, opened an outlet and even hired one or two employees to help run its day-to-day operations – what next? Most entrepreneurs especially here in Kenya have a tendency of getting a little lax once they get past the “I want to start” phase.
Suddenly, the zeal and hunger for growth dwindles as the once promising entrepreneurs fast retreat to the dungeons of their comfort zone(s). Unknown to them, entrepreneurship is more than just the act of setting up shop. There are large swathes of opportunities to be explored and it only takes a little more effort to get started on the growth curve.
As Nelson Mandela once said, there is no passion to be found in playing small; in settling for a life that is less than the one you’re capable of living. These are some 6 business growth tips that can bring that much-needed umph to your biashara.
Tips For Growing a Business in Kenya
Diversifying is a good growth strategy, as it allows you to tap into multiple streams of inome that can often increase your profit margins and fill seasonal voids. For instance, if you are running an accounting and tax consultancy why not diversify into public speaking?
If you are a farmer why not diversify into value addition? Rolling out new lines allows you to expand your opportunities and increase your presence in the marketplace – that in turn gives you the credibility to seal much bigger deals.
5.Try Your Luck With Government Tenders
30% of government tenders are reserved for youth, women and people with disabilities. And while you might want to argue that getting a tender when you’re a “small person” is similar to going out on a futile fishing mission on the banks of polluted Nairobi River; there are indeed opportunities available for those who are patient enough.
So instead of limiting your growth potential to the purchasing power of your retail customers, you can regularly try your luck by applying for tenders. For instance, if you run a small bookshop in say Bomet; why not visit local schools and drop your tender documents when opportunities arise?
Tenderpreneurship is one of the fastest ways to make money in Kenya – and if growth is what you’re looking for, then this is an area worth exploring.
4.Don’t Underestimate The Internet
Bill Gates once said – in the future, there will only be two kind of business, those with an internet presence, and those with no business at all. Perhaps this is overstating the case, but still the reality is that the internet has become an integral part of modern-day business. Taking your small shop stall online can freely expose you to over 40,000 people who search for business on Google every second.
If you still think that the internet is all about Kilimani Mums and trending of irrelevant hashtags, think again. The internet is an animal. You can either tame it and use it to grow or be swallowed by it.
3.Think Global, Act Local
Don’t limit your mind to this small corner called Kenya. The world is bigger than just Nairobi and its environs which means you can expand further and further. Have you ever asked yourself why there are so many businesses from China being set-up locally? Or why Volkswagen is setting up an assembly plant in Thika while they have all the space they need back in Germany?
It’s all about that global thinking. So build your networks further and wide. Don’t hesitate to make that trip to Juba to see what opportunities are available there or even Kigali or even Kampala. You will only need your ID (or even student ID) to cross the East African borders. Think global, act local.
2.License & Patent Your Products
One fact you have to live with as an entrepreneur/innovator is that we live in a copy-paste society. Uber comes in to offer Taxi services and one month down the line we have over a dozen other copy-cats competing for space with Uber.
Sportpesa comes in with sports-betting, less than 24 months down the line we have countless betting companies setting up shop. We live in a copy-paste world and the only way for you to guarantee your growth is by patenting and licensing your unique ideas.
Look for a good lawyer who specializes in intellectual property rights and submit your precious ideas to KIPPRA. That move alone can protect your small startup from the greed of multinationals that survive by copying and commercializing small firms’ ideas.
1.Adapt to New Changes
In this fast-paced world, old strategies don’t work. It’s the era of “Business Unusual”. Old landline telephone companies resisted change, they were wiped off the market by the entry of mobile phones. Traditional post offices resisted change, they were completely wiped off the market by the entry of email systems.
Likewise, if you don’t adapt to new changes; if you don’t embrace new thinking going forward you will be wiped off the market. Case in point, consider that the East African countries are considering banning importation of second hand clothes into the region. My question for the mtumba seller out there is – how prepared are you for this disruption?
Don’t be like your competitors who are stuck in the cycle of running a hand-to-mouth kind of business. Don’t be content in playing small. Rise up today. It’s time to rekindle the spark in your business.