How NOT To Start A Business in Kenya

Kuza Ideas in Kenya

The internet is full of articles that list the basic details an entrepreneur should follow before starting a business. We wanted to take the opposite approach. We wanted to list a few things that budding entrepreneurs should NOT DO.

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you have a business idea that you know would be successful if you started your own business? Do you fancy the idea of becoming your own boss? – DON’T DO THESE 5 THINGS.

(1)Don’t rush to quit your JOB

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Most experts will tell you to quit your job so that you can pursue entrepreneurship full-time. The argument is that it takes much longer to succeed in business when only part-time efforts are used.

True, we agree as well. However, we think that the more prudent approach is NOT TO QUIT your job, and rather test your business idea while maintaining your job for a few months before venturing out fully.

By taking this approach, you will have the confidence and peace of mind to test various options alternatives without the fear of outright failure.

Important Point To Note

Establishing a profitable business takes time. If you were to quit your job and dive into business full-time, would you have enough funds to support your needs should things go wrong?

(2)Don’t start for the sake of the MONEY

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Courtesy: African Markets

The moment “making money” becomes your primary goal, “delivering value to customers” takes a back seat. And when that happens, no matter how nice your business is, it will automatically take a downward spin.

Actually, nothing kills a business faster than putting money before adding value to customers. So when you’re planning to start a business, we suggest you minimize every possible thought about making money and focus entirely on delivering superior value to clients.

Important Point To Note

This may not sound like a sweet point especially if you have the “get rich quick” mentality…but trust us, we are talking from research and experience. Most businesses that are started with the goal of making money don’t live to see their second birthday after inauguration.

(3)Don’t start because others are STARTING

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This is a common trend nowadays…some people rush to start a particular business because their friends are starting. Take for example the concept of “quail farming” which took the market by storm a few months back.

How many people are still making money from it today? Indeed, many are those who lost their money…simply because they made a decision to START simply because others were starting.

Important Point To Note

Start a business because it is what your soul desires and not what the society or your friends desire for you.

(4)Don’t rely on HEARSAY, research adequately

Information search

Oftentimes new entrepreneurs get so excited about the possibilities of a given idea that they forget to find out whether that idea is viable. For instance we once advised our fans on the possibility of importing watches from China and re-selling them locally for a profit.

The GOOD NEWS: Many fans liked the idea and some implemented it successfully. BAD NEWS: Some rushed to import watches even without researching and examining the viability of the idea. TERRIBLE NEWS: Those who did not research failed and some even lost their money.

Important Point To Note

Always research on these 3 things before starting: Competition, Availability of Customers, Your strengths and weaknesses.

(5)Don’t tell all of your friends about the business that you’re going to start someday


Most of us make this mistake…we go telling all of our friends and family members about the business (or businesses) that we want to start someday. Well, while this may be a good way to market your upcoming enterprise, we are of the opinion that you should not overdo it.

Bragging tends to raise your friends’ expectations of your business and this effect might find its way into your head and affect your composure.

Important Point To Note

Avoid attracting too many spectators around your business idea. Focus more of your energy and time to research and network building.

So what then is the right way to start a business?

  • Only start a business if you have identified a missing link in your world and you want to seal it.
  • Focus on becoming a problem solver…e.g if people are struggling with bad road transport services in your area, you can think of venturing into the matatu industry.
  • Start a business because you have something unique to offer to the market…if you don’t have anything unique to offer you’ll have difficulties attracting customers towards your products.
  • Go to the ground and research…don’t rely exclusively on Google and Facebook to obtain information. If you want to start car wash business say in Utawala estate in Nairobi we would recommend you follow these steps:

Step 1: Competitor Research: Visit a few competitor shops in the estate just to see how they are performing

Step 2: Customer Research: Do a brief survey of your customers…ask them what they would like to see being done in their estate

Step 3: Price Research: Look for places where you can get high quality supplies at the most affordable rates…your bargaining power is important in this case

Step 4: Do the Math: Sit down and do the math of: how much capital to invest, what unique products to introduce to the market etc.

Step 5: If the math does not seem to favor you…don’t invest in that idea.

Final Word

Well, this is a large article and we are glad that you have managed to read it to the end. As usual, we would like to hear from you. What are some of the mistakes that budding entrepreneurs make that you would like to caution them against?

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