You are a startup. I would rather call you Statio.
As owner (or co-owner) of a business enterprise who, by risk and initiative, attempts to make profits. You deserve respect. And I (like everyone else) owe you one.
Starting a business is tough and challenging on all fronts – especially in Africa. Here’s some wisdom that may ease your load as you navigate the new terrain. I will share them in a series I branded as #LetterToStatio.
Here’s my introductory note:
Let me start by saying “You have no much room for error.” Due to the fact that you have limited resources, a failure to maximize what you’ve been given could end up holding your business back from achieving the growth it needs to thrive. However, if you properly utilize the resources you have, you will spark the ignition of innovation, metamorphose your brand identity and drive profitability.
Not all startups enjoy funding or are lucky to have an angel investor for growth acceleration. In most cases, the reverse is the case. In the case that you found a startup that’s made it big and you’ve likely found a startup that knows how to maximize resources. Globally, 95 percent of all startups get off the ground with their own money, or that of a close friend or family member. You are not alone!
Access to limited resources is an energizer, not a death sentence! It should force you to seek good partnerships, take calculated risks, think creatively and spot opportunities for your enterprise – that you may not have sought if circumstances were different.
Under-utilize human capital at your peril! As a startup, no greater resource is as important than the people you have on your team. You must steer the ship to always gravitate towards value and contribution. You have to be conscious of what each individual is bringing to the table. Don’t negotiate this.
Don’t confuse busy with productivity. They do not mean the same thing. As a startup, you owe your dream, the proactive dedication in addressing the utilization of time and energy. More importantly, you must continually weed distractions from taking over your set business objectives and maintain an environment that motivates you (and your team/partners) to work.
A business is often only as strong as its relationships. Partnerships with other growing companies (within and outside your industry) can help spark innovation among your team and provide outlets for attracting new customers from a unique base of consumers. Ensure that every relationship formed is a two-way street that ensures both parties are benefiting from the connection. If you have a good partnership, people will sense it and be instantly attracted to working with you.
In concluding, let’s talk money. We all intuitively know this: It costs money to start and run a business. I have not met any entrepreneur worth their salt who forges ahead without a budget in their back pocket. You must do business from a budget. As you guide your startup to success, this budget will be the compass, blueprint, and backbone for your business all wrapped up in one tool.