As a small business or start up, Have you created an avatar of what your business should look like when it's way up there??
So the other day I was on a WhatsApp call with a client in the UK (yes I've learned how to target foreign lucrative markets from Amos Wekesa ????????). They wanted our services/help with building a website and an app for their employee recruitment business. We discussed the terms at length and agreed to talk again some time mid next week after their directors meeting to commision the project. Why the urgency I asked because I could literally here it in their voice.
It's just frustration and anger. We just missed out on the £5k (UGX 25M) government stimulus for small businesses in covid for such a flimsy reason like not having a website or any other form of online business presence. Are you sure that's the only reason I wondered!? We are also not registered for VAT they continued but that was only discovered as they tried to ascertain if we were actually an operational business. Am sure if we had a website and solid online presence maybe they wouldnt have dug deeper hahaha. Exactly maybe I laughed too. It's was really sad a moment I could tell. £5k is alot of money for a small business to miss out on especially during this period. I would personally not forgive myself for that either. It would haunt me all my life hahaha.
We discussed the terms and agreed to start work next week after a 50% deposit had been made. How do you want us to pay you!? You can send the money to our ($) account (bank to bank transfer) or pay through visa whatever makes life easy for you. I have seen businesses lose money due to limited payment options. Businesses that lose money because they didn't have a business bank account or didn't take cheques or accept electronic payments because they didn't have those options avaiable for their clients restricting payments to only cash.
Why am I sharing this!? Because I love using real life business experiences to teach people (those who care to learn). Very many times small businesses under-look the importance of formality, the importance of professionalising their businesses and by doing so shut themselves to potential opportunities of real business growth. I accept that some times it goes down to ignorance but ignorance is no defence on these streets. Ignorance comes at a very high cost that's why business owners ought to keep on their toes. Keep tabs the market, keep tabs on your competitors, keep tabs on policy and every thing else. "I didn't know", is a very costly business statement and is punishable by loss of money or an opportunity to make money.
As a small business or start up create an avator of what your business should look like when it's way up there. List down the things a business of that nature should have and then start working on having them one by one. You can also get a model business to look up to like YOUNG TREPS looks up to American Consulting firm, Mackinsey & Company. Understand how that business operates, what systems and structures they have in place and replicate them or better still better them. Create something like your architectural plan then start building based on that plan so that when the building is done everything on the plan will be on the ground and all you'll be looking at is a wonderfully built successful business with everything in the right place.
Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is a Speaker,Writer, Columnist with the C.E.O Magazine and Contributor with the Nile Post.He is also a Business Consultant with YOUNG TREP East Africa's No.1 Business Management and Consultancy firm that helps people start and grow profitable businesses.