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Starting a business is a daunting task for any entrepreneur. You may have a lot of questions and trepidation. You may be confused regarding where or how to get started. Through the mentoring that Biruwa is providing since 2011, we have developed a list of questions that we believe aspiring entrepreneur should be able to answer before starting a business.

Why do I want to be an entrepreneur and do I have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

  • Every individual will have a different reason to be an entrepreneur. Some simply do it to make money. Some want to solve problems. Some want to pursue their passions. You should be clear on why you want to do it.
  • Entrepreneurs need to be a strong leader, a good communicator, a competent manager, and much more. You need to have persistence and the ability to learn from failures. Not everyone can be a successful entrepreneurs. Therefore it is important to conduct your self-assessment to judge by yourself if you have the right aptitude to become an entrepreneur.
Do I really understand what my customers want and is my service or product really solving their problem?
  • Being an entrepreneur, problem identification is your first stage to define your idea. It helps you identify the gap you foresee in the market.
  • By identifying the problem that you foresee in the market you can promote your product / service to address such market needs.
  • It will also help you define the possible benefits of the product / service you have offered to reach those customer segments who will be facilitated with it and support your promotional activity.

Who is my target customer?

  • Identifying the consumer groups who are likely to purchase your product / services prior to launching your business is essential for every new business.
  • The idea behind identifying your target is to predetermine the customers who are facing the problem due to absence of your business in the market.
  • It will help you position your product / services to reach these market segments and help you map the channels to reach them.
What research do I need to do before I start?
  • Doing necessary homework before you start will give you an opportunity to identify potential the management or legal hassles before even starting the business.
  • Market research helps entrepreneurs assess their competitors, determine competition in the market and how they are positioning their product / services in the market.
Do I have the necessary skills and experience to run this business?
  • As an entrepreneur you need to have certain level of knowledge / experience about the idea you are pursuing to determine the strength and weakness in relation to your business idea.
  • Through this self assessment entrepreneurs will be able to determine the level of expertise needed to cater for shaping the businesses and facing the market challenges.
  • The assessment can help entrepreneurs figure out skills they need to learn or identify other partners / team members they need to recruit to fill this gap.
Can I find and build the right team required to build my business?
  • Starting a business is rarely an individual effort. You will require a team who is not just capable to execute on the idea but should be work together as a unit towards a singular vision.
  • Finding, retaining and managing the human resources required to build a business is a challenge for every entrepreneur. You should be confident that you have the capacity to build and lead the team required for your business success.

Does my family and personal situation enable me to start a business?

  • Being an entrepreneur requires your wholehearted effort and lot of sacrifices. Your family and loved ones should be able to support you during this initial period.
  • Many entrepreneurs assume that they will start making money immediately after starting a business, but that is hardly the case. You have to realistic understanding of your personal financial obligations before you start your business and be confident that you can afford to take the risk.

How much money do I need to start this business and do I have access to the required capital?

  • As an entrepreneur financial forecasting is a basic knowledge you have to have in order to determine the cost needed for your business.
  • It helps every entrepreneurs to project the cost in advance which helps them to know the amount they need to shape the business.
  • It will also help you determine if you want to raise debt or equity to fund your idea and have a budget plan ready to invest on your operational activity

I am prepared to loose my money if my business does not work out?

  • As an entrepreneur, you have to be fully aware that you may loose your investment if the business does not work out. You should only proceed if you can afford to take this risk. 
  • Having strategies to curve the risk and uncertainties let’s entrepreneurs to manage your cost and analyse your cashflow.

If you are a first time entrepreneur, answering these questions by yourself may be difficult. Therefore, we recommend that aspiring entrepreneurs seek out mentors. You may not necessarily find someone who has in-depth knowledge about your prospective business. In that case, seek out those who will be able to share their entrepreneurial experience and learning. Biruwa offers two free mentoring sessions to entrepreneurs who need support in answering these questions, so if you an aspiring or startup entrepreneur seeking support – sign up for our mentoring session.