Hazardous decision-making or management errors are at the root of the failures of entrepreneurs seeking to perpetuate their activity.
Everyone agrees on this: the timidity with which the government authorities of the majority of French-speaking African countries initiate structural reforms does not give entrepreneurs the opportunity to perpetuate their activity. But the failure of these structures is also due to risky decision-making and gross management errors on the part of business leaders. Here are the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs.
Do not be accompanied by an incubator
An aspiring entrepreneur, whether or not a graduate of a major business school, must rub shoulders with the reality on the ground and be supported in his efforts and first steps. However, the majority of project leaders in Africa, particularly in the French-speaking sphere, launch their activity without seeking the advice of seasoned professionals. As a result, they often lag behind in gaining efficiency, legitimacy and credibility in their industry. The bosses of start-ups however have the possibility of requesting the services of incubators like BantuHub, ActivSpace or CTIC Dakar, places of emulation and meeting where one can exchange with experienced people, some of which can even act as mentors for young entrepreneurs.
Do not test your idea on the market
Most of the files that I analyze on the www.startupstreet.biz platform are exclusively written down on paper, without the concept actually having seen the light of day. Even when there is a prototype or beta version of a product, the concept has not been tested with consumers. However, validating your idea on the market has the advantage of collecting comments, criticisms and suggestions from customers in order to continuously refine the characteristics of the product until the needs of consumers are fully satisfied.
Refrain from thinking bigger
The small size of the projects is explained by the fact that the entrepreneurs are not ambitious enough and are limited to selling their production or ensuring their services at the local level. Since the middle classes are still in their infancy and are mainly concentrated in the capitals, low-income families often make up the bulk of the population in the national territories. Based on this observation, the project leaders cannot envisage sustained growth in their structure. They must therefore revise their ambitions upwards by trying to gain market share at the sub-regional level, whether in the CEMAC zone – Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa – or ECOWAS – Economic Community of States from West Africa – or, why not, across the continent.
Do not surround yourself with qualified collaborators
It is often the case that the skills of project leaders are not in line with the core business of the company. The costs of formalities are such that most entrepreneurs will prefer to combine the functions of manager and technician. One of the causes of entrepreneurial failure lies in the lack of skills relating to product design or the provision of the service offered. To maximize the chances of project success, managers must surround themselves with people with solid expertise and good technical knowledge of the product.
Do not prepare the interview with your banker
According to the testimony of entrepreneurs that I have been able to gather, financial institutions are reluctant to accept requests for financing. In question: the lack of professionalism of many project leaders who are content to tell their interlocutor the amount of funds they need, without having carried out any real preparation. Approaching your banker implies a certain formalism: the presentation of a viable business plan, a structured verbal argument, the ability to negotiate …