There are always so many reasons why people start businesses today. From designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself it’s no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.
However, start a business is one thing but having the zeal to put the right measures for business success is another and that is why not every small business is positioned for success. In fact, only about two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least two years, and about half survive five years.
So you may be in for a real challenge when you decide to take the plunge, ditch your day job, and become a business owner.
In fact, Dr. Joyce Gikunda, Co-founder of Lintons Beauty World advises that before setting up a business, one should at least try employment to help raise finances and learn a thing or two from your employer around people management and so on.
However, if you choose the entrepreneurship journey early enough, the stage is often set in the beginning, so making sure you follow all of the necessary steps when starting your business can set the foundation for success.
Last week we had the privilege of having Dr. Joyce Gikunda CEO of Lintons Beauty World host our After-Office Hours session. Having been in the entrepreneurship space for over three decades, Dr. Joyce got to share some insights around how she has survived the tides in the business world especially in these harsh economic times:
Here are a few key takeaways from the session
Pitching your idea to investors, regardless if they are bankers, VCs or angels, can be intimidating, so prepare by putting yourself in the investor’s shoes. What do they look for when evaluating your company? Prove to potential investors that your company has the excellent financial performance.
Also understand and have the business essentials from values to your target audience, at your fingertips since you never know when and where you will meet with someone interested in your business.
Prove to your investors, with concrete evidence, that your market potential is big enough to make investing worthwhile. In addition, don’t look for investors who help in funding alone but those who help you in ideas and mentorship as well.
Most companies struggle financially. However, it takes so much zeal, dedication, and sacrifice to flourish. It is always good to know that this is a challenge to all businesses, despite the level they are in.
The good thing is that today we have so many ways of sourcing funds from, crowdfunding, loans and even sourcing funds from family and friends. In our case, Lintons is a fully family funded. Thirty years on with over 28 branches but we still make huge sacrifices.
Also, have an accounts team in place who will ensure that your books are on the check. When you start putting together your team, your accounts department should be the first that you think of.
Always remember that you do not have everything to succeed in business and that is why you need partners to come on board. But also do not walk into a partnership blindly.
Look for a partner who compliments your strengths and shares in the same vision as you. Look for two to three business partners who will help you grow your business. There is always power in creating the right partnerships.
Make sure that you are also quite careful while building partnerships. Like any relationship, partnerships can easily help you gain so much in business and if you get into a wrong partnership you can easily bring down a good product.
As the entrepreneurship ecosystem grows every day, for new entrepreneurs it means more competition for media attention, investors, and customers.
One option for startups is to partner with a, more established company in order to have a greater sense of stability as the new company grows. But how do you get the attention of behemoth companies and convince them to join forces with you?
Creating a partnership just for the sake of collaborating will be a waste of time. You need to have a good sense of what you want the end results of any partnership to be before you consider it.
When I began thinking about partnering with Estee Lauder our goal was to find a way to bring original beauty products to people who needed it. We wanted to be able to impact more lives and careers in a positive way. It was necessary that any organization we partnered with shared that same goal.
Before you even begin looking for another company to partner with, think about what you could do better. You also need to be patient. It took us over 13 years and several trips to Europe to finally have Estee Lauder products brought in the country.
Many companies have only the vaguest idea of what they would do if one of their key personnel like a CEO or COO had to be suddenly replaced. Some companies have never even thought about it. The wisest companies, however, have not only thought about it, but they also have created a strategic plan for such events. That plan is known as a succession plan.
A succession plan will help your business identify the key roles in your company and the employees best suited to fill those roles in the future. Most family businesses lack this and it’s no wonder when the main stakeholders of a company die, in most cases, the people left behind fight over these businesses and ultimately the result is failure. It establishes a trajectory for each role, highlighting the skills needed for optimal performance in each role and how those skills can be acquired. It also helps identify top talent in an organization.
Dr. Joyce pointed out that the world of beauty and cosmetics is still filled with so many challenges, however, with the right strategies, you can always set a great foundation for your business to succeed.
One-off the major challenges in the industry is having counterfeit products that are cheap and easy to access.
“ I also feel like the industry is still a sleeping giant. In other countries there is so much advancement from the introduction of courses in colleges that are in line with beauty to even applications that enable you to buy legit products or simply get make-up artists,” she added.
This is the reason that we started at Lintons Beauty College to try and disrupt the industry. We are offering training courses to people who want to become make-up artists and treat this as any other paying profession. However, I feel there is still so much that needs to be done.
Being in a space that was getting saturated Dr. Joyce pointed out in her parting shot that most people fear to start up their businesses since they fear competition. “Never fear competition…every business needs healthy competition as it gives you the chance to learn and think even harder. It also shows that your industry is growing. Find your niche, define your path, have built the right team and be patient, it takes time to build an empire.”
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