Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Entrepreneurship and failure: Why your business is failing.

By Loise Macharia- Scalerizer Lead, WYLDE International

Most small businesses are still said to fail in their first three years of existence.

This is despite their contribution to Kenya’s GDP and having the potential to reduce unemployment and promote broader economic restructuring by generating decent employment.

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Approximately 14.9 million people were employed by over 7.4 million MSMEs, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Numerous organizations such as the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority and the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations, along with many others, have developed various approaches to support MSMEs.


While these contributions have been beneficial to the industry, both formal and informal businesses continue to fail. Perhaps we should delve a bit deeper into aspects where failure stems from.

The Vision

A compelling vision not only provides direction but also sets a foundation for informed decision-making.

Many entrepreneurs struggle with crafting and maintaining a vision that stands the test of time.

The lack of clarity in a clear vision will eventually have the entrepreneur shift the goals and ultimately implement misguided strategies and inconsistent efforts. A great vision is specific and outlines what success looks like for the business.

While it might not be clear when starting out, you should be able to answer the hard question: what is the actual need I am responding to in the market? Be careful not to mix needs and solutions.

When there is a disconnect between the vision and target market needs, the business is more likely to struggle to gain traction.

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The Founder

As the founder, are you the right leader? This plays a crucial role in business; your leadership style, decision-making prowess, and personal growth directly impact the success of the business.

Self-awareness, for example, is a vital trait to have. Founders are failing because they are overestimating their capabilities or blind to their limitations.

Therefore, it’s vital to frequently self-assess as well as seek feedback. Just as you assess yourself, you should also objectively assess the business’s performance against its goals.

Adaptability is also key. As a critical human resource in business, are you too stuck on your beliefs and ideas that do not necessarily resonate with the market? The business landscape is constantly changing.

Rigid approaches will only make it more difficult to navigate challenges. Be true to yourself if something is not working and cultivate a mindset of adaptability.

The lack of maximizing resources

Is your business leveraging available resources? Leveraging begins with recognizing the resources around you.

People: Sometimes the solution to your headache is right in front of your eyes. Have you leveraged the subject experts around you?

Paying a small fee to engage on a consulting basis could save you a lot of time and business stress. Also, there are business consultants who you could engage to get a third party’s-eye view.

Other than that, is the business fully making the most of the internal talent and potential? Being fully aware of the skills needed for your business at any time will help you seek out the right people.

Technology: How business is done is changing worldwide, and this is not stopping any time soon.

Not leveraging technology can put your business at a significant disadvantage. Technology could enhance productivity or your process, among many other benefits.

Networking and partnership: This is one of the most underestimated resources for entrepreneurs.

Most entrepreneurs are fighting the everyday fires and simply do not have the time to build relationships with other entrepreneurs, business coaches, and industry experts, even though this could present them with new opportunities.

Identifying the right networks to build and their role in the business is a great starting point. By critically examining these key areas, businesses will be a step closer to success.

Granted, there are mistakes that will be made when growing a business; however, being keen on areas for improvement and making informed changes can mitigate the impact of the mistakes.

Every successful entrepreneur has faced setbacks, but it’s their response to failure that ultimately defines their success.

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