- Papa Atou Diaw
- BBC Africa
Do you want to enter entrepreneurship? Surely you ask yourself many questions about the pitfalls to avoid before starting a business. We met some players from the business world. They have tips for you.
1. Not correctly assessing the size of the market
Joëlle Sow supports entrepreneurs. She is general secretary of Sen Start-up, an association whose role is, in part, to strengthen the skills of entrepreneurs, startup founders and their teams.
Entrepreneurs have some shortcomings, including assessing the size of their markets. This is to assess their ability to sell their products well and their ability to stand up for their ideas. ” You must therefore first define your market to better identify your targets and get to know the consumer profile ”, he explains.
According to Ms Sow, this segmentation work allows them to better position themselves in the market. The good estimate of the size of the market will allow the time of fundraising to be much more relevant.
This good market valuation, he believes, will also be decisive in the face of investors who will be able to make financial projections to better calibrate their future investments in the company.
2. Do not test your business before registering it
Mr. Henri Nyakarundi with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship runs a start-up called ARED. It is a technology company in Africa for the development of smart kiosks that provide connection, access to digital services and phone charging using a mini server and solar power. It also provides training on its online platform.
After spending several years doing business in the United States, he decided to continue his activities in Africa. Today, in addition to his professional activity, he also helps young entrepreneurs making use of his personal experience.
” One of the mistakes I see young people make is that they register their company without having tested it. You don’t need to register a company if you want to test your idea with some customers first to find out if the idea is good, if it requires certain changes, ” Nyakarundi explains.
” An idea is just an idea because the initial idea is never the final idea. Because when we register your company, we start following you. Many young people do the opposite when it takes time and this can scare investors, ” she continues.
3. Don’t choose your co-workers well
Awa Diagne Diongue is a Senegalese entrepreneur working in the fashion industry. After studying English, she worked in some companies but she could not find her way around. She prefers to go on her own and live her passion to the fullest: fashion. This passion became her main motivation. In 2017 she created her own clothing brand whose philosophy is African dressing.
At his beginnings, not having a shop to display his clothes yet, he decided to try his hand at a collaboration after receiving a proposal to put them in the window. For her, this experience ended badly. Awa D. Diongue realized that her collaborator exhibited her creations only to attract a customer who bought her clothes and not Ms. Diongue’s. The lesson he draws from this misadventure is ” you shouldn’t trust everyone, collaborate with everyone ”.
” You have to choose the people you want to work with, you have to carefully choose your partners and collaborators. This is the key to avoiding mistakes, ” she insists.
4. Not being well informed about business sector taxation
Madi Sankandé is an entrepreneur in the field of refrigeration and air conditioning.
“You have to be well informed about taxation,” recalls Madi Sankandé from her experience in the refrigeration sector. A sector in which he evolved for twenty years in Italy before arriving in Africa.
Although he also advises those who want to undertake entrepreneurship to prepare their business plan well to learn more about “what you are offering yourself and who you are offering it”.
For him the surprise came rather from the fiscal side. In my case, the taxes came as a surprise to me. I didn’t know that the refrigeration sector is super taxed, ” he explains.
” These are surprises that can happen especially in the business of importing products to African countries. On the customs scale of West African countries, cold products are considered a luxury sector, ” he complains.
” We therefore need to have more information before taking a field. ”