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Six Essential Steps to Starting an African Specialty Business in the US

Now is a good time as any to start turning that business idea you’ve been obsessing about into a reality. A report by Guidant Financial shows that as many as 78% of all small businesses are raking in good profits. By following the right steps to start a business, you too can join the ranks of those profit-making businessmen and women.

You’ll Never Get Anywhere Unless You Start

If you’ve read the amazing story of Naa-Sakla Akuete, and how she founded her own company, you know that Africans are shaking up the world of small businesses now more than ever before.

Our brothers and sisters have gone to foreign lands and started businesses either in pursuit of their dreams and passions or as a solution to specific problems and challenges. What’s even more encouraging is how they’ve managed to doggedly keep those businesses moving, in spite of all odds.

But starting an African restaurant, fashion shop, beauty& hair salon, or any other African specialty business outside your home country isn’t easy. And success only comes after working hard and risking a lot.

All the same, you must take that first step in setting up your business. We have put together 6 preliminary steps that will get your business started on the right footing.

Starting Your Business 101

When some accomplished entrepreneurs tell their success stories, you may sometimes think that starting a business is easy. The truth, however, is that about 30% of all businesses fail in their first year, and half of them die out entirely within 5 years.

Nevertheless, you can easily improve your chances of success if you get the steps right when starting your business.

So, let’s consider some of the vital steps of starting a successful business.

1. Know and Understand Your Business Idea

While you may pivot to a different tangent or follow different steps when starting a business, it’s really important to have absolute clarity on the idea before investing time and money on it.

So, take some time to reflect on:

  • Why you’re launching that specific business
  • What problems and challenges your business will be solving
  • Whether there’ll be a demand for what your business offers

Remember, speed and execution can be valuable during the initial stages of starting a business. Thus, you might also want to think about whether you can get the business up and running fast enough.

2. Research

A good number of business start-ups fail because their owners failed to research and back up their assumptions about the business idea.

It’s therefore wise to do some preliminary research into whether:

  • There’s a need and demand for what your business intends to offer
  • The potential market for your business is big enough to attract a profit
  • People are actually willing to pay money for whatever it is that you’ll be offering
  • Your pricing is enough to offset operating costs and also turn a profit
  • Other businesses are offering similar products or services
  • Your business can compete favorably with similar businesses in the market

3. Talk to A Business Mentor

If you’re considering starting an African specialty business, you might also want to spend some time talking to a business mentor.

A mentor will, among other things, tell you whether the idea is feasible. He or she might also guide you through the early stages of the start-up and equip you with useful knowledge on how to navigate the business world.

Mentoring programs aren’t always cheap, though; the cost of using some of the more popular mentoring/business consultancy firms can go over $4000 depending on the mentor’s input. The good news, however, is that the internet allows you to get relevant knowledge easily even when your budget is constricted.

Some good mentors, for instance, post their videos online. Such videos, like the one below, share crucial experiences, expertise, and wisdom from mentors who are keen on helping you turn your business venture into a success.

At SCORE, you may also find volunteer mentors who might be willing to help you start, grow, and develop your business.

If you’re thinking about going into African specialty business for yourself, you should absolutely give it a shot. If you don’t, you just might end up always regretting why you didn’t do it.

4. Create A Business Plan

Let nobody lie to you that you don’t need a plan to go into business; You NEED a business plan.

A good plan no only paints a roadmap for your business, but also helps you understand your financial goals, test the profitability of your business, and even answer some other questions you might have overlooked.

Another critical aspect of a well-furnished business plan is that it tells you whether the business is financially viable. This is particularly important if you’ll be presenting your idea to investors and/or lenders.

5. Choose the Best Place to Launch

If your business isn’t operating virtually or location independent, you need to think about where you base it. Some states are indeed better or worse than others when it comes to supporting local businesses.

The location of your African specialty business can make a big difference especially because it affects several important factors including:

  • Living and overhead costs
  • Networking opportunities
  • Market and business opportunities
  • Access to investors and lenders
  • Taxes

6. Get Funding

You will need to fund the business during its initial stages. If you do not have the finances or the financial cushions to start your business, you may raise funds from several other sources including:

  • Personal loans and/or business lines of credits
  • Business co-founders
  • Your family and friends
  • Angel investors

Summary

The steps above will tell you whether your idea can produce a viable business model. They will also show you where you are headed and what to expect.

In our future articles, we will be detailing useful tips and execution strategies to make your African Specialty business flourish.

 

Written by: Matthew M.

 

Read More: Starting a Small Business to Increase my 2020 income

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