By Smart Emmanuel
Many people want to start their own business. This is more so in developing countries like Nigeria where the country is currently plagued with recession. Unemployment is on the rise in the continent as many people are being laid-off daily while some who are employed are underpaid, hence, the zeal to start business so as to be independent.
The following are pitfalls to avoid when choosing small scale business
1 Avoid business that involves ACCOMMODATION costs as this alone may eat your entire capital. Look for alternatives like online shops in popular sites like konga, Jumia, Alibaba and others. These sites only charge you per product sold unlike physical shops where you have to pay for at least a year or two rents. You can also build a container and look for an empty land in front of a house and pay the owner stipends.
2 Stock products that people consume daily: As I always say, food business is a business that never dies if properly managed. You can set up a grocery store in a residential area. Make sure your price is competitive and augment that with quality customer service.
3 Locate your business properly: Location is very crucial while trying to site a business. Look for a place where your products/brands are needed the most, when this is properly done, you will avoid pitfall of low turnover. For example, Bar might not sell in certain area while it will be like hot cake elsewhere.
4 Avoid or minimise borrowing for expansion: Don’t borrow money that attracts much interests, you can borrow from family and friends.
5 Do not sell on credit: Credit destabilize the growth of your small business, it also damages previously healthy relationships with defaulting clients.
6 Give quality brand/service a priority: People careless about price when you have a quality product but cheap and inferior brand/product will destroy your reputation. So be watchful of this.
7 Smile when offering service and don’t forget to say thank you: I observe that many small scale business in Lagos where I reside handle customer service with levity. A smile alone can make a customer make your shop a mecca or Jerusalem of sort. Some business owners will rather ask his or her customer the question “Do you have change?” rather than WELCOME with a big smile. Don’t forget to say “thank you, it is nice doing business with you.”
Remember to start small and don’t lose focus of where you are going. Keep the big picture!