There are certain misconceptions that youths that want to begin a business have.
The myths include, business is easy, having a good idea is all that matters, the private jet lifestyle is coming soon and all entrepreneurs are rich after a week of starting their businesses.
The real story is that all these things/outward success like private jets, yachts, bevvies of beauty on a yacht come after many years of wondering if someone plunged into the wrong business.
There are many dark sides to entrepreneurs and one of them is stress, crying in the bedsheets when no one is watching, the years of waiting to see traction and the commitment and dedication an entrepreneur requires.
A business is a kind of like taking care of a baby, you wait for 18 years for maturity and even at 18, some babies don’t show signs of maturing.
A youth in Kenya who wants to jump the gun into entrepreneurship may first want to hear different stories from successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs.
Knowing what makes a successful entrepreneur enables you to avoid certain mistakes like assuming writing a business plan is unreasonable or starting a business is the hard part.
They want to see if seeking out this new business venture would be worth their time, energy and money.
Owing to the different entrepreneurial stories, information gets jumbled up by people, the media or the magazines. A lot of misconceptions arise and you end up stuck in traffic as to what to do.
These myths about startups may deter the youth from diving into the oasis of opportunities through entrepreneurship. Myths instil fear, make you become doubtful and distorts your overall perspective on new businesses.
Study shows that Kenya has recorded a high number of unemployed youths. In order to succeed in entrepreneurship, it is important to address these myths.
Common Myths About Entrepreneurship in Kenya
- Entrepreneurs are school dropouts. Not entirely. It goes without saying that some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs like Bill Gates are college dropouts.
They started their own companies but still employed the best-skilled workers to help them build their companies.
Money is a common factor that motivates youths to engage in startups.
A student who has to pay off his tuition and fend for his family will have a hard time juggling school and working odd jobs with measly pay. Oftentimes, they differ from school to start businesses in order to get money.
Likewise, a continuing student may want to balance academic learning with real-life business skills.
He/she may have an innovative idea that he wants to bring to life.
The only way to tap into this potential is through a startup.
There is no limit to anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur.
2. You will have a lot of freedom. Not quite. Being an entrepreneur comes with being your own boss. That means you dictate the days and hours that you work.
But that’s according to popular belief. As an entrepreneur, you need to follow a strict schedule and ensure that your work is done.
Most entrepreneurs talk of not having a good work/life balance because of work overload.
They do not even have time to socialize. Their lives revolve completely around their work.
They always have to be present.
Also, people tend to think that going into startups will give you instant financial freedom.
That’s not true. Being in entrepreneurship means that you are financially independent.
Before you get financial freedom, you have to be in business for a while, correct mistakes and make sales before your business breaks even and you start getting your profits.
3. People will steal your idea when you share it. Well, once you come up with an idea, it is liable to be shared across the world. Chances are someone out there already thought of it and are putting it to use.
Sharing your idea is not meant to dilute your brand, it is meant to build you.
Form a team of like-minded people and pitch your idea to them.
Have a mentor, a professional consultant or a legal advisor to give you much-needed objectives and perspective on your business and the market.
If you have any new technology or any engineered product, then you may want to consider getting a patent. It may be expensive, but it protects all your assets from the start so you can focus on growing your business.
4. You need a knockout product to do well. Not quite. It is not about the idea, it’s about how you sell the idea.
Most entrepreneurs think that they need a knockout product that is way ahead of the competition to succeed.
A great product is meaningless if no one knows about it.
Have a strategy to influence or persuade people to buy your idea, products or services.
This will help you get your business off the ground. Know how to market your products and address customer needs. The best entrepreneurs are good salespeople.
Going into sales first will save you time, energy and money.
Learn how to advertise and promote your products.
This will help you get in touch with your target audience who will upgrade you through feedback.
Keep innovating to keep up with trends, otherwise, you will be knocked out of the competition.
5. You will be your own boss. Not entirely. You may be in control of everything in your business, but you are still answerable to a number of people.
The most important people you should answer to are your customers.
They are the lifeblood of your business.
Without them, a business fails to exist. The whole business dynamic is geared to make customers feel satisfied. Have good customer service. If you have any investors, you are also answerable to them.
Investors need to know that the money they put in to get your business started will not go to waste.
They want an assured win. They should trust you otherwise, they will pull away from the business.
6. You have to take big risks. Not really.
An entrepreneur is a risk-taker. You don’t have to take risks.
Take a calculated risk. Do not put too much money at the start of your business, so that when you make acceptable mistakes, you will not incur huge losses.
Big risks at the start can cripple your business fast.
7. You need a lot of money to get started. False.
We have many success stories of youths in Kenya starting out their entrepreneurial journey with as little as 1000 shillings.
Most people think they need to raise a lot of capital to start out. Use the resources you have to invest in quality products and good people. You can partner with someone and share capital.
Pitch your idea to investors who will give you capital if you have none.
You can join entrepreneurial hubs as well where you’ll meet like-minded people who will help you grow. Do not stress about where you will get extra capital and you’ve not started yet.
Never seek out premature loans that are going to cost you once you start earning revenue in your business.
8. You will get a lot of money. Eventually. There is a certain breed of entrepreneurial youths in Kenya who flash expensive phones and cars and live a lavish lifestyle.
When asked, they vaguely report how their successful businesses got them to where they are.
What they fail to mention is that they made mistakes, had losses, sought after additional funding and had to grind hard for their business to be stable and to start getting revenue. Be patient.
Entrepreneurship is not a direct ticket to getting quick cash. It is also not for the faint-hearted.
Once your sales break-even
, you start getting money to fulfil other basic wants and needs.
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What are the Disturbing Sides of Entrepreneurship No One Talks About in Kenya?
I applaud the youth entrepreneurs making changes in Kenya by jumping into starting a business. Starting a business as a youth means, you get time to nurture, make mistakes, fail forward, fix your mistakes/lessons and keep growing.
Are you a youth entrepreneur in Kenya wondering how to overcome these myths and become a successful business owner?