As I interact on #AskKirubi with budding entrepreneurs, the question that always comes up is ‘how can I get venture capital’? I was of the view that it wasn’t easily accessible a few years ago but now I know that it’s available. Venture capital is not about getting quick cash to start your business but more of a financial investment into the business. Acquiring venture capital needs one to consider many factors about the business. Someone out there is not just giving you money but investing in your business. This means that you must have a sound business idea and plan that is sustainable. No one wants to invest in a shoddy project that’s going nowhere.
In business you can copy, but you can’t duplicate. Let that unique factor distinguish you and your business. ~ Chris Kirubi
As a potential investor, I need to be convinced that you know the business you are in. I need to see that there is a future before I can give you my money. An idea is more bankable than cash, so create and recreate your idea until it’s the perfect pitch because it is what will sell you.
The reason why banks and funds have a somewhat rigorous application process is because of security. They must trust you and make sure their money is safe with you. Banks want to be associated with people and projects that succeed and have a future. If you are a fraud star and default on payments then do not expect support from banks, financial institutions or individuals. The discipline you will have developed during your early banking/ ‘borrowing’ days will enhance your credibility If you destroy your capacity to borrow as a businessman then you destroy your capacity to succeed.
Position yourself to succeed in the market place. Many a times, young people are called in to elaborate their business ideas but it’s sad to note that very few know the different elements of their business plan. You need to understand your area of expertise and focus on that. Don’t venture into a business because your family or friends are in it. Do it because it’s in your line of interest and you understand it. You will be required to constantly seek more knowledge time and time again in order to improve your business, so make sure it serves your interest.
Have guiding principles that will direct you and always keep you in check reminding you why you ventured into business in the first place. Be of significant value. Don’t be a non performer but strive to excel always. Have your customers or clients at the centre of your business. Even when you become successful, do not forget your employees and your customers. The customer comes first. Look at their needs, concerns and address them. Continue producing quality and giving them value for what they are paying for. I am specific on who my target audience is and make sure that my business boasts of quality. I target ladies who are great buyers but also very attentive and hard to please. However, if you satisfy them then they will always be your customers. Don’t give them less otherwise they will never come back.
Finally, do you have a unique factor or does your business have that unique selling point? You may be in the same business venture as many others but what makes you stand out? Is it the customer service, high quality goods and services? Think about it because it is very important in maintaining your customers and dealing with your competition. Even for employees, this is crucial What makes you a good employee? I remember when I was employed I would work so hard like I owned the company. I worked like my life depended on it and to be honest, it did. When the time came for me to be self-employed, my employers supported me and even gave me business. Know what makes you stand out and use that as leverage to achieve your success.