From Startup To Conglomerate: Eight Tips For Entrepreneurs To Grow Their Businesses
The word “startups” might conjure up images of Silicon Valley garages and back offices crammed with bright young things destined to become the next Apple or Airbnb, but there is a lot more than just a catchy name, clever idea and enthusiasm that goes into ensuring a startup succeeds and does not remain a startup forever. I am not trying to scare anyone here; on the contrary, I am firm believer in people taking that first step towards entrepreneurship.
Having overseen the growth of Midcom Group from its initial days as a startup in Rwanda to a multinational enterprise today, I have, in the process, embraced and thrived within industries as diverse as telecommunications, commodities, commercial and residential real estate, dairy products, Forex and education. Having been through the establishment, growth and success of a multinational conglomerate, here are some of my tips for entrepreneurs and startups in the throes of growing their businesses:
1. Understand your business in and out. Do not get into something you don’t have a passion for. You should be ready to eat, sleep and breathe your business- it will be the epicenter for the rest of your life.
2. Keep in mind that there is no going back. This will ensure that you are in it wholeheartedly, and it’s not just another job for you.
3. Make a plan, no matter however cliché it might sound. A good business plan is the key. It gives you a holistic view of what you are trying to achieve and the feasibility.
4. Give yourself a chance. Step out of your comfort zone. There is a plethora of opportunities out there. You just need to grab one of those and follow your dreams.
5. Don’t be scared of the failures. They will be a part of your journey. Learn from them. Stumble, get up and run again. The journey has not been easy for me, and I am sure it hasn’t been for anyone out there. It will not be easy for you either, but that shouldn’t stop you from beginning the journey. Just be ready to pick yourself back up again after you stumble.
6. Keep diversification on your agenda. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: diversification is vital, especially in today’s business environment. Unless you are the likes of Airbnb, you cannot sustain long enough in just one line of business. You need to keep diversifying. Diversification also helps you diversify your risks. If you fail in one, you know that there is another one to hold you straight.
7. Keep an eye out for new opportunities. You need to keep identifying when existing businesses become the cash cow for you, and when you are ready to invest in a new one. Do not ignore opportunities; a true reflection of a true entrepreneur is that he never lets a good opportunity pass by him.
8. Broaden your scope of work. Diversification does not only mean a different stream of business. It also means diversification along different geographies. Expand your horizons. The world is your playground. The same business might reap completely different results across different geographies.