Ten Mistakes You Might Be Making As An Entrepreneur In Morocco

Uncertainties and lack of information are some of the challenges young entrepreneurs face in Morocco, which often leads them to make mistakes that can be rather costly.

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By Safaa Nhairy


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While entrepreneurship was once seen as something only the wealthy could do, today, more and more Moroccans are looking into launching their own businesses in an environment that is still nascent. Uncertainties and lack of information are some of the challenges young entrepreneurs face here, which often leads them to make mistakes that can be rather costly. Listed below are some of the most common mistakes Moroccan startups make- and perhaps more importantly, what you can do to avoid them in your enterprises:

1. Lack of research about the market

One of the usual mistakes that Moroccan entrepreneurs make is not spending enough time researching their respective markets. A lot of times, they design a product and service without knowing who their potential customers, future partners, suppliers, or competitors are, says Amine Diouri, Studies and Communication Manager at Inforisk, a commercial information specialist on Moroccan enterprises. The key thing to remember here is that before you launch your business, you need to have a global view on your market and all of its stakeholders, so that you have a good understanding of the environment you are going to be operating in.

2. Starting a business without properly evaluating the problem you're trying to solve

There are a certain number of questions that entrepreneurs must answer before starting a business: what is my product? Who are my customers? How much money do I need for the launch, and how much money do I need before I can break even? These questions need to be answered prior to launching a business. The answers to these questions will help you determine your business' needs, and better understand what actions to take to make it happen, says Laila Jelloul, the founder of a young startup who is today learning from her own mistakes.

3. No plan in mind

Most entrepreneurs only plan for the launch of the business, and forget that in order to make it actually successful, you need to put in time, money and effort for it to survive. These resources cannot be exploited if you do not have a clear and specific plan that will help you strategize and make the right decisions. You can't always decide on the go or "by going with the flow." A business plan is a must-have for any enterprise development. Take the necessary time to design a good business plan, and reach out to experts for help and advice.

4. A lack of necessary skills

It is wrong to believe that you only need to master just one skill (sales, marketing, finance, consulting, technology, etc.) to become an entrepreneur, says Diouri. But that's not true: entrepreneurs-to-be forget that the essential quality of a good entrepreneur is to be able to predict, anticipate, adapt to the needs of the markets and its final client. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is important, because the reality is you need to work day-in day-out, sacrifice some of the good things of your life, and be completely committed to your business success.

Related: Challenges Aplenty, But Opportunities Exist Too: Morocco's Argan Oil Industry

5. Be surrounded by the wrong people

Your team will either help you- or screw you. "You have to make sure you surround yourself with the right people: partners, suppliers, employees, etc.," says Jelloul. "Not everyone has the same vision as yours." It is particularly important to carefully choose the people who will constitute your team. Make sure they share your vision and have the same level of commitment as you.

6. Mismanagement of time, money and energy

Many entrepreneurs spend months testing their products without giving themselves a deadline, says Fatim-Zahra Biaz, founder of New Work Lab, a platform that helps young entrepreneurs launch their startups. They take all the time to prepare for the launch, without being aware that as time passes, the money in hand goes down too. "You have to feel [as if you are] in danger, and do things with a deadline in mind," she says- that's the only way to optimize the use of your time, money and energy.

7. Waiting for people to give you money

Entrepreneurs start a business often hoping that a bank, or their family and friends will give or lend them money. "No one will give you money, [especially] if you yourself haven't invested in your company," Biaz notes. Essentially, you need to prove that you have a solid business concept, and believe in it enough to invest your own money in it, before inviting others to do just that.

8. Failing to promote your products/services

In a world of fierce competition, communication and promotion should be part of your daily business activities. Raising awareness through social media and networking are the basics for any business to be visible and be considered by potential clients. So, you need to spend some time daily on working on your business image and branding. Remember that this does take time, but by being persistent and consistent, your brand visibility will grow and enable you to gain new clients.

Related: Why Investing Time (Not Just Money) Is Essential For Your Startup

9. Planning only for the short term

If you've survived the first year of your enterprise, good for you, but that doesn't mean that you are good for the coming years. Having a 3-5 year plan will help you better know where to channel your resources and the strategies to follow to grow your business. Think big and have a plan for it!

10. Being complacent about your business

Most people launch their businesses, and then just hope for the best. That's not enough to grow and develop the company. This kind of mindset simply doesn't encourage people to act quickly and move on forward. The right attitude would be to always looking out for the next big thing, and having a hands-on role in the management of the business, says Biaz. Think of how to grow and develop it, seek out partnerships and new challenges. But do not settle for what you have accomplished!

It's important to remember here that mistakes are not necessarily a fatal blow for the business, but entrepreneurs need to learn from them and act upon them quickly, which is part of the entrepreneurial process. However, in Morocco, the cultural environment doesn't encourage people to fail. People see mistakes or failure as a death sentence, and this needs to be changed.

Fortunately, today, young entrepreneurs are exposed to literature and education on entrepreneurship from around the world through the Internet, which helps them to believe in their abilities and nurture a can-do mentality. Their mindset is becoming to shift, and their attitude too. Perhaps Diouri has the most succinct description for this mindset: "As they say in Silicon Valley, fail quickly and move on."

Related: Five Essential Items To Include In A Business Plan

Safaa Nhairy

Entrepreneur, Blogger and Speaker

Safaa Nhairy is an entrepreneur, blogger and speaker. She has founded Leader Media in London and iMediaRt in Casablanca. Both companies are communications agencies specializing in media relations, PR, event management and copywriting services. She has also launched and run several other ventures and is always on the lookout for the next opportunity. 

Safaa also teaches and gives seminars. Passionate about helping the youth help themselves, she blogs regularly and posts videos on her YouTube channel on topics of entrepreneurship, leadership & communication. She dedicates a lot of her personal time mentoring and coaching young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Safaa contributes to Entrepreneur Middle East and writes about entrepreneurship and business-building. After Casablanca, Washington DC and London, she currently resides in Paris. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication from George Mason University in Virginia, USA as well as a Master's degree in International Commercial Law from City University in London, England.

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