Every week or so we attend the Insaka at Bongohive, which is a tech innovation hub. We get to learn a few things which we come right back and share with you if you’re planning on starting a business or if you’re already a startup in progress.
Last evening the presenter was Irene Banda Mutalima, an entrepreneur who founded and is the Managing Director at TUCUZA Associates Limited. He business provides management coaching and mentorship firm, and when need arises, a financier to startups.
She opened the Insaka with the statement “We all have young minds, regardless of our ages”, with regard to the fact that we are in a tech forward generation and even elders can understand how to use gadgets and apps and the internet as a whole so we should make use of those platforms to communicate and discuss our business plans with them.
When companies are stuck in their ways: Most young people have brilliant ideas but don’t know who to approach. They may seek help from bigger companies but the question most frequently asked by the companies is “why should we innovate?”. The answer is “because if you don’t your company will die!”. That should be our response when pitching ideas to major potential partners/sponsors.
Start from the bottom: Another problem young entrepreneur have is the notion that with a small amount of money they cannot start their business. The thing is, you have to start from the bottom and get somewhere. We also need to get rid of the Zambian mentality that someone bigger than you will dip into their pockets and give you money to start your business. It may work for some but not all. Start with what you have, and then keep pushing.
Pitching your idea: Irene Banda Mutalima also stated how hard it is to get to a person of interest to pitch your idea because there’s always bureaucracy and loooooong processes to get to the person’s office. Hence it’s important to network. Get to know more people you think would help your idea grow and you may find yourself going through all the right doors. Keep in touch with them ask them to connect you to other people you think are relevant to your business. Make sure your idea is a solution to a problem your potential sponsors are facing and it will most likely be given consideration.
Accept failure: Most people can NOT deal with failure.The first bump they come across on their startup path may be more than enough to make them quit. Failure is inevitable. It helps you grow because then you learn what not to do again for your idea to become much bigger. DO NOT GIVE UP. Irene strongly pointed this out by saying that if you can’t handle failure, go and get a day job because being an entrepreneur is definitely not for you. No truer words have been spoken. We need to live with failure because it’s part of the process we need in order to thrive.
Think hard: Before you take your idea anywhere for consideration, make sure it’s well thought out. Tackle any angle that it covers. Make sure you’re able to answer any questions you may be asked about it. There’s nothing worse than having an idea. pitching an idea and going blank when asked about it. You risk looking ignorant about your own idea which would send investors packing their briefcases and closing their wallets.
So, those are some tips from the Bongohive Insaka with Irene Banda Mutalima to help you before you start your business. Go out and get those contacts now!