My name is Kudzai and I’m a proud millennial entrepreneur who is passionate about making an impact in Africa. I believe people need to start looking at the continent as a place of opportunity and not hunger and war. If we all come together as Africans we are able to grow to amazing heights. This is why Millennials In Business was created!
This project has literally been years in the making and I’ve put it off and tweaked it so many times. I love sharing knowledge and helping people grow their businesses and build better futures. Because of that I’ve decided to share African business best practices with my entire network of followers!! Today is the first day of a long and beautiful journey with you all. Millennials In Business is a network of millennials ready to change the narrative about African economies and take their destinies into their own hands by building scale-able businesses in key sectors of the economy. No more waiting around for government to finally figure it out for us.
Through this page i will share insights, experiences and inspiration for anyone who is aspiring to become an entrepreneur. Embarking on a business journey is not easy or glamorous but if done right it’s worth it! Look out for my weekly Doing Business in Africa lessons every Tuesday as well as a video follow up and discussion every Thursday!
My business is based in South Africa and after the week we’ve just had in the country with Xenophobic attacks, kidnapping, rape and murder of women and children a discussion needs to be had. South Africa is praised as one of the most developed countries in Africa. This is true. South African infrastructure is almost unmatched on the continent. But does that make it a great place to do business. This is my opinion, and I’ve been contemplating on this for a few days now.
SA is great for foreign investors, as long as they’re not black. Yes i said it!! From my observation this has been the only country i have experienced in Africa where the white minority still controls key financial decisions and institutions. This is also the only African country I’ve experienced that still openly favors the white minority. It’s shocking to know that in 2019 there is an African country where white minority still gets better access to jobs and higher pay for the same position than blacks from the country.
If the system doesn’t benefit the local black majority how can it benefit black foreign entrepreneurs? Now let me walk you through setting up a business in SA. So step one, getting the necessary registrations and licensing done. Registering a business in SA is easy, affordable and simple. You can get the whole process done online in less than 30 minutes. I loved it! To kick off operations and get a bank account etc, you need to have a business permit. Requirements for a business permit include an investment of R 5 million. Yikes i know! But this is subject to review which i guess means it’s not set in stone.
Getting the permit is another headache because of corruption in Home Affairs. It’s near impossible to go there upfront with the required documents and get a permit. 5 million Rands is a pretty penny so i doubt and medium scale businesses will be able to set up shop. You could decide to run your business from a distance and only enter as a non resident. This puts your account under a lot of scrutiny with every transaction no matter how small needing you to send an email to the bank informing them why you’re receiving money into the account. (It sounds bizarre but i went through this!)
With high unemployment, getting staff and setting up interviews won’t be too hard. In fact you are most likely going to get hundreds of emails. Word of advice on hiring, have a trial period with whoever you pick. Work culture is very different in SA especially among the younger, recent graduates. I’ll leave it at that.
South Africa is a big and diverse market which means it’s not very easy to conquer. There are companies in different industries that have set up for generations and enjoy something close to a monopoly. Support for products created by an outsider also isn’t something immediately embraced by the local market. It might be best to put a lot of thought in your marketing strategy. The Afro-phobic attacks on foreign owned shops don’t breed much confidence either.
I’m not writing this to bash SA but to give a very honest opinion of how i have found the business environment to be as an African business owner. This i suspect is the same in a lot of African countries. When African governments think of investors, the image that usually comes to mind is white males from the West. Conditions are honestly tailor-made just for them and made to benefit them. When an African migrates to another African country to start a business venture they are not viewed as investors even though the venture will also be creating jobs and contributing to the economy. They are seen as just economic refugees while European economic refugees are seen as expats.
To be honest, just because someone moved to your country to start and grow a business because they’re country doesn’t have the right conditions doesn’t make them any less of an investor. When will we stop looking at each other with spite and start seeing each other as partners? Wouldn’t it make more sense for locals to join hands with entrepreneurs from other African countries in building these businesses?
I don’t see Intra – African trade as just being about moving goods seamlessly across boarders. It should also be about Africans trading entrepreneurship skills and vision seamlessly across borders.
Starting a medium sized business in SA as a foreign African is a steep mountain to climb. Honestly one that i’m not willing to keep climbing. The cons for me out way the pros, the latter being the infrastructure. Maybe when Ubuntu is rediscovered, data falls and white monopoly is dealt with we can revisit this!
What are your thoughts on this? What have your experiences been? Let’s make this a discussion.
There’s no debating that our lives now truly revolve around social media. We may want to shy away from it but in all honesty we use the internet for almost everything in our lives. Be it checking latest news, fashion trends, gossip, sport, seeing what people you know are up to or even what your competitors are up to. This is our life now, no use denying it. I have started noticing something very fascinating, the social media “entrepreneurs”.
What is this, you ask? Well it’s a group of aspiring influencers who spend their days online posting motivational quotes, telling you how business must be done and recently (i kid you not, this shocked me) how fun entrepreneurship is. They usually have it all together, no bad days, always look good and they always close the deal. Nothing wrong with sharing your two cents online of course but what I’ve come to notice is most of these “influencers” are not actually entrepreneurs. They don’t run any business, they’re not starting one, some do have projects they’re working on but haven’t launched as a business yet.
I find it very strange that people with no experience in business or entrepreneurship feel qualified to go online and share advice on the topic. There’s nothing wrong with motivating people or giving advice but why pose as an entrepreneur while doing it. The danger here is people sharing advice they don’t have any practical knowledge on, this can be very misleading. The absolute worst thing is when you try and have a peek at they’re work or company, you find nothing, zilch! Not even a website or Facebook page.
This is a problem for me. Entrepreneurship is a challenge and honestly has been the biggest challenge I’ve gone up against my whole life. To get through it, to be successful and build something great, you need real and honest advice. I’m not saying its all doom and gloom, it’s fulfilling but when you’re still building there’s nothing fun about it. Maybe the creative process of the business is fun but not the actual running of the business. A lot of young people are getting into entrepreneurship because they think its the easiest way to make more money, they have flexible time on the’re hands and there’s swag in it. These are the worst reasons to get into it.
I’m not trying to scare people off but i just want to be honest with you guys. Entrepreneurship is challenging but very rewarding. Think of it as being a new parent. You have sleepless nights, you don’t really know what you’re doing, you get frustrated and scared but you can never trade that child you’re raising for anything else. It’s rewarding and fulfilling, some might even say it makes you feel complete. So take online advice from some of these people with a pinch of salt, trust me you can tell the difference when an actual entrepreneur gives advice. There’s usually a lightbulb moment or its just hard truths.
It’s Friday! Yay right? Well most entrepreneurs would tell you, not really. Entrepreneurs sometimes feel like they are above rest and they’re lives must revolve around work. We’re all human though and when it gets to Friday you also want to feel like you can unwind and chill for the weekend. So how do you balance out building a dream and having a life?
I know there’s a lot of talk about being successful through focus and sacrifice, i totally agree with that. There’s also talk about late nights, early mornings, starving distractions and just burying yourself in your dream. I guess this works for some people, but I don’t think you have go to extremes to achieve your goals. Now i’m not advocating for laziness or procrastination but honestly if you can do what needs to be done in 5 hours and do other things you love why not?
I used to be a person who neglected weekends, felt guilty when i had to get off my laptop at night, didn’t nurture friendships and relationships and honestly that life sucked. Not to mentioned i worked really hard but never had the money to show for it. A complete nightmare!! Imagine the bitterness and self doubt you develop because you’ve been pulling in long hours but still have to ask for airtime. A joke!!
What i’m trying to get to my fellow millennial entrepreneurs is don’t overwork yourself because it doesn’t always translate to money. Sometimes you’re stuck working in the business so much you can’t see what you’re doing wrong or right. Take time out,it helps with your perspective. Also get that Friday joy back if you can honestly make time for it. Enjoy relationships and friendships, they matter too! If you have a full time job and a side hustle try working on your business during the week too for an extra one or two hours after work and maybe half the day on weekends. You honestly don’t have to slave yourself to be defined as an entrepreneur, there’s no rule that says that!
So put your feet up, take a break and go have dinner or grab a drink with a friend later. After all its a Friday and entrepreneurs deserve breaks too!!
We’ve all had a few bright ideas on businesses we can start. Some came to us when we were out taking a walk, others came from watching TV and others might have come over drinks with some friends. But how many of those business ideas actually turned into real businesses. If you’re a business owner its safe to say your business is one of them.
But what about the rest? What’s stopped us from launching those ideas? For most of you, you honestly don’t know how to start this up and that’s why I’m here. Your fearless business coach! I have a short list that could get you out of your head and into business!!
PUT YOUR IDEA ON PAPER. This is very important and it’s the first step of seeing your idea outside of your head. It may seem small or unnecessary but it’s not. Articulate what kind of business you want to start, who’s your ideal customer, where will you get stock etc. Put all the stuff that’s in your head down on paper and read it to yourself. Don’t be afraid to edit it. This is how the magic begins.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Not the bar talk you had over the weekend but a real deep dive into the opportunity you’ve spotted. Know who you competitors will be, know what your customers are looking for, how much it will cost you and very important study those who came before and failed. Become a scholar of the idea, the worst thing you could do is be a business owner who doesn’t understand his/her business.
HOW WILL YOU STRUCTURE THE BUSINESS? Don’t just dive into the business, know exactly how its going to work. Do you need partners or will you do t all alone. Do you need a physical space or you can start off from home or working online. Are there any certificates or licenses that you need to have before operation begins? Get your house in order make sure you and your business are ready to meet the world. And while you’re at it you can now register your business.
MARKET. MARKET. MARKET. What’s the use of having a business if no one knows about it? If no one is buying from you, is it really worth having a business? Market your business and get customers, that’s the only way your business will survive.
It’s not that hard is it? In four simple steps you can turn your idea into a business. Wishing you luck!
So it’s July, and all over social media we’re being
reminded that we’ve gone through half the year already. Everyone is asking what
other people have done. Everyone is telling you not to waste the next six
months. As much as I know we are all cheering along with the masses and
proclaiming that we’re going to end the year with a bang, let’s take a step
back and be honest with ourselves for a few minutes. How are we really doing so
I think there’s nothing wrong with admitting you didn’t do
as well as you thought you would’ve by now. I’m also sure you’re going to be
the only who honestly admits that somewhere along the lines you lost some steam
and slacked on your goals. You know why I’m so sure? Because I also didn’t do
my best this year. Am I proud to admit this? No! But, it’s the truth. There are
things I could’ve done that I didn’t. There are opportunities I could’ve gone
for, but I didn’t. I have times were I procrastinated, doubted myself, didn’t
do my due diligence, in short I slept on myself. I had goals and milestones I’d
set for myself that I haven’t reached, I was mad then disappointed, then found
people and circumstances to blame. But when I was alone and I was brutally
honest with myself I realized that yes some things were out of my control but I
am the one who relaxed and dropped the ball. There it is my honest confession!
I know we’re all going for the positive vibes and all but
don’t forget to be realistic. We will only reach our goals if we keep ourselves
accountable. Start a system where you write down your goals clearly and review
them every week. Sometimes we lose sight of our goals because we literally lose
sight of them, see what you set for yourself, celebrate what you achieve and
set a plan of action to achieve what you’ve missed. You’re the one who set the
timeframes and if you miss them, change them don’t torture yourself about it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses
and shortcomings. Once we truly know ourselves we will be able to achieve our
goals and hold ourselves accountable. Now, let’s end this year with a bang!!
So let’s get back to the basics of actually starting the journey as an entrepreneur. How do you build your business? Where do you even start? Having a good business idea and actually making money from this idea are two very different things. You need to know how to execute the idea in a way that will make it profitable.
Your first task is you refining and narrowing down your idea and offering as much as you can. Don’t let your imagination run too wild and end up trying to do too much with few resources. Be as specific as you can and it’s even better if you can focus on a particular group to sell your product to. Once you know exactly who you will be selling to, the next step would be for you to go to the market and test your product. You might think your idea is genius but the market may have a different view to yours. Before you mass produce whatever it is you have make sure you test it first. When testing don’t take any feedback personally but listen and learn. Take notes and improve where the customer suggestions.
Once you’ve gotten a green light from the market then your product is ready for takeoff and you can start building that business you’ve been excited about. Stay away from expensive fixtures like a cool office and hiring staff. Yes, we are trying to create employment but we need to become sustainable first. What you should invest on is a great brand. Make sure you create a good image from the very beginning especially if you are going to be creating and packaging product on your own. Remember the two most important things that will make any business a success is CUSTOMERS and SALES. Without these two you have no business to talk about. Make sure you learn as much as you can about sales and nurture your customers as much as you can. These two are what will keep your business alive. I’ll share more on building a business in a video later this week! Happy Tuesday!
Its a Tuesday and as promised I have a some amazing business information for our African Millennials. We are all looking for an opening and a chance to make some money in Africa. I put together some opportunities available for people serious about doing business and actually want to build some real businesses. So here it goes:
1. Agriculture. Africa is home to the most arable land on EARTH we have potential to feed the world.
2. Healthcare Services. Affordable, mobile healthcare providers are in demand in Africa’s rural communities.
3. Drones for helping products reach inaccessible areas.
4. E-Commerce Millennials and love buying things online. Make it secure and worth the’re while.
5. Transport and logistics. There is a lot of room for the private sector to enter the transport industry.
6. Retail. We have a rising middle class.
7. Waste Management. Local municipalities are failing to keep up with the needs of urban dwellers and you could recycle the waste as well.
8. Low cost private education. Government schools are not offering the best education anymore and more parents want their children to have more affordable but high quality education.
9. Fintech. Banks and financial services are moving online if you have knowledge on fintech products introduce them to the market.
10. E-Study Platforms. Like i said the new generation wants to do everything online.
11. Renewable energy and Power. Akon is making a killing for a reason.
12. Startup funding. Entrepreneurs in Africa lack access to funding, if you have access to capital you can make a killing offering this to businesses.
13. Exporting Local products. You are most likely to get government support because they need the foreign currency.
I will break everything down more in a video that i promise to share by the end of the week. Happy money making!!
As promised guys I will be sharing articles and lessons every Tuesday during lunch time (CAT) and doing follow up videos every Thursday evening. To start off with welcome to Millennials in Business! I hope this platform will help a lot of you build or grow your ventures in Africa. The theme for this month is DOING BUSINESS IN AFRICA FOR AFRICANS which is why I decided to start off with some information on ease of doing business in Africa.
Millennials have proven to be a very entrepreneurial and independent bunch, something that makes us become a very misunderstood generation in our time. The most common narrative about millennials is that we can’t hold down a job, we’re lazy and we want instant gratification. Although some things are true you can’t take away from the fact that we are a very resourceful generation. Because of that entrepreneurial spirit it’s important for us to have as much information as possible for us to build businesses. If you’re from one of the countries below that’s great but if not don’t be afraid to take the leap and go set up there, I will share more information on how to do that on Thursday.
I’ve used the 2019 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index for this list, I’ll share a link of the full Africa report at the bottom. It’s important to note that these indexes look at procedures, time, and cost and paid minimum capital requirement for a small to medium sized enterprise to startup and operate in the country’s largest city. (Sounds fair right?) Here are the top 10 countries with ease of doing business in Africa in order: 1. Mauritius. 2. Rwanda. 3. Kenya. 4. South Africa. 5. Botswana. 6. Zambia. 7. Seychelles. 8. Lesotho. 9. Namibia. 10. Malawi I’ll share more detail on starting or growing a business in each of these markets on video posts on social media. Here’s a link to the full report: http://www.doingbusiness.org/…/Prof…/Regional/DB2019/SSA.pdf