By Fifi Rhodes
Many of us hear the call of the siren song of a small business. Complete freedom. Unlimited opportunity. Dreams realized.
But of those who answer the call, most don’t succeed. Why? What separates those who succeed from those who fail?
Knowledge of the business, sufficient capital, good experience, and a unique idea at the right time are just some of the characteristics of a successful business owner.
Securing finance and managing it are two of the toughest challenges for business owners.
That’s where Standard Bank Namibia comes in.
Last week the bank launched the Business in a Box concept for clients after a train ride to Aris outside Windhoek.
What is in the box? Five booklets and a CD-Rom that can help anyone start up a business by a process of planning and step by step learning through actual hands-on experience.
Business in the Box gives guidelines to entrepreneurs on starting and managing their business and at the same time gives tips and ideas on securing and managing business finance.
“With our long-standing relationship, and interactions that we have with the Namibian business community, we have come to learn that aspects of finance, business expansion and brand management are a challenging imperative for most entrepreneurs,” Mike Beaurain, Head: Personal and Business Banking said when launching the “Business in a Box” toolkit.
Beaurain said that starting a small business takes a lot of courage, but courage alone doesn’t pay the bills.
“To be successful, and stay in business, you need more than courage and with Standard Bank Namibia we are committed to making a real difference in the Namibian business sector by providing financial services and solutions that are relevant to our economy,” he told about 40 invited guests.
Putting the topic under a microscope, Beaurain said that generally, people who started their own businesses could be grouped into two broad categories.
The first group consists of people who know exactly what they want to do and are merely looking for the opportunity or resources to do it.
“Usually, these people have already developed many of the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen field. They are also likely to be familiar with industry customs and practices, which can help during the start-up phase of a new business.”
The second group, he said, consists of people who want to start their own business, but don’t have definite ideas about what they’d like to do.
“While these people have developed skills in the course of their employment or education, they may not be interested in opening a business in the same field of endeavour.”
For those who know what they want to do, Beaurain said the task is a bit easier.
“There’s no need to research business ideas and opportunities to decide which ones might be suitable. Instead, these folks can jump right in and assess their chances for success in the type of business they’ve selected.”
In some of the sectors, Standard Bank takes a closer look at just how much hard work, skill, and perseverance their clients need to be successful. To evaluate a person’s aptitude for small business ownership, you need to understand the responsibilities of ownership.
That includes knowing what is involved in owning a business and what are the roles you’ll have to play if you own one? The CD Rom and booklets come in handy, and is a good kit to start with if you’re considering starting your own business, but haven’t owned one before.
“The topics in the booklets help you to set your goals. Questions like what do you want from your business? If you want to ‘succeed’, how will you know when you get there?
“Knowing what you want from your business overrules all other decisions you’ll have to make in starting a new business.”
Topics in the booklets include helping you to choose a business, how to evaluate your chances for success, and how to determine if you have the right skills.