Let us assume you now have the money from angel investors, friends, family members, contributions, cooperative arrangements, personal savings or borrowing. What next? Irrespective of your background and knowledge, you may need training on how to structure a start-up business, keep simple accounting records, separate business transactions from personal transactions and so on. These issues are also relevant to existing small businesses.
Certification may not be a requirement for success in business. However, it is important to go through initial training on how to manage a business recognizing the fact that learning is a continuous process. The training should address the issues of mind-set change, people management, and the discipline required to manage a small business with the level of integrity that can meet the requirements of financiers and potential investors.
There should be several case studies and assignments to demonstrate the application of relevant skills and techniques, with emphasis on exchange of ideas to bridge knowledge and skills gap. It is not enough to know, but you have to translate the knowledge into practical actions for it to be meaningful.
Access to funds from banks and government intervention programmes are usually predicated on good management and compliance with tax and other statutory regulations. Therefore, business owners need a training programme that can help them imbibe the discipline of good management practices that will make it easy for them to pay taxes and borrow money from the banks when necessary. The major reasons for business failure include lack of management capacity and lack of knowledge.
You need to identify a mentor that you can relate with in your area of business from time to time. Experience is said to be the best teacher – there is no alternative to sharing experiences of successes and failures in order to learn from them. Mentoring is not only a powerful learning tool to acquire competencies and professional experience, but also an avenue to gain insights into the culture and unwritten rules of the industry or sector where you operate.
It is important to have some basic knowledge of how to recruit for a small business and how to make employees put in their best while at work. Unfortunately, people management challenges are usually ignored by small business owners. A business, no matter how small, cannot exist without people
In summary, we would like to suggest a comprehensive training/workshop for small businesses that will include the following areas:
- Registration and organisation structure
- Mind-set change for successful enterprise building
- Business entity concept – separating yourself from the business
- Simple book-keeping as a basis of year end accounts
- The importance of cash flow and budgeting
- Tax education and compliance issues
- Small business recruiting and how to get the best from workers
- Marketing, including digital marketing platforms
- Customer service and internal customer concept