It’s never too late to take up any opportunity or a chance when it comes, as it may not come again. This speaks to SMEs or anyone doing business that if you fail to grab it, you might pay a huge cost for such loss. I have learnt that opportunities are always available although limited but the problem remain that SMEs are not always ready to grab them.
Therefore, as we are at the start of the year, it is crucial to know that every new year brings new economic opportunities for business. As a small business, you have to prepare and be ready for them.
I want to give you some food for thought on how to get prepared for this year opportunities. I believe that every small business owner during the beginning of the year has high ambitions to expand their businesses. It always seems easy to set up new plans and goals of what you want to achieve for that year.
However, these plans and goals remain secret to you due to the higher level of competition prevailing in the business environment. Others are still doubting whether they will make it through 2022 given this unpreceded situation of Covid-19.
They have fear of lockdowns which have the potential to slow down economic activities. I agree that these mixed feelings are welcomed but the questions remain, are you prepared for 2022 opportunities, and what do you need to prepare for as an SME.
There are always new opportunities particularly for entrepreneurship development and growth, these can be in the form of a capacity-building programme, funding for business recovery, training and skills development, tenders for public offices, ministries, and agencies.
Being careful analysing things, I concluded that it is not always that you don’t meet the requirements for these opportunities, but it’s a matter of preparation.
The first step you need to do is to put your business idea to work. If you haven’t started the previous year, just with the little you saved, there you have joined the pool of those who have made a start. This is not the end. You need to formalise your business activities by registering with relevant institutions of business registrations.
This process will help you acquire legal documents to do business. I have seen many SMEs don’t prioritise legalising their business because others have discouraged them to do so.
From the look of things, I came to notice that legal documentation for a business is the first requirement for any available application for funding opportunities from any financial institution. Having acquired all the legal documents for the business is a requirement for the preparation of new opportunities. Make sure your business papers are accessible and up to date. Make sure you have double-checked your documents that are due for renewal and that they are filed correctly.
As you are preparing for this year, keep track of what failed your business by not participating in a small tender of cleaning a road passing in your village last year.
This will help you to fast track your weakness and strength to face such opportunities in future. Stop making premature speculation of who is going to emerge victorious if there is an opportunity to apply for business funding assistance, tenders or SMEs training programmes. Play your part, and make sure you attempt to apply because you all have the same chance to emerge victoriously, grab such opportunity and grow your business.
To be ready is to value all the opportunities the same, they can be in the form of skill development and training, or the monetary form. They are all crucial for business growth and recovery because not all businesses need monetary assistance to grow. Others need human capital, with technical know-how.
This is a new year, and you have refreshed your mind and are ready to move your business forward. Never sleep, look for information and visit stakeholders in entrepreneurship ecosystems to familiarise yourself and to know a bit of what 2022 is going to offer in terms of SMEs development, promotion and growth amid the Omicron variant.
Don’t forget that the world has moved to the online way of doing things. Those of you who are technologically literate, make use of social media platforms because some information is being shared online. Therefore, be ready to adapt to new methods of sharing information in the public domain. Don’t forget to also share information with others.
After great preparation and readiness for 2022, come mid-year, your business loan is approved by the bank, you won a tender of supplying cleaning materials to a certain public institution, you have attended two pieces of training in financial management and bookkeeping. What to keep in mind is to avoid getting too excited and losing focus thinking you have finished the race. Calm down; this is just a start. Don’t forget the goals and objectives that you set for your business in January that you won’t achieve at the end of the year.
Those objectives should remain at the back of your mind as guiding principles for the growth and recovery of your business. This victory should bear reference to the effort and seriousness you put to achieve and grabbing those opportunities. Remember, not all could grab those opportunities due to competition and unpreparedness, therefore, be a role model to encourage others on how you went about to get your business loan approved.
Now you have equipped with skills in finance management, try to implement this skill into your business operation. Decide on how you are going to spend your business loan. It’s very important to understand the intention of it. Avoid diverting your money into things that are of private consumption. By doing this, you are positioning your business at risk of collapsing. This is among the reasons why many who have acquired business loans never succeeded.
Every situation has two sides to the coin. You might have prepared well for 2022. However, you could not make it to take up any opportunity of assistance for your business to grow and recover from the impact of Covid-19. I have good advice for you, don’t surrender or look down on your business thinking you will not make it to 2023. This is a sign that you have to work harder.
Don’t forget that was just an opportunity that you were trying to grab. You still have your business goals and year plan for 2022 that you set to accomplish at the end of the year. Prioritise the little resources you have, and invest in the area of your small business where there is potential for recovery and growth.
Running a small business is a challenge but if you fail to plan before the festive season, use January to plan for the rest of the year.
Keep a good relationship with your customers and suppliers. It’s important for the success of your business. Most importantly, make arrangements with your banks or creditors to honour outstanding monthly payments. This is crucial to keep a good credit record and maintain a good reputation for your business. Entrepreneurs are the drivers of local economic growth and development, especially for developing countries.
* Andreas I Filippus holds a Bachelor of Economics Degree from Namibia University of Science and Technology. He is passionate about entrepreneurship development for local economic growth.