Plagued by factors such as poor and costly Internet connectivity, high corruption index, few industrial manufacturing plants and less production including socio-political instability, doing business in Cameroon comes with an all-time low returns compared to statistics recorded in the years 2010 to 2015 which went from 171/190 in 2010 to 166/190 in 2018 in the ease of doing business in the country.

According to the latest World Bank annual ratings, Cameroon ranks 166 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business.

On an average of 1 to 20 in the past two years, at least 11 businesses in both the private and public sectors have had a negative financial flow. Most of this is due to the socio-political events happening in the country. Hence, causing frustration for business owners and their shareholders.

With all these happenings, will the business cycle of creating, manufacturing, distributing, and selling stop? The answer obviously is NO! No, because life must go on, families must feed. People must have shelter and must live good and healthy lives. The ordinary Cameroonian must have the basic necessities he/she needs for survival, reason why business must go on.

Adapting to changing times with new business models

The world at large is kaleidoscopic, a constantly changing and evolving globe. New methods of doing everything are ever erupting from different places and spaces. New systems created, new ways, new mannerisms, new words, new beliefs, new cultures, and traditions. This change does not exempt business models.

With a new age, comes new business models. Therefore, companies must be on the watch, constantly adapting to new creations and implementing these models. Systems must also keep pace with global trends.

5 things to consider when doing business in Cameroon

With the case of Cameroon, many businesses must adjust and change their modus operandi if they must stay in business and grow. Some of the points these businesses must consider are that:

  • 3 regions (the North, North West, and South West) are facing socio-political upheavals.
  • Majority of the inhabitants of these regions have displaced themselves, relocating to the Littoral, Centre and Eastern regions in search of peace and security.
  • Cameroon has an increasing number of young people (according to the world population review, more than 60% of the current Cameroonian population is under 25 years of age).
  • Women have a high purchasing power than men.
  • A large majority of the population fall in the ‘middle-class category.

This may not be an exhaustive list of points worth noting for business owners around. But the above factors are key to consider when doing business in Cameroon as from 2019.

With this in mind, I propose these business models companies in Cameroon must go to become profitable and sustainable.

First, let us have a rundown of the current state of affairs in Cameroon’s business terrain.

State of Affairs

In the past year, there has been peaking of reform activity worldwide. From June 2, 2017, to May 1, 2018, 128 economies implemented a record of 314 regulatory reforms improving the business climate. Reforms inspired by the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ have been implemented by economies in all regions. The following are reforms  Cameroon has implemented since 2008.

Starting a business

On starting a business, the government made starting a business in Cameroon easier by publishing notices of company incorporation online through the business creation website cfe-cameroun.cm. The paid-in minimum capital requirement was reduced, a sworn declaration at the time of the company’s registration replaced the requirement for a copy of the founders’ criminal records. There has also been a reduction of publication fees. Newly formed companies no longer pay the business license tax for their first 2 years of existence.

Taxes and credits

On tax payments, Cameroon made paying taxes costlier by increasing the minimum tax rate for companies.

Getting Credit in Cameroon and other members of the Central African Monetary Union was somehow made easier as the regional public credit registry provided online access to information for banks, simplifying the task of filing and retrieving information in the public registry and allowing expanded coverage for borrowers.

Also, access to credit in Cameroon improved through amendments to the OHADA Uniform Act on Secured Transactions that broaden the range of assets that can be used as collateral (including future assets).

Cameroon also improved access to credit information by launching a new credit registry.

Investments

Another very significant reform the Cameroon government made is the Protecting of Minority Investors. Cameroon strengthened minority investor protections by introducing greater requirements for disclosure of related-party transactions to the board of directors and by making it possible for shareholders to inspect the documents pertaining to related-party transactions and to appoint auditors to conduct an inspection of such transactions.

Last but not the least reform implemented by the government to ease doing business in Cameroon was the reduction of the time for exporting and importing, and the enhancement of the security of goods transiting within the country, by improving the single-window system (Guichet Unique du Commerce Extérieur) at Douala port and implementing a GPS tracking system and scanners for cargo to ease trading across borders.

New Business Models to implement

Established businesses in the country and yet-to-be-created ones must adopt particular business models such as the design of a value creation process including the delivery and capture mechanisms these businesses will use to get customers and keep them.

The manner and channel through which enterprises will deliver value to customers, entice customers to pay for value, and convert those payments into profits will be critical to the enterprise’s growth. All these will reflect management’s hypothesis about what customers want, how they want it, and how the enterprise can organize to best meet those needs and get payments for doing so.

The business models, therefore, to implement if you are running a business in Cameroon will relate to business strategy. It will also have close ties with innovation management, and unmatched creative thinking.

Strategy

On strategy, businesses will have to harness the power of emotional intelligence to appeal to their niche. They will have to probe deep into the lives of their customers. Then, figure out what problems they have and come up with ways to solve them. Growing a network of customers and building solid relationships will also be a good strategy to adopt. For one thing, it will give businesses the competitive edge.

Social media marketing

Today, one cannot talk about Business Growth Strategies without mentioning online marketing. Any business that is not online is missing out on some money.

Grow your business in the digital space. Reach out to more than 50 million people worldwide with social media marketing and advertising.

For businesses to succeed now in Cameroon, management will have to come up with ideas, develop, prioritize, and implement them. They also have to put them into practice, for example, by launching new products, or by introducing new internal processes.

In what I call Innovation Management, the managers will have to check out and pay attention to the abilities, unique insights, know-how and practical skills of the people working for their organizations. The organizational structure, processes, and infrastructure of the company will have to be favorable to the teams working on innovation to be able to move fast and adapt to their environment, as well as make decisions independent of the traditional ways of doing things in the organization.

In the 21st century, change is happening at a faster pace than ever before. This is a Darwinian process: survival and success goes alongside the ability to adapt and only an open mind and a creative approach will help businesses to thrive and take advantage of new opportunities.

Creative thinking for business and marketing is a key issue. If you aren’t coming up with new ideas regularly to make your business unique, then that business is lagging behind.

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