“Entrepreneurship is not a bed of roses. Leveraging and scaling your business is a major problem for most small and medium size entrepreneurs”, says Laye Mbunkur of Small Business support Centre.

Startup life is absolutely a challenging one and there are some basics that entrepreneurs must put into consideration to move forward.

Laye Mbunkur is a co-founder of 9 well to do startups and founder of Small Business Support Center, Business Development specialist of ActivSpaces Buea. Laye understands how to overcome all odds and break even in the waters of entrepreneurship.

More importantly, thriving SME’s and startups must keep these 10 commandments below proposed by Laye Mbunkur:

1 Establish strategic direction of your startup

Every business must have a focus, Laye told Afrohustler. Most small businesses still have the jack of all trade mentality. Setting a vivid mission statement, vision, objectives and policies will facilitate you sail your business through to its planned destination.

Long term and short term objectives must be clearly stated and understood by all stakeholders. Benchmarking is what you can’t just do without. It will help your businesses to detect deviation from standard and meet up with current industry trends.

2 Build loyal employees

Building a convivial environment for employees really matters. When you treat your employees well, they remain loyal and motivated to achieve goal set.

Facebook is what it is today because its employees gave their all. When employees share the same dream as founders they are bound to out do. Remember, the way you treat employees reflects their productivity, creativity and output

3 Hold employees accountable

Division and specialisation of tasks are not a new concept to you. Assigning tasks and holding employees accountable and responsible for task accomplishment is vital.

Employees at Makonjo Media, a digital media and advertising start-up in Buea are given dateline for every single task.

They are held accountable for the task assigned to them. This has triggered a sense of direction, boosting up working morale.

4 Build strong relationships with External Stakeholders

External stakeholders play an integral role in every business. You should hold them in high esteem and keep that relationship mutually beneficial and sustainable. Who are your external stakeholders?

Guinness Cameroon has a beautiful policy for external stakeholders who consist of customers, distributors, etc. They give their supplier-vendor relationship a high preference.

5 Get an Online presence for your Business

Customers are online. It’s high time you dip your toes into the online waters. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users.

Social media marketing will help you target, engage, and close leads online. Don’t say your business is small to own a website. You need a website that converts leads to paying customers and delight promoters.

Other social media platforms such as snap chat, Instagram, WhatsApp should be exploited as well.

6 Always produce and provide quality

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGA) principle applies in all domains in business. If you send forth mediocre products to the market, you make little or no sales. You can leverage and scale your business by producing quality products to satisfy and retain loyal customers.

7 Strive to be a low-cost producer

Producing at a low cost is necessary. But producing quality products at a low cost will earn you more profit, Laye emphasised.  Low-cost producers utilise economies of scale and the strategy of low price increases sales turnover. Being a low-cost producer will assist funding long-term growth from internal sources.

8 Keep Business data

Data is the new gold. Businesses need data for survival. Customer information, sales information, profit, etc. is what we’re talking about. Your business data will help you interpret, analyse and make solid decisions. Sales data may help you to forecast and predict future sales and perhaps profit.

As for web businesses, data analytics is crucial as it gives you all the necessary reporting of about visitors’ activities andbehaviourss on your site. Signup for google analytics to monitor your site.

Don’t forget to store business data on protected hard drives or use a cloud which is safer.

9 Create excellence in operations and execution

Install operation management processes to guide and control the company. Before approaching any task a process should be defined for its execution. Failing to define a process will constantly rob time and lead to unnecessary bottlenecks.

Operations management is associated with various controls such as pre-control, concurrent and post control which aid production and service delivery.

10 Hold Regular Meetings

Holding regular meetings is a good strategy for businesses. this creates a forum whereby, both employees and employers air out their frustrations, celebrate milestones and successes.

Meetings should be taken seriously as it creates the ground for a company to plan, strategise and talk about pertinent issues challenging the status quo.

To stay faithful and achieve business objectives, it’s pertinent that young entrepreneurs honor the above-listed commandments by the business expert Laye Mbunkur.

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