LEARNING THE ROPES AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

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Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Even after spotting an opportunity where he can generate some income, an entrepreneur is supposed to actualize his ideas by setting up a business. That is where the rubber meets the road as it is often said.  The gruelling journey starts with the herculean task of looking for capital for his start-up. Once set-up, the entrepreneur is expected to nurse the young business until it becomes a solid enterprise.  This requires a lot of skills and patience.

Even after setting up the business, it is not possible to grow it alone. In that respect, the entrepreneur is supposed to assemble an able team that shares his vision and offers ideas on how   the business can attain faster growth.  This is also another challenging task for him.  Attracting and retaining talented employees comes at a handsome cost. If the entrepreneur does not have deep pockets, then that is another feat.

Besides the traditional lenders like commercial banks, savings and credit co-operative societies (saccos) and microfinance institutions, the entrepreneur can raise capital from family members. However, the last one is not a sure bet.  The major challenge of being funded by the traditional lenders as a start-up is that they mainly give short-term loans (with a term of not more than an year) to this category of borrowers.  By being required to service their loans within a short period of time, entrepreneurs are denied an opportunity of ploughing back their profits into the start-ups as they struggle to scale them up.

Nevertheless, there is a ray of hope for start-ups. In this day and age of globalization, ambitious entrepreneurs are looking beyond our borders and they are getting funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.  Whereas venture capitalists   prefer fundingbusinesses that are already established, angel investors have no qualms partnering with start-ups in so far as the business idea is powerful and has the potential of being achieved.

As many entrepreneurs (especially the young ones) continue embarking on their lonely journeys, their fighting spirit should not be dampened   by shortage of capital. Even when they are not able to get funding from external sources, they can start in a small way and spend the little profit they are able to generate prudently.  After all, getting started in business is the best way to learn the ropes.

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