• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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‘Failure of start-ups is down to lack of financial management skills’

‘Failure of start-ups is down to lack of financial management skills’

Kehinde John Olagbenjo is the founder of SME Digest. He is also an author, inspirational speaker and the convener of the Gifted Hand Entrepreneurship Program. In this interview with Josephine Okojie, Olagbenjo talks about his forthcoming programme, among other issues.

Can you tell us about your forthcoming Gifted Hand Entrepreneurship Program?

Gifted Hand is an empowerment program that helps people to turn their passion into profit-making ventures. Often times we talk about talents, because it is one of the ways one can become successful. But for someone to succeed in life, he or she needs more than a talent. The program is focusing at training people on how to discover and succeed with their gifts.

You mentor start-ups. What problems do you think are peculiar to them?

Challenges are everywhere in general and start-ups in particular are no exception to myriad of challenges that we face today. An unrealistic expectation is one of the problems that are peculiar amongst most start-ups in Nigeria. Start-ups tend to face challenges when they set ‘unrealistic expectations’ following a booming success. Remember, success is short-lived and expectations never end. This is where start-ups need to translate what the real expectations are? Sustainability is the name of the game. And sustainability requires consistent efforts. In order to succeed in a competitive business environment, start-ups need to have high but controlled expectations, keeping in view, the resources available, the extent of growth potential, and other market factors as well.

Also, hiring suitable candidates is another major challenge start-ups face. Most of them lack the requisite skills to hire the right people for their businesses. One of the most important factors that define organisational culture within a start-up is the synergy of the team. A team comprises of individuals with similar capabilities and identical focus. In order to develop a highly successful team culture, organisations in general – and start-ups in particular – need to hire suitable candidates. There is a huge pool of aspiring individuals available. Selecting a suitable candidate that fits the job well enough is a peculiarly tricky task. It is one of the biggest challenges facing the start-up businesses in this digital age. When hiring a suitable candidate, organisations must remember one golden rule: Birds of a feather flock together.

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Another major challenge is finding the right partner for their businesses. In this ever-expanding and ever-changing digital era, where organisations need to battle hard for their survival, start-ups also find it difficult to find trustworthy partners. It’s really a big challenge for them today.

Would you say the government has done enough in addressing the major challenges facing entrepreneurs in the country?

The government has not done enough in addressing the problems entrepreneurs face in the country. It is unfortunate that the environment that will help businesses to grow in Nigeria, in order for them to create more jobs, are not available. All businesses operating in the country provide their power supply, water, security, amongst others, making the cost of production high. This is why most of our goods are unable to compete with imported products even right here in the country. We need visionary leaders that will provide businesses with the enabling environment to grow.

How can young entrepreneurs without start-up capital benefit from your programme?

If you have ever wanted to make more money by doing something you really enjoy, doing something you are perfectly wired for, money should not be your initial focus. This is the major reason why we initiated the TLIGAfrica Empowerment Program to help start-ups with promising ideas to start their businesses, with profitability the main focus. At this programme, we will teach entrepreneurs how to identify their God-given talents and abilities and then take this knowledge and turn it into a profitable business.

Why do most promising start-ups fail within a short time?

Most promising start-ups fail because they run out of cash too fast. Once you have a viable business model, managing your cash flow is the single most important thing you can do. It doesn’t matter how much cash you raise, without revenue generation you will eventually run dry. The biggest mistake to be made is carelessly spending money on features that are not needed or spending your marketing budget with no control on measuring what you are getting back.