Management consultancy & finance

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Growing Your Small Medium Enterprise in Malawi

Growing a business is not an easy feat. It can be a rollercoaster ride from having the viable business idea to raising capital for it and testing your product or service on the market and raising some more capital to scale your enterprise especially here in Malawi. Verne Harnish in his book Scaling Up said that scaling up a business is like climbing a mountain. This is why you need a plan, with milestones that you can look forward as you journey your way to the top. You cannot have a precise plan that will go the way you imagined it, however that framework helps you to discern what you can be certain about and what you can deem as your uncertainty pointers.

Lay-out the overall strategy of growth
For most small businesses (in Malawi), the challenges to scale that they have is firstly, lack of strategy. The strategy does not have to be perfect, but it has to take into account all aspects. There should be a financial part that goes deeper than just projections of profits and losses, you should go further to understand the cash flow that will be required to scale. Understand your overheads and the margins for the product or service that you produce and there is no crime in asking for help if you are not good with financial planning, the good thing is that if one is willing they can learn. Furthermore, what is the new market that you want to attract or where do you get the raw materials to produce?

Surround yourself with the right competences and personalities
Secondly, the management team that you have. Or in short, are your people those you can depend on? Are the skills diverse in your team? Do you have the right synergy? Can you lead them towards the main goal? Or the ultimate question, are you a leader? One of the things about leaders is that they hire people that are stronger than them, because they know such kind of people keep them in business. Finding the right people is key to create and maintain growth of your business.

Take away all the blockades in your enterprise
The third factor to consider for scale is infrastructure. As a small enterprise, if you want to move fast you want to move with stable infrastructure. This is very important because when your product begins to get more demand on the market you will want to increase your production without the hassle of ceasing your operations because you have no stable infrastructure. This also involves the regular meetings with the team, discussions with (new) clients and transportation of goods and services. Scaling up goes through the whole company that supports the core of every business, the sales.

Finance business growth
Lastly, keep raising money. You will need to invest in your growth. This means that you have to keep most of your money in the business even when business is booming. Always make sure you have adequate cash because as a small business you will have to pay for most things upfront. It is also helpful for you to identify potential funds that can help you to accelerate growth. Whether that is a bank financing or venture fund, know the implications of your choices, and read up on them.

Key takeaways

  • Prepare your business to scale-up and not let it happen to you
  • Get the right people on board to make the next step
  • Put new infrastructure and routines in place to accommodate more of everything
  • Arrange enough cash to fund the growth of your business