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10 Things You Need to Know When Starting a Business in Kenya

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One of the most cited reasons small business owners in Kenya started their business in the first place is because they wanted to make more money than they did working for someone else. Also high on that list of reasons is the desire to work and earn money without having to listen to a boss. With those reasons in mind, there are ten things that any beginning business owner should consider when starting a business in Kenya.

See Also: 32 Businesses You Can Start in Kenya Without Capital

Have an idea in mind, preferably about something that you are already interested in.

No business can survive if the business owner starts a business without really knowing what they want to, or are able to, do. There should be a specific focus on a particular good or service the business is going to provide.

Have some, if not a lot, of knowledge about what you are going to offer.

Research whether or not “it” can be done, or you can do it. If you are looking to start a phone repair shop, for example, it should be a priority that you know how to repair phones yourself. This comes in handy in future when you run low on staff and you are forced to work too. It’s also easier to manage a business you are already familiar with.

Research laws and regulations specific to your business within your region.

There are specific country, and certainly specific county, requirements for business owners when they start their own ventures. The requirements that need to be followed will, generally, depend on the structure of the business. The most important laws to keep in mind are tax and operational laws.

Put together a rough budget.

Once the business owner has decided on what they want to provide for a good or service, determined that they have the skills to run the business, and what type of structure the business is going to use, it is important to determine how much money it is going to cost to get up and running. Having a rough budget in mind allows you to prepare yourself for launch without any surprises.

Read Also: How To Boost Your Business Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020

Use resources online to streamline your research on laws and regulations.

Many small business owners in Kenya can feel a little lost with all the requirements a new business needs to meet. One of the best places to find help is with the local government at or KRA resources. There are also tons of free resources online for small business owners to assist in their new ventures.

Find a mentor in the industry you are going to be in.

Investigating small business mentors is another avenue of assistance for small business owners. Small business mentors are executives and entrepreneurs who have already experienced, successfully, the trials and hassles of owning a small business and are willing to assist those just breaking into a market.

Good entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes of others.

Do some marketing research.

It’s important to know who your target market is, who your competition is and so forth. It’s important to research this to help you with your marketing strategies. Also, advertising and marketing are both important factors to consider when starting a business. It is rarely a case of, “if you build it, they will come”.

You should know how much it costs to get your business running and how much makes sense to spend on marketing and advertising to break into the market.

Create a business plan.

A business plan is a strategically laid out set of goals the business owner intends to meet. A good business plan should include a list of available resources, ideas on how to meet the financial needs of the business and how much, along with what type of experience the business owner has in their chosen field, and a solid marketing plan.

Business plans are usually required by financial institutions prior to approving capital funding for a business. has a business plan template you can use to help you with this process.

Don’t be afraid to use technology.

With the available variety of affordable modern technology, it is fairly easy to start a new business. Don’t be afraid to use computers or programs that can help save you time and money with your start up.

Also, the advent of social media has provided business owners with a free means of advertising their product or service to a massive number of potential customers. Having a stable internet connection is key to a successful online marketing strategy.

Know your limit.

New small business owners must also always know when they have hit their financial, emotional or physical limit with their new business. If the business is not generating income, is too difficult to run physically, or is causing significant discord, it’s okay to call it quits and venture out elsewhere.

Many successful corporations took two to three trials before they were ever successful. Set a limit ahead of time so that you know when it’s time to fold and move on.

Following these ten basic steps when starting a new business in Kenya will not guarantee success, but it can provide a logical strategy to follow that can offer a better opportunity for profit.

It is a statistical fact that only half of small businesses are successful beyond the five year mark. This should not be a discouraging fact to anyone aspiring to start a business in Kenya, as there are also thousands of successful small businesses still in existence in the country.

Use this guide as a cautionary guide to keep goals realistic and always, always, keep an eye on the bottom line.


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