The dream of many entrepreneurs globally is to launch their enterprises to span the whole world. That is a massive aspiration and vision. It is good to believe that you can fly. In fact, a small vision for you as an entrepreneur is not encouraged. It does not put enough fire in your belly to cause ripples around the world specifically in your niche.
Recently, American businesses have entered the Great Lakes Region by storm. A good example is KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the one of the famed Colonel Sanders. KFC was founded in 1930. So nearly a century later, this fast food restaurant chain has weathered the storm for close to a century before ‘shipping’ their success across continents.
Back home, we have seen Uchumi Supermarkets close its doors in Uganda at the backdrop of much acrimony from its employees, mostly Kenyans. It was easy to see which direction Uchumi was headed. Common items that could be found at retail shops were increasingly unavailable at Uchumi…until it closed shop.
Interestingly, Nakumatt might be on the same path. Towards the end of 2016, it was not easy to get common items from their shelves like Yogurt or 500ml water of any brand. Their once famed green grocery section looked depleted. Nakumatt entered the Ugandan Market with a storm, opening over 9 stores in less than 7 years! That is in Uganda alone. In the Great Lakes Region, the store has also made entry in Kigali, Bujumbura, Moshi and Arusha.
In 2016, a new building was launched in Ntinda called Ntinda Complex. Since the beginning of 2016, there has been a banner announcing “Nakumatt Coming Soon”. However, nothing seems to be in the offing. Could Nakumatt be going the Uchumi way?
What to Learn as Entrepreneurs
Arguarbly the biggest lesson we can learn is to manage our growth. We have to grow organically. In doing a SWOT analysis, some of the questions to answer about THREATS are:
“If I didn’t earn any money for the next six months, would I still have enough reserves to cover all my expenses and maintain my existing lifestyle? What are my total monthly expenses?
An answer to this question will be an obvious indicator on whether to expand or not. If you go ahead and expand (scale) when you answered in the negative, chances are that you will not weather the storm. This is all the more the reason to expand organically. A step at a time.
“If demand for my business instantly grew three times over, what systems, management, staff, cash flow, operational processes or other capacity issues would be in most jeopardy?”
If you can answer this question for your startup in the positive, then you are ready for expansion. If not, then it is an opportunity to think about it. It is how you prepare for growth.
3. Market Uncertainties
If demand for my business instantly dropped to one-third its existing rate, what systems, management, staff and operational process would have to be cut? (Consider how to make these as lean as possible now.)
Again, considering this question is important as you factor in the growth of your business. Think about it seriously. People who have some answers to this question are better informed to expand their businesses.
4. Unique Selling Proposition
“What is my business’s unique selling proposition? What do you do or does your business’s product or service offer that no one else does? Who could duplicate this? If they did, why would I or we still remain relevant?”
Immediately after Uchumi left, we have two stores in the same location: Mega Standard and Capital Shoppers. These two seemingly have been able to duplicate Uchumi’s model without a sweat. If this question can be answered, it gives you enough arsenals to counter the dark waters of competition.
5. The Team
“Who on my team is indispensable? What redundancies can I put in place that would protect me or the enterprise should something unexpected happen?”
In his landmark book “Good To Great” Jim Collins insists that a good to great company’s major factor of success is the right team. As you consider growing, it is the team that will take you places. Do you have the right team and will they be with you through the expansion process?