It is said “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.” in the startup world, I look at it from another perspective; “if you want your startup to die sooner than predicted, run it alone. But if you want to build an empire to last generations, carry along others”.
It’s super important that an entrepreneur belongs to a community of fellow entrepreneurs. It could be a SACCO, Investment Club or an Entrepreneurial club – as long as it has like-minded people.
Why am I emphasizing it? It is simple:
- FREE EVERYTHING
Every time people come together, there is an idea shared. This idea is in different forms. Either it will open you new doors to clientele or open an avenue for capital or above it all mentorship. As long as you belong to a group, chances of being better than who you were before are more and better than running a one man’s marathon.
I belong to 3 groups; NACOBA (Namilyango Old Boys) SACCO, AUTHORS FORUM and SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS GROUP (SEG). In total it’s a family of over 700 people.
These are doctors, lawyers, bankers, farmers, statisticians, IT specialists and many more. In reality, I have access to 700+ customers or consultants – for free!
SEG members are my favorite! In March this year, a lady had a hot pepper business but had no clue on how to register it. On top of that she didn’t have the money. As you read this, her business is registered, for free! This was offered by a group member – Migadde Habib. By being a member in this group, opportunities opened up for her to begin walking in her dream.
- UNLIMITED NETWORKS
Any successful entrepreneur thrives on networks. Simply put, your network is your net worth!
Just a few weeks back, a new member joined NACOBA SACCO. I was thinking of writing an article titled how entrepreneurs can save by registering their businesses themselves.
Actually, I was still pondering hitting Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and maneuver those “we/am not in charge of that”. Guess what, this SACCO rat (as we prefer to be called) was working with URSB. I did what I do best – hit his inbox ASAP! Though I haven’t yet gone there, at least I know who to talk to when I go there next week.
- REALITY CHECKS
Sometimes, as an entrepreneur, you are not sure whether you are going through the worst or best. At this point all you want to hear is what is taking place in other entrepreneurs’ lives. There’s one place that guarantees that – a group!
There’s a day I felt like my entrepreneurship path was taking off at a snail pace. That’s the time Peter BenHur Nyeko shared his story (Google him). It was a very humbling one yet full of inspiration. That’s when I realized that I needed to revisit the drawing board.
The entrepreneurship journey is full of more than ups than downs – the reason it’s dreaded by many. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be traveled.
Groups offer the much needed support and always remind you why you started. As an entrepreneur, there’s one thing you should never risk to lose – why you started. Most importantly these groups remind you whatever you want to do is possible.
So, do you already belong to a group? It could be online or offline. If yes, Kudos! And I believe you’ll agree with most of what I hinted on. If you don’t belong to one yet, look around you for one or start it.
Actually with the evolution of technology, starting a group has been made easy. Not to mention keeping up to date with the events. You can decide, as a group, to have a WhatsApp, Google plus, Facebook or any other online platform as a host for your group.
Maybe just for your information, SEG started as a WhatsApp group (we are now over 350 people). Over 200 people met on the 7th of April at Kati Kati for our first physical meet up. And I believe this is one group that will transform Uganda and its entrepreneurs in the years to come. So it doesn’t matter where your group starts from and it’s not hard. Just start!
The writer is the founder of The Startup Advisor