A relative of mine said she was in a business plan competition of which the winner will be given a business grant, and she had her business plan written out which she was sure will win but just needed me to scan through for something she might have missed so it will be the gold standard.
I looked at the business plan and told her as nicely as I could that with what she had written, I would not give her even the equivalent of ten dollars if it was to invest in her business.
Of course, she took it personal, and I had to try so hard to patiently list out all the issues with the business plan that made it not worth investing in. luckily, she tried making many of the changes but was short of time and so went with what she had done and came up 6th out of twenty finalists. But sadly, the grant was for only 1 person – the winner.
So, she did not get the funding but learnt a hard lesson for which we have been tweaking and upgrading her business plan in preparation for the next opportunity.
According to her, ‘if she had not focused on all the time, energy and resources she had put into a plan she prepared herself instead of listening and taking corrections, she would have gotten her grant.’
If you are reading this newsletter, it is obvious you will not be like her. We started this discourse last week and had discussed having a bankable business plan as the first step to getting funding. We continue this week.
- What problem are you solving?
We go into business (profit making or non-profit making) to solve a problem, meet a need, or achieve a cause. You need to ask yourself this question and be clear about the answer.
The reason is because this will define the entire gamut of your business, what exactly it is, how it will be set up, where it will be set up and most importantly, what kinds of products or services will be on offer.
This also forms the story behind your business; what drives your business! It defines how long the business will last. For example, if you went into business just to make money, then it is just a matter of time for the business to fade away once it starts making money unless you quickly redefine the purpose.
Also, profitability is not a reason to go into business unless it is the problem you were trying to solve.
There are a myriad of problems and many new ones coming up every hour of every day. As an example, you might have entered your business because you want to solve the issue of unemployment among young graduates of tech accounting in your country.
That means you will be providing employment for a lot of new university graduates from your country and so your business model, business finance, business cost, services, and revenue projections must reflect this.
You might be out to solve the problem of education of the girl child or solving the hunger problem through fish farming.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? The problem you are trying to solve also defines your unique company culture, the long-term sustainability of your business and even your core values. They are interrelated (which is why we know those business plans that are cosmetic). It is a step to answering the question – why is my business not getting funding?
- What do you do?
A lady (Lets call her Esther for familiarity’s sake) opened a hair dressing salon and said her purpose was “to make women’s’ hair beautiful”. Another lady (Lets call her Amaka) opposite her salon opened a hair dressing salon just a short while after this lady.
For both women, business was booming, and they had even moved from suspecting each other to becoming like sisters.
A new hair style hit town and it made Esther start losing customers while Amaka doubled business.
They sat down to coffee one morning and Esther asked Amaka, “What do you do in your salon?” Amaka immediately answered without thinking about it that “we make women beautiful”. Esther understood immediately what she was doing wrong. While Esther focused on the female hair only and turned away customers that just wanted the new skin cut fashion style, Amaka did it for them if that will make them feel beautiful.
After a few days, Esther changed her business definition to “We give everyone the beautiful confidence they deserve”.
This allowed her to expand her business not just to women hair, but to a lot of beauty services and for male, female, and children. Thus, she answered the question – why is my business not getting funding?
To answer the question – what are you into? You need to do a lot of deep thinking to answer this question, you might also need to talk with a group you are comfortable sharing your ideas with, or you might need to talk with your mentor(s) but as a financier, this question needs to be clearly answered so I know my investment is safe as you know what you are doing with minimal risks.
You can reach out to Coinbox Limited to assist with this.
Coinbox Limited is a management consulting company and has a crop of experts that will assist with your business plan, BMC, business proposals and other project/business documents. Contact them today at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, www.coinboxlimited.com.ng.
I am a management consultant dedicated and committed to your business wellbeing in its 6 cardinal areas.
- Business management
- Human capital
- Information & Communication Technology
- Marketing & sales
- Business finance
- Business operations
See you in the next newsletter.