How to Make
How to Make
My Ethnic Business Last?
ISBN KDP: 9781790725977
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 2017 Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, 2017
Book and cover design: ASSOUKA
Cover illustration: © Uber Images
Translation: ldoron – Fiverr.com
Before we begin 8
PRESENTATION OF ISSUES IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS 9
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT PLAN 11
SEARCH FOR QUALITY IN CUSTOMER PERCEPTIONS 14
PROMOTIONAL TECHNIQUES 16
BE EFFECTIVE WITH REGARDS TO TIME 17
HAVE A DIFFERENCE-MAKING ATTITUDE 19
ADAPTATION STRATEGY 21
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSES 22
This series of handbooks introduces us to ethnic entrepreneurship, lays its foundation, and guides us to the crucial stage of market positioning with a major competitive advantage. It answers the following questions:
Why an ethnic business? Why choose to practice in ethnic and capitalize on this market without living it in marginalization in its Definition, role, vision, and usefulness?
How to create and position yourself? How to prepare to position yourself on the right foot with your ethnic business?
What are the attributes and tools of ethnic entrepreneurship? What are the parameters and stakes of an ethnic project?
This handbook serves to provide an initiation to the ethnic project.
“Each Human is
important to the eyes of God.”
For a company, surviving beyond its first 6 months of existence is a serious priority for the sustainability of the business project. Even though it will take another 3 to 5 years to notice structure growth and consolidation, the first 6 months necessitate special care in management as this period is one of financial fragility. The objectives here
will be to:
• Be fully aware of the importance of the importance of the first 6 months and increase its chances for success.
• Effectively implement internal management tools and external promotional tools.
• Know how to adjust to your environment.
Thus, the main concepts to assimilate will be the importance of the first 6 months, understanding what’s at stake, the elements of implementation, and strategy. At the core, we must answer the following question: Which strategies should we adopt to survive the first 6 months and last in the market?
Before we begin
What strategies do you think you should adopt to ensure the survival of your company during its first 6 months?
To answer this question, we will need to explore the following essential elements which constitute the guiding principle of our presentation:
• The importance of the first 6 months in the life of business: working capital, implementation of your plan, and rigorous monitoring. How to deal with success.
• Successful implementation of your plan.
• Adapt and/or develop promotional tools to strengthen positioning and visibility.
• Adjust our actions and resources with regards to our field observations.
• Be inspired by ethnic entrepreneurship success stories.
PRESENTATION OF ISSUES IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS
There are 4 key issues that must be considered during the first 6 months:
The upstream estimate and management of working capital, most often calculated over 6 months, will have an impact on whether or not this phase in the life of the company is stable. Thus, we have only 6 months to consolidate the effect of the launch and the begin to build customer loyalty in order to no longer depend on savings or credit.
Project Implementation Plan and Handbook
The purpose of business is to generate sales, especially during its most critical phase, its first 6 months. To not disperse and lose the effects of all the preparations done before the start of operations, it is advisable to adhere to the project plan and the handbook in order to avoid changing strategy unless necessary. Thus, adapatation consists in applying corrective measures to the strategy based on market return and not in rethinking the whole strategy once it’s launched.
Rigorous Monitoring of Activities
It is good to use a certain number of indicators and a scoreboard to monitor the performance of your structure. This is the minimum. However, we should not be limited to this. Informal data must also be collected: feedback from peers, the market, and of the press. Performance is correlated to the relationship with our clientele in order to optimize market presence.
You can ideally pre-identify your key factors for success and apply them to your goals. They can be used to compare yourself, at all times, against your performance route. Key success factors can be : value for money, product or service quality, customer service, creativity or innovation, diversity of supply, customization of supply, etc. It is good to compare yourself to other market participants with similar activities.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT PLAN
There are 4 aspects to the implementation of the project plan:
Contents of Quality
Along with price, Quality is a major differentiation factor in the market. It is an element perceived by customers or reinforced in your company’s image which may affect the service supply or product lines. Mastering Quality allows for a long-term impact and strengthens customer loyalty if care is maintained in its application.
You may have a product or service of quality, but if you don’t inform the market, you may not be able to sell it. Promotion allows us to put our best foot forward and effectively reach our target customers. Implementation tools are virtually the same as those for a company’s launch, except that we’re dealing with a product or service and we need to consider a recurring action on the market or towards the target clientele. (relationship maintenance).
Performance vs. Time
The local economy often offers examples of « start-ups» developed by ambitious young entrepreneurs often during or just after their studies. In the case of the labour force, the entrepreneurial trigger often arises later on after a« first life » of working professionally. This may be due to dissatisfaction with the job market or a voluntary desire to change careers. Quite often, the time to capitalize on entrepreneurial commitment and to see the fruits of our labours may be short. Performance with regards to time is to work in project-mode by maximizing the performance of both.
Attitude: Confidence, Pleasure and Wealth
The basic attitude of the entrepreneur and the community around him/her consists of 3 exhortations depending on the state of the market:
• Confidence: to continue to minimally sell or buy during a recession.
• Pleasure: to produce and consume in a satisfactory manner during growth.
• Wealth: to save during periods of stability where income is guaranteed and to create a significant and transmissible heritage (if needed).
This is the macroeconomic point of view and not the basic attitudes such as I will expand on below.
SEARCH FOR QUALITY IN CUSTOMER PERCEPTIONS
Quality is defined by AFNOR as : « a product or service of quality is a product whose characteristics enable it to meet the needs expressed or implied of consumers.» Quality is therefore a relative concept based on need.
The relativity of quality allows us to forward assumptions that all customers are not susceptible to the same level of quality and that there is a threshold beyond which any investment in quality produces no effect with target customers.
Thus, the implementation of quality processes must be accompanied by an adequate communication policy around it to educate the customer about what he’/she’s buying.
This will allow us to stand out from other players and make the customer aware of what remains relevant with the product or service.
Quality has a cost but it is useless to dedicate too much money on it if the customer has no expectations at this level.
For the first 6 months, we must set the tone regarding our level of quality in order to position ourselves in the mind of the customer and the market.
Promotional techniques are diverse and evolve over time. They are dependent on regions and the customs of clients (intercultural).
We generally distinguish those using traditional media (content is promoted from the company to its clientele; ex. advertising) and digital media (content is defined as upstream to attract customers to the business; ex. blogs). We choose to use both.
For the first 6 months, I recommend having a website, if possible, with profiles in the most prominent social media and to diffuse information about you and your market to attract customers. Take the opportunity to emit calls for action for the purchase of your product. You can add advertising in newspapers of blogs referring to your site or online profiles. Don’t be satisfied with providing information without enticing your readers towards a purchase nor should you be satisfied to invite them to purchase by simply promoting your product.
There is much more to establishing a relationship with customers.
Your Leadership within the community or market can be useful to draw awareness to your business. Don not hesitate to get involved and take center stage.
BE EFFECTIVE WITH REGARDS TO TIME
Performance vis-à-vis time consists of organizing yourself in project mode capitalize on financial performance.
The first step is to define your service as a profit center in order to manage each project type for the associated customer segment.
Then you have to invest a starting budget during its delivery (project) to the customer and get by with a maximal return on investment.
Finally, we must distribute the gains by paying the initial capital to be used on another project. Either the surplus is put into savings or it’s used to increase the capital to improve the scope of projects which may be processed.
Repeat these 3 steps by limiting waiting time between contracts and taking into account lessons learned.
HAVE A DIFFERENCE-MAKING ATTITUDE
Frequentation of the company by customers from within or without the community is a source of wealth for the entrepreneur. This may induce favourable informal Attitudes toward the growth of the business. This is the micro-economic vision which focuses on the individual.
My model defines 7 basic informal Attitudes which promote frequentation:
• The desire for possession: Target the customer when he has money and desires to use it.
• Confidence: Reassure the customer by presenting the product, service and sales space favourably.
• Pleasure: Make the customer aware of the quality of the product or service with commented samples.
• Knowledge: Develop promo-tional techniques and trends that have proven to be successful.
• Quality: Take care to seek and maintain the good charac-teristics of your output.
• Definition: Identify and develop pride for the project without internal constraints.
• Wealth: Give generously to create a connection and push customers to return.
Usually, instead of the desire for possession, we use (notably in a liberal system):
The desire for excitement: creates a need to spend in the customer by means of marketing.
The adaptation strategy consists of following the strategy outlined in the project plan while executing necessary corrections according to the state of the market and business environment. It’s a strategy I classify as dynamic.
It consists of 7 principles:
Apprenticeship of the milieu by studying its parameters beforehand
Determination of the mechanisms while maintaining realism in the exercise
Adaptation to changes in a flexible perception of normality
Processes and contingency allowing freedom by automation
Transitions by consolidating phases to observe
Equilibrium and flexibility in the dynamic of the result
Durability and resilience (for some) by a strong transmission network.
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSES
There are many examples of successes in the ethnic business community available on social networks or cable television shows. They are not all publicized and some prefer discretion. We invite you to follow our blog or to conduct research to read up on success stories.
Surviving the first 6 months of life in business may seem daunting and exciting all at once, but above all, it requires discipline. This discipline must be exercised in great detail through the application and adaptation of the project plan and the marketing plan of the company to the environmental and market trends. Demonstrating strategy guarantees the continuity of the business in the long term but being reactive and proactive avoids short-term fatal errors. It is therefore a mix of the two that will may you a wise and successful manager.
Photo: Awa Lake Diop
Arnaud Segla M. Sc., M. Sc. Admin., CAPM. Consultant, Manager and coach in ethnic, informal and corporate entrepreneurship. I organize and animate learning activities and accompany many entrepreneurs in the attaining of the objectives of their business project.
Since 2009 I offer consulting services for ethnic and informal entrepreneurship projects within the economic and identity development for migrant workforces. I associated myself with every helping stakeholder to realize my vision with the business The Wisemen Council.
“Making informal economy a quality alternative to the liberal system.”