Complete Guide To Starting A Business In Cameroon
As a country that is moving towards becoming an independent and emergent economy, the government of Cameroon has authorized the creation of SMEs, which have proved to add value to the economy. Small businesses don’t only help with improving income but also create opportunities that help to enhance the well-being of the population.
Setting up small businesses is quite challenging in most developing countries, given limited capital and location. If you are planning to run a small business in Cameroon, we have shared this guide to get the steps to follow while starting a business so that you can find it much more accessible.
Starting a business requires a bit of sacrifice in terms of money and time. Depending on the type of business you run, there is always a uniqueness for each individual. Still, in most cases, the processes and stages that entrepreneurs take on are usually the same.
Starting a business requires you to have an initial idea to keep building onto that idea until you reach the final phase of launching the project or the business and operating officially. One has to go through ten steps to get to the final stage of starting a business.
1. Choosing a business idea
If you have the idea of what you want to do already, you may have to do sufficient research about it; for instance, you may have to research the market demands, competition and your target service/ product consumers.
More to this, you can think about the skills already in place and how you can utilize them to benefit your business idea. Thinking about available resources, opportunities, startup costs, and industry can help you decide whether to go on with an idea or whether you may have to drop it and find a cheaper but better alternative and definitely what you have to serve the market.
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Critically think about your business idea and see if it can solve a problem, fulfill a need or what the market wants. Then, if any other businesses offer the same services like yours, how best will you fit into the market.
2. Make a business plan
The moment you get the idea, the next step is always making a business plan that guides you on how you achieve the success of your business. Putting a plan in writing is very important. Sufficient planning creates an easy route for the success of your business. Planning is perfect for anyone who wishes to start a business. It acts as a roadmap that guides you on your business journey from the start until the company grows into a big and recognizable venture. While planning for your business, it is essential to think about the business name and decide on its legal structure. Choosing a legal structure for your business while planning helps determine how your business will be organized and the taxation.
Entrepreneurs usually consult lawyers, attorneys, accountants and tax professionals while doing their business plans to have a wide range of knowledge on different matters such as the various drafts. For example, while you may want to do a detailed business plan to seek financial support from financial institutions, you can also do a simplified one-page plan which is precise. Then, in the future, you can keep improving the plan and incorporating what you thought you had missed out on.
3. Drawing your business structure
Creating a formal business structure helps you run a successful business. In addition, having a business structure enables you to make an informed decision on the type of business you want to run, whether a partnership, sole proprietorship or a limited liability company.
The business structure you choose influences many things, including the business name, tax filing, and liability.
4. Business registration, legalizing and officiating
To legalize the presence of your business in Cameroon, entities require you to register with the region. In Cameroon, you are authorized to report with the delegation of small and medium-sized enterprises in any part of Cameroon town. Based on the area and industry, you may be required to get a business license or permit to start running officially. Furthermore, you may be required to apply for an employer identification number, TIN or business tax ID number. A business tax ID is used for taxation purposes. A TIN is required for applying for a bank account, business loan or credit card.
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At this phase, you can do business name registration, and names play a huge role in the progress of your business. Therefore, a good reputation is significant for your product or service.
5. Get a licensee or permit
You may need to apply for a special permit, license, or authorization for some exceptional cases before you start operating officially. Depending on the kind of business you run, you will need to research to determine if your business needs a license, permit or authorization document from the government before you initiate activities. For instance, if you are doing an import or export business, you will need to acquire an import or export license to do the export and import activities/ duties.
6. Mobilize funds for your business
Most starting businesses find challenges with finances, but for a startup, you may not need a lot of capital but rather the initial capital to cover expenses at the start. However, if you have a rich idea, you can’t get funding given a good business plan. You can get funds from relatives, friends and family plus personal savings, but the other option could be a bank loan. To apply for funding, you may need to open a bank account and get a business credit card, create a business budget, choose a business accounting software and a business accountant or bookkeeper.
It is advised to put together all the required startup cost estimates and what you may need to run the business for at least a year. The moment you get all your costs together, you may need to find ways of fundraising to start running the business, for instance, presales to customers.
7. Business location
When you are done registering your business, and with all the licenses together, the next step is acquiring a setup location for your business location. Choosing a good spot for your business is very important, and this follows a lot of factors. Being a startup and wanting to reduce the costs, you may have to start at home, shared office or retail location. Additionally, you can put up your office where you get your raw materials from or near your market to cut unnecessary costs.
8. Keep your accounts straight
Setting up an accounting system for your business is very important. An accounting system helps you manage your budget, set prices and other expenses. You can employ someone to do the accounting for you or outsource a small business accounting firm to do it on your behalf.
9. Recruit employees
Being a startup, you may not need very many employees at the start, and also, you may not have the capacity to pay their salaries if they are many. Therefore, you can choose a few team members to support you initially or use family friends, relatives, and siblings to help you cut costs but ensure that you get the right people for the position.
If you don’t have the ways of getting permanent employees, you can think of outsourcing independent contractors as you lookout for the right employees to join at a later stage. In addition, the Cameroonian government offers tax exemptions to promote youth employment and hence your business could be one of those beneficiaries.
10. Sell your business image, launch and grow your operation
This includes creating awareness about the presence of your business so that people can know about the products and services you are offering. You can make a marketing plan for your business when you find your target audience.
While the use of billboards, TVs and radios stations is expensive in Cameroon, you can opt to use social media platforms that are cheap. Digital marketing is the modern marketing technique that efficiently turns followers into customers.
Managing Your Business With Monkeypesa CRM
The world of marketing is in a crazy revolution. Every passing day, there is new software on the market. The software makes the work easier with automation.
MonkeyPesa CRM is an all-in-one business automation tool. From sales marketing, automation or customer support. With the devotion to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), MonkeyPesa is a user-friendly tool. The pricing, features, analytics, easy-to-interpret dashboard make it ideal for you. It is the best sales and marketing software in Kenya.
The CRM aids businesses to get prospects, insights, converts more leads to become customers and manages with customers across several channels. At the same time, they go through the selling process.
The services offered include; Sales pipeline management which helps companies to sell faster and get more prospects into the business. The invoicing and billing system allows track time, generating invoices, Pro-forma invoices, quotes, and getting much more money faster. And the real estate system helps real estate companies to acquire property, landlord management, tenant and the necessary automation.
MonkeyPesa CRM Features:
Insights, analytics and reports
Human Resource and payroll
Inventory and stores
Bulk SMS and emailing
Accessible Communication is a giant step into maintaining good relationships with clients. Strong relationships generate more sales and support, improve client satisfaction, and reduce business expenses.
A closed buyer is just as vital as a new lead. MonkeyPesa CRM allows you to create charges based on a prospect’s information, schedule calls for them at any point in time, take notes based on our interactions, and easily save and organize that data for future use. In a nutshell, you are moving a sales lead, or prospect from one stage of your sales funnel to the next.
The MonkeyPesa CRM allows you to add contacts manually or upload files. Because the goal is to have streamlined communication in the sales process, you do not have to open another platform to make calls with your clients and prospects. The dashboard enables calls. In addition, all these interactions are captured in case you need to make clarifications and references.
It is a catch for small and medium enterprises, from social networking tools, project management to CRM, document management, calendars, team management, email marketing, phone management, and flawless lead management.
Social Media is a very relevant tool of sales and marketing today. Every passing day, there is a new social media channel your clients and prospects sign up for. MonkeyPesa provides a centralized location for all your social media interactions — tweets, posts, reels, videos, comments, replies, Direct Messages.