In Sierra Leone, reforms have been going on that have led to better and more efficient ways of doing business. The reforms include; reducing costs and accelerating the process of starting a business. For example, you have to obtain sector-specific business licenses once you are an investor and have started your business in Freetown or any other region investors.
While the country residents are allowed to invest in their land without restricting policies freely, foreigners have a favorable investment policy with no minimum capital requirements and no restrictions on equity. Foreigners are allowed to invest in sectors like mining, fisheries and more. The operating licenses can be obtained from sector ministries which facilitate the process for investors.
In Sierra Leone, the accepted and publicly legalized forms of doing business include; limited liability company, public limited company, legation, and a foreign company branch. To start a business in Sierra Leone, you must first register with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Then, the company helps you incorporate an optimal corporate structure in Sierra Leone.
Doing business has a lot of uncertainties. But unfortunately, most businesses start operating without planning for these uncertainties, so many don’t usually reach their first birthday, especially small startups.
To help you run your startup efficiently and effectively, we have put together the ten stages you can follow to help your startup attain maximum performance.
1. Conduct business research
Before you implement your business idea, you should ensure you have answers to these questions.
Is my business idea right?
Is there any possibility of it succeeding?
Is my business going to solve community problems?
How best can I know that my idea will be the best to solve community problems?
Who needs the goods and services I am going to offer?
Who is my rival/ competition in the market?
How will I compete with my rivals in the market/ marketing strategy?
You can conduct market research through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Individual or one-on-one interviews with the surrounding market community. You can also talk to those who tried a similar idea to share their experience of how it was performing. Listening to their experiences helps you learn from their errors and weigh up your game to ensure that the business succeeds.
2. Make a plan for your business
A business plan summarizes how the business is going to run from the initial phase as it progresses. Working out a business plan is more like conducting a feasibility study. This helps you lay a path for your business's success and the likelihood that your business is likely to achieve the intended goal.
When making business plan drafts, people include different things, for instance; how the business intends to offer excellent services to its customers, how it plans to handle competition, the marketing strategy, number of workers the business needs to recruit, how you intend to organize and implement the various activities. In addition, creating a business plan guides you in erasing some errors like; poor performance and wastage of resources.
3. Make a budget
Before you start outsourcing and soliciting funds for your business, you need to draft a budget first to know how much you need for the initial start. This helps you determine the amount of capital you need to start and where to allocate it depending on priority. Your budget should include the following items/bills; Company registration costs, Renting costs or land costs, Capital for stock/ inventories, Salary for workers, Bills like electricity and water, Transport costs, and more depending on your business type.
If you do not have readily available resources (capital), take advantage of the various existing financial options like; bank loans (either long-term loans or short-term loans), personal savings, parental contributions or funds from investors who understand that you want to start a business.
4. Choose a Business Type
Identify the kind of business you want to start; this could be a sole proprietorship, limited liability company or public limited company. Whichever entity you choose, consider that it will significantly impact the type of taxes you are bound to pay, the number of individuals you employ, and the business name.
If you are not knowledgeable enough on which entity or structure to take up, consult a lawyer or colleague who has done this before you take any steps.
5. Reserve and Register your Company Name
Choose a suitable business name and make a reservation. This process is handled by the Administrator and Registrar General of Sierra Leone. The name is then searched through a database to pass the similarity and desirability tests to ensure its availability. If results show similar names, another name must be searched for, and you still have to continue searching used until it passes this stage. In the case of successful results, this is your green card to start a business any day.
6. Search for your Business license and Tin ( tax invoice number)
Licenses and Tax invoice numbers can be obtained from the Administrator and Registrar General by different businesses depending on the class of the venture and location. One may need to research to understand what licenses and permits one needs to get their business started. Note that this paperwork is vital before legally operating, so it’s highly advisable to have a lawyer around you.
7. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Choosing a geographic location for your business is very crucial. It would help if you decided whether to buy or rent your working premises, work from home or move to public space. Not forgetting, there’s the option of people sharing workspace through hubs which supports young people looking up to starting a business.
8. Recruit qualified workers for your business
If your business needs you to recruit workers, it’s at this point that you have to recruit. However, an entrepreneur should take their time. Identify the various positions to be filled and the skills needed to fill these positions. Suppose your business is a sole proprietorship, and you are going down the business lane alone. In that case, you may need to engage your team, including your mentorship, family, or business coach, who will support you in that process.
9. Establish the Business
When all you require is set, and the appropriate team has been hired, the workplace is set. Next, review your schedule book and programs and close the planning stage in preparation for the business opening stage.
10. Advertise/market/promote your brand
When your startup is already established and running, you need to lay strategies to attract more customers to your business. Remember, you are the business owner. You are supposed to know your target audience. Figure out how you want to be noticed by customers in the market and capitalize on that as a marketing strategy.
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.