by Brian Mtimaukanena

Commonly now everyone is busy trying to step into this or that business. That’s cool actually, if we keep on hustling we can take this country to greatness. I therefore don’t believe this work needs a politician to do. It’s actually us, entrepreneurs, business men, founders and CEO’s ready to take a stand. I actually feel like, we fail for waiting on someone to handle our struggle. In that case everyone cares about their own, and that’s not a bad thing. The question is do you care about yours?

With the introduction as to the word creativity and innovation. It’s really awesome as everyone is trying to be that. Again, that’s not a bad thing. I actually would say the bad thing is, not everyone is creative and innovative enough to stand in the world of business without possessing the necessary skills. Skill is another word that everyone has.

It’s now a fact that more than 96.2% of startups in Malawi fail before they reach the second year. And this is why I thought of bringing up something as to why this is the case. Among other factors I came across are.

Poor foundation.

First thing first, foundation has to cement your existence. Therefore, before the hype we must actually think of our startup as a legal entity. Hustle is always on the goal actually but almost 65% of Small and Medium Enterprises in Malawi are not registered.

That is, they don’t exist as businesses as well they don’t pay tax. Meaning they have no backup, if something goes off hand nobody would back them up, because they don’t exist. This is a biggest mistake if you are thinking of your SMEs growing into a bigger cooperation.

Lack of passion.

Most of us are thinking of owning a company to make money. That’s good but it kills business. Because it’s likely that your business wouldn’t make any kwacha for you during the first year. For that reason you will be forced to quit. After all, it’s known that most successful individuals in the world are willing to work 80 hours a week with little pay or none at all, to make their startup succeed. This turns out really hard, and it requires great amount of effort to make yourself comfortable. It is not possible to work that hard and be effective unless you believe in something. That you look at your startup as the ultimate goal that you, as a person can use to make a difference in your community.

Lack of skills needed to win.

Most business owners think the job of the entrepreneur is to think big thoughts and hire other people to do the actual work. Businesses fail because founders doesn’t know what to do to get the startup of the ground. I know a friend of mine who started a company offering cleaning services. He hired good staff and deals started pouring in. He personally wouldn’t really be on the ground. This affected service delivery and they couldn’t get hold of existing customers. That within the second year, the company closed. You must be good at doing what would bring customers.

It’s good to have good staff, but as an entrepreneur it’s great to devote oneself on learning new skills that will help your business grow. Let’s say you have stepped into Tech yet you doesn’t know how to code. Make sure you are a friend to some great coders. And you should be bad-ass in marketing.


Too many founders think that their idea is so brilliant that their best course of action is to build the product. Give it a hit and see the money rolling in. however that common sense is a major startup killer.

In reality, people are reluctant to try a startup’s product, because most of them fail. So they will only try the product if it promises to solve a painful problem that nobody is trying to solve. This is where a great entrepreneur comes in. for business owners It’s necessary to stop day dreaming and face reality.

Inability to raise capital.

If you haven’t raised capital before you will be amazed as to how tiresome this job is. I suppose the rejections would take you off track. Because they would be so many of them before you succeed.

Even if an entrepreneur realizes that cash will run out, too often he starts the process too late, goes after the wrong group of potential investors, and does not present them information about the company that leads them to want to invest.

Poor leadership and weak team.

I am not sure to say leaders are born or made. But the simple reality is, if you’re not a good leader it’s hard for you to become one. A startup-killer is a leader who cannot recruit and motivate the most talented people for the jobs on which the company’s success depends. Moreover there is a big difference to the leadership that would be required to a team that has 10 employees to that of a 100 or 1000. So as a founder it’s great to always employ in good leadership measures that would be required in developing a motivated and inspired team ready to carry on the task.

Ignoring cash burn

If you don’t like watching the pennies, don’t start a company. Many entrepreneurs are engineers at heart. They want to build a perfect product and then dazzle the world with their brilliance. They eagerly read about how easy it has been for other startups to raise millions of dollars and think that they will be able to do the same. So they ignore the rate at which they are burning through cash, and assume that when the day comes to replenish their cash coffers, investors will break down the doors to write checks.

The best entrepreneurs spend only on essentials and are always networking to meet investors and they view fund raising as a full-time job starting at least six months before their companies run out of cash..
Implementation and delivery.
Most often startup owners goes out celebrating how unique their services or products are. Without tossing in the idea as to how they will implement and deliver their services.

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