How to start a small business in Afghanistan?

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In my last article on “Starting a business in Afghanistan”. I described the importance of starting a small business in Afghanistan.

The following article contains my personal perspective on “How to start a small business”.

Following are some of the important points that might help you in starting a new business in Afghanistan, it is not completely the same as starting a business elsewhere around the globe.

1. Find your passion: the first step towards starting a business that stands out of crowd (become successful) is finding out what you are made for. Starting new businesses always comes with good and bad times it needs a lot of hard work and attention. Hence, one might feel mental pressure due to problems such as financing the business, etc.
Therefor, If the only driver for starting a business is money, you will not be able to cope with the challenges that you might face during the process of successfully setting your business. This is one of the reasons for the failure of a number of businesses. When one’s reason for starting a business is more than only making money, then hard times will not affect you and your business because your passion drives you towards a direction that you strive to reach.

2. Do not re-invent the wheel:starting small businesses and startups always come with innovative ideas. Successful businesses solve serious problems. Like: PayPal that introduced the online payment method. New ideas take time in order to be tested in different markets and after the test the founder can understand if it can be a successful business or not. Considering the problem that you want to solve, it is not always necessary to be the first on earth to test the idea. First, observe the problem, find out what do you want to solve. Once it’s clear what do you want to do then start looking for solutions elsewhere. Try looking at those countries who have similarities with the context in Afghanistan. You don’t have to invent a solution and test it, but you rather have to try localizing your solution, this will both save your financial resources and time while reducing the likelihood of the failure in new businesses. As we have along way to go as a country which deals with conflict for so many years. This means a lot of problems and of course opportunities for entrepreneurs.

3. Find the pain point:normally businesses start to solve a problem. No problem means no potential for business. it describes a situation where as a business you will not be able to survive if you are not solving a real problem or serving real customers. While working on the problem, one might have to have the following points in mind:
a. The problem market. Is it a personal problem for you or you think others are also dealing with it? So, the larger the market size, the more the profit.
b. The problem pain level: you have to find out is it a problem that hurt people and gives them pain or is it just a problem that people want it to be solved but no one is ready to pay for the solution. So, the more serious the problem, the more potential the market has.

4. Surround yourself with likeminded people: set your goals wisely (refer to my article for goal setting). Once you have your goals set then take a look at your current circle of friends and surroundings. Are they the kind of people who think and act the same as you want? If so, then keep the them around. However, if they did not, then start looking around and identifying those who can help you in achieving your goals. These people will help you think and feel differently. For example, you can validate your idea, find suppliers and think about things you have never thought the same before. Therefore, don’t lose the chance and upgrade your surroundings with those who can help you get closer to your goals.

5. Find the right business partner:idea is an energy and it attracts the same energies. So if you think about starting a business think about it while working hard on it. This will attract likeminded people. Also, as startups and small businesses, you will need services and products to run your business. Most of these products and services will cost a lot, especially in terms of recurring expenses. Therefore, having a business partner in your business will help you with sharing the burden and expenses while also sharing the profit. So far, the concept of owning the whole business was a dominating mindset but now owning small pies in different businesses is the new rich mindset. Hence, finding the right business partner will certainly benefit one.

6. Join an Incubation Program:Incubation programs help you with setting up your businesses by giving you practical advises and mentorship. Through incubation programs, you will get to know other players in the market, successful businessmen and businesswomen and that will help you with:

a. Setting up your business
b. Networking with mentors
c. Finding investors
d. Changing your idea and polish it before officially initiating it

Matiullah Rahmaty is a young, visionary and serial entrepreneur of Afghanistan. He is the Co-Founder of Coworthy, Founders Institute Afghanistan and Advisory Board Member on Entrepreneurship for the British-Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Afghanistan Enterprise Council.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the British Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.