4 Basic Jobs of an African Start-up Founder

It all starts with an individual with an idea.

The African start-up founder is like their Western counterparts, an entrepreneur who creates a company from scratch with the goal of raking in profits. The founder assumes all the responsibilities of building the business and the risks – financial, legal, and personnel risks. This individual’s journey to enterprise success can be taken alone or accompanied by one or multiple co-founders who share the vision and work in tandem to grow the business.

According to Alpha JWC Ventures, “a start-up’s founder is irreplaceable and an indispensable component. . . .In the context of companies and startups, a founder is the person who initiates the business concept of a company or start-up.”

Being in this position is one of the most challenging and, at the same time, rewarding careers anyone can pursue. As the person in charge of a growing business, the African start-up founder sets the tone for the entire company and makes critical decisions that will shape its future.

Let’s look at the four basic jobs of this incredible individual.

Set the long-term vision. The first and most important job of an African start-up founder is to set the long-term vision for their company. This vision should be clear, concise, and inspiring. It should articulate the company’s purpose, its goals, and its unique value proposition. The vision should also be ambitious, but achievable.

Once the vision is set, the founder’s job is to communicate it to the rest of the team and to ensure that everyone is aligned with it. The vision should be the North Star that guides the company’s decisions and actions.

Recruit and keep the best people for that vision. Next on the list for the African start-up founder is recruiting and keeping the best talent for their company. This means finding people who are skilled, aligned with the vision, and passionate about the company’s mission.

It is also important to create a culture where people feel valued and appreciated, thus helping to attract and keep top talents.

Never run out of money. The third task of an African start-up founder involves staying afloat. This means having a solid financial plan and being capable of raising capital when necessary. It also translates into frugal and efficient management of the company’s resources.

Running out of money is a death knell for many startups as seen in the recent closure of notable start-ups around the continent since 2022—Nopearide, Kune Foods, Kloud Commerce, Zumi, Waspito, Kubik, LazerPay, etc. African founders need to be strategic about their finances and ensure they have enough money to see the company through to profitability.

Delegate everything else. Last, but certainly not least, is the art and act of delegation for the African start-up founder. No African founder can be everywhere and everything at the same time. Delegating helps founders to let go of control, trust others to get tasks done and avoid stretching themselves thin. It allows the African start-up founder to focus on the big picture.

While delegating might not always be easy, it is essential for founders to trust their teams and give them the freedom to decide as it contributes to the success of any start-up.   

Starting a business is not a walk in the park but, with the proliferation of start-ups on the African continent, it is possible. As an African start-up founder, knowing the basics–setting a long-term vision, recruiting and keeping the best people, never running out of money, and delegating everything else-can significantly increase the chances of success.

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