Wikineur - Total Entrepreneur Resource
Most businesses are not world beating global giants. They are tiny corner stores run by families who raise their kids, put them through school and battle to cover their bonds and responsibilities.
Starting a business may not have been their first choice.
People who find themselves running their own business have few resources they can call on and there is little generic information available to help. These problems become even more overwhelming in developing countries where infrastructure and educational support are lacking.
This project aims to address these shortcomings by providing generic information on a range of business topics, both general and specific, to support business and job creation.
Entrepreneurs across the world are associated with economic development and job creation. Most people starting businesses do so simply to support their families and provide for their futures. These are the people for whom this project is dedicated.
In many developing countries war and neglect have resulted in the emigration of all skilled and educated people. Places like Angola, Mozambique or even Indonesia are places emerging from exceptionally destructive periods of history that have seen infrastructure and businesses destroyed. Few people are left who even know how to begin very basic businesses.
This project will offer them the following:
- How do you investigate what it is that people want so that you can sell it to them?
- How is that product produced?
- How do you know how to cost the production process correctly to ensure that the business will be sustainable?
- What other considerations are there (such as securing finance)?
This information would be grouped under the following headings:
- General information covering business plans, marketing strategies, bookkeeping, costing and the like - generic information that would serve every business
- Specific information that covers individual businesses and gives complete information (within reason) on how to start and run those businesses.
There are always plenty of opportunities for earning a living. Not all are legal, and different countries have different definitions of what is legal. Mostly what entrepreneurs lack is the information required on how to do what they wish to do.
If a person has never farmed, it’s difficult to figure out how to do things correctly. It took thousands of years for farmers to figure out not to plough straight down hills (for example).
Formulation and Strategy
It is quite difficult to learn how to identify opportunities and then to develop those opportunities. Topics here would cover different types of business strategy at both a high and low level.
Costing, Bookkeeping and Accounting
These skills are essential. As long as an entrepreneur is selling his (or her) products for more than they cost to produce, all is well. But, how do you know? Only if you have a thorough understanding of your costs, know how to present the information in a meaningful way, and are able to extract information from those records.
Once you have a product, you need to know how to sell it. Brand development. Client relationships.
Running a business
A vast range of topics.
- Staff relationships
- Training programs, incentive schemes and bonuses
- Contracts for a range of requirements
- Import and export systems
- Managing finances, factoring, hedging
- Controlling costs
Financial support to entrepreneurs
Lending money to entrepreneurs is notoriously difficult. Few banks get it right and their default rates are terrifying further reducing interest in lending to these people.
- Stokvels, and community lending schemes
- Lending agreements within families and networks of friends
- Bank lending systems and policies’’
- Government support programs and guarantee schemes
- Examples such as the Grameen Bank
Different types of step-by-step training guides on a variety of business topics.
By no means even slightly exhaustive but, within broad topics, each section should cover the following information:
- Basic description of what the business is
- What skills are required
- (What sort of market is necessary
- How much space is required
- How much is it likely to cost (may be country specific)
- List of all inputs (products required)
- List of all outputs (products created)
- Organisations that may provide assistance for this business
- How to set the business up
- Physical infrastructure required
- List of fixed costs (such as rental, electricity, etc.)
- List of variable costs (such as raw materials)
- How many staff required and their required skills
- Step by step instructions on the manufacturing process
- Potential sources for all requirements
- Costing and Bookkeeping
- What are the percentages for the different expenses as a ratio to the turnover
- What is the typical margin on the product
- What volumes should be sold for breakeven
- Present a layout for a typical set of books
- How do you analyse the figures and what should one look out for
- How to market the business
- Who will buy the products and how tolerant are they
- How seasonal is the product
- What are some good markets to try selling to
- What sort of marketing and advertising campaigns work
- How to run the business
- Daily, weekly, monthly processes
- Retraining schedule
- Maintenance and product renewal
- Upstream businesses (businesses that provide inputs)
- Downstream businesses (businesses that require outputs)
- Support services and other information
An exceptionally important field for developing countries but one that is subject to terrible repetition, particularly overproduction of coffee.
Topics would include:
- Overview of agriculture
- Specific products: maize, sisal, coffee, tea, sugar, etc.
- Links to processing of products
Topics would include:
- Overview of manufacturing
- Specific products: textiles, processed foods, metal work, etc.
Topics would include:
- Overview of services
- Specific products: hairdressing, car washing, crèche, etc.
Discussion of Changes
I have taken into consideration the concern that there may be insufficient skills to make recommendations on macro- and micro-economic policy. The policy section has been removed. I have sufficient information to populate most of the general sections myself (I have ten years of material I developed for training and consulting). Specific information related to businesses will take a while but already there is quite a lot in the public domain. It is a matter of sifting it and getting it in one place.
This is a discussion document. It is by no means comprehensive, neither is it presented as the best or only way of presenting this data.
There is also some discussion as to the name "Wikineur" - I simply attempted to merge "entrepreneur" and "wiki". I welcome other suggestions.
- Whythawk - Small business templates
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- Business Link - UK-based support organisation
- BRAIN - South African resource for small busines
This project has been developed and proposed by Gavin Chait