On a Saturday morning my brothers and I would be the first to wake up in my household. My younger brother would cross his legs and position himself in a prime position to watch Power Rangers. My elder brother would sit up in bed and sink his teeth into a gripping novel and I would watch himself mentally transport himself to a fantasy land beyond the confinement of his room. I would pace around the house in a treasure hunt for socks, shorts, shin pads and boots as I prepared for football.
I used to love the feeling of meeting up with the team, catching up on our weeks, training together, eating together and hanging out together. Beyond playing football there was a real comrade that built up along the years.
As I look back today, some of my dearest friends still remain from those early days of playing football together. The foundations were built on the connections that have kept us together rather than focusing on the differences that would have kept us apart. I guess I’ve been fortunate to have friendships that have stood the test of time and on a grander scale when I speak to small businesses I ask one fundamental question.
How long will your business be around?
This is a tough question to answer of the bat but at its core, it’s about the health of your business. The difference between your income and your outgoings. The trend that shows whether your profit is sustainable, are you set up for growth? or is there troubling times ahead?
- According to Forbes, 90% of startups fail within a year
- According to The Small Business Administration (SBA), 30% of small businesses fail within their first three years.
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The primary reason for failure is that businesses build products in isolation that people do not love. Other reasons include:
- Skills gap (not well equipped for the business)
- Ineffective marketing (nobody knows your business exists)
- Inadequate business planning (focusing on logo’s and websites rather than business model and customers)
- Underestimating competition (lack of research and market insight)
- Failure to track finances (spending without regard)
Through hundreds of conversations, countless cups of coffee and visiting several small businesses in their communities, AH-Partners recognised the needs of small businesses gearing up for growth. It became our ‘Ikigai’ (reason for being) that we would always look to provide strategic advice, connections and support to sustainable small businesses beyond alternative loans.
I love it when we get introduced to a new partner and we experience the business as customers. In the last month alone we have had our haircut by barbers in Bethnal Green, bought groceries at a convenience store in Brixton and had our car serviced at a mechanics in Finsbury Park. We love that day in and day out we can meet with our customers and foster relationships that transcend our ability to provide loans. It is through these meaningful encounters that we truly get a feel for the legacy these business owners aspire to leave and how we can support them on their journey.
Ubuntu is a philosophy I learned about during my visits to local businesses in communities in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a sentence it represents:
“An open society where we all live for the community’s improvement.”
At Ah-Partners we believe that it is holistic that we enable the community around us to grow. In doing so we hope one day, the businesses we support today could also grow to support us in the future too.
If you interested in learning about our capacity to lend and help your business let’s get connected and share more than a cup of coffee.
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