In the design and the roll-out of the Pure Felt microbusiness programme and training we base ourselves on findings and conclusions of various official studies. Five studies performed in four African countries for example distinguish a) psychological success factors and b) sociodemographic success factors for microbusinesses. These factors so far have appeared quite universal for all the countries we are active in or focusing on.
Psychological topics cover: goal setting, planning and proactivity, psychological process characteristics of strategies, personal initiative, innovativeness, entrepreneurial orientation, and coping with problems.
Sociodemographic factors cover: human capital of owner, starting capital, loans, firm age, type of industry, family members as employees, linage to formal sector and start-up because of unemployment or other reasons.
The number one success factor for all microbusinesses is for the entrepreneur to be highly active and initiating in his/her approach, to actively learn from problems and mistakes, having an achievement orientation, personal integrity and, to a lesser extent, being risk taking. Competitive aggressiveness, a learning and achievement orientation, following active and planning strategies and motivating employees have proven to be of further utmost importance. The owner who wants to grow, must be able to overcome psychological barriers that hinder growth (such as e.g. dealing with envy, dealing with one`s family and demands from them, the difficulties of delay of gratification and reinvestment, innovation, initiative, etc.).
The main conclusion is that with their ongoing action, ingenuity, initiative, innovativeness, entrepreneurship and orientation, and good strategy and continuous detailed and controlled planning, microenterprise owners can grow and be successful in any line of business. Furthermore, it has been established that microbusiness owners who started their business because of unemployment were more successful than those who had other motives and that the employment of family members is only advised in the first phase of a microbusiness.
Selection of suitable microbusiness participants
In order to select the right participants in microbusiness programmes (and encourage them to set up their microbusiness), studies prove that one needs to focus on the “high potentials” in a community. These are people who know their strengths and weaknesses and manage their personality, who have a high degree of proven action orientation, achievement orientation, initiative, innovativeness, flexibility, intelligence, and good learning and good people skills.
Once they are selected they can be taught necessary additional skills, such as how to be more proactive, act on detailed controlled planning, innovate with regard to product and process, take personal initiative including creative solution-finding techniques in overcoming barriers, how to best learn from mistakes and from others, increasing one`s self-reliance, and, of course additional schooling in administration, management and relevant technical skills.
In our programmes we also focus on a model of partnerships with e.g. governments, other NGOs, chambers of commerce to develop the right psychological environment for the microbusiness owners and to benefit from mutual cross-pollination.
In addition, the study results have shown that there must be good role models in the community itself and it helps to give awards to innovative indigenous entrepreneurs to increase the chances to learn from such role models.
Entrepreneurs should also be encouraged to help each other with peer reviews to increase their productivity. Peers are particularly good for suggesting solutions that are appropriate within the respective culture and the environment.