Hmmm…Don’t we all wish it was that simple.
Starting a business is no child’s play. Ask any HR personnel how many times they have heard “I have been doing my own thing for the last five years ” much as I know if that thing was working fine, you would not be looking for a J-O-B. My point is while some people get it right, a lot of people do not.
So let’s look at some common reasons why you want to be an entrepreneur. I’ll also try and give you some responses that you should consider if this is the reason why you want to go down this route.
Why not? :- If you gave this as answer, then you are 100 percent Nigerian , who else would answer a question with another question?
I don’t like people giving me orders, I would rather be my own boss :- Only in your mind sir, you think being an entrepreneur would upgrade your social standing to undissable or Oga Sir status. Let me gladly burst your bubble. As an entrepreneur especially of a start up company you will meet some ill-natured persons oh! Infact you will meet a whole lot of them. From the gate man of a company to the potential patron who thinks your service or product does not deserve his attention, time or money. Let’s say you finally earned the CEO position of a multinational or Fortune 500 company, you are still prone to receiving orders from your employees, especially the ones you pay the most . Think about the BP boss during and after the oil spill incident in the United States. Catch my drift?
I have some money now , I want to start a business :- Stop right there!!! If you do not have the time to monitor your “money” or your potential investment , I am afraid you are in a nose dive and crash landing is the only option in sight . Money, capital, seed, fund or whatever name you choose to call it… is not a guarantee that the business would be successful. Think again.
My spouse and I discussed it,and I think I agree with him or her that starting a business is good for us:- A lady often times doesn’t lose much if this is the case as the man most times is the financier of the venture whether or not the business is profitable. A man on the other hand has to be careful in fact very very careful. Especially if your spouse is insisting. Most times your spouse wants to live their dreams through you. There is nothing romantic about realizing five, ten or even twenty years down the line that you would rather have worked at the World bank , UN or joined forces with Bill Gates to eradicate malaria or AIDS. You don’t want to build resentment for the one you should be loving .
Okay! So let’s assume you have checked, rechecked and checked again and you still think you would be better off doing your own thing. What next?
Research :- Learn about the industry you are going into find out about the competition and who your patrons are going to be.I have an uncle who is an unending spring of knowledge. Uncle Google is highly effective, fast and cheap . Learn about the current financial value and pricing of your competitions. If your price is higher, you must justify it with a greater value add .
Read success stories :- I assume you reading this piece is proof enough not to flog this topic. Business leaders and success is a good place to start.Forbes.com, Inc.com and even LinkedIn would furnish you with success stories. Why do you need this? One word. INSPIRATION.
Think big not live big :- Except you can get your first check the instance you pitch to a client, slowdown on your spending. You have plenty of financial satisfaction coming your way the moment you hit it. So ditch your love for the seasonal wardrobe change. If you do not eat clothes I am happy to say mix and match. Plus it’s going to be part of your success story. Hello motivational speaker!!!
Have a winning team :- If you need to have people work for you and don’t have much options. Think about your siblings, relatives and unemployed friends. In an ideal world they would be easier to monitor and more should be more understanding.
Don’t define roles :- Thank me later. Don’t restrict anyone to a job title or description. Be creative. Let everyone understand the product and services. This would come handy in case of an emergency.
Treat people right :- I mean everyone and any one. Don’t owe your suppliers if you have the capacity not to. Even more importantly, don’t owe your staff . Your credibility is vital. Your bankers now or in the future may use it against you. Remember thsat bad news spreads fastest.
Do NOT promise:- Promising an investor huge amount of returns or shares because you are excited now would backfire later. You need to have a holistic analysis of what would work for you and your business. If this investor is not offering you something good enough, move on. Investors are like buses, the next one might come with a first class couch .
Be professional :- I’m talking about your website and e-mail. Yahoo, Gmail, Aol and so on. They function well I know but please and please don’t even think about and if you have? Make a change now! Register a domain name. Visit godaddy.com. With $10 you will have your domain name. You can also get free e-mails for a month from Google or go to wix.com for a flash site. Your domain would come handy. Be smart and professional. Get a business card; if you can afford a nice tear resistant and waterproof card do it. Go for Yupo Paper if not then go to Shomolu in Lagos for letter heads, invoices and receipts. Please say NO to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is beyond tacky for any business. Period!
CEO :- Speaking about business cards, online profile etc unless you hear money or contract will only be given to the CEO, why the noise?
These days people would rather deal with the Business Development Manager because they seem to know more than even the CEOs *wink* In this case you can use Business Development Director or Chief Operating Officer. Why is this important? Because there are some things CEOs should not be seen doing that you definitely will be doing. For the sake of those clients who would want to speak to the boss, you are the highest share holder of the company so shoot!
Work hard , employ good hands and heads, earn more and even more, it could come to you pretty damn quickly.
Tayo Phillips turned her passion into a career. No it’s not baking. It’s helping people setup their businesses. Unapologetically ambitious,overzealous with work and loves life. Her big dream is to run her group of companies from her kitchen and retire to live in Greece. She lives in Lagos and earns a living as a business development consultant with a niche in start-ups.