The world of entrepreneurship is not an easy ride. It takes courage, commitment, dedication, determination and thorough planning to set out in the journey of entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, if you do not want your business to be among the statistics of the majority of start- up businesses that fail within the first five years, you should put all necessary effort and seek the needed information needed to distinguish you from the crowd.
The mission of myafribusiness.com is to help you start successful businesses that would create more jobs and grow the economy of your country. I don’t want you to fail in your business, that is why I have taken time to find out and explain the major issues you should address, in order to successfully start, run and grow your business as an entrepreneur.
I hereby present you with 10 vital questions you should address to succeed as an entrepreneur.
1. How do I Generate Business Ideas ?
What products should I sell? What is the most appropriate business for me? Which business can I start? All these and many other related questions you will have to answer as an entrepreneur before you begin your business.
Start by looking around you. What businesses thrive in your locality? What are your skills? What is your passion? What are the problems that needs to be solved around you? When there are problems, providing a solution to them can actually become profitable business ideas.
Every great business solves a unique human problem. When you think of human problems to solve, you will generate a lot of business ideas. Brain storm and write down ideas as they come into your mind.
2. Do I Raise Start–up Capital For My Business ?
This is one of the greatest concern of most prospective entrepreneurs. No matter how great your business ideas are, without the needed funding, it won’t leave your note pad to become a reality.
Most entrepreneurs focus on seeking business loans from banks and their request often get turned down, because they don’t meet the bank’s criteria for business loans. Many people don’t have collateral or the business cashflow often demanded by banks.
Stop focusing on the banks alone. As hard as it may sound , the truth is that banks hardly give start -up loans due to the high risk involved in it. They prefer to give expansion loans to already progressing businesses with a good cashflow because the risk of lossing their money is lower with existing businesses that have the needed cashflow.
There are many other ways you can raise capital for your business, aside the banks. These includes; personal savings, family and friends, partnership, cooperative societies, venture capitalists, purchase order financing, asset sale, up-front payment from customers, etc.
3. How do I Market My Products?
Effective marketing is of the most important secrets of great business success. If no one is buying your products, there is no way your business can succeed or grow. Marketing is the way to make consumers get to know about your products, encourage them to buy them and to love using them.
Marketing is multifaceted and it requires a multidimensional approach. It should not be left to chance. No great business leaves marketing to chance. It is deliberately planned, targeted, designed and executed.
The right marketing approach to employ is dependent on the type of product and the market. The size of the market, purchasing power of the consumers, religious and cultural inclinations of the consumers play a vital role in determining the best marketing approach to take with regards to a product.
Read the following article to learn more about how to effectively market your products :
4. How do I Attract and Hire the Right Staff ?
No great business became big and successful without a great and formidable team. Your team defines your business.
Getting the right staff for your business should not be sentimental. Your focus should be on experience, passion, dedication and loyalty.
Anybody you are recruiting should have something important, by way of skill or experience that he/she is bringing into your business to make it more productive, profitable and effective.
5. Where is the Best Place to Locate My Business ?
Your business should be located close to the source of demand for your product and not too far from the source of raw materials for your product ( If you are into manufacturing ).
Siting your business away from your consumers or customers may hinder your business to grow as you won’t enjoy the desired amount of patronage you need. If you are into trading, it is better not to locate your shop at a place where vehicles move at high speed – like express roads. A high pedestrian area is better as it would encourage customers to enter your shop to buy from you.
Also, your business should be located at a secure environment. Don’t locate your business in a hostile environment. The security of your staff and business assets is of paramount importance. Don’t get your business located in an area that it is exposed to burglars.
As I said earlier, if you’re into manufacturing and farming, your business should be located close to the source of raw materials, source of labour and good access roads for transporting your products.
6. How do I Make My Business Profitable?
No matter how we shy away from it or pretend, we are in business to make profits. Only non-profit organisations don’t seek to make profits.
If your business isn’t making the needed profits, how will you be able to pay your staff, pay your rents and meet other operational costs before thinking of meeting your personal needs from it?
Profit making isn’t all there to business, however, since you are creating value and meeting people’s needs from your business, you deserve to benefit from your efforts. Find more ways of gaining returns from your efforts without compromising on your quality.
Monetize your services. Make it affordable. But don’t give everything for free, except you are running a non-profit organisation. Most times what is not paid for is not valued.
7. How Do I Grow My Business?
Most businesses in Africa and Asia are in the small and medium scale category. There are few large-scale businesses that recruit many people.
Growing your business involves a lot of things. It involves good leadership, hard work, planning, dedication, good team, good marketing, branding and financing.
You need to synergize the above factors and components into your business so that it can grow beyond measure.
Read the following article to learn more about how to make your business to succeed and grow:
8. How Do I Manage My Time Effectively?
Entrepreneurs are among the busiest people in the world. They are faced with the issue of managing their time to meet various business commitments.
Time is money, it is a scarce resource and therefore should be effectively managed to yield the best results.
Here are some of the best and proven effective time management techniques for leaders and entrepreneurs:
- Endeavour to delegate most activities that your staff can do with at least 80% efficiency.
- Every week and day carry out your activities with a “to-do-list”. It helps you to give more priority to the most important activities.
- As your business grows, you will need to have a secretary that manages your schedules and appointments.
- Beware of reverse delegation from your subordinates. This implies you should avoid having your subordinates to make you to do for them what they are supposed to be doing themselves.
- Give responsibility and power to your deputy and other leaders in your chain of command. Give them the power to handle some issues themselves without disturbing you. You as the CEO should be occupied mainly with the core aspects of your business, like seeking new opportunities, planning, coordinating, motivation, staffing, branding and marketing.
9. Should I Partner With Someone And Who?
Partnership is important for several reasons. It can bring more funding, experience and skill into your business. Ten persons can partner to do a business worth ten million naira, by each contributing one million naira. It is easier for each person to raise one million naira than to raise ten million naira. That is the power of synergy and partnership. You achieve great things beyond your capacity when you partner with the right people.
Don’t partner if you don’t really need to. It is not mandatory to partner. Anybody you are bringing on board as a partner should be someone who can complement your weaknesses by bringing in his/her strengths into the business.
A partner should be humble enough to work with you and not usurp power. He or she should be a team player and not a saboteur. More so, there should be clear-cut definition of roles and responsibilities of the parties in the partnership. The percentage sharing formula of proceeds from the business should as well be spelt out on paper from the beginning. Ensure to legalize the agreements with a lawyer signed by all parties involved in the agreement.
Partners are of various types. There are active and passive partners. Passive partners basically bring in their money to invest in the business, but do not actually get involved actively in the running of the business. They are more interested in the proceeds from the business generated by their own contribution. However, active partners get involved in the day-to-day running of the business. They contribute their time, energy and money into the business.
10. Should I Leave My Day Job and Focus on the Business?
Many businesses are started part-time. However, as the business grows, there will be a time that you might need to focus fully on that part- time business to make it to grow even bigger and better.
Nurturing a business requires time, efforts and attention. You can manage to do this part -time with your day job or career at the early or infant stage of your business at weeknights, and weekends or your days off work. However, if you really want to make that business to grow significantly, you might need to quit your day job. This is the hard truth.
Leaving a promising, steady income job opportunity for something unpredictable can be frightening– especially if you are new into the world of business. Unfortunately, there is no easy way around it. Don’t quit your day job until the business is capable of sustaining your basic needs and from your detailed assessment of it, if you put in more of your time into the business, it would grow significantly, more profitably and larger.
Carry out a thorough consideration of the above areas and ensure you address each of them adequately with regards to your business. Feel free to share your thoughts and questions about the issues considered using the comment section below.
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