Starting a business is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. In mid air, the entrepreneur begins building a parachute and hopes it opens before hitting the ground – Rich Dad
Again, we have come to that time of the year when people make big resolutions for the ‘next year’, ignoring the fact that 2014 is a synonym for tomorrow, or next week.
For entrepreneurs, the most likely resolution is to quit procrastinating in the quest to build a viable business or, perhaps, the next multi-million dollar venture. This is a fine dream, but the New Year will carry its own realities and challenges which could inhibit even decade-long business aspirations.
In this article, we highlight how aspiring entrepreneurs can avoid failure in the pursuit of building a successful enterprises.
Start small: We all have heard that the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, but it is arguably the first step to making it big. You can start with small goals like creating a business plan and registering your venture. Then, begin by rendering services to people around you first and continue from there. Most potential entrepreneurs seem to have a fear of starting small forgetting that quite a number of successful entrepreneurs actually started from nothing. To become a successful entrepreneur, you should read up on these successful businessman/women who have built business empires literally from scratch, i.e. Ashish J. Thakkar, Patrick Ngowi, Lorna Rutto.
Get a mentor: A mentor will develop and guide you through challenges that will come your way. Mentors are usually free to access, yet vital to your business growth. More importantly, your mentor will help wade off unwanted naysayers and ignorant people by being available to answer your enquiries professionally. They have their own successful enterprises and can share with you their failures, successes and the potholes to watch out for.
Have a positive attitude: Top millionaires and billionaires all seem to have one thing in common; a positive outlook. This is the essence of a successful entrepreneur. The New Year will come with challenges and you need to be prepared for them. It is important that you maintain the same positivity you started with. Be dogged in determination to beat all odds. The right attitude will also help you act on ideas instead of down-playing them. Action should be imperative for you. Alienate those social media and tech distractions so you can achieve big things.
Be passionate: You need to be passionate about your choice of business, this will drive you to succeeding. But first, be sure you have chosen to do something you love. Like Chinese philosopher, Confucius said; ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day of your life’. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. It is important you venture into a business that won’t feel like work to you. If you love to sew for instance, designing shouldn’t feel like work for you. Nigerian-based multi-millionaire blogger, Linda Ikeji often says she enjoyed blogging before it became profitable for her. Bottom line: if you don’t enjoy that venture, bail out and find something you are passionate about.
Hustle: It has to be second nature for you. The fact is, there are hundreds of other people armed with that same ‘unique’ idea of yours. You cannot afford to be slow in executing it. Strategize carefully and make your move, fast. Though I am a lady, if there is one seat left to take, I must get to it first, even if I have compete with five men. I am well aware that muddiness is a nature for true entrepreneurship. Crush your ego, get set and just go.
Develop yourself: Leading entrepreneurs invest in business and marketing magazines; they buy reports, newsletters, journals and sector publications to increase their knowledge and understanding. They also find time to attend business and marketing summits, workshops and training courses. As an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to stop learning, you must keep developing yourself.
Practice discipline: To succeed, you need to deliberately discipline, regulate, and motivate yourself to realize your desires. This entails setting out plans and following through without failing. It takes hard work and will power.
Persevere: You need not give up when things are slow for your business. You need to stay and continue trying to hit the mark. You cannot afford to bail out in the face of challenges. You will encounter obstacles that will discourage you, but you must persist. If you have difficulty funding your business for instance, remember that entrepreneurs before you have had to deal with same issues and found a way around it. Be open to new possibilities and seek alternatives measures if you must. Money never stopped anyone from making it.
Become the expert: It is vital to become an expert in your field of choice. What sets you apart is your deeper knowledge and understanding of that business. It makes you the number one choice for investors. Among the things that can help you gain this advantage is getting required trainings in your field. Everyone prefers to deal with an expert. Get certified, multiple certifications if you can. If you are known as an expert in your business, more people will require your input, and this will create referral opportunities for you.
ADAPTED FROM VENTURES AFRICA