If there is any more appropriate time for us to consider starting a business, then it is now. The unprecedented shock dealt to the economies of the world by COVID-19 has resulted in the total shutdown of demand and supply systems.
Consequently, a significant number of businesses are folding up or downsizing and many employees losing their job, entrepreneurship then is one of the best ways to go now. This is the time to put all the knowledge you have acquired on the job to work.
Below are some tips to help you navigate the entrepreneurship world and set you on course to building the business of your dreams.
1. Identify a need\niche: What value do you seek to provide? The first decision to make before starting any business is to identify a niche and how you would be of value to people in that regard. Business is all about solving the problems of people and getting paid for it. Thus the thought of you starting a business implies that you have a solution to one of the many problems of humanity. There is no doubt that a thousand and one others are trying to solve the same problem as you. Hence you must ensure that you solve the problem you are trying to solve innovatively, particularly product quality, and delivery speed should be your priority. Yes we may have several business ideas we may want to execute, but it is expedient we start with one idea at a time. Starting up any business requires a lot of attention, energy, and resources. So it is more feasible and productive to focus on executing one idea and later expand it. Even as Richard Brandson said a big business starts small.
2. Stay true to your core purpose: Yes there is no business without competition, but don’t get preoccupied with what your competitors are doing and forget about the main reason for which you started the business. Remember you did not enter the business because of your competitors, rather you started the business to bring value to your customers. Thus growing your business requires that you remain focused. According to Simon Sinek the inventor of the golden circle idealogy, the reason most businesses start off so well and grow, but after some time begin to fail is that they have forgotten about their why or their why has become fuzzy. For example, if the core purpose for which you started the business is to ensure customers have nice outfits to wear to every occasion, always remain committed to this purpose no matter what.
3. Be selective of new and enticing opportunities: As a business begins to grow it attracts a lot of attention. And people and other companies will come with enticing offers, but you must be selective of the opportunities you say yes to. It may not only buyers, but it could be expanding the business to other regions or bringing some investors on board. Whatever opportunity it maybe we have to act circumspectively. Facebook at its early stage had offers to sell the company, all the co-founders and everyone else was in support to sell except Mark Zuckerberg. And today I believe we all know how the story ended. To grow your business it is expedient you be selective of opportunities and learn to say no sometimes.
4. Hire, Train (nurture), and fire to your vision: The importance of employees to the success of any business cannot be overemphasized. At the early stage of every business, the founder is mostly the face of the company. But as the business grows and expands the employees become the face of the company as they are the ones that interact with the customers directly sometimes face to face. According to Jack Ma the founder of Alibaba group, in order of importance, the customer is the first, followed by the employees and lastly the shareholders. It is, therefore, the responsibility of every company that wants to grow to hire like-minded employees, invests in them ie. nurture and train them and fire the ones whose actions and vision do not align with the vision of the company. Make your employees feel important and as part owners of the company. No business can grow without the help and support of its employees. You don’t build a business, you build people, then people build the business according to Zig Ziglar
5. Have a marketing plan and invest in the goose that lays the golden egg: Aside everything else, sales is one of the major engines of growth of any company. In this era of globalization, social media is a powerful tool that we can use to our advantage to drive sales. With little or no cost we get exposed to thousands and millions of potential customers at the same time. To grow your business you must have a marketing plan in place. Also, invest in the things that bring the most money to the company like your employees, advertisement, and marketing.
6. Consider national and international expansion: As your business begins to grow and you have gained some ground, consider expanding to other parts of your country and international markets. The solution you seek to provide is not only peculiar to people of your immediate environment or country. But would be equally helpful to customers outside your country. Personally, I encourage businesses to consider international expansion especially businesses in Africa. Because Africa, for the most part, is consuming goods and services from other continents with little production or exportation. Start small, but think global because indeed we are in the era of globalization.
7. Get all workers to rally behind the vision: Let your employees understand there is would be no company without them. And where the company has gotten to today is as a result of their collective effort. The employees of a company should be able to believe in the vision of the company enough to personalize it. The more supportive the employees of a company are the more easier it is for that company to grow.
Start now! Start today!
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