An entrepreneur encompasses anyone who works for himself and whose business involves innovation and leadership. An entrepreneur is someone who takes an idea, develops a business around it, manages the business and assumes the risk for its success. An Entrepreneur decides his future, profit, time, happiness, duties and a whole lot of others.
Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do. That could be learning to set up a spreadsheet, getting investors on board, marketing your ideas, crafting your perfect pitch, or using unfamiliar technology. What needs to be done, has to be done – there is no room for excuses.
Being an entrepreneur is fun but it comes with its share of ups and downs. The most obvious advantage is the opportunity to be your own boss. An entrepreneurs can schedule their work hours around other commitments, including spending quality time with their families. As an entrepreneur, your income is directly related to your efforts and the success of your business.
While Being in charge and making the important decisions regarding your business can be fulfilling, it can also be a burden and can be challenging. Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of paperwork that can take up time and energy. While you want to become your own boss, you must first know the amount of effort, time and investment to make your venture successful.
You also need to know that businesses fail most of the time. Not every start up become successful and a lot could go wrong. Nine out of ten startups will fail. Cold statistics like these are not intended to discourage you, but to encourage you to work smarter and harder. The fact that businesses could fail is the reason most people prefer to work for others.
If your dream is to be your own boss then you need to follow the advice in this post. If you are the type that does not want to deal with the day to day stress or you feel your current job is safe, entrepreneurship isn’t for you. There is no counterargument to this one. Entrepreneurship is a daily roller coaster.
You will feel accomplished, defeated, uncertain, hesitant, sick, invincible, ferocious and regretful all in one day. If safety is your preference, stick where you are. Or read this as a challenge.
These are the steps to take if you want to be your own boss…
1. Know Your True Self
For you to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to know your true self. You are a beautiful and unique individual. You have a wonderful blend of amazing abilities and qualities combined in a distinctive and exceptional way.
You have to find your values. Know your passions. Know your passions. Acknowledge your limitations and Identify your tendencies.
These are the things that matter most to you on the deepest levels. What are your personal values and standards? What are your priorities and your beliefs?
You have to understand your strengths. What natural abilities do you possess and which ones do you want to cultivate and develop?
You have to Know your passions. What are you passionate about? What is it that gets you excited or demands your undivided attention? What activities and pursuits make you feel really alive?
You also need to Identify your tendencies. Your tendencies often become habits, either good or bad. Do you tend to jump into things on a whim? Do you procrastinate or over react?
Acknowledging your limitations will get you far in your business life. You will never be the very best at everything. It’s better to know which skills or activities are beyond your ability for now.
You need to find your inner coach. What you think about yourself, your abilities, financial gains or losses and your assessment of your ability to succeed becomes what you might actively live out. A good thing about our brain is that it willingly adopts any changes that we bring about in our thinking patterns.
2. Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself is one of the best return on investments you can have. Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others. It is your responsibility to take the time to develop your gifts and talents, so you can best serve others.
An entrepreneur needs to be creative, so Invest time in your creativity. Invest in building your confidence. Read educational books. Watch inspirational videos. Attend seminars and workshops to expand your knowledge and skills in your business and/or personal life.
3. Write Down Your Ideas
Having ideas is one of the most important parts of your business life. But often it seems like one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the whole process.
Getting ideas isn’t difficult. You are sitting on a bunch of them right now.
Getting ideas isn’t difficult. You are sitting on a bunch of them right now.
Ideas are free. We grow them naturally. Just about anything we see, hear, read, or experience can spark an idea. For some people, coming up with ideas is as easy as spotting a problem while watching NTA news at night. For others, it’s nearly impossible.
I fully believe that anyone who puts in enough practice and who makes a conscious effort to notice problems and identify needs, can improve their ability to come up with new ideas.
The easiest way to come up with business ideas is to solve problems you have. The second easiest is to solve problems others have. These don’t have to be big solutions like Konga, Hotels.ng, Amazon or Airbnb, they could be much smaller.
Whatever ideas you come up with, write them down on a piece of paper. For me, having a Paper and pen handy is the ultimate tool for thinking. It lets my mind work without restrictions or distractions, and it makes me focus. But if writing into an app on your cell phone is your thing, no problem.
Think about what do you want to create or bring to the market? Is it going to be a business that will work offline or online? Can you create a better app than the one you see on your cell phone? Think about making a cheaper version of an existing product etc. How about doing something about what bugs you etc.
At the end of the day, you should be able to come up with many different ideas.
Your business idea doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at what some of the big players in an industry are missing and figure out if you can fill the gaps.
4. Research Your Market.
Market research is an essential part of any business that wants to offer products or services that are focused and well targeted. Good business decisions are based on good market research and intelligence. By researching your market thoroughly, you can minimize the risk to your business, identify new opportunities, while helping you communicate better with your customers.
Identify Your Target Market. Your target market can be researched based on demographic, geographic, psychographic and behaviouristic characteristics.
Research which demography/geography your product will serve best. Look at age groups, gender, Income, Education, Ethnicity, Family size, region, city etc. Check population trends for your target market to assess the number of potential clients for your product or service.
Assess your target market’s spending habits and their preferences.. Find out what pain needs relieving. Go away and create something that you think will relieve your potential client’s pain.
Research their consumption trends, past and future and project your target market. Know your competitors advantage. Identify opportunities and threats and assess the Average costs and revenues for your type of business
This is very crucial if you are to succeed in your business long term
5. Have a Great Business Plan
Now that you have done your market research, you’ve spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create a good business, you need a good business plan.
A business plan is an essential road-map for business success.
A business plan is an essential road-map for business success. Most good business plans generally projects what needs to be done in 3-5 years and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.
A business plan helps you to clarify your business idea, spot potential problems, set out your goals and measure your progress
A great business plan includes..
- Financial Plan
- Management Plan
- Design & Development Plan
- Operations Plan
- Marketing Analysis Plan
- Competitive Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Industry Analysis
- Company Analysis etc.
Writing a business plan is the best way to test whether or not an idea for starting a business is feasible, other than going out and doing it. In this sense, the business plan is your safety net. writing a business plan can save you a great deal of time and money if working through the business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable.
Often, an idea for starting a business is discarded at the marketing analysis or competitive analysis stage, freeing you to move on to a new and better idea.
6. Find Adequate Business Start Up Money
Some people think you need lots of money to become an entrepreneur. Truth is that many businesses can be bootstrapped at low cost. That is, they can be self-funded with minimal or no investment.
Working capital can be kept to a minimum; there is no need to purchase large amounts of inventory or carry huge accounts receivable. Keep overhead costs very modest by starting from your home or from a small office.
Notwithstanding, you need some money to start that business and you can always get loans from friends, family or via government grants. Another option is to attract an angel investor or crowdfund your idea.
Do not let finances stop you from starting that business. Just make sure you keep startup cost as low as possible..
7. Get a Reliable Partner
Not every business requires partnership to start. But there are businesses that will need the input of someone else.
Entrepreneurs have a reputation for trying to do it all single-handedly but the responsibility of running a business can sometimes be difficult for even the most experienced professionals. For this reason, you may consider working with a business partner.
Not only does having a business partner distribute some of the work, it lessen your financial burden, improve the overall quality of your products, services and reputation. It also gives you someone to bounce ideas off of, brainstorm ideas together, the benefit of an additional skill set, and a colleague who feels as passionately about your business idea as you do.
You can go into business with a trusted friend. You can also network with others either online or through in-person events etc.
8. Get Other Needed Resources
Apart from financial and human resources, every business must have some other appropriate resources to start with.
This includes a proper work-space, working telephone line, adequate information systems and effective marketing materials. It also includes registering a business name, getting a website, printing business cards, getting licenses and permits etc.
You also need to know that some business structures you choose may have legal and tax implications. You should make sure that you have all resources in place before you think about starting that business.
9. Develop a Marketing Plan
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the journey ahead is to develop a solid marketing plan. A strong marketing plan will ensure that you start right and this is the difference between a business that becomes successful and one that eventually fails.
A marketing plan should also involve how to reach your customers at first before launch and long after you have gained customers. It is one critical aspect in building a business that survives its first year.
If done correctly, your marketing plan is so much more than a budget and strategies. It can serve as your guide to identifying and reaching your customers and staying engaged with them. It should also outline ways to adjust your methods as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
A marketing plan includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.
10. Develop a Great Product
A great product launch starts with a great product – but being great just isn’t enough. You’ve got to know how to make your product so perfectly suited to your market’s needs that little selling needs to be done. Start with addressing a vital starting point with product creation: creating a product that will sell.
Most people can’t sell enough of their product or service because they create offers that vaguely serve the market and seem like a pretty good idea. As an expert, it’s easy to think you know it all, but in reality your customers don’t want to know as much as you do. They want specific solutions to specific problems, and they will buy from you in a heartbeat if you can deliver it to them.
A vital starting point with product creation is to create a product that will sell
If the answer to the each question below are true for your product, then you have a great product
- Does it have unique features?
- Does it have mass appeal?
- Does it solve a problem?
- Is there a powerful offer with a supportive cost of goods?
- Can you easily explain how it works?
- Is there a magical transformation or demo?
- Is it multi-functional?
- Is it credible; are there testimonials?
- Are there proven results?
Your product should also be intuitive to use and extremely simple to understand.
11. Know and Define Your Target Customers
You have put in the long hours and finally finished making that killer product or service, but your work is not yet done – now you need to introduce people to this offering. While it is relatively simple to develop general advertising for the masses, devoting time and resources to identify more targeted markets can help you maximize your marketing ROI.
Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing Naira and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets.
This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.
12. Master the Art of Customer Follow Up
For new businesses, reaching new customers is a top priority so is a sound follow up. You should be eager to expand your audience and make new connections which will ultimately help grow your business.
A sound follow-up to sales strategy will boost your revenues both from existing customers and from referrals to new customers.
Following up your sales demonstrates your commitment to customer service, builds your customers’ loyalty and helps generate repeat sales.
Follow up steps include:
Contacting customers after purchase to ensure they are happy. Providing repairs, refunds and warranties. Third is Creating opportunities for customer follow-up such as sales alerts.
The following techniques will help you and your sales team build an ongoing sales relationship with your customers and encourage them to refer your business to others.
- Say thank you by sending emails or say it with a card you enclose with the invoice.
- Check in with clients by calling a week or two after the sale and find out how everything is going.
- Keep the lines of communication open by sending helpful information and advice based on their needs and interests.
- Think second sale once trust is established and you are fully aware of your client’s expectations and telling your customer about specials or promotions you are running.
- Ask for referrals. Happy customers will refer you other customers.
13. Build a Team
As your business grows, you will soon realize that you can’t build a large business for as long as possible, alone.
Creating a startup and growing a business is a hell of a task and one that will require an entrepreneur to have many roles. No one person has a skill set for every role and trying to take on everything yourself will hurt you and your company.
To build the a team, you need to have an honest conversation about what skills you lack and find people who believe in your idea.
You need to take an honest and frank assessment of yourself. Put your ego aside and ask: What skills do I lack? This will help you fill up those area that need better people. The end result is a better result.
Secondly, make sure the people you want to work with actually believe in your idea. You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs hire or partner with someone who they think has the right experience, but the person doesn’t believe in the idea strongly.
You can also consider building a team with fellow business professionals you respect.
14. Build and Maintain a Good reputation
The reputation of an entrepreneur is essential if the business is to survive. The trust and confidence of the consumer can have a direct and profound effect on a company’s bottom line.
Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset you own.
Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset you own. Because it is! A great reputation is priceless.
Having a good reputation can benefit you as an entrepreneur in a multitude of ways including: consumer preference; support for a company in times of crisis or controversy; and the future value of your company in the marketplace.
In business you have to always do what’s right. Be consistent. Take pride in what you do. Accept responsibility for your actions and let your conscience be your guide.
15. Reinvest and Save for the Future
Reinvesting is the best way to build wealth. As a new business owner, reinvesting is crucial to your company’s continued growth and success.
One common reinvestment is making business improvements. Once your business starts growing, you will likely see that you have a list of areas that could be enriched with additional capital.
Improving infrastructure, streamlining manufacturing, strengthening customer support, a refined marketing strategy — these can all directly benefit your business, increase your profits and decrease expenses, and give you more capital to work with.
As well as keeping cash flow under control by invoicing regularly, having suitable payment terms and chasing payments, you need to keep track of your profits, which includes knowing how much of your income you’ll need in order to deliver on commitments and keep the business going.
Once you start making profits and you keep it in the business, the business will grow and you can move on to other businesses. Move on to other niches and expand the present business.
While entrepreneurship is not for everyone, its not a bad idea to start working towards creating your own business. You can make as much money as you want as long as your business is prospering.
You will no longer feel underpaid for the work you do for somebody else’s company. If your company is very successful then this may easily be the top advantage to being an entrepreneur.
You are the boss so you can decide when you work and when you don’t work. You can vacation whenever you want and have a sick day whenever you want. Entrepreneurship is fun and you can start your own entrepreneurship journey today.