Most Important Things Prospective Entrepreneurs Should Know – I am glad you found this article; it means that you have decided to start up you own business venture. I am happy for you and this article is here to open your eyes and mind to some important things you should put in place to kick start your journey and establish a great business.
We have been made to believe that to become an entrepreneur and startup a business venture, all you need is to have a business idea and a startup capital and you are good to go. Well, that is one step but what is the guarantee that your business will thrive? What is the assurance that you will be successful? Being a successful entrepreneur or business owner goes beyond just having an idea and startup capital. There are many other things you need to know and do before you start up your business venture.
In this article, we will be highlighting 25 things that you should know as a prospective entrepreneur. We will be dividing these 25 things into three (3) parts so you will understand how to place them.
- PART ONE : Setting your goals
- PART TWO: Starting up your business venture
- PART THREE: How to sustain your business growth
When you know these things, you should do well to implement them as it will go a long way in helping your business to grow and become a success.
Without further ado, let’s gets started.
SETTING YOUR GOALS
- Make up your mind on what you want to do and why
The temptation of wanting to do many things can limit your result at the end of the day, you have enough time to focus your ability, efforts and resources but the irony of this is that you cannot do everything. You have to focus your energy on one aspect because this will definitely yield better result putting your mind to it.
You have to decide on what you want to do after analyzing the problems and needs of the people around you and develop a suitable way to meet these needs. You have to decide on the reason you are focusing on a particular business idea as this will serve as driving force to putting in your best.
- Identify problems and turn them to business opportunities
This is one quality of an entrepreneur. They identify the problems of the people around them or the society and turn these problems or needs into business opportunities. An entrepreneur is a problem solver and from solving these problems they generate profits.
As a prospective entrepreneur, you have to be good and smart at identifying problems and also creative at transforming these problems into business ideas channeled at solving these problems. You should see the people around you as potential customers or target consumers as solving their problems and meeting their needs helps you generate business ideas and opportunities.
- Be creative
Creativity is an essential quality of an entrepreneur. From the identified problems, you have to open your creative mind and think outside the box. You have to look at different ways of solving the problems of your potential customers.
As a prospective entrepreneur, you have to think of creative ways to manage your resources which are limited so as to satisfy the needs of your customers and also meet your company or business objective. You might be a new entrant to the market that needs to penetrate the market that has lots of competition, you have to generate ideas and strategies to help you gain a foothold or put you at an advantage when compared to competitors.
- Do what is most important (prioritize)
Understanding your priorities and setting them straight will help you in starting your business venture. You have to know how to focus your time and resources on the most important things that will yield positive outcome.
After critically analyzing the identified problems, you have to understand what you want to produce, how to produce and also for whom you want to produce. These are the basic problems in starting up a business venture.
The answers to these questions will guide you in prioritizing and knowing how best to meet the needs of the consumers and achieve your business goal.
- Learn to know your target customers or consumers
It is very important to understand for whom you want to produce and this will help you know what and how you want to produce. Before venturing into a business, do a market research to know the needs of your customers or consumers and to analyze how best to meet these needs.
With a properly conducted market research, you get to even create demand by your innovation. This will help you deliver the solutions your customers need.
- Create a realistic and good business plan
Your business plan should show the reality of your business. Create a business plan that will outline where you are and where you want to be. It describes your business goals and structure of your propose business.
Have a mission and vision statement that will help channel your business plan and help you understand what you want to venture into, why and how you want to go about it. All these should be stated in your business plan.
In your business plan, describe how you would go about marketing your product and how you would handle the competition in the market. If you are a new entrant, think about how you will penetrate the market and get a decent share of the market. A good and realistic business plan will encourage potential investors to promote and invest in your business idea.
- Be ready to work-hard
Starting your business venture means dedicating hours and efforts to your business in order to make it grow. Though the number of hours dedicated to your work doesn’t guarantee its success but it is a plus to your progress. If these hours are used judiciously and you apply some of the guidelines highlighted in this article, then success should be your lot.
Every entrepreneur is expected to work-hard as this is one of the key to a successful business outfit. Be ready to dedicate your time to your business and make success your priority and end goal. Even in the dictionary, hard-work comes before success.
STARTING UP YOUR BUSINESS VENTURE
- Make your business idea a reality
One thing is dreaming and another thing is ensuring that dream doesn’t just remain a dream but turns into a reality. The problems you identified won’t be solved if the business idea that came from the inspiration gotten from the identified problems are not processed and turned into a reality.
It is just like having a bag of flour and not processing it to make bread. It will still remain a raw material (flour) until it is processed into bread (finished goods) to meet the need and solve a problem. This is how ideas are. They are like raw materials that need to be processed into a business venture so as to meet needs and solve problems.
You should as a prospective entrepreneur work on your idea and see that they turn into a reality.
- Be a risk taker
Starting is what makes the difference from doing nothing. If you don’t try, you wouldn’t know if you would fail or be successful. After critical analysis of the risk and benefits of venturing into the business, give it a try. You never know the outcome and so the uncertainty can either make you not try or even try.
It’s best that you give your business idea a try and be innovative. Make a move towards deploying the necessary resources to exploit the identified problems and meet the needs of your potential customers.
Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) said he wouldn’t regret failing but one thing he would regret is not trying. What if you didn’t take that risk and some else did and became successful. You would stay in one corner wishing you had taken the bold step.
So don’t wish; instead act.
- Be ready to fail
We have been carried away by the negative definition of failure that we forget that failure is learning. Failure is a stepping stone to success and it would be a fairy tale if you see yourself starting a business venture and it just goes all smooth without encountering any difficulty or setbacks.
As a prospective entrepreneur, you should be ready to encounter failure at any point in your business whether starting up or in a long run. When you encounter these failures, embrace them and see them as an avenue to grow and become better. Failures are not meant to define you but build your character towards your business and also life in general.
Learn to fail and learn from failures.
- Have self-confidence
William Hazlitt said that “As is our confidence, so is our capacity”. Your level of confidence either boosts or limits your ability to dream and even see that your dream becomes a reality. When you say you can’t do that, you tend to become what you say because your thoughts limit your action.
Believing in yourself will help you find ways to overcome setbacks and bottlenecks you will encounter on your journey to success. Prospective entrepreneurs should have confidence on their ability but not over confidence.
Do not give excuses for not carrying out a task, do it.
- Take small steps but be smart
Certainly, no successful entrepreneur made it in one roll of a dice. The likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and many others took everything step by step and bit by bit. They progressed by learning from the previous and just completed task or step.
As a prospective entrepreneur, learn to start in a step by step manner and if possible, take smaller risks before advancing to a greater or larger risk. Take small steps and learn from every step taken so as to proceed to the next step and do it better.
Pick the steps and grow with them.
- Channel your energy towards your strengths and not weaknesses
Your strengths are the advantages you have over competitors. You have to do well to work on your strengths and not to waste time improving your weaknesses. Try to focus more on what you can do well without much ado. These strengths could be your natural talent, skills or intelligence.
Focusing on your strengths will also help you manage your time and increase your productivity.
- Analyze the impact of your work on your personal life
When we say work, we mean your business venture. You have to analyze and look at the impact of the new venture on your personal life or how its effect on your personal life and relationship with either family or friends. Most people will tell you to not care about friends or people around you when starting up your business venture but these people will definitely help in promoting your brand and business venture.
If your new business is going to be taking most of your time, discuss it with your family and people close to you and see how they can be included into the business. Don’t be overwhelmed or obsessed by your business venture that you neglect your relationship with people that are close to you.
Carry them along and also get their support physically, mentally and also financially.
- Strategize on sourcing for capital
You should critically look at ways to raise capital to fund your business. Start-up entrepreneurs always face challenges when it comes to raising capital for their business. Your start-up fund could come from your savings or personal loans from family and friends. It can also come from angel investors or sponsors. Sourcing for funds to start up your business should be taking into consideration as every business whether start-up or existing business needs finance.
For a start-up, you need to be financially stable and ready.
- Obtaining business loans to fund your business
Most times, getting or raising funds to start up your business might not be easy; you can look for financial institutions or venture capitalist that are willing to promote your new idea and also invest their resources into your untested business. You can apply for loans from local financial institutions with your feasible business plan and feasibility study.
It’s not really easy for prospective entrepreneurs to get business loans from financial institutions as these institutions scrutinize your business idea and plan to know how feasible the business will be; so you should stick with personal loans from family and friends and other willing sponsors with low interest rate.
You could even try getting a partner that can fund the business.
- Don’t be in a haste to quit your job
For someone that is working and having the intention of quitting your job for your dream or goal; it is quite good and many will advise you to go all in but the honest truth is that it is not a guarantee that quitting your job and following your dream or vision will make you succeed. It is good to take the risk but do not be in a haste to quit your job.
Critically analyze your income and work on getting a stable income from your business that will match your salary before quitting your job. You can even start something while you are still working and watch how it grows and when you feel your business needs more of your time to grow, you can now decide to quit your job and put all your effort and focus on your business.
- Build a team and it should be a great team
Having a team of capable and creative thinking employees will help you in establishing a successful business venture. The people you work with and that work for you should be competent, reliable and ready to work.
They should share the same passion you have and have a positive attitude to work.
- Understand the market for your product
When you know the market for your product, you understand your customers and also generate creative ideas to solve their problems. Understanding your target market will help you create innovations that will help you penetrate the market and get a foothold of the market.
Knowing your market will help you utilize the marketing mix (the 4Ps of marketing; product, pricing, promotion and placing) to have an edge in the market and also build brand quality. Knowing your product market will help you know how best to meet the needs of your customers or target consumers and also help you create demand for your product.
- Know how you spend money and have a budget
A budget will act as a guide to control your spending and regulate your income. In starting a business, you have to know how to utilize your limited resources so you won’t produce a product that is not useful or will not meet the demand of your customers.
When spending, you have to look for a better option of producing at a minimal cost and in the end maximizing profit. The main goal of starting up a business is to make profit; therefore starting a business venture where the cost of production is higher than the average revenue (price) will make your business run at a loss.
Do not spend money on things that are not relevant to the business. Let the spending on your business bring appreciable revenue whether in a short or long run.
HOW TO SUSTAIN YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH
- Listen to your customers
In the modern era of marketing, the best way to become successful is putting the customers or consumers at the centre of your business. They should be the reason for your marketing. It is called “Consumer Sovereignty”; the customers are seen as “kings” and they are always right.
For your business to continue growing and improving, seek the opinion of your customers and listen to their inputs. This helps you determine what they need and how best to meet their needs.
Listen to their complaints and this will help you make some improvement on your product and its quality.
- Educate yourself and be open to learning
This is one way to continue growing and getting better. Be open to learning and always look for ways to educate yourself on new and trending marketing strategies and also trends in your product or business line. Change is always constant and so you should be open to changes in order to grow in running your business venture.
Read business-related books and also books that are related to your industry or business line. Learn to use technology and social trends to your advantage. You can also follow successful entrepreneurs on social media platforms and also take courses and attend seminars.
All these will open you up to different perspectives and create room for improvement and motivation.
- Relate with other entrepreneurs
It is said that move along with people that make you better and support what you do. It is also important to relate with other entrepreneurs whether in your business line or not. You get to learn a thing or two from them. From relating with other entrepreneurs, you get to associate with the ones in your line of business and also learn from their experience.
You also get to know how to overcome setbacks you face in your business because some of these entrepreneurs might have gone through the same situation and scaled through.
Relating with other entrepreneurs give you an opportunity to get motivation, support, advice and experience.
- Do not be a “I want to control everything person”
Most people make the mistake of saying “it is my business and I am the sole owner” therefore every decision must be made by them. It is your business and it is right to say that you know most areas of your business but always wanting to be in control and make all the decisions will limit the input of those working for you. This attitude will limit their creativity in generating ideas for the growth of the business and also bringing innovations for the success of your business.
Give others the opportunity to show what they can offer. It should not always be you, you, and you. In most cases, it is advised that you even give up control and let someone else handle the business.
Don’t be a control freak. Give others the chance to lead and learn from them.
- Do beyond what your customers and market expects
For a prospective entrepreneur or young entrepreneur, in order to penetrate the market, you have to deliver more than what your customers expect. Give them a reason to come back. Through your innovations, create a new market and greater demand for your product.
In doing this, you will get your customers to patronize your product and build customer loyalty. The difference could be in packaging, promotion, marketing strategy or distribution channel but deliver more than what is expected.
Break from the norm.
MY CLOSING NOTE
These 25 things we have highlighted should be taken seriously and should always guide you in setting your goals and proceeding to setting up your business venture. The honest truth is that starting your business venture doesn’t mean you will be successful; you have to employ some of the tips, if not all the tips highlighted in this article.
Make mistakes and learn from them. Every successful entrepreneur made mistakes that made them improve and they came back better. These 25 things are eye openers to what you should do that would bring you closer to achieving success in your business when you start. Knowing these 25 things before establishing your business outfit will give you a chance of surviving and excelling in your business.