This last week I met a lady in her early 20s and the vibe I got from her is that she was on the verge of giving up until she read an article where I highlighted how young entrepreneurs deal in the face of rejection and failure.
Among the things we talked about was focus. We concluded that focus helps us think effectively, without which one can’t produce the quality of work necessary to be successful.
Here are other aspects one should never overlook when getting into business.
Entrepreneurship is one difficult journey, and no one should lie to you otherwise. However, you carry with you the most powerful weapon - your brain - with which you can make the important decisions regarding your business.
There are days, and they will be many of them, when you will feel the business is not living up to its expectation and feel like quitting. It is such times you need to find that inner energy and pull yourself together.
It is on these days that you need to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. While making money might be a good motivating factor to start a business, it is just not enough. You will need to find a higher purpose if your business is to last.
Finding a mentor
When we start out in business, we are very ambitious with well planned out models and projections of how our businesses should progress. But besides our best laid plans, there is something that we are bound to overlook, underestimate or ignore, much to the detriment of the business.
To mitigate against this risk, it’s always advisable to seek guidance from a mentor who is in the field you want to get into, a friend who has been there, and if all else fails, ask google - she is your friend. The reason why asking is vital is because there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Worse, there’s no need to repeat avoidable mistakes.
But choose your mentor wisely. Go for someone who has a strong track record of success in business, believes in your idea, and is willing to give you honest feedback without worrying about protecting your feelings or ‘stealing’ their customers.
I have this reference that business information is like going to the hospital. You get one doctor telling you that you have a back problem and you need surgery. Before you book for that surgery, make sure you get a second opinion. This means you should do your due diligence in terms of research. What this will do to your plan or vision is that you will have a strong foundation to start from.
Breaking the rules
Funny as it may sound, the other rule for building a successful business is breaking the rules.
Everything that has been invented has been as a result of breaking the rules.
Most times when you break the rules the people around you will take it as a joke or think you are going crazy.
I remember when I had the initial dream of starting a music label. Media personalities wrote articles in a bid to mock and thus kill my dream. Fellow musicians did not understand the vision and so getting artistes to sign was difficult.
With time, we signed many artistes including Rich Mavoko whom we later sold to the Diamond Platinumz’s Wasafi Records.
In the spirit of not settling when you are at the peak, a Dj Unit was born, event planning and execution team was formed and a Dj School and a recording studio was opened to the public.
Having a flexible strategy
When you bring in a team, be ready to accommodate their thinking; that’s why it’s called teamwork. Be ready to accept that you don’t have monopoly of good ideas.
Be more ready to adjust your strategy - to take a different route to get to your business destination. While the dream remains the same, getting there may take a little adjustment.
Working hard and working smart go hand in hand. You might be smart, but you need to compliment it with hard work. It has been proven over the years that working hard eventually gets the work done. But a smart entrepreneur will work with both. I see a lot of entrepreneurs working up to 13 hours a day in their business with no breaks. This eventually causes them to burn out and become unproductive in the coming years. This is where you need to work smart: find ways to streamline your operations and get things done faster. There are a lot of apps that can help you become more productive.
Focusing on people
Business is all about people. While you may have all the money to put in your business, it is people who will implement your systems to generate consistent cash flows. You can’t do it all by yourself. Focus on people, understand their needs, compensate them adequately, and invest in their training, even if they don’t stay with you.
Some entrepreneurs use debt to start a business - an especially risky move if you are a first time entrepreneur, and riskier if your business model is untested.
While I have nothing against taking on debt to start a business (many businesses have thrived as a result), be very careful, less optimistic, and make sure your debt is within manageable limits.
Remember rules were made to be broken, including these ones.
The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.
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