Harness Your Entrepreneurship Potentials

By virtue of this meeting, I believe my audience are a crop of aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs who are ready to take their world by storm. So, I don’t see myself speaking to some young ladies and gentlemen (as the case is), but with young entrepreneurs who will grow to become business giants in few years to come. Then, you’ll remember but may not recognize this little giant standing in front of you – because he would have grown really big too!

Let’s thank God for ideas. But, if ideas were to equal entrepreneurship, everyone of you would have been great entrepreneurs, great inventors, great business men and women. Entrepreneurship is a subject that goes beyond starting a business and staying a business owner! It’s not about blowing your trumpet, giving yourself ego-centric titles: CEO, COO, OM, OPC, EFCC – because you have formed yourself into a company. No!

The bitter truth is that as profitable as entrepreneurship may seem, its venture is not for everyone. A senior friend once said to me in an interview discussion I had with him: “You need the right mind-set and skill-set. Don’t try it (entrepreneurship) until you understand these two!”

I want to sound a note of warning too. Entrepreneurship is not a plan B. It is not an alternative for those who couldn’t get white-collar jobs. Thank God for mouth-watering salaries; but entrepreneurship is not a choice you make because you could not secure employment at Shell or MTN! A prospective student, who makes a federal-owned Nigerian university his /her second choice of institution at the time of filling the forms, has already decided his/her fate!

Really, the increasing toll of unemployed graduates has forced many to look inwards. Ironically, this situation has its positives. In those days (as we were been told), as a graduate, you have an assurance of a good job awaiting you. But today, the reverse is the case! Even with your M.Sc or MBA, you may need to back it up with a professional certificate and several years of hands-on experience.

I do not care how many MTN, Shell or Chevron that has rejected your employment request; all you need is God to smile at your seemingly-looking small business. I see because giants arising from this meeting. You will go out there and storm your world!

What then is entrepreneurship? Who is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is truly a unique individual. Entrepreneurs find it difficult or impossible to work for someone else, although they do work for their customers/clients. They are willing to put everything on the line for the passion and love of seeing their enterprise grow… and sometimes live with several failures.

An entrepreneur is one who has the ability to dream big. The entrepreneur has the qualities of a leader. A leader is one who knows what he wants. He is the one who created ideas, unique opportunities and conceptions. He is ready to take risks.

The following people have something to say about entrepreneurship:

Alan Sugar: “An entrepreneur, if there is such a thing, is a born schemer and thinker up of things.”

Hunt Greene: “Everything is always impossible before it works. That is what entrepreneurs are all about – doing what people have told them is impossible.”

Michael Smurfit: “The entrepreneur is like an eagle… he soars alone, he flies alone, and he hunts alone.”

Tom Peters: “Entrepreneurship is unreasonable conviction based on inadequate evidence.”

The Nigerian business landscape consists of entrepreneurs who, despite their humble backgrounds, withstood the storm and are still standing tall in their pursuits.

Here is a list of some of them:

1. Mike Adenuga (Globacom)

2. Femi Otedola (Zenon Oil)

3. Aliko Dangote (Dangote Group)

4. Jimoh Ibrahim (Nicon Insurance)

5. Frank Nneji (ABC Transport)

6. Tony Momoh (Channels TV)

7. Tony Ezena (Orange Drugs)

8. Samuel Adedoyin (Doyin Group)

9. Alex Ibru (Guardian Newspaper)

10. Folu Ayeni (Tantalizers)

11. Dele Momodu (Ovation Magazine)

12. Otunba Gadaffi (DMT Mobile Toilet)

Let’s take a look at some of the most basic factors that has helped them come this far.

I. You need ideas: Ideas are your connection to the world of business exploit, and this can be gotten via inspiration. Ideas that fly to the high heavens have been the harbinger of the most successful businesses across the globe. Ideas are like good wine, they need no bush. All entrepreneurial ventures start from ideas. Therefore, you constantly need to be creative, innovative and resourceful. Never underestimate the value of an idea. Every positive idea has within it the potential for success if it is managed properly.

II. You may start small but think big always! As a start-up, you may not always have enough funds to start on a large-scale. More than 60% of new businesses within and outside Nigeria are usually faced with the challenge of start-up and running capital. Start with what you have. Starting small does not in anyway mean you are going to remain small. You are permitted to start small, but understand that you need to think big; “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” You need to paint a picture of your dream business in your imagination. You need to “act” as though you were managing a big company. This kind of feeling should reflect in all that you do – your communication, your dress sense, your business environment, etc. Starting small is not a crime, thinking and remaining small is. The Word of God admonishes us not to despise our little beginnings. He knows there would always be little beginnings! For many of us, it is a time to learn and be strong enough to cope with the challenges associated with big businesses.

III. Be creative and innovative: Your business cannot survive without some creative thinking. It amuses me how some business owners run their businesses as though they are the only enterprise offering a kind of product or service. You can’t afford to be lazy in your business approach or strategy. Constantly create an activity to make your business, products and services the news worth thinking or talking about. If there are 1001 fashion outfits in an area, aim at becoming the best!

Everett Rogers said, “Invention is the process by which a new idea is discovered or created. In contrast, innovation occurs when that new idea is adopted.” If you use yesterday’s tactics and strategies to manage today’s complex business challenges, you’ll go out of business tomorrow. Arthur Koestler also posited that “the principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”

You need creative approaches for managing current business trends and anticipating future ones. Ask yourself strategic questions. “What can I do to improve on my existing offerings?” Tom Peters puts it this way: “Ask dumb questions. ‘How come computer commands all come from keyboards?’ Somebody asked that one first; hence, the mouse.”

You have a creative mind – use it! You can’t read about creativity; you have to begin doing what every creative action requires – taking the first step into the unknown.

Do you have a new (creative) idea? Take action. Turn it into implementation, and inspiration into execution. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” (Walt Disney). As Ben Franklin once stated, “Well done is better than well said.”

IV. Search for relevant knowledge in your area of specialization and interest. Knowledge they say is power. The Word of God says, “a man is commended according to his wisdom… a man’s wisdom makes his face to shine.” Don’t think of decorating your home, shop or office with your degree certificate; instead, decorate your mind with current innovative strategies, techniques and trends that will help grow your business or career. Search out new pricing and sales techniques. The truth is that you cannot be better, bigger and more successful than what you have on your mind. Your actions and inaction can be traceable to your knowledge power; and your knowledge power determines your thoughts! Remember, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Creativity and innovation is 90% within and 10% without.

V. You need a defense against discouragement. As an aspiring or emerging business owner, you should have a mind-set that success does not come easy; not even in business. Usually at the onset, we brim with ideas for starting a business; the enthusiasm is high and we devote both time and energy for the success of the new venture. At this level of your business, you never really knew that on the flip side, business management means coping with stress, challenges, disappointments, failures, and outright rejections!

In a research study of two hundred and forty three entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria; among the problems encountered by entrepreneurs, unreliable employees were the most critical. Weak economy, electricity shortages and unsafe location were also mentioned as obstacles preventing entrepreneurs from achieving their goals.

At every point of your business growth, you need to shield yourself from discouragement; you need to trust God for help and believe in yourself to stay strong till you conquer fear. As a small business person, I have been tempted on several occasions to apply for a paid job somewhere else. As a matter of fact, I have submitted applications for some! Owning and managing a business is not a light issue. You need to be aware of this from the onset. Business is life – don’t let it die in your hands!

Be focused. Be persistent. Be consistent. Be strong. Indeed, you can truly become a business giant! See you at the top!

Entrepreneurial Approach to Resources

Howard Stevenson and his colleagues at Harvard Business School define entrepreneurship as “the process of creating or seizing an opportunity and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled.” This approach, Stevenson maintains, has greatly contributed towards the success of entrepreneurs. He points out that entrepreneurs seek to use the minimum possible amount of all types of resources at every stage in their venture’s growth. These resources include human resources, financial resources, assets and a business plan. Rather than own the resources entrepreneurs need, they seek to control them, according to Stevenson.

Studies indicate that entrepreneurs with such an approach towards business substantially reduce the risk in pursuing opportunities.

1. Capital: Since the amount of capital required will be smaller, it will mitigate risk by reducing the financial exposure and the dilution of the founder’s equity.

2. Flexibility: Entrepreneurs are in a better position to commit and decommit quickly when they do not own a resource. The flexibility of business thus gained can be very useful to a firm, since it enables them to respond faster and reach decisions quickly. In addition to this, the entrepreneurial approach to resources allows strategic experiments, which means that ideas can be tried and tested without committing to the ownership of all assets and resources in the business. For example, it is wise to raise capital gradually as the need arises, otherwise one may end up spending it too early on wrong decisions. Inflexibility also results from committing permanently to a certain technology, software or management system.

3. Low Sunk Cost: The cost of closing down a firm or a venture will also be lower if the ownership of resources is less. If the up-front capital commitment is huge, abandoning such a project will also be very costly.

4. Costs: Fixed costs will be lower, which will have a positive affect on breakeven. Of course in that case variable cost may rise.

5. Reduced Risk: Apart from reducing risk in general, other risk events such as risk of obsolescence of resource are also lower. For example, biotechnology companies have used venture leasing as a way to supplement sources of equity financing.

One should not assume incorrectly that this approach means that a firm cannot afford to buy resources. The fact is that not having ownership has its own advantages and options in the form of flexibility of business and reduced risk. However, at the same time these decisions are very complex, and considerations such as tax implications of leasing vs. buying and other existing laws and regulations have to be thought of thoroughly and carefully.

The Mindset of an Entrepreneur

A country such as Nigeria is ranked among the poor countries according to the Human Poverty Index though we have a large oil production base. Since the wealth is not trickling down to the common man, we have to put measures in place to ensure that other sources of wealth are attained. In addition to this, up to 60% of those who have graduated from institutions of higher education do not get formal employment hence the need for alternative sources of income. There are currently very few institutions that have made it their mission to spread the gospel of entrepreneurship to the populace as a sustainable method of poverty eradication. Our Institutions should be able to educate the populace on issues concerning entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship vs. Self Employment

Our citizens should learn the difference between self employment and entrepreneurship. The two seem to be one and the same thing to many Nigerian entrepreneurs however, they have a distinct difference. An entrepreneur is a business proprietor who carries out business with ease and maintains growth while getting satisfaction of all the business activities. The entrepreneurial mindset is that of a strategist and a visionary. On the other hand a self employed business person is one who simply seeks to tap a financial niche without much regard for objective planning. This type of business person may not necessarily enjoy what they do. While an entrepreneur is focused on growth and expansion, a self employed business owner may be content with the current income levels, thus seeing no need for new strategies. Many Nigerians are self employed but their current state of living does not reflect much prosperity and it is until entrepreneurship is instituted that things can change. Given that the unemployment rate is about 6% according to statistics, it is vital for Nigeria to consider Entrepreneurship as a solution for creating jobs for the unemployed.

Innovative Entrepreneurship

The lay person needs to know that being an entrepreneur requires a considerable amount of sales and marketing skills. This may put some people off because they do not consider themselves as business people. However, there is no business that can progress without an aggressive sales strategy. We should also know that entrepreneurship is dynamic and plenty of thought has to be invested in coming up with new innovations to enhance business. It is evident that consumers’ needs change every so often therefore new strategies need to be put in place and old methods reviewed for out entrepreneurship sector to be successful and effectiveness.

Creating the Mindset

Nigerian entrepreneurs should be good strategists not afraid to make calculated risks after making a careful assessment of situations. The moment an entrepreneurial mindset has been instilled, any type of business whether big or small is able to achieve significant growth. Entrepreneurs in most cases have prosperous personal lives as well because they are able to align their business vision with their life objectives. This combination will ensure that all aspects are catered for because it is of no use to have a flourishing enterprise at the expense of a fulfilling personal life. Entrepreneurship can aptly be described as a business lifestyle in contrast to regular business self employment which is merely an activity. The achievement of an entrepreneurial mindset is able to turn around any business towards greater heights.

Role of the Populace

We need to adapt a focused mind and emotional state as entrepreneurs. Self examination is important in helping us to figure out our strengths and weaknesses. To be successful in business, there are several questions that all Nigerian Entrepreneurs should think about in order to make any project successful.

o Am I a self starter? In business it is not possible for things to just happen. As a business owner, you have the responsibility for initiating all the business practices that will stimulate sales. The vision of the owner is the driving force for any business enterprise.

o Do I think positive? Any time a person becomes a business owner, you have an optimistic outlook on your activities which will reflect on the progress made. Any employees or fellow entrepreneurs will notice this optimism and are likely to feed off this energy.

o Do you have discipline? Compared to formal employment that has fixed hours and limited motivation, an entrepreneurship is an on ongoing commitment that requires dedication beyond the standard working hours and there needs to be lots of attention to detail to ensure business is maintained. Our entrepreneurs require the will to resist any distraction and temptations that could keep them from achieving their objectives.

o What are your objectives? The expected goals and target need to be set in advance and our entrepreneurs should always have them in mind when conducting business

Following Suit

Africa is able to learn a lot from the developed nations concerning entrepreneurship activities and their impact on the lives of citizens. The European Union (EU) for instance has put plenty of emphasis on the promotion of small and medium sized enterprises which has resulted in the creation of over 75 million jobs. In fact, many of these jobs in the EU are being done by Africans who have fled their countries to earn a better living elsewhere. With the right economic mechanisms in place, these migrants would not need to go to far flung countries to seek a decent living.

Governments’ role

Currently, most sub Saharan countries use less than 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on infrastructure that will help scale up trade. This is considered very little and in order for trade practices to greatly boost the economy of Nigeria, approximately 10 % of our GDP should go into building of investment capacity. Only when this happens can there be a shift in our people’s mind frame leading to a more productive and self sufficient nation.

5 Ingredients of Successful Entrepreneurship

Read the quintessential qualities required to become a consistently successful and growing entrepreneur.

No business can grow without the growth of the entrepreneur who runs it. It is the entrepreneur who becomes the central line of the growth of the business. If the owner isn’t upgrading himself or herself, their business isn’t going anywhere. That’s a given! Here I share with you the basic fundamentals that an entrepreneur must focus on at any given point of time irrespective of the stage or the scale.

  1. Ideas

Entrepreneurship is developed, it is a skill. There are no born entrepreneurs, they build themselves. Entrepreneurship lies dormant in all of us. We all have that inherent desire and wish to do that one dream business or project one summer day. The fact is if we ask all the people we know to write down their dream business on a piece of paper you will get a huge pool of resourceful Business ideas to work on. The tragedy is very limited people can visualize it as a profitable venture. No business is a bad idea. Every business is a growth business. Successful entrepreneurship is about taking a crazy idea to its logical plan and then utilizing the available resources to commercialize the idea into a long term profitable venture. An entrepreneur must always have ideas at the drop of a hat to solve problems, address demands or to innovate new products. Working on creative thinking is imperative to be a continuous resource provider of ideas. The key is in continuous creation of new, better and different ideas without falling in love with the old ones. Creation is possible only when the entrepreneur is continuously learning.

  1. Plan

Once the idea is in place, the next step would be to create a clearly written down execution plan with step by step precision of what is to be done to make the idea convert into a business venture. Writing down the magic questions and their answers is the key. Magic questions include the what, where, when, how, who and why. A plan is nothing but a detailed execution methodology shared and supported by all the members concerned in a venture. Most entrepreneurs fall short of penning down their ideas simply because of lack of will or laziness. It is said that when you write your plans down, they help you remain motivated and on track when you are most knocked down in business. A plan consists of series of short, medium and long term goals. A goal is nothing but a dream with a deadline. Having a well thought of PLAN A and a contingency PLAN B are crucial in any entrepreneurial voyage.

  1. Risk

This is what separates the men from the boys. Starting a venture requires the rare quality to challenge our comfort zones. Doing things that make us uncomfortable and destroying the status quo remains the fundamental essential quality of successful entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is doing things that are contrary to everything that has to do with the words security and comfort. It’s about choosing the short term pains to actualize and materialize the long term gains. Risk taking involves an emotional and mental decision first which translates into a financial or logical decision later to do something that has the probability to fail as much as to succeed. Risk taking becomes easy when the entrepreneur develops the ability to remain confident about the strengths and talent especially in times of crises.

  1. Time

Entrepreneurship is about being ahead of time by planning your priorities. Entrepreneurs wear multiple hats and hence it is imperative that they wisely choose to do the most crucial and important activities in their business which only they have the expertise of doing. Entrepreneur’s must focus only on key success driving activities in their business and delegate the rest to people who are better at doing those things than the entrepreneur. Initially entrepreneurship takes a toll on the personal time and space of the individual, however, at later stages, the individual develops the habit of ignoring personal time and this leads to an unbalanced life. Spending quality time on crucial revenue generating and business growth related activities coupled with taking time out for family, fitness and hobbies is mandatory for a successful entrepreneurial life. Developing the discipline to follow learnable routines and at the same time having the flexibility to adjust as per changing demands is very important sign in entrepreneurship.

  1. Team

Can you imagine the pyramids in Egypt built with a single rock? Can nations be built by the effort of a single person alone? Difficult to imagine, isn’t it? The sum of the parts makes the whole and the whole is incomplete without its parts. You cannot build a fantastic business unless you have fantastic people working with you. It’s easier to attract and nurture talent when you have a strong vision and purpose for your business. Business building and entrepreneurship thrives on collective efforts of like minded people moving together towards a common goal. Entrepreneurs tend to be self involved to the extent of not sharing their ideas, frustrations and dreams with others. Their initial experience of solitude makes them closed emotionally and as business grows the entrepreneur doesn’t realize the benefits of sharing. Leadership is about helping others bring out their strengths towards the achievement of a strong purpose. Entrepreneurs must learn to instill other people’s confidence and other people’s capabilities. It is only when you build a team, can you build a great business.

The above ingredients, if mixed passionately with solid persistence can help anyone build a fantastic entrepreneurial venture. Here’s wishing you all the best for your Businesses journey.

10 Tips For Parents of (Pre) Teen Entrepreneurs

For teen entrepreneurs, it’s not just homework or hormones and friends or fashion. For these exceptional young people, it’s all of that – plus finding funding, building business and securing their futures at an early age.

And it’s important that their parents understand and appreciate their struggles and offer them support every step of the way. These 10 tips are a great way to help young entrepreneurs start down a path toward success.

1. Start early.

By exploring interests at an early age, it encourages children to take an active pursuit of their passion – and perhaps eventually turn it into profit. Visit museums or parks, check books out of the library – anything to help cultivate their genius.

2. Try different stuff.

“If at first you don’t succeed…” It’s a good quote for a reason. Help potential profiteers learn this for themselves by encouraging learning by trial and error. Keep trying plans or products until they find the one that excites them into entrepreneurship.

3. Discuss values.

Equip them with the tools they need to make important decisions by discussing ethics and the importance of playing fair and being honest – on the field, in life and in business.

4. Make a business plan.

A business plan needn’t be long – a one-page plan should work for most efforts. By answering the below questions, teens will be able to clearly define their products, customers and advantages:

What business am I in?
Who are my customers?
How will my customers know about me?
How am I different?

5. Ask questions.

Enforce the need to think everything through early by asking questions – even if they may be hard for young people to answer. And remember: Be careful to come across as a partner, not as a nag! During this step, you should discuss materials, inventory, funding and budgeting.

6. Use the Internet.

From research to retail to advertising, the Internet is an important tool for fledgling businesses. Many teens have a marked advantage here, as they’re better online than any generation before them. Remember, always monitor site usage and message board posts!

7. Serve others.

It’s important that children have a plan that includes giving back to the world. Does the business offer a product or service that those less fortunate would benefit from? If so, work or product could be given away for free or at cost. If not, discuss setting aside a portion of the profits for a reputable organization that helps those in need.

8. Film a commercial.

This step is fun, and the confidence that children get from being on screen is amazing. Brainstorm ideas – from serious to silly – write a script and enlist the help of friends and family to round out the cast.

9. Develop a marketing plan.

Even the youngest entrepreneur should be actively involved in sales from day one. Ask them to develop a plan – and encourage them to think big (“no” should not be a part of this step!). Guide them to consider promotional or partnership opportunities; community stores or leaders who would allow advertising/product placement; advertising activities and more.

10. Define a style.

All children are leaders: They just have different styles and a unique selling point. Help fine-tune that style by building a leadership platform based on individual strengths and weaknesses.

These 10 tips are a great way to kick off what will hopefully be a long and successful business endeavor. But remember: Just as every child is unique, so is every business and every plan. There are no rules – other than to have fun, work hard and continue to learn and grow along the way. Good luck!

How to Develop Your Ability to Synthesize Information – A Key Entrepreneurial Skill

Successful business ownership is all about gathering information, picking through it to decide what makes sense, and making sound decisions based on all available data. Synthesizing information in this way can be a difficult task to master, but a little time and practice can make you an expert in no time.

Synthesis is the final step in critical thinking — after you analyze, evaluate, and organize information from different sources, this step requires you to put it all together. Many people struggle with this step, but really all you are trying to do is select the best answer, or combination of answers, from a wide range of data. In fact, the odds are that you do this on a regular basis anyway, whether you are aware of it or not.

As you may have noticed, the internet is flooded with all sorts of conflicting information on just about any subject. Trying to find the best answer by surfing the web requires that you consider the merit of a variety of sources and choose for yourself which idea makes the most sense to you. You might find yourself coming up with an entirely different answer than those you read about…this is synthesizing.

Essentially what is happening is that by examining and evaluating a number of sources, you are identifying consistencies and relationships between and among the data. With these connections, you are better able to create a new idea that can be supported by the various knowledge you have picked up along the way. Not everyone will come up with the same solution, and your own solution may not always turn out to be right, but by starting with a wealth of data you improve the odds of missing something important.

In the context of entrepreneurship, synthesis is a critical skill for every step, from planning your business idea to growing your company. Most first-time entrepreneurs do not have a complete toolshed of basic business knowledge, much less the details of their own product, market, and competition. Gaining this knowledge is essential, but very little of it has clear right and wrong answers. In any type of business, there are hundreds of small decisions to make along the way, each of which has the potential to make or break the entire venture.

For example, a critical portion of business planning is developing your marketing plan. In order to create an effective marketing plan, it is essential to study the basic tenets of marketing, the various routes for getting your message out, and the best ways to convince your target market that your product or service is the way to go. Search for “Marketing Plan” on the internet, and you will get hundreds of results, millions of ideas and opinions, and several dozen sales messages telling you that they hold the “secret” to effectively marketing your product. The reality is that there is no right answer for every business, so you must review and analyze a multitude of information, then come up with a plan that incorporates the best of these ideas that will be most effective for your business.

The key to effective synthesis is to collect enough data to understand the fundamental concepts. Use a variety of sources and mediums to develop your knowledge base — read articles and books, talk about your ideas with those in the know, watch what happens around you. Look for opinions that differ from your own to ensure you have considered all different perspectives. The more information you have to draw from, the easier it will be to make informed, justifiable decisions to keep your startup on track and on the road to success.

Entrepreneurship – Break New Grounds

Many countries offer some attractive strategies to lure innovative entrepreneurs across the globe. The place where many colleges and universities are gathered can be a business capital of country. They are offering new start-up visa to recruit dynamic entrepreneurs to remain competitive in the global economy.

According to the survey, business capital of any country is the leader in several aspects, nothing but startup costs, business confidence, strong banking sector, education programs and good coaching that is essential for young entrepreneurs. That is why the high number of new businesses are registered which reflects high-level of confidence among entrepreneurs.

To start a new business is an enthusiastic and empowering experience. The whole journey is filled with thorns, but a satisfactory in terms of gaining control on your destiny. Proper guidance with correct information is the way to lead your success in life. A good start-up program is required to achieve unlimited success in your business.

There are many challenges in the entrepreneurship:
Identification of an exact problem
Finding an opportunity in the problem
Finalize with a solution
Conversion of an opportunity into the business idea
Unite your solution into the business plan

“Encouraging entrepreneurship is the key of Country’s economic growth.” It will be crucial for country’s economic growth as a young generation of any country entering in the job market can realize that being rejected from the job interviews is not an end of their dream. Funds are very much important for early stage of entrepreneurship. Banks and venture capital firms both are giving good option for funding. Many conventional and non-conventional venture capital firms are there. These firms can assist you from start-up seed money to the series of investment opportunities and continuous capital support. These venture capital firms are providing start-ups for many industries such as software, computers.

Sometimes they run university start-ups to get a real business experience for business school students or for university graduates. They avoid unwieldy bureaucracies and lengthy process of decision-making to bring your goal in reality. Usually at a time only one small business through the business development, financing and consulting is the target of these firms.

A good venture capital firm adds a quality and value to their investment through the regular discussion with management, board representation, industry expertise and influential networks. The key ingredient of the success of entrepreneurship is very important to make things happen. This is to collaborate right kind of people with contacts, business intelligence, sophistication, creativity and financial ability to create new ground.

Planning Your Small Business Success Journey – Six Steps to a Dynamite Action Plan

You are considering starting a small business. Most startups fail. So why should yours be any different. Any strategist will tell you that there are many factors that contribute to the success or failure of any endeavor, but the one factor that will guarantee failure is lack of a realistic detailed action plan.

Step 1: Set Realistic and Specific Goals

The key to knowing what goals are realistic and specific is experience. In an established business, past history provides the clue. In a franchise, the franchisor can help you set realistic and specific goals based upon years of experience in the industry. For an independent startup, much research is needed. Talk to other businesses in the area you are considering opening your business. Talk to other business owners in your industry. You will want to ask about customer traffic, revenues, and costs. Then set your goals in each specific area.

Step 2: Identify Activities, Resources, and Responsibilities

I know it worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but in the real world, if you build it, no one comes. You have to inform your customers about what you do and why they should patronize you. In many startups you have to lure your first customers in using couponing and special events. Identify the specific marketing and sales activities that will bring your customers in. Have a detailed list of all resources available in your area such as signage, media, and public relations. Outsource what you can. Hire when necessary. Do it yourself if you must. Have a detailed list of responsibilities for each activity and hold your contractors, your staff, and yourself accountable.

Step 3: Define Your Timetable

Your timetable is often closely related to capitalization. Industries have time-tested standards for profitability. A house painter may be profitable in 6 months, but a restaurant takes 3 years to be profitable. If you are considering investing your life savings and need to be profitable in the first month to make your mortgage, find a less expensive business to open. Chart your course carefully.

Step 4: Create Contingency Plans for Other Possible Outcomes

General George Patton once said, “Every plan is perfect until the first shot is fired.” What is your contingency if you get a different result than the one you planned for? If you run a special expecting 20 sales of a particular item, what is your plan if you sell 10? What if 30 people want the special? Always have a plan to liquidate excess with minimal or no loss, or to get more product quickly if needed. If you have done your marketing correctly, people will show up wanting to do business with you. Don’t disappoint them. If there is a piece of equipment that is critical to your business such as a brewer in a coffee shop, know where you backup is. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have another in the cabinet, but have a relationship with your repair service so you can rent one within the hour.

Step 5: Merge your Plan of Action with your Timetable

Every plan must be linked to a realistic and specific timetable. In step 4, you set a timetable to reach the overall objective you identified in step 1. Now, set specific milestones linked to the activities you identified in step 2. These can be graphed with project management software, or a simple outline will do. Just make sure you have identified which tasks need to be identified first before others can be started. Think these through carefully. Building from the bottom up makes sense, but don’t lay your carpet before your roof is finished.

Step 6: Delegate, Supervise, and Evaluate

Launching a startup is a daunting task. Often first time entrepreneurs take on too much themselves and burn out. Then they look for someone they can turn the reigns over to while they focus on what they enjoy most. This is called management by abdication and usually ends in disaster. To implement the plan, the entrepreneur needs to focus on delegation, supervision, and evaluation. This gets the job done faster without burning out the owner.

Entrepreneurship is hard work and high risk. So why do so many try it? Because there is nothing quite as rewarding as building a business that can run without you and provide you with financial security for a lifetime. It may seem the odds are stacked against the first time entrepreneur, but a good detailed action plan goes a long way to level the playing field.

How to Write a Small Business Plan

The first thing to do when starting a small business is to write a plan for your business, it is very essential and useful if you really want to focus yourself and get a whole picture of what you have to do in order to build your enterprise. A business plan is the road map for the success of your business

What do you have to offer?

What are your products or what are your intended products? What are your products or services? What kind of income will these activities be generating or what is the expected range of income once the products are launched? Give answers to these questions giving a complete picture of the principal activity that you are engaged in or will be engaged in during the timeline of your business plan.

Where are you located?

Do you work from home or do you have a business premises? If you have a business location such as a store or factory, then explain about the size and capacity of this establishment. What is the business climate like in your area? Are there significant competitors and what are your prospects or advantages of competing in this market? Find answers to all these questions as best you can and give yourself and would-be investors a clear picture of where your business is situated geographically and with relation to your overall market.

How to make it happen?

Your sales and marketing research or plan should be outlined in this section. Explain how you intend to establish your product or service and what steps you will take to create or expand your customer base. How will you fund the start-up cost and the expansion of your business? Explain the source of your funds whether you have existing loans, your savings, borrowing from friends or liabilities. How much money do you need to raise in order to get realize your entire plan for the launching or expansion of your business? Explain how you are going to put your business idea into practice.

Having a good business plan is your key to success. A well-thought-out business plan forces you to think about the future and the challenges you will be facing. As long as your forecasts are realistic and you have done plenty of market research you will definitely come out with a good result. Go ahead with your plan and stick to it.

To your success!

Techniques For Entrepreneurship Development

There is a certain way to carry out entrepreneurship. One has to follow certain fixed guidelines to develop an entrepreneurship of any choice. Designing a clear cut plan is necessary. Following are seven guidelines or techniques on the basis of which any entrepreneurship or business can be developed;

1. Focusing on the key product:

Your business revolves on the key product so focusing on your core product is the first step to create a business opportunity. A certain successful entrepreneur has stated that “Prospects buy when they trust your value is applicable to them and believe your company is stable” suggesting that an entrepreneur should focus on providing value to the customers. This suggestion is the key to the core plan. An entrepreneur of small business needs to differentiate from big business by concentrating on the core products. Specialization is the biggest asset of entrepreneurs.

2. Keeping it simple and short:

One should be able to tell what their business is in few precise and concise words(I.e the patter or pitch) lasting for 30 seconds since any prospect can understand clearly about the business without being confused.

3. Staying true to who you are:

You can reach your goals by knowing who you are and what gets you excited and not. Notably procrastination as human nature is can delay your growth plan so it’s better to not procrastinate and go for a perfect result oriented plan

4. Mapping it:

The best way to determine your service strategy is by mapping your capabilities with your target clients’ needs. Hence the customers who do not need your particular expertise are also avoided. The urge to cast a wide net is one common trait among many entrepreneurs. However a small business flourishes since it has limited service offering. Specializing in distinctive top quality service is the value in having a small business. So in many instances, a small business flourishes. Significantly, while choosing a provider, a list of decision making criteria can be made, from which, your client can choose as per your expectation. Then categorize yourself honestly or evaluate intensely as to where you would be position in each category. After this, make sure that your patter or pitch is still on target.

5. Utilizing the best marketing tools that work for you:

Implement the best marketing strategy that suits your personality and that of customers to be served. Identify the top two marketing tools that have worked for you in the past and then start adding new ideas from a fresh perspective. It’s also important to evaluate the selected marketing tools from cost basis. You have to take a decision as to which marketing tool will yield the best returns on your efforts. In one or another each tool should be result oriented or revenue productive.

6. Implementing a plan of action:

It’s essential to know whether the plan of action made is in progress or not. This can be done by establishing goals at short term say 3 months to long term of 6 months. During short term, you need to check your plan every month. If the plan is not being met you need to ask questions to yourself like did I select the appropriate tools for my target customer? Did I integrate the strategy into the plan? Or did I focus on only one of the marketing tool? Thus there should be a strategy check on a day to day basis so as to know if the plan is in progress as per your plan.

7. Exercising the plan:

The final step is to complete the daily actions and to put n extra efforts to accelerate your plan towards success. Precious time should be not wasted and used for reaching your goal soon.

These are the basic most important techniques for Entrepreneurship development.


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