Entrepreneurship is the process of identifying and starting a business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources and taking both risks and rewards associated with the venture. Of course, there are inspiring role models like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who made his first billion dollars in his 20s, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as Africa and the world’s richest Black man, Aliko Dangote (pictured). Consequently, Face2Face Africa has compiled a list of the 10 tips you should use before you take the entrepreneurial plunge!
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1. Do what you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it’s safe to say that it’ll be reflected in the success of your business and you might just be wasting your time. Besides what you get out of your business in the form of profit, the satisfaction you derive from it is important to the overall sustenance of your business. So before you set out, look inward!
2. Plan…Plan…Plan. “Proper preparation prevents poor performance!” I remember we used to say that at a very tender age. Don’t downplay the importance of planning before you open the doors of your business. This will ensure you keep those doors open for a very long time. Analyze business situations, compile, and research data. Planning also serves as a second function, though: it ensures that you have your goal on paper and the steps to achieving them.
3. Get a degree. While many of the most-successful entrepreneurs did not have a degree, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need one. I’m pointing this one at my fellow African brothers and sisters. “Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard”; “Bill Gates didn’t have a degree before he founded Microsoft.” I’ve heard friends and colleagues say this so many times, but I wonder how many of them had the same opportunity these guys had! Bill Gates started computer programming at the age of 6!
Even though people say a degree is not necessary to start a business and succeed, that piece of paper is a weapon, and the process you go through to getting it is a weapon — like a metal that sharpens a sword. The things you learn from a professor in a two-hour class in college might take you months or even years to learn on your own.
4. Have passion. “Nothing good comes easy,” they say. Anyone can start a business, but it is harder to sustain it. If you don’t have true passion for your business, anyone (i.e., customers and advisers) can sense it. There will definitely be tough times in business just like a roller coaster, but your passion and commitment will get you through.
5. Surround yourself with people who share your vision. In the beginning, you can expect to work long hours and this might eventually get boring and affect the productivity of your business. But shared similar values with your colleagues will keep you going at this point. Enthusiasm will translate into a positive customer experience, and this is what will keep the business running for a long time.
6. Be confident. To become a successful entrepreneur, you must have a bundle of confidence under your belt. You might not have years of experience, but at least “fake it until you make it.” Show some energy! If you want anyone to take you seriously, you must learn to show confidence in your ideas.
7. Be ready for hard work. Passion is nothing without readiness to work. You can be a modest individual, but my friend, don’t be modest with your business. Be ready to meet people, move around, and work at the most inconvenient times.
8. Find a mentor. It’s good for you to have someone you look up to, someone who was once where you are and has already passed through the rigors of having to start a business from scratch. A good mentor is invaluable to the success of your business. You won’t have to make the same mistakes your mentor made because he will be there to point you in the right direction. Find a mentor, build a great relationship with him, and be sure your business idea will fly!
9. Take risks. You have to be willing to fly off the cliff and try to grow wings on your way down. Even with the passion to launch your venture, a thousand things could come up which could expedite the failure of your business. There is no guarantee of success or a steady income so if you are too conscious about taking risks, then entrepreneurship is probably not the right path for you.
10. Know when to take a break. Finally, take a mental vacation when you have your business running. Although you might feel uncomfortable switching from business mode, sometimes the mind needs some rest from bottom-line thinking. When you switch back to the business mode, you’ll be amazed how refreshed your ideas will be.
“Be a good self motivator, don’t burn out, have fun and you will be amazed how much success will flow in your direction.” – Richard Branson
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