The internet is awash with many ideas for starting a business and how easy it is to transit from paid to self-employment by just believing in your idea but not fully explaining the practicality involved in the decision to be your own boss.
The road to entrepreneurship is not paved with gold but steeped in determination, courage and the ability to see beyond the ordinary by having a helicopter view of many issues that you may face and then having the temerity to be independent in your decision making especially with the absence of like-minded people that could serve as sounding boards to you.
Running your business involves having the ability to turn a dream into a reality. Rather than joining the bandwagon without an in-depth analysis of the market you want to play, you need to know what is obtainable in your industry. It is quite rewarding when you start seeing a positive result but it could be discouraging and frustrating if you are not fully prepared for the many convoluted issues that may rear its ugly heads.
You may have laid the best plan out, you may have gone over the strategies of deploying your resources effectively, you may have even gotten one of the banks to provide you with a facility but then, a policy somersault by the Government could change the dynamics of your plans. It could also happened that one of your suppliers rather than delivering one of your raw materials has called to inform you that NAFDAC just sealed up their factory because of the non-renewal of their license which due to bureaucracy within their system has been unduly prolonged.
How well prepared are you? I remembered one of the incidents where one of the companies i had worked in, had stocked up on PMS across most of the stations some days before the government reduced the pump price of petrol
from N97/litre to N85/litre. This was a colossal loss to the company.
Do not get me wrong, being your own boss comes with a lot of prizes, independence, working according to your pace and having to determine your timing but how well prepared are you for the “sahara” season when what you expend out is higher than what comes in? Do not jump into the bandwagon, without effectively planning your exit. Give yourself a time period to leave your present job. Try to have at least a pool of funds e.g. savings and investment, this will go a long way to boost your confidence as you can easily defray your cost from it.
These savings and investments will cover period of uncertainties when you blame yourself for starting out on your own, when you do not trust your decision and doubt your capability in seeing through your vision. It will boost your self esteem when you get turned down repeatedly as you market either your product.
(1) ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE TURN-DOWN?
Are you prepared to hear “ it’s really a nice product or services but it is not just the right time for our company” or only if you had called last month as our company just got something similar or is the fact that they can tell you to fine-tune one or two things about it and when you get there the next time, you find out the decision maker has been redeployed or resigned.
(2) ARE YOU READY FOR OTHER COMPETITORS IN YOUR FIELD?
Remember you do not have the funds to compete with them. They have been in the market longer than you, they have the customer base you crave to have, and they can make or mar you if you have not done your homework right?
(3) HOW DO YOU DISTINGUISH YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES FROM OTHERS?
What area are you going to serve? What is your unique selling proposition to at least get a lion share of the market? Do not be afraid to try your hands on the gap their product/service has opened. Improve, complete or remove some of the things they may have or not with their product/services. Look for other ways you can complement existing products/services.
You can improve packaging, delivery time, customer service and some features among others. Study your competitors and work your way round their success story. Leave intimidation out of your dictionary but work assiduously on this.
(4) HOW WELL PREPARED ARE YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Customers are king; they can facilitate your success story quickly and can also destroy your brand faster. Bad news travel faster and reach a wider audience than good news.
Do not launch out yet if you have not tested your product/service on your families and friends. Let them give you honest feedback, allow them critique the product/services. Handle their criticism very well, these can be good to spurn you on quickly and can sometimes prevent looses. They are the ones using your product/services. If not handled properly, some of your clients would not patronise you again, having no repetitive business could mean struggling to get new clients. New clients are harder to get so do not dissipate energy solving issues with customers if you have not found a way to “wow” them. Also remember not to push money in their faces; it is not about shoving the invoices/bills around them but think of their satisfaction. Service first and try to make a name in the market.
(5) MARKET VISIBILITY:
Social media is the new slice bread. If you are “technologically challenged”, do not be an “aradite” with money. Get freelancers to work on your social media pages at low charges. How prepared are you to wait it out to know the best medium to reach out to your audience? You can try all sorts but there is always a significant other than can push you in the frontline. It takes time for audience to reach out and if they do, it still takes time to translate into income.
You can do trade-in to get the very best of what you need. Its call “trade by barter”. Look for what you need and exchange for what others need at no or low cost to you. Partnership and collaboration can work if you broaden your mind. How well prepared are you to opening your mind and business for new opportunities? Do not be hasty to write others off, do your homework and look out for alliances.
(6) HOW PREPARED ARE YOU WITH BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?
Do you want to do that business because it is what is in vogue? Is it because you have been told that it is a money spinner? Or because you feel that is what you
feel you like the most. Passion is very key. You need to be passionate about your business. Play in the field you are passionate about as it will be your anchor in your moment of self doubting phase and period of uncertainties.
(7) HANDLING MISTAKES:
Are you emotionally prepared for negative news or results?
Remember you will have this a lot in your early introduction to entrepreneurship.
Decisions you had deterred on could have repercussions on your sales, team and even the bottom line. It could have impact on the general performance of your company. Your expectation may be cut short because you outrightly forgot to pass on the necessary information or one of your team members gave a wrong directive to another. You may have mixed one component more than the other during production or one of the machinery refuse to start while trying to meet a deadline of a contract that you had diligently sought for 6 months.
(8) CREATING NICHE:
Creating a NICHE is good but the practicality is that when starting out; NICHE creation can be a myth except you have other businesses or someone else supporting you and your business. It takes time to select your niche and keep at it. For a new business, the whole market is your niche, it is an open door policy but you can carefully select your clients among them all. You can also randomly begin to weed others out as you make a mark in your field.
Do not jump the gun if you have not faithfully committed your plans to paper.
You can do this business alongside your regular job to test the market out. It is good to be your own boss but note that it is not everyone that is cut out to be their own boss.
Enjoy your week! Rita Babalola, Business & Life Coach, www.thebeacongate.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Watsapp only: 08162970699.