Most entrepreneurs fail because they approach business from a wrong perspective, not employing the most important thing – an Entrepreneurial Mindset.
After my intro, I got a lot of inbox messages. Lots of folks wanting to know if this business coaching is going to be held ‘somewhere’ in town and the fees.
Read the intro and and idea behind this series – LESSONS ON STARTING, MANAGING & SCALING SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES
Simply put, it’s an online series, meaning I will be sharing the information and it’s free. Free as in F.O.C. Hope that clears it.
In this lesson, I am going to try and switch your mindset from that filled with fear and skepticism about dabbling into the business world. I will try to move your mind from being ‘a staff’, a ‘worker bee’ to being ‘your own boss’
The first thing I will say here is that the richest people on earth are entrepreneurs, not staff of some company. While this is true, starting up businesses especially in Nigeria has a major problem of financing. Many scale this by first working as staff in some company to gain experience and raise capital.
But remember this series is for small and medium businesses. So you are not likely reading this to become the richest person around, are you? LoL.
Some people will be asking what business they can go into and make money. I will say there is money to be made in just about everywhere you turn to. See almost everything as an avenue of making money. Look around you, observe people and places. What are they doing? What do people need? What problems and challenges are they facing? How can you solve ‘that problem’? If such product or service already exist, can you provide a superior one?
Try to see how you can solve a problem that many people have (even when they dont know they do). That will make you money. Observe how decade old businesses operate. Can it be done better? Most likely. Brainstorm how such businesses can be ‘disrupted’. That is to revolutionize a product or service delivery process. We’ll talk about disruption in a subsequent lesson.
Simply put, look out for a problem and think out a solution to it. That’s a business and it will make you money. Dont think outside the box, No! Think as if there is no box!!
Let me tell you a story. My wife once accidentally broke our neighbors fence while she was mastering driving. I went to a block industry to buy blocks to have the portion of the fence fixed. I keenly observed how they made blocks. Immediately, the entrepreneurial mind in me kicked in. After a few days of research I had drawn up plans to disrupt the block molding industry.
Though I haven’t started it, I am certain that if and when I do, my block molding business can take a large chunk of the block sales at least in Eliozu and Rukpoku axis, because what I came up with will take them all by storm and the buyers will have almost no reason not to buy from me.
While the opportunities in business are almost endless, the big cash lies in pioneering a line of business or completely changing the way others are doing it. If you are able to pioneer a product or service line that is in demand, you will make loads of money before the competitors jump in. Personally, I am not an advocate of doing things ‘the way it’s done’. I like pioneering or disrupting business processes. It has worked for me many times. Its risky, but that’s one thing you have to be willing to do: be willing to fail to win eventually. Be willing to learn from your mistakes and move on.
Whatever you start thinking of, write it down. The reason it’s good to write is that as you are thinking and researching a business, it may lead you straight to a better and more lucrative one. Human nature will push you to turn your attention to the new angle. But you may need to return to it sometime. Use your phone. I use an app called EVERNOTE to write things down in my phone and it’s synced with my laptop seamlessly. It’s free for 2 devices. Write all your ideas down. In a week or month you may have stacked up about 5 to 10 business ideas.
Research your thoughts thoroughly using Google (and YouTube where necessary). I cannot over emphasize the importance of Google and YouTube. A lot of people have gone from complete novice to becoming masters via these 2 websites. There could be someone somewhere around the world who may have thought about same thing and you will be surprised to see it on the internet. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Research it, tweek it and adapt it to our society and you are in business. The tools are there to help you. Are you willing to learn the lessons that will change you?
NB: If you have an idea but don’t know how to research it or how to make money from it, ask in the comments and I (and probably others) will assist. It may take a while before you completely become a ‘nerd’ entrepreneur.
When you have written down enough, on your own you will be convinced which will pay off best and where your passion tilts to. While you should not discountenance experience, don’t be intimidated by those who have been in the business for years. If you do your homework properly, you can actually enter and surpass most of them. I have personally experienced this.
But then let me sound a note of warning. Unless you don’t intend to stand out and be the best or amongst the best, there are habits you must inculcate. Just so you can do lots and lots of research which takes time, you have to observe some of the following:
– Sacrifice time for your business. Be it research, operating or whatever that concerns the business, make time for it. You may think working from 8 to 5 is hard, most entrepreneurs work from 7 to 10 PM. After close of work, they continue by updating their knowledge. Again, unless you dont want to be amongst the best.
– Choose what you read and watch. Getting fixated on political and sensational news and events may not afford you time to concentrate.
– Watch more of TV programs that report people. I have found Chinese English channel CGTN (formerly CCTV4), Discovery Science, very useful. You can pick up business inspirations every now and then.
– Curtail your social media addiction. Believe me, being popular on Facebook takes lots of time and energy and is only necessary if you want to be a blogger or digital media consultant/assistant. Observe and read more than you post or argue.
– Follow and read blogs related to your interests using apps like Flipboard.
– Continuously learn new things at every opportunity.
The next thing I will tell you that can make you stand out is . . . . YES, Observe, research and document it.
The last one is . . . . Observe, research and document. I can’t overemphasize how important this is, unless you don’t want to stand out. If you want to be like others, well, we will get to that sometime in this series.
Take it easy on yourself. Dont bully yourself. Even when you start, dont rush to accomplish certain feats quickly. A couple of the failures I had in business was because I over-pushed myself.
When you believe you are ready, set appropriate and attainable goals. Segment your goals and try to accomplish them. You may need a mentor or mentors. As I said, for the coming months, I am available to assist. Avail yourself while I’m at it.
It will gladden me that you are not a staff; A ‘worker bee’. It will gladden me that we have more businesses started by entrepreneurs. It will gladden me to have many more ‘boss’ friends than I currently do. Entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. Think, dream and together we will work to bring those dreams into business reality. This, my reader, is how to switch into The Entrepreneurial Mindset to be able to manage your SME better
Next, we will look at Discovering Problems & Designing Products/Services To Solve Them.
Keep a date. Thanks for your time.
NB. I ended up writing about Product Market Fit
Photo illustration adapted from a photo from planetthrive.com