You could be indecisive about a business idea or the desire to start your own business. Inspiration comes through many different sources and not all reasons are valid enough to pursue a business. For example, getting fed up of being answerable to someone all the time isn’t the right reason to start your own company. Because when you do, you are then answerable to your employees, customers, investors, etc.
So, before you take that giant step, you must know the landscape where your feet will land on. Below are 4 major things all entrepreneurs should know before starting their business.
- Provide Solution to a Problem
Whatever you decide to do as a business, always start with a problem that a specific category of people has or one that you have experienced yourself. Do not start up because market research states great potential for your industry or because that seems to be the latest trend in town, just like we see so many eCommerce companies springing up everyday. No! go the extra mile in finding out people’s needs or the challenges they are facing, and then build your product or service around it with the sole aim of providing solution. Almost all the successful companies built to last has provided a solution to the problems experienced by a defined group of people. For instance, WhatsApp solved the problem of messaging (without incurring messaging costs) across multiple phone manufacturers. Konga solved the problem of having to visit multiple boutiques or electronics store.
- Procrastination is a Startup Killer
I’ll start tomorrow; I’ll start next week…..If I had a thousand naira for every time someone has said to me, “One of these days, I’m going to start my own company,” I’d be rich. The first step of starting a business venture is to start one. If you want to start your business, shut up and start up. There is no right time or moment to start a business. If you don’t act on your idea today, someone else is bound to stumble upon it and take it to market before you can. The day you decide to startup, is the day you should take the plunge. No idea is unique until it is executed, for the difference lies in the execution than the idea. Google wasn’t the first search engine when it was launched. There were many others. But what differentiated Google was its execution (algorithm) of the existing idea.
- Failure is Imminent
If you are going to start up a business, failure is inevitable. You cannot learn to ride a bike by reading how to ride one. You’ve got to hop onto one, fall a few times, but then you get up and hop on again. And only then will you gain the confidence and the balance to ride free. This is exactly how it works in startups too. In failure are life’s little secrets. In failure is where you will discover a pivot that can make your product or service extremely successful. As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Angry Birds was the 52nd attempt that finally made it for Rovio. Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded. PayPal was Max Levchin’s fifth attempt at entrepreneurship that finally won him the things he deserved. So, embrace failure rather than letting it permanently destroy you.
- Capital is a Bane
This holds true for mainly tech ventures. The more money startups have had in their initial days, the more mistakes they have made. So it’s a good thing that you do not have the capital to startup as you wouldn’t foolishly hire professionals more than you need or rent a fancy office space, which in my opinion is irrelevant on day one. Gather your resources from savings or borrow from friends or family. There are many more ways of raising money to build your product. It’s important you get some traction before you take it to investors.
As a final note, let me raise my glass to all of you who innovate—as entrepreneurs, as managers, as individuals, as families, or whoever you are. I salute you all.
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