11 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU START A BUSINESS
Starting a business in Nigeria, Africa, or anywhere in the world, is not a small decision. Whether you wish to run your business on a small, medium, or large scale, there are many factors to consider and many choices to make.
It’s true nothing can fully prepare you for starting a business, and there is no perfect timing to start a business. However, it’s vital to learn from the mistakes of others who have been there. This single act will help you save yourself countless hours of unproductivity and the possible consequences of making foundational mistakes.
Business is no child’s play; it requires sacrifices and challenges.
Despite this, however, a significant number of business owners will go for owning a business if they had a choice.
If you’re nursing the idea of starting or rebranding your business, there are some fundamental things you should know before you proceed.
UNDERSTAND THAT ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS A MARATHON
Many would be business owners see owning a successful business as a sprint where you start, implement some strategies, and achieve your goals. That’s a no-no.
Owning a business (a successful business) is a continuous process and can be likened to an “unending marathon.” You set long term goals; then you break them down into short and medium term goals (laps).
There will be numerous challenges, and sometimes you can fail, but it’s crucial you restart again with your long term goals as a guiding beacon.
Focus on building your business for the long term; remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
ENSURE THERE’S A MARKET DEMAND FOR YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE
Market demand plays a pivotal role in the success of your business. Before you start a business, conduct extensive market research and analysis to find out the level of demand your intending product/service has in the market.
With high demand and excellently packaged products or services, you’re sure to reap the lucrative rewards entrepreneurship offers.
BE PATIENT AND ENSURE YOU HAVE ADEQUATE RESOURCES
Before you start a business, ensure you fully understand the business timeline and the resources needed to run a business, especially during the startup phase. Many business owners regret not knowing, beforehand, what it will take to run their business to breakeven point.
A huge amount of these business fail, and their failure is usually because of inadequate funding. Take the time to plan your business on a long term base and ensure you have a backup funding source.
Different businesses have different breakeven points, and failure is always a possibility. Have an excellent plan, and you’ll reduce your chances of business failure.
STAY POSITIVE, BUT DON’T ASSUME YOU’LL SUCCEED THE FIRST TIME
There have been a lot of talks about “How many times a business can fail before it succeeds.” Nobody wishes to be Jeff Bezos, Arianna Huffington or any of the other global successful entrepreneurs who failed many times before they succeeded https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/01/entrepreneurs-who-failed.html . However, it’s vital you don’t assume you’ll succeed the first time you try.
Also, don’t dwell in research mode because of the fear of failure. The only way you can progress in business is to start your business immediately and never fail to make adjustments where necessary.
Invest in yourself and have the confidence that you’ll succeed. When you fail, consider it as feedback. Pick up yourself and bounce back leveraging on the lessons learned. The only way you fail in business is if you give up.
FOCUS ON YOUR CUSTOMERS MORE THAN YOU FOCUS ON YOUR PRODUCTS
Many businesses fail because they focus more on perfecting their products or services, and sales and marketing and neglect understanding the exact thing their customers want. You should understand your customers’ needs more than they do, and sell the value your customers wish to buy.
Don’t assume you already know your customers. Continually listen to their problems and dreams and align your business to meet these needs. When you do that, you become that unique brand whose products don’t need to be sold – customers just buy them.
DON’T HAVE A FIXED MINDSET; BE PREPARED TO PIVOT (https://www.startups.com/library/expert-advice/startup-business-pivot)
A pivot is a shift in business strategy to test a new approach regarding a business model, product, or service, in response to feedback from brand stakeholders. Pivoting is not just about the money, but more of making your brand more great than good by aligning your business with your team’s passion and customers’ needs.
This concept is one of the few things business schools don’t teach you extensively. When you’re dealing with people, being dynamic, and having a growth mindset helps you meet your audiences’ needs.
Take the time to evaluate your team members, your customers, and your products, and make changes where necessary.
LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Your customers are the central hinge of your business. Without them, your business won’t be existing.
Typical business thinking will tell you to start your business from the business plan and product development. However, listening to your potential customers and continually listening to your customers after starting your business will take you a long way.
Customer feedback is vital to businesses’ success.
YOU NEED TO SOLVE A PROBLEM
Before you embark on any entrepreneurial venture, ask yourself, “Which problem am I trying to solve?” If there’s no problem, need or demand your product or service will solve, it’s essential you have a rethink.
When your product or service solves a problem, you won’t have to invest much in convincing your customers. With the right marketing skills; whether traditional or digital, you’re bound to succeed.
CONDUCT YOUR SWOT ANALYSIS
This is vital at the beginning of the idea conception phase of starting a business. Take the time to evaluate yourself and know your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This will help you understand the areas to seek assistance in the form of hiring team members.
Don’t try to do everything yourself; outsource some parts of your business running to competent hands, when you can. This will help cover for your weaknesses.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH ADVISORS AND MENTORS
Starting and running a business is difficult, and more than half of the businesses started globally fail within the first five years of startup. No one is an island of knowledge, experience, and perspective.
Surround yourself with people who have walked your path before you and have relevant insights that’ll help your startup succeed. Mentors and Business advisors like lawyers, accountants, and business specialists will help you take the right steps.
GET DIGITAL MARKETING SKILLS OR OUTSOURCE WHERE POSSIBLE
Every business needs to adopt digital marketing strategies if it wishes to excel in today’s competitive market. It’s essential you get digital marketing skills to ensure you navigate your business productively in the digital space. In cases where you can’t acquire digital marketing skills through training or personal studies, it’s vital you leverage the services of an experienced digital agency.
Conclusively, it’s crucial you get yourself prepared before you start a business by knowing the necessary things you should know. This will help you avoid any unexpected circumstances and decrease your chances of failure.