Entrepreneurship remains one of the surest routes to financial freedom. The prospects of owning your own business, of having multiple streams of income are exciting, to say the least. When you have established your own firm, you get to escape the stressful, monotonous long hours in office and can schedule your daily activities at your own pace and convenience. However, the life of a successful entrepreneur is not a bed of roses. Owning and managing a successful business could be challenging. 80 percent of businesses, according to Bloomberg, fold up within the first eighteen months of their establishment. These start-ups crash owing to a number of reasons and these are examined below.
No Well-Thought out Business Plan
Successful businesses share many positive traits; one of these is that they are run on a sound, strategic and well-drafted business plan. It is common knowledge that poor planning produces poor performance. This maxim also applies to the business world. Smart entrepreneurs recognize that business plans are critical to the success of a business; many a firm collapses because there are fundamental flaws in mapping out an effective strategy for their business from the outset.
Business plans are a tool for guidance to chart your directions at the inception of your outfit. Creating a business plan is nothing difficult. Keep in mind that crucial components of a sound business plan are
- Brief description of your business, goals and vision
- Analysis of the market
- Needs of your workforce
- Potential challenges and their solutions
- Analysis of competition
- List of supplies, statement of income, forecast of sales and expenses, balance sheet, etc.
- Activities for advertising and marketing.
For your business to be a success story, you should make no bones about creating a sound business plan. Apart from the above-mentioned importance of effective business planning, it is also crucial to design a business plan as majority of banks ask for it if you request a loan for your firm from them. Free templates of a business plan are available here. You can modify and adapt any of the templates to suit your needs.
Reasons for Starting the Business
Did you establish you r firm for the right reasons? Is becoming another Dangote your major aim as an entrepreneur? Are you driven by the thought of becoming your own boss? Or you feel having your own company would avail you the opportunity of spending more time with your family? While these are among the benefits of successful entrepreneurship after many years of hard work, they should not be your major reasons for establishing the firm.
You should start a business on something you are passionate about and love. This skill or talent is the essence of your company, has to be something, you strongly believe, can yield product or service capable of fulfilling a genuine need of your client or customer. You should make sure your product adds values to the society or serves some specific role. This is why it is important that entrepreneurs study the things people in a society are lacking so as to identify the niche of their business. A business that cannot offer unique product or service to people in the society will sooner or later pack up.
Branding Is Key
Research has shown that brand image influences customer’s attitude toward a company. Successful entrepreneurs recognize this fact and put tremendous efforts in creating effective branding for their company. Your brand represents your promise to your clients. It is not just a logo, business card or website. It is a derivative of what your firm stands for, the goals of your business and how customers see your enterprise.
In the competitive Nigerian market, the importance of good branding for a firm cannot be overemphasized. A good brand should maintain consistency with your company’s vision and goals. Any deviation from these could damage your customer perception.
Furthermore, a good brand should be unique. People all over the world cherish a product with an innovative and esthetic feature. Entrepreneurs should note that it is important to have one distinct attribute separating their business from their rivals.
An entrepreneur — while trying to make their brand unique, consistent with their values and engaging — should endeavor to make it look as simple as possible. It should not be odd or complicated since this could be a turn-off for customers.
Indeed, for a business to be successful in Nigeria its branding must be engaging, unique, consistent and simple. Poor branding could damage a company’s customer perception.
Strong Presence on the Internet
A strong presence on the web and active social media account is essential for the success of a business because of a number of reasons. First, an SEO-optimized and professionally designed website can offer valuable information about your product or service to your customers that are internet savvy. Consequently, this may bring about some sales or attract more customers.
Having an account on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Nairaland, etc., can serve a number of functions. It can help you relate smoothly with your customers, change any wrong impression they might have about your enterprise, get more customers and generate more sales.
A good website and social media account can also function as platforms to get feedbacks and complaints from your customers; feedbacks are an essential component of good customer service. You should treat your customers professionally and with respect; since your business cannot thrive without them.
Smart entrepreneurs know that no business can be successful if it is not run on a sound business plan and strategy, if it has zero presence on the internet, if it does not pay attention to feedbacks or complaints from customers. They also know that people, who start a business so as to make quick cash and for other wrong reasons, often fail. A business venture must be founded based on strong values, passion and commitment, with good branding; only then can it become a success story.