When immediate former USA President, Barack Obama, visited Kenya he sowed seeds for entrepreneurial spirit in many people who followed his speech keenly. We can only hope that the seeds fell on fertile grounds and will thus bear fruit. But what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Here are some great tips that all aspiring entrepreneurs should know.
1. Provide innovative solutions to society’s social problems: One thing that stood out from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi is that majority of the delegates were social entrepreneurs. This means that their business ventures are inclined towards solving problems that are bedevilling the society. Their drive is to act as change agents in the society by offering novel and practical ideas to tackle society’s pressing problems. All you need to do is to identify an area of need or want and design a model that offers practical solution to the problem. One thing is for sure: you can never go wrong as a social entrepreneur.
2. Make a plan: Before you dive intothe deep waters that is entrepreneurship, be sure you know where you are standing and have a clear trajectory of where you are heading. In the business world, this is what is referred to as a business plan. Familarise yourself with the bastions of business such as Steve Jobs and the personalities from the reality TV show, Shark Tank among others. Caution though, not everything will go according to your plan, be prepared for ground realities and adjust accordingly.
3. Be passionate: You can never go far without passion in whatever you are pursuing and the same stands in business. It is this passion that will ensure you rise up every time you fall, but you are guaranteed of success in the end. Successful entrepreneurs will tell you as much. None of them got where they are in one single swoop, no, their journey is riddled with tales of so many failed attempts before breaking it even.
4. Learn from others: Wise is the person who learns from other people’s mistakes and the best way to learn is by spending a few years under the mentorship of someone who is already successful. This will provide you with a good launching pad before you strike out on your own. Whilst there, learn as much as possible from your predecessors’ mistakes and see how you can improve on their model.
5. Shun procrastination: If you are the kind of person who takes ages before executing his or her duties, then you better not try your hands in business for you will burn them. This is because in business, every second counts. The saying: time is money, must have been coined by an entrepreneur since entrepreneurship is a 24/7, no-vacation- or-sick-days kind of job. Sacrifice is key here.
6. Build a brand: Companies are spending so much money on branding because they know its importance. A joke that runs round the business world is that you either show up smart or you don’t show up at all. This just sums up the importance of image in business. Branding encompasses much more than image and has everything to do with integrity. Nothing brings down a company faster than lack of integrity, so mean what you say and say what you mean. Period.
7. Network: Networking will help you to not only engage with other people for mutual benefit, but will also help you link up with investors, staff, clients and suppliers at a minimal cost. It is also a cost-effective way of marketing your enterprise. Don’t get engrossed in your enclave: go out and interact with people who matter.
8. Rely on you A-team: You have to delegate duties if you want your venture to grow and survive. As such, you have to be very intentional about the kind of persons you hire for they will either make you or break you. Business mogul Richard Branson of Virgin Airline says this about hiring: “In my experience, if there is one area in which you should definitely do a lot of the work yourself, it is the hiring process… Surround yourself with people who have the skills, know-how and personality to get the job done, and success is bound to follow.”
One more advice; the road to success is going to be long, so remember to enjoy the journey.
Published in September 2015