Fast Track To SuccessLeadership Development

Be The Entrepreneur On The Fast Track

The key to African development,  actually most economies' growth is small and medium enterprise. With the high unemployment rates in Africa, it is evident that our attitude towards entrepreneurship needs to change. It is in our good to encourage and embrace enterprise development  as something to do as a first priority during your youth when one is energetic and can do a lot of the grinding and hustling and not an option only when you retire or are jobless. However, there are some obstacles. 

To be successful in enterprise, a level of experience is required to set up a system that would work and most young people lack this. Along with this, there is the capital requirement to start the business. Now this is a shortcoming not just for youth but also for others who may want to explore the entrepreneurship option; after being laid off, retiring or simply because they have reached that time in their life they want to work for themselves. So, what do you do? How do you go about setting up a business despite your limited in resources and know how?

1. Hard Work; We spend almost 15 years of our lives preparing for the job market and surprisingly most people expect overnight success with entrepreneurship which has a different mindset and they did not spend an hour preparing for! One needs to work just as hard for success in business. The hours spent studying to be a good employee don't count.

You will have to work equally as hard and build almost the same number of hours you spent learning to be employed to unlearn it and then learn to be the employer or entrepreneur.  Most entrepreneurs success is pegged on this new range of skills they learn on the street, as they implement their business. Not having money to hire people means you have to do it yourself; work hard and put in the hours required.

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2. Impact and Passion; choose an area of business that you are passionate about and that has impact i.e. sorts out a problem. Often these two; passion and impact may not be found in the same business. When that is the case and you have the option to choose - what is more important? I would say impact. You cannot make money if you are not sorting out a problem and guess what? There will be bills to pay.

It's better to dream of pursuing your passion knowing at the right time you will be able to satisfy that need if you are patient. Instant gratification is not a characteristic of successful entrepreneurs, patience is and when you find yourself in such a position always remember when you meet a need you are sure to have yours met as you become successful. Occasionally you are lucky to find a way of solving a need through a business that you are passionate about - that is great.

3. Knowledge; Most entrepreneurs read and read a lot. There are so many skills that you will realise you have to learn and implement all at the same time. You need to understand how to interpret financials, manage and influence people, as well as industry-specific knowledge like regulations and industry tricks. The need to know your market will require you to do lots of research and have patience and people skills that you never thought you had in you but that now have to emerge.

You have to grow twice, three times, ten times who you were as an employee or student for you to be a successful entrepreneur. This applies even for those who have worked in the industry for years; there are advantages in this but the responsibility and risk are now very personal and can affect performance. The more time you spend expanding your knowledge the less time you will spend trying to sort problems and the less the cost of doing business for you.

4. Mentorship;  I cannot underestimate the value brought in by  someone who has been there and done that. This will require more and more people who are successful in business or aspects of it to choose to mentor someone and more people to be open,  humble and reach out to get support from the community around.  You may be able to do  a lot alone but it will be faster and you will make fewer mistakes if your have a good mentor. If you don't have a mentor a mastermind group can come in handy as you get together with people who have handled aspects of the business that you need help in.

5. Finally, you have to be  a marketer; share the business, share your impact with those around you wherever you are. As an owner of a small business, you are the CEO, PR, CMO and CFO and anything else that starts with C and ends with O. You should be able to share your business effectively in a few minutes and understand it like the back of your hand. Opportunities do not often come knocking twice and this knowledge is crucial if you were to meet with your dream financier in a lift or land a chance opportunity to make an impression at an event. Always have a short speech ready to sell and market your company or products. Improving your social and marketing skills is not an option.

If you are determined to make it as an entrepreneur six months of consistently having a massive plan around these points will take your business to a whole new level. By massive I mean working like crazy - if you were doing 8 hours do 3, 5, or twice the hours you were doing before. Let your total focus be your business and how to improve it and it will bear fruit. These apply to all types of business whether it is a stone and mortar business, network marketing, or a home based business.

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