ENTREPRENEURSHIP SERIES (II): ON YOUR MARK

from go

James, in responding to the first missive in these series, told of his colleague who besides his job delved into sewing, capping the testimony with the words “… he settles most of his miscellaneous bills every month before receiving his salary. A huge contrast to most of us who depend solely on salary and continue to struggle hard every other month.” I simply couldn’t agree more with his comment, and the message he succinctly passed across.

I wrote about “focus” and not losing it in the quest towards emancipation from financial struggles. Focus is nothing without discipline, as that is what helps the one in keeping to schedule especially when one has to save towards target. Sacrifices, in form of self-denial of some of life’s pleasures will also come to waste if it’s not accompanied by discipline.

Discipline, ensures that there’ll be very few circumstances that will necessitate the dipping of the hands into the purse set aside for business to solve a need, personal or otherwise. Interestingly, for the many, it hasn’t been the sourcing of finance for a project or business that nipped their great ideas in the bud, but moving from the point where the fund has become available and the implementation of the business idea. This is because most times, once the money becomes available, some other need (some in the form of emergencies) personal or of and from people very close or dear to the one, causes him or her to delay the program by solving the challenge with the funds. It is therefore pertinent that in chasing those dreams, attempts be made to keep ones’ intention as secret as possible involving only as few a people as possible, especially relatives, family, friends and acquaintances; the few persons in the know may help with mainly the gathering of the necessary information required for engaging in the business.

Sometimes, one may attract insults to oneself in practicing prudency especially when it has come to light that one has a stash somewhere (even when they do not know your plans for such stashed-away funds). If you are the type that can’t help being good to everybody and philanthropy appears to be embedded in your DNA, then decide for once to be selfish for the period it’ll take to bring to reality your dream, so you can help more people afterwards, just hope that in those days of tightfistedness you won’t lose so much than you can recover in vital interrelationships.

Other factors that may work to frustrate attempts at setting up a small business or an alternative source of income, are external. Some can be controlled, others may not be that easy to control. Some business plans can be affected by change in government policies, and this you will readily find in Nigeria. Many Okada (moped taxi) riders and operators supported Governor Fashola’s second term bid for governorship in Lagos three years ago (even forming convoys for his campaign train), but once he won reelection he banned Okada and their riders from major roads in Lagos dashing the hopes of the many who had taken that path towards financial emancipation, as well as those who had invested in the busines, not as drivers, but to give them out for “hire-purchase” purposes. If one’s business hits such a stone one shouldn’t be discouraged but should employ/exploit means to make the best of that situation, dust the ones self up and start allover again, paying particular attention to political as well as social and environmental events so as not to be caught unawares the next time.

Sometimes, one may just find (especially when it comes to sourcing funds) that what is needed is the bulk of the next salary to make up the capital to start up the busines, but interestingly for many who work in small establishments and business concerns, salaries may be delayed, extending the time the expectations for such was intended, which may then lead the prospector to dip his/her hands in already “set apart” funds to meet daily needs, and if not careful find that the target at the end of the day becomes unmet. A safer path to career will be to not touch the “hallowed funds” while exhausting other means including begging (even if it is to be considered as being for the very last time) amongst other options that may be open to the one, while ensuring to spend only such obtained funds on the barest of necessities.

There are other challenges that I may not remember now, that only the one wearing the shoes may experience (as we feel the same things differently), but once the focus is on the goal those challenges will eventually wither away, in the face of the doggedness of the a avowed accomplisher, against all odds.

I will let you in on a line of busines in the sequel to this, that the one who is currently employed can indulge in. Something for which he/she may not necessarily leave paid employment to do. A business that will enable the one invest his salary (delayed or not) into another venture or even in the same, to increase yield. It’s a business that can aid financial emancipation in the long run, and that’s brought numerous benefits to the many who had sipped from the nectar this flower, which in actual fact is widely available (saturated market), but continues to provide yet for the many. May we be alive to meet the day.

‘kovich

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5 thoughts on “ENTREPRENEURSHIP SERIES (II): ON YOUR MARK

  1. Well outlined. Well read. Can’t wait for the next episode. Yes, a good entrepreneur must be focused, along with being disciplined. I also understand that his/her availability mustn’t be compromised. Wonder if there could be exception to being always available.

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    1. It is, but a way to make optimum use of such an opportunity or business plan without necessarily making oneself available is to gauge daily output, and rather than employ a barber for instance to man a barbershop you opened and whom you’d pay daily, weekly or monthly, get someone on contract, who turns in a particular amount daily, weekly or monthly, and keeps the rest.

      In doing that you cut off cost of running the business or maintaining staff. Even dishonesty is eliminated to a great extent, it will also be easy to fire the non- or under-performer (based on the benchmark you have set).

      Unfortunately, if your expectations/benchmark is/are unrealizable, then the level of turnover in terms of the persons you will contract the job to over time will be high, because they will find unrealistic the terms and conditions of service.

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  2. From one who has spent a lifetime in forming and running small (and I mean small) businesses, a few quick rules:
    1. Never under-capitalize. Your set-up costs will always exceed your expectations. Have contingency available.
    2. Never believe your own business plan: the banks won’t, and nor should you. A BP is an engaging work of fiction you can all have a laugh over one night when you are established.
    3. Make sure those who love you are 100% behind your plans, and especially ensure they know what living on a pittance means, because for a year, maybe two, they will be doing exactly that.
    4. Be sure your intended market is tested – practically, on the ground. Never base a ‘marketing opportunity’ upon Mintel or theory.
    5. Wherever possible, avoid doing business in an area which will bring you close to politicians or the public services – they are changeable as the wind, and intractible as hell.
    6. The temptations you mention above apply especially within those first trading years. Profits must be ploughed back into the business, they mustn’t be frittered away on lifestyle.
    7. Recognize a cash cow when you meet one. Many business niches are transient, ephemeral things that come, lay a few golden eggs, then vaporize. Don’t pour money in trying to revive them after their day in the sun is over. It’ll be years before they come back.
    8. STAY SMALL. A quiet, steady little business is destined to ride out the rough seas of changing fashion, policy and wealth far better than the volatile mid-sized concern. Unless you can be very big (the chances are about equal to those of becoming a film star) don’t try to be big.
    9. Never take an order you can’t fill.

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