Tag - Strategy

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips: The Instructive Guide

Every relationship needs trust building tips but seeing we are entrepreneurs let’s focus on entrepreneur trust building tips. This is not to say you can’t apply them to other types of relationships you are involved in. It might just need a little tweak.

You are probably wondering why the title says instructive guide for entrepreneurship trust building tips.

While simple they are quite elaborate.

Four kinds of relationships are essential to the success of your entrepreneurial journey.

Accordingly relationship with employees, clients, investors as well as suppliers and outsource providers.

The foundation of these relationships is “Trust”. As earlier emphasized in Trust and Entrepreneurship.

These are the days of entrepreneurial surge due to technology advancement and more people seeing the need for innovation. Therefore leading to the “entrepreneurship boom”.

As a result there’s a struggle to win customers, gain investors, keep the best employees and retain lovely suppliers.

Furthermore trust plays a huge role in successfully achieving all these.

The idea of trust may seem hard for people who have never come in contact with it in any of their relationships.

Not to fret; this article will provide you with entrepreneur trust building tips.

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips – Employees

• Reward efforts, promote at when due and encourage your staff.

• Another tip is genuinely care about your employees.

• Pay salaries and bonuses at when due. I had a boss who promised Sales Reps commissions. In over a year I spent there he never paid. Not even once. He lost the trust of his employees. They left, set up the exact business and poached his customers.

• As a business learn to endure mistakes from your employees though correct them professionally.

• Treat your employees with respect thereby gain their trust.

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips – Customers

• Ensure all your sales/ service points are working properly, updated regularly and they all have the same information.

• Existing/ Intending customers need proof that you are genuine hence testimonials. Therefore use every opportunity that presents itself to showcase testimonials from customers who bought.

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips

Customer Testimonials

You see what I did there? That’s some of our customer testimonials.

• Ensure your Customer Service is prompt and effective.

• Always surpass customer expectations; never go below their expectations.

• Your products/ services should be exactly what you said in the description. Sometime ago I ordered a handbag online, when it was eventually delivered the leather had peeled. The seller never signified that in the description. Of course I returned it and she lost my trust.

• Ensure your payment process is transparent.

• Your products/ services should be readily available.

• At all times offer value and strive to meet and surpass deadlines.

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips – Suppliers and Outsource Providers

• Stick to the terms of the contract.

• Provide good work conditions.

• Communicate effectively; avoid surprises.

• Ensure everyone understands the terms of the contract to avoid conflict.

• When you get delivery of your supplies ensure you pay at when stated in the contract. If you can’t pay inform them ahead.

Entrepreneur Trust Building Tips – Investors.

• To each his own; let each investor understand what they stand to gain from investing in your venture.

• Be sincere. Don’t tweak the numbers. If business isn’t going as projected at any time; let them know.

• Pay whatever percentage was agreed on. Don’t cheat them out of their investments.

As you have read It’s not so hard to build trust.

Essential trust building ingredients are openness, sincerity, truthfulness and straight forwardness.

To be trusted you need to be trustworthy.

No one will gift you their trust. It’s very expensive.

In conclusion you should earn the trust of the people you will be in an entrepreneur relationship with. When earned it’s hard to lose but when lost it’s hard to rebuild.

Please share in the comments other tips you know entrepreneurs can use to build trust in their business relationships.

Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors

Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors: What You Should Know

Entrepreneurial motivation factors; what drives you to be an entrepreneur?

An ambition to change the world, proffer solutions or simply make money are examples of entrepreneurial motivation factors.

Stephen P. Robbins (2010) defines motivation as “the willingness to exert high levels of effort towards organizational goals, conditioned by the effort and ability to satisfy some individual need.”

So entrepreneurial motivation can be explained as when an entrepreneur exerts a higher level of effort for the achievement of his/her entrepreneurial goals.

Randomly examining entrepreneurs it is obvious there has to be a reason why some succeed more than others.

And why so many do not give up when they don’t succeed at first. You ask why? It is definitely what pushes the entrepreneur in question.

In a most recent post I shared with you the factors that affect entrepreneurship development. It only seemed natural to follow up with an article on entrepreneurial motivation factors.

The institutions train you to be an employee in this clime. They tell you to make good grades so you can get the best jobs. This is wrong.

As a fresh graduate I was talked out of the first business I did; I was told to put my certificate to work.

Entrepereneurial Motivation Factors

In comes entrepreneurial education and entrepreneurial motivation. To help people transition from being employees to employers.

It is important to encourage upcoming and existing entrepreneurs in any society because entrepreneurs play the following important roles in any given society:

1) Entrepreneurs create supply to meet the demand thereby reaching an equilibrium.

2) Entrepreneurs are becoming more important to all economies therefore it is necessary to understand their involvement in the development of human and intellectual capital.

3) Entrepreneurs drive innovation and change which translates to economic growth.

Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors

4) Entrepreneurs convert knowledge into tangible products and services.

As an entrepreneur it only makes sense to develop your skills; to enhance the odds of your business growth.

It is essential to look within to determine what motivates you as a business person.

It is imperative you regularly review these entrepreneurial motivation factors because they are directly tied to the success of every enterprise.

Knowing what motivated you to do delve into a business keeps you focused even when the chips are down.

The entrepreneurial motivation factors are:

Internal Factors
External Factors

Internal Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors:  These can be summed up as Desire and Grit. These drive you from within to succeed as an entrepreneur. Also involves your immediate business surrounding.

  • Owner(s): Desire to express creative and innovative prowess. Need to achieve new milestones. Desire of independence. Occupational background. Willingness to take risks. Desire to fulfill purpose.Board of Directors: The doggedness of the board reflects on the business so choose your board carefully.
  • Employees: Employ people that share your vision for the business.

Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors

External Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors: These are situations or events beyond the control of you and your company.

  • Customers and Existing Demand
  • Suppliers
  • Creditors: Funding. A very important motivating factor. Lack of funds can be depressing though.
  • Community: A community that values entrepreneurs is very encouraging and will grow quickly.
  • Government and Economy: Good business- government relationship.
  • Regulators: Those with authority to control and influence both the market and industry e.g. Associations and Government agencies. If they choose to frustrate members it can dampen the fire within.
  • Strategic Partners
  • Technology: Availability of the technology needed to operate in a society. E.g. Transportation for people with special needs does not have the technology to thrive in this present Nigeria.

The need for achievement is an essential ingredient for entrepreneurial success (McClelland, 1965).

Entrepreneurial success is so crucial to economic development that this topic has been widely researched just to understand how more people can be encouraged to become entrepreneurs.

McClelland 1938 may be regarded as the father of the study of entrepreneurial motivation. Other publications include Maslow 1954, McClelland 1965, McClelland, Koestner and Weinberger 1989, Manimala and Pearson 1998, Mitchell 2004, Kamraj and Muralidaran 2005, Saxena 2005, Khanka 2009. Ziegler, Schmukle, Egloff and Buhner 2010.

Conclusion

Motivation is what keeps you going as an entrepreneur even when the cash is not rolling in and payday does not even look like anytime soon. It drives innovation and it’s a continuous process.

Entrepreneurial Motivation Factors

Entrepreneurial motivation factors are the things that push you to become an entrepreneur. They affect the input and output of your productivity in business. They impact your business either in a positive or negative way.

How willing are you to succeed as an entrepreneur? What motivated you to go into business? You either have the inborn grit (nature) or you develop the required skills (nurture). So which do you possess?

Do you know more factors affecting entrepreneurial motivation? Kindly join the conversation to share.

Economic Recession

What You Should Know About Economic Recession

You are probably thinking the impact of economic recession can only be negative. What good could come out of this seemingly dead-end situation?

You feel the economic recession is getting worse; no respite in sight. Various private companies especially banks are downsizing their staff strength.

People are losing jobs in every nook and cranny of the country. From the public to the private sector. And you are probably wondering what could you benefit from an economic recession.

Just some days ago I was listening to the radio; a lot of people called in to lament on loss of jobs and not being able to provide the basic needs of their family.

have learnt that in life it depends on how you decide to view every situation. It can either be positive or negative. Choose sides wisely.

In every bad there is a good. It is times like this that inspire great men to provide solutions. Times like this are meant to be an eye opener and propeller to greatness. Hence times like this birth life changing ideas. You do not just think outside the box you remove the box.

 

Economic Recession

Take Away The Box

High time we realized that the number of graduates we churn out yearly cannot be accommodated by the labour market. Also the quality is quite questionable.

While I was an Assistant Admin Manager I received many job application letters that were poorly written. To think they were written by graduates.

When there is an economic downturn there will be a huge backlash because employers do not increase worker’s pay neither do they create more jobs. Instead jobs are lost on a large-scale.

Advantage of Economic Recession

The positive impact of economic recession is entrepreneurship (innovation). Though it is the innovative never-say-die that will take the bull by the horn.

Be warned do not take this route if you are looking to blow (get rich overnight). It is not a get rich quick scheme. If you are looking for that try baba ijebu (lotto) or betnaija (sports betting).

You are probably thinking entrepreneurship is not for you. You do not have the funding and a myriad of other problems you are conjuring up in your head.

Before you write yourself off being an entrepreneur answer these five (5) questions:

  • Do you love that job you are presently slaving away at right now? Do not be shy; no pretense here. I mean do you seriously love it to death?
  • Would you want to do it 50 years from now?
  • Is that job guaranteed if all hell breaks loose?
  • Do you dread Mondays or you cannot wait to get to the office?
  • Do you have time for your family and loved ones?

If your answers are not I love my job to death, I see myself doing it 50 years from now, The job is guaranteed, I always always look forward to Mondays and yes I spend a reasonable amount of time with family and loved ones then you need to dump your boss before your boss dumps you.

The first people hit by economic recession are the ones that solely rely on paid employment.

To determine how ready you are to be an entrepreneur take this short test:

  • Identify what you love doing.
  • What would you do lovingly and willingly without pay?
  • Would you love to do 20-50 years from now without getting bored?

Hopefully your answers to these questions should be the same or close. Note your answer should be a product or service that meets a dire need or solves a problem.

Congratulations! You have an interest.

Economic Recession

These steps below will guide you:

  • Solve one problem at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Bear in mind that a Jack of all trade is a Jack of no trade.
  • Brainstorm on how you can commercialize this interest of yours.
  • Can you bankroll this venture of yours? If no can you convince people (friends and family) to invest? For expansion overtime can you convince investors they will get their money back? How viable is the business? Nobody wants to invest in a dead-on- arrival kind of business.
  • In terms of finance also think about partnership. Can you join forces with like minded individuals who share your vision?
  • Do you have any form of experience in your chosen field or do you need training?
  • Do you have a well written and carefully analyzed business plan? A plan existing in your head will never get executed neither will anyone fund it.
    Ensure your business plan is tight proof. Let investors see the potential in your business without your explanation. Your explanation should be a bonus.
  • Determine what sector of the economy you will operate in.

These are sectors you can never go wrong with.

  • Agriculture: Food industry (Processed or Unprocessed) and Livestock.
  • Real estate (Properties)
  • Service provider industry
  • Information Technology
  • Fashion

These sectors are the summary of man’s basic needs. Most definitely someone somewhere will at one time or another need one or two of these. Do you get my drift? The trick is to be ready and right there when the need arises.

Recently I got a message via WhatsApp if I knew anyone that could supply fresh catfish. I immediately replied yes. And voilà that was how I got one more customer that eventually became a repeat customer.

I need to warn you though being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park. Entrepreneurship can get scary quickly but be rest assured FEAR (Face Everything And Rise) is what you need to push you to succeed. In no time with consistency you will stand out.

Learn During Economic Recession

Attend motivational talks, training, read books, talk to successful entrepreneurs, learn more about the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and discipline yourself.

Also talk to entrepreneurs that have failed at a business or two; it helps you to not repeat the same mistakes they made. With time you will discover that the successful ones had also failed at some point.

Not everyone has the guts to be an entrepreneur but those that brave it will create more jobs thereby alleviating poverty and cushioning the effect of the economic recession.

Permit me to add this caveat emptor; If you are not a diligent employee you cannot be a successful entrepreneur. Old habits die-hard (sometimes they never die).

At this stage no individual should ask what has the country done for me rather you should ask what can you do to for the country.

Conclusion
Do you have honest reasons to complain about your job? Can you provide a solution to a problem? Do you have people skills? Or do you have leadership skills? Also think you can revolutionize the economy? If you answered yes to all the questions asked then embrace entrepreneurship.

Do you know more positive impact of economic downturn? Do you know of more ways you can help with the present economic situation? Kindly join the conversation.

PS: Be kind enough to share this article on social media. It starts with you.

matters to customers

What Matters To Customers During Purchase Decision

As an entrepreneur have you ever asked what matters to customers in their decision to buy your products?

It cannot be overemphasized that you are in business because of your customers. Therefore it is of the essence to ask yourself what matters to customers while they make the decision to buy from you.

It is all about the customer’s experience whether you sell products or services.

Knowing what your customers consider important in their thought process to make a buy puts you a step ahead.

Customers pit businesses against one another during their decision making process. If you are privy to what goes on in their black box (head) then you can better satisfy them. This helps you to know your customer and what they want.

Once you get a handle on things it translates into more happy customers, more patronage, more repeat customers and of course more income for you.

Being able to identify what counts to buyers will keep them satisfied and coming back for more.

Why would a customer choose your product over your competitor’s?

A customer’s purchase decision is influenced by certain factors. Knowing these factors and working with them will give your business an edge over your competitors.

These determinants should be taken into consideration during production and marketing. It will enable you think like your customer would.

  • Product Features

The customer wants to know the product quality, features, benefits and durability while deciding if to purchase from you or your competitors.

You should take time to analyze the features and benefits of your product. If it is an App list features like app-lock, battery saver, save data etc. Then explain benefits like the App can lock other Apps, analyze battery status and reduce data usage while browsing.

Knowing the benefits of your product makes the customer aware of the immediate gain they would enjoy by using your product.

Endeavor to make your customer understand that a product’s features will not benefit them if it is not effectively put to use.

  • Competitive Price

The customer considers if your product is affordable, if it is in the range offered by your competitors, if it gives value for money spent and if is cheap to maintain on the long run.

Nobody wants to spend unnecessarily more than they should. They want to know they got the best bargain there is around.

  • Technical Direction

The customer considers what direction your product is going technically, is there room for improvement and updates.

In the case of gadgets what counts to your customers is the specifications, speed and how easy it is to set up.

Also will the product still be relevant in the future with all the innovations in the tech world?

While I was shopping for an Android phone despite the highest Operating System (OS) being Android 4.4 Kitkat I kept searching for a phone that would upgrade when a higher OS became available .

Over the years I upgraded it to Android Lollipop OS without buying a new phone.

Guess I saved myself the headache of phone purchase for some time.

  • Marketing and Product Strategy

Customers want to know if you offer support during and after sales and what kind. Do you offer phone support? Can they reach you over the phone if they have issues without making a trip to your office?

Is there warranty and for how long? What happens after the warranty expires?

They also want to know what plans you have in place for long distance customers. Are there support centers they can go to if they have issues with your product? If none can they send the product to you and who bears this extra cost?

  • Vendor Stability and Predictability

Customers take into consideration how stable your business is. They also consider the fact that they can predict the availability of your product.

It also matters to customers if they should trust your product and if it is of good reputation. What other customers have to say about your product.

Reviews play a huge role here. Share your product reviews everywhere you can; on your website, blog, Facebook page and in your advert message.

Share your good and bad reviews as well but make sure you respond promptly with solutions to bad reviews.

Sharing the bad reviews passes a message that you appreciate the customer’s patronage and their opinion.

When you focus on what matters to customers while they mull over the idea of buying from you or your competitor it helps you create a precise advert message.

A precise advert message speaks to a targeted audience with answers to their questions as to what a particular product can give them. This convinces them that you know and have what they need.

A customer does not just want to be pitched rather a customer wants solutions to problems. If you think like your customer would while deciding to buy a product you have more chances of winning over that customer.

Kindly help add value to more people by clicking the social media share icons below.

understanding customers

Understanding Customers: 5 Keys To Creating Customer Experience

The formula for knowing what customers want is understanding customers.

Understanding customers enables you to anticipate their needs and expectations thereby providing excellent customer experience.

Have you ever wondered why a customer that patronized you once or twice disappeared into thin air? Simple! They felt misunderstood. They did not connect with you in the few times they dealt with you.

Understanding customers is what turns them from a prospect to a buying customer and finally to a repeat customer.

As an entrepreneur it is essential you understand your customers so as to build long lasting relationships. Your success basically depends on how much you understand and know your customer.

To better understand your customers it is ideal to do a needs vs value segmentation. Identify your customer’s needs, determine the needs you have met, needs you could not meet, why you could not meet the needs and what value you have been able to add to your customers. Group them into met and unmet needs thereby allowing you to ask questions like why you did or could not meet their needs.

As an entrepreneur you should acknowledge that the lifeline of your business is the customer so it pays to invest in understanding your clients; not just for the financial gain but for the customer’s satisfaction.

Understanding customers entails the 5 W’s. The Who, What, Where, When and How.

  • WHO

Who is important? You need to determine who you are in business for; it is imperative you know that you are in business for your customers. When you comprehend this singular fact it will drive you to ask questions as regards who patronizes your business. Questions like their names, location, what they do for a living, who their customers are, their likes and dislikes etc. These answers will unravel who your customers are.

Understanding Cuctomers

  • WHAT

What are their choices? What would they prefer you gave them? What are their problems? What solutions do they need you to provide? Would they prefer quality to quantity, do they want your product as it is or do they want an improved version or would they prefer subscription (prepaid) to pay as you go service?

As a fish farmer that packages and sells smoked fish I had a firsthand experience of this. Initially I reared the fish to get so big in size which meant I packaged four pieces in a bag. Overtime I asked what they would prefer. Sales increased when I packaged smaller sizes of six to eight in a bag. I felt quality was selling bigger fishes but the customers preferred smaller sizes. Moral is find out what your customers actually want; do not assume like I did.

Realizing this would help you understand how to better meet your customers at the point they are. If there are substantial amount of people in each group you can package your products to meet the demands of each group thereby leaving you with happy customers.

  • WHERE

Where do your customers buy from? Have in mind that the answer to this question would help you deduce who your competitors are. Which makes this a win-win situation for you and your customer. Knowing your competitors would help you understand why your customers are going to them and what they have that you do not have. If you are able to decipher why they patronize your competitor you can fill in the gap as to what they really want.

  • WHEN

When do they buy? How often do they buy? Is their purchase daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal? Knowing your customer’s frequency of purchase helps you prepare in advance for their next purchase thereby making you proactive. Customers love that.

  • HOW

How do they buy? Do they buy in bulk or in pieces? Do they pay you as soon as they buy or do they need some time before they pay? Are they Loyal customers, Regular customers, Occasional customers or One-off customers? The customers’ buying habits says a lot about what they feel about your product and business.

To better comprehend your customers speak with them; you can also use surveys and questionnaires. You will be amazed at what you will discover. That was how I discovered they would prefer smaller sizes of fish at the same package weight and amount.

You can also have your sales people get testimonials on video if you cannot personally speak to all your customers. This will capture their body language which says a lot.

In all understanding customers means you take into account the Who, What, Where, When and How. Knowing these will help you discern how your customer reasons; believe me this is your gateway to success as an entrepreneur.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” Harper Lee (American Author)

“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it” Charles F. Kettering (American inventor)

In summary understanding customers is what guarantees the continuous existence of your business in the harsh waters of business.

If you have employed other strategies in understanding customers kindly share them with our readers in the comment section.

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customers want

7 Things Customers Want From Your Business

Customers want different things and people have various reasons for patronizing the companies they do business with.

The reasons vary from wanting to satisfy a friend to looking for quality at a fair price though reasons like these do not run deep.

There have been instances where customers suddenly leave the company they have been doing business with for years to patronize another company. Certainly they have their reasons for that. Any customer decides to or not to do business with a particular company because there are certain needs the customers want the company to meet.

68% of the time customers that ditch a business do so because their expectations were not met. For business growth find out why your customers left your business, if they say you did not meet their expectations apologize and ask exactly what they expect of your business.

Never be too comfortable with the clients you have instead always strive to improve on your retainability skills.

Customers prefer businesses going above and beyond their expectations so it always makes sense to under promise and over perform.

There are expectations general to all customers and there are personal expectations but to satisfy these needs you need to know them.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
“Customer service has never been so important, yet many firms seem to have lost sight of their customers’ needs, argues customer service consultant” Derek Bishop.

One of the things customers want is customer service. It entails how you treat the customer before, during and after sales.

Do you listen to them when they come to you? Do you empathize with them? Do you send a thank you mail? Do you call or mail them on their birthdays and anniversaries? Do you wish them happy holidays? Do you conduct surveys on how you can better serve them? Answering these questions will further endear your clients to you.

Good customer service entails you knowing your customers, what they want and treating them like a VIP (very important personality).

PRODUCT FEATURES AND SKILLED SERVICE
Your clients are expecting your products to meet their needs and add value to their lives one way or the other before they consider spending their hard earned cash on your business.

They also expect you to be skilled at the service you provide. They expect your product to do exactly what you said it can do.

IMMEDIATE GAIN AND SATISFACTION
Customers ultimately want gratification and satisfaction. They need to have that feeling of profit after spending on your business.

Great products and services, speed, courtesy, competence, commitment and understanding make up what customers consider as satisfaction for money well spent.

VENDOR STABILITY AND PREDICTABILITY
Clients want to know your business is stable, they do not want to be disturbed by the inner workings (policies and procedures) of your company or the economic situations. They just want to know they can count on you to always provide solutions to their problems.

They need to know you know what you are doing. They want to trust you as an individual and they also want to trust what your business stands for.

APPRECIATION
Customers expect to be appreciated for patronizing you. If you ask me this is non-negotiable because they could have taken their business to a thousand and one places but they chose you.

You should always think of ways to appreciate them for their patronage even if it is not regular. You can consider options like sales, coupons, referral bonuses etc.

EXTRA ATTENTION AND INVOLVEMENT
Customers want to be heard, they want you to listen and they would like you to consider their opinions on the products and services you render them.

They want to be involved in the process of buying from you or services being rendered to them. They desire extra attention which makes them feel like a part of the family.

They desire to have a personalized relationship with you. They want you to know their names and they will remember you for it.

ABILITY TO ACHIEVE RESULTS
Customers want results not excuses which is why they came to you in the first place. They do not want to know how hard it was for you to get results rather they want to know you will achieve results.

Your ability to achieve results quicker will propel them to spread the word on your behalf. It will win you loyalty.

Conducting surveys will help you know the specifics of what your customers want. If you already know or have an idea what your customers want do share with us in the comment section.

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Ticking off After You Achieve New Year Resolutions

9 Tips To Help Entrepreneurs Achieve New Year Resolutions

So we have written our New Year resolutions on every surface we can find from our Androids to our Tablets to Laptops and PCs. But the question is will our writing it everywhere alone be enough to help us achieve new year resolutions as entrepreneurs?

Find below the 9 Tips we recommend to help entrepreneurs achieve New Year resolutions.

Over the years we have made resolutions at the start of every year but by the end of the year we are not even half away through our list. We carry them over into the next year thereby making it harder to achieve the resolutions for that New Year.

Listed below are simple things that we could do to spur us on to achieve New Year resolutions.

DETERMINATION

I define determination as the quality of trying to do something even in the face of difficulty. It simply means making up your mind to do something and seeing it through to a conclusive end. It is an essential quality needed in life to succeed in every endeavor. As entrepreneurs our dosage of this should be more than regular. Due to the fact that we face more challenges and make more decisions than the average Joe.

Determination would help us stay on track to achieve New Year resolutions even when situations surrounding us make it impossible.

FOCUS

This is the ability to concentrate on something till it is done or achieved. It is not just enough to write down your new year resolutions you need to focus on each one till they are all achieved. When you focus on one and get it done then you move on to the next one. It is a little similar to determination but determination could be misplaced if the right thing is not being focused on.

MAKE REALISTIC RESOLUTIONS

A lot of resolutions are not achieved because they are not realistic. Setting realistic goals would go a long way in helping to achieve New Year resolutions. Imagine how possible it is for a small time entrepreneur to aim at taking on a contract to build roads and he is not qualified to take a loan in the bank. Just how possible is that?

As an entrepreneur know the strengths of your company, ask what next and surpass that next stage not by jumping stages all in the name of being determined.

OUTLINE YOUR RESOLUTIONS

When you finally decide on where you want your business to be by the end of the year (goal) you break them down into fragments. Like gaining “X” amount of customers, sell “X” amount of goods, service “X” amount of clients, re-target “X” amount of existing customers.

You keep it simple by listing these things. If it is selling “X” amount of goods more than usual; how do you aim to do that? Then list your marketing strategy, affiliate or referral strategy, advert and awareness strategy to increase your band publicity which in turn increases your existing number of clients etc. The traditional “one thing at a time” will take you to your destination faster.

PLAN AHEAD

Create a system that works. Even if you or any of your staff are absent the plan would be a guideline for whoever is on ground to run the show. Ensure you have a Standard Operating Procedure document in place. We have all heard the saying if you fail to plan then you plan to fail but it is so true. Making resolutions without a proper plan in place to achieve them is not a good way to get to the finish line a winner.

No proper planning means you would daily swing like a pendulum to whatever hits you but having a plan assures you that if anything happens it is only going to be a temporary distraction. Your plan would swing back into action with determination and focus thereby achieving New Year resolutions.

MONITOR EVERY PROGRESS MADE

It is very essential to monitor every teeny weeny bit of the process to be aware of every progress made. Not just for your gratification but for that of your staff too. It serves as a psychological boost to know that progress is being made thereby increasing your morale and that of your staff. It makes them know they are in a good place and their efforts are yielding results.

Slow signs of progress or none at all should not turn you into a nightmare rather keep going with the plan and sooner or later you will have that eureka moment. Ensure all heads of department and supervisors are in the loop. Hold meetings as at when do to ensure everyone is on the same page but not longer than necessary. No point wasting precious time.

REWARD YOURSELF AND OTHERS

To make it through your list of resolutions successfully every progress made either by you or your staff should be rewarded. This gives everyone that “feel good” feeling, builds team work and makes your staff feel like family. It also creates a healthy competition among your staff to do better because everyone would want to enjoy the freebies. It could range from sending them to a spa to them having dinner with their loved ones on your tab. Whatever you do just reward honest achievers.

TALK ABOUT IT

Asides writing your resolutions everywhere; on your sticky notes, diaries, androids, tablets, blackberries, laptops and PCs talk about it too. Not just with your staff but with family and friends. Also with your Board of Directors. This is to ensure there is someone to hold you accountable over time and to also encourage you. They go each step of the way with you. They know just when you are getting overwhelmed and they can pull you back up.

KEEP TRYING

Most things are not achieved on the first attempt you just have to keep trying and you will achieve your New Year resolutions after you make it a habit to do the things listed in this article. Bad habits take longer to break so give yourself some time but ensure each day you practice one good habit and each month you practice a new good habit. By the end of the year you probably would tick 80-100% of your resolutions as done and delivered.

Do you feel I have left out a helpful tip to achieve New Year resolutions or you have yours that works for you please feel free to drop them as comments.

P.S: Have you signed up for our free newsletter yet? You will get fresh helpful tips as soon as they are published. As simple as you entering your email below.

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New year's resolutions

7 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS ENTREPRENEURS NEED

Have you made your new year’s resolutions? What is your New Year resolution?

Every success pursuing entrepreneur needs these 7 new year’s resolutions.

It is that time of the year when resolutions and plans are made but as a successful entrepreneur the plans and resolutions should have been made in the previous year. The resolutions help to put our goals into perspective thereby making them achievable thus contributing largely to our long term success.

FINANCIAL PREPARATION

This is an important aspect of your new year’s resolutions due to cash-flow being the business lifeblood.  In the previous year the annual financial reports, tax returns, audits etc. should have been prepared and the necessary meetings held. This is to start the New Year with a picture of where the company is presently at and where it needs to be financially. This is to help know the profit and loss statement of the previous year, if there are debts owed the company and if the company also owes, expenses and if there is a need to apply for loan to carry out some projects. This is to better manage the cash-flow of the business.

REASON

It is imperative to revisit your reason for being an entrepreneur so as not to lose focus or get carried away. Either your reason is enjoying what you do, for profit or to provide solution and value to the society. Whatever reason you have to leave the nine to five grind should be revisited as part of your New Year’s resolutions to help keep you on track.

EDUCATION

This cannot be over emphasized. We should only stop learning when we are dead. There are so many new things to learn in the business world of today such as new accounting skills, marketing skills, tech skills, leadership and management skills etc. These knowledge can be acquired via reading books, attending seminars, classes or watching videos.

INNOVATION

We are at a point whereby businesses would fade off if they refuse to innovate. As an entrepreneur it is crucial for survival to inject new ideas into your business as part of your new year’s resolutions. It could be in form of doing things in new ways such as customer service, dropping products and services that are not performing or develop new products and services. Something that would add to the value your business is already providing your customers.

HEALTHY LIVING

A lot of entrepreneurs get caught up with the hustling and bustling and neglect their health. Part of an entrepreneur’s new year’s resolutions should be to go for checkup regularly to avoid being caught unawares by one health condition or the other. No need waiting for that moment you land in a hospital to realize that you can only be on ground in your business if you are of good health.

RESTRUCTURING

This is the time to restructure the organization. From the past business year appraisals should have been done to know the strengths and weaknesses of individual employee. Reshuffling should be done to ensure people are where their talents are used maximally. Also if there are staff that incur debt for the organization this is the time to address their issue; either they are reassigned to new duties, retrained or their contract terminated.

GO ONLINE; GO MOBILE

This is 2016 why would your business not be mobile? The trend for businesses this year would be to go mobile. You could start by getting a creative website; this would enable old and new customers alike to have access to information on your products and services also buy-buttons can be added to your websites or call-to-action buttons that bring about conversion on your website. Do not forget to make your website mobile friendly; a lot of people use their mobile devices to surf the web.

2016 is just some few days old but a lot can be done in a few days. If you feel we have omitted any important new year’s resolutions entrepreneurs need to make their journey successful feel free to drop them in the comments section.

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Challenges Entrepreneurs Face

Challenges Entrepreneurs Face In Our Clime

Are you prepared to beat the challenges entrepreneurs have to deal with in our clime? Do you have the grit to succeed despite all odds?

A lot of people feel entrepreneurship is a walk in the park but on the contrary you need to be prepared for the inevitable. Every niche of business has it pitfalls but ample preparation increases your chance of survival. This entails knowing beforehand that there are challenges entrepreneurs deal with and having a plan to conquer every challenge while being flexible to change plans as the situation arises.

This article is not meant to scare you from living your dream as an entrepreneur rather it is meant to prepare you. As an aspiring entrepreneur if you have the characteristics needed to be a successful entrepreneur you will definitely overcome the challenges entrepreneurs in this clime share in common.

Different challenges are synonymous with different climes but listed below are some of the most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs in our clime:

  • CASH FLOW

This is one of the most common challenges entrepreneurs in every niche deal with. How liquid is your business? Is there readily available finance for your business? Are your friends and family willing to support with cash and necessary resources? Do you have willing investors ready to commit their resources to your business? If you can successfully answer these questions then you are already a step ahead. It is advisable to have a cash reserve before the business kicks off because things do not always go as planned in business. You can raise funds by working part time and solicit funds from people that share as much enthusiasm for your business as you do. Cut unnecessary costs by doing as much of the work you can yourself, employ freelancers when starting out so you do not pay salaries for long and when the bucks start rolling in do not go on a spending spree rather reinvest in your business because it takes months to years for a business to balance out expenses such as operating costs, salaries and miscellaneous expenses. A lot of businesses have packed up due to not adequately preparing for this.

  • CHOOSING THE RIGHT BUSINESS

How viable is your business? Apart from doing something that you love ensure you are providing something that people will buy into. It is one thing to provide goods or services it is another thing for them to be purchased. If they are not purchased that is time, effort and resources gone down the drain. The right business is a business that you have passion for, that delivers quality and also adds value to your consumers.

  • REGISTERING A BUSINESS NAME OR COMPANY

This is the next hurdle to cross after knowing the right business to engage in and ensuring there is steady cash flow. The amount of time it takes to do this can put you off and the number of people that fall into scam traps all in the name of trying to fast track the process involved is increasing by the day. Imagine going to CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) to do the registration and you are told to go make payment at the bank before coming back for the forms. Some people buy forms from people outside the building who sell at double the price without guarantee on the authenticity.

  • FINDING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS

As a new comer in any industry it requires time to find customers and retain them. The industry is already saturated with all sorts of promises to customers and customers have committed themselves to certain offers most especially since people love to do business with who they know. Attracting these customers and getting them to do repeat business is one of the common challenges entrepreneurs face due to the offers they have been enjoying in terms of prices, customer service, commissions, quality of products and services. It is imperative to look at what the competition is already doing and do something they are not to attract customers. Distinguish your business by adding value.

  • INNOVATION

This is one of the challenges entrepreneurs need to deal with but do not take cognizance of. They get caught up in the daily operation of the business instead of continuously thinking of new ways to do things or new unique business ideas that can set them apart from the rest. It is best to entrust the daily operation to a manager and do the thinking the business requires to get to the next stage or level as you are the one with the blueprint for the business.

  • LACK OF SUPPORT AND A THINK TANK TEAM

It is a common challenge in our clime for people to write you off as soon as you make your intention of setting up a business known. They start telling you how unqualified you are and stories of failures they know. This was my major challenge for years; the people I had high hopes in never supported me either with kind words or financially until I finally decided to start despite all odds. Now I advice people to only seek advise from entrepreneurs because the people that say it is not possible are most likely not entrepreneurs. They are afraid to leave the security a 9 to 5 provides. It is also rare to find a group of people you can brainstorm with except you are surrounded by exceptional people so be watchful the kind of people you attract. Ensure you attract people of like minds.

  • CORRUPTION, POLITICAL INFLUENCE, GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND POLICIES

These are very common challenges entrepreneurs have to deal with  in our clime due to the unstable economic situation and a select few dictating market conditions. We have seen businesses pack up as soon as the government changes baton due to either the new policies not favoring them or them not being in the good books of the new boss. I once got a job along with some people in a Parastatal but lost it because a new boss was sworn in; you can do the math as regards how many businesses that were cut off also. Corruption is a pain in the ass of businesses these days because it allows some unqualified businesses rob the qualified ones thereby reducing their chances of survival. If politics will have a say in your business ensure you have a wide network range; be neutral and play nicely with all the sides. Directly or indirectly this allows you to continue in business no matter the side in power.

  • TAXES AND LEGAL ISSUES

Most new businesses do not see the need for having a lawyer because they feel it is one more expense they cannot afford not realizing it is even costlier not to have one on your payroll. Also it is important to have a financial expert that can advise as regards taxes to avoid being over taxed. The tax adviser is to ensure you pay what is commiserate with your business’s income and personal income thereby increasing your profits over time.

  • SENTIMENTS AND SELF DOUBT

A lot of potentials have been thwarted due to sentiments. It is either a friend or family member saying you cannot do it or it is you looking at the present economic situation and writing yourself off. The best time to start is now. Once you start the rest of the journey becomes so much easier. Someone succeeds does not automatically translate to your success and someone fails also does not mean you will fail. It all depends on how far you are willing to go.

  • TRUSTWORTHY BUSINESS PARTNERS AND INTEGRITY

Due to the race for profits a lot of entrepreneurs end up partnering with unscrupulous entities. Do not be in a haste to make profit; slow progress is progress so ensure you check out the track record of whoever you decide to partner with. Can you take them for their words? Will they run the business if you are not there as they would if you were on ground? You are the face of the business not your partners so their actions bounces off on you thereby making your integrity questionable. If your customers have need to question your integrity it will reflect in their patronage.

  • LOYAL EMPLOYEES

It is a challenge these days to have loyal employees; everyone wants to be where the grass is greener. Not to blame anyone but a little loyalty goes a long way. To get your employees loyalty you need to know it cannot be bought, treat them like family and make each one know that their contribution is appreciated that way they do not sell you out to your competitors. Ensure your employees are team players, pay them what is commiserate to their input and make sure you reward outstanding performance. I once worked at a company where the management kept promising the sales reps commissions but they never got it, overtime a lot of the sales reps left and became competitors taking along the customers they brought. Therefore be slow to hire and quick to fire.

  • DIFFICULTY PROCURING LOANS

In our clime the banks make it very difficult for small and medium businesses to procure loans. Asides the high interest rates they have a list of requirements which most likely a business just starting out will not meet. Imagine asking a small business owner for a landed property that has a C of O (Certificate of Occupancy) which is very expensive to procure as collateral. Asides their requests the bureaucracy wears you out. In our clime we do not have angel investors unlike the developed countries and the few that decide to support your business financially are only out for the kill neither does the government support businesses with loans. If you are borrowing read and digest the terms and conditions; if you do not understand get someone who does to avoid being cheated out of your business.

These are the most common challenges entrepreneurs have to deal with in this clime to succeed. Do you feel I have left any out or have you any personal experience feel free to drop them in the comments.

 

SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR

21 Attributes of Every Successful Entrepreneur

Do you want to be a Successful Entrepreneur?

If your answer is “YES” I salute you.

An entrepreneur is not your everyday business man that just buys and sells rather an entrepreneur is someone that is a risk taker, innovative and determined. He comes up with business ideas as never seen or done and thinks of innovative ideas to refurbish an existing business. Check Wikipedia’s definition of an entrepreneur or as defined by Investopedia.

The end game is not to be an entrepreneur but a successful entrepreneur and for this you must be ready to bear a lot of risks, perform a lot of roles and accept a lot of negative feedback because a lot of people will not encourage you when you pitch your ideas to them. They are not denying you a chance they just need you to grab their attention with what you do.

Therefore to succeed as an entrepreneur there are certain attributes you need to possess and develop. Every aspiring successful entrepreneur should have these in common with the established ones:

  • Passion.

Do what you love most. This point cannot be over emphasized; it is quite important because when push comes to shove it is your passion for what you do that will ensure you hang in there to the very end.

  • The “Can-do Spirit”.

No matter what happens you need to keep saying to yourself “I can do it too” because things will happen to discourage and distract you; dissatisfied customers, no cash flow, low sales, no sales period, resignation of key staff etc. The continuity of your business depends on if you keep moving ahead despite all odds.

  • Innovation (Creative Thinking).

You need to have a constant flow of ideas. Always ask “What next? Why this? What if?” It is the innovation that drives you and eventually makes you a successful entrepreneur.

  • Focus.

No matter what is going on you must be able to focus on achieving results. It is essential to focus on one thing at a time to achieve the best results and save time before moving on to something else.

  • Ability to Delegate.

Delegation is not just about dishing out work and projects to someone else but you need to possess the ability to delegate assignments to the person with the best ability to achieve the best results else you will waste time redoing what the incompetent person did.

  • Risk Taking.

As an entrepreneur you need to take calculated risks, be able to identify when to take risks, when not to, what risks to take and not take. Taking the wrong risks can harm your business like wise taking it at the wrong time. Apply the Best/Worst Case Analysis by Dr. Ben Carson in his book Take the Risk. It entails asking 4 questions before you take any risk.

  1. What is the best that can happen if I take this risk?
  2. What is the worst that can happen if I take this risk?
  3. What is the best that can happen if I do not take this risk?
  4. What is the worst that can happen if I do not take this risk?

Answering these questions will help you decide if or not to take any risk.

  • Confidence.

Your level of confidence in yourself and what you do should be at an all-time high. People see your business through your eyes. If you do not see where your business is going no one will.

  • Goals.

The road-map of any successful entrepreneur. Set goals for yourself and the business, write them down, break them down and focus on achieving them one at a time.

  • Ability to Plan.

This cannot be overemphasized. As an entrepreneur planning everything is of the essence. Plans and Goals work hand in hand. To achieve your goals you need to plan accordingly because if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

  • Never Afraid to Fail.

Failure is what pushes every entrepreneur to succeed. Never give up after you experience any failure because failures are part of the process to succeed. Failure opens your eyes to what will not work which eventually leads you to what will work. Ask Thomas Edison.

  • Add Value.

In any niche you find yourself endeavor not to think of get-rich quick schemes rather think of how to add value; solve problems. This ensures people keep coming back for what you offer.

  • Work Smart and Work Hard.

As an entrepreneur you need smart work (Scheduling and Focus) and hard work (Persistence against all odds).

  • Expertise.

Become an expert in whatever you do and people will seek you out. This generates repeat business for you thereby making you a successful entrepreneur.

  • Invest in Yourself.

As an entrepreneur understand that education is never ending. Keep reading, attending courses, seminars and ask questions. This increases your know-how thereby making you add value.

  • Trust.

Build people’s trust for you and your business by being consistent and maintain a great reputation.

  • Adaptability.

Whether you decide to Pivot or Persevere you must be flexible and be able to adapt to the needed changes for your business to grow.

  • Competitive.

You should have the competitive drive to succeed as an entrepreneur because you will have competition in whatever niche you find yourself. Even if your business is so unique others will join you in that niche to compete with you. At every given time take into account what your competition is doing that makes them tick likewise know their mistakes and failures so you do not repeat same.

  • Time management.

This is a key factor in being a successful entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you find yourself wearing many hats (performing many roles). You need to have the ability to effectively manage time by doing the most important things first.

  • Discipline.

Successful entrepreneurs are a product of the training they gave their minds. They know where their business is going and they go all out to take it there. A mind that has not been trained to succeed cannot succeed. A disciplined mind does not throw in the towel after a setback neither does it entertain negativity.

  • Determination.

The will to succeed even when discouraged. As an entrepreneur you will face so many challenges beyond your control; unfavorable government policies, economic downturn, competitors that play dirty etc. it is your will to succeed that will keep you going.

  • Giving.

Do not just take, take and take also give. Give your time, money, advice and whatever you can to the community and smaller businesses alike.

If you feel you do not naturally possess most of these attributes do not fret because you can always learn them. Learning only stops when we die.

If there is an important attribute a successful entrepreneur should possess that I left out do feel free to comment. I respond to all comments and learn as well.