Tag - Success Strategies

Business idea is not a business opportunity

A Business Idea Is Not A Business Opportunity: The Difference

A business idea is not a business opportunity. Have you heard this before and thought well it can’t be true?

As a business owner or aspiring business owner repeat this to yourself for emphasis:

A business idea is not a business opportunity.

There are differences as you will see in a minute.

But first

What Is A Business Idea?

Every successful business starts with a powerful business idea. When establishing a business the first step is having an idea. Which anyone can come up with. So not just any idea but a promising one.

The characteristics of a promising business idea are:

  • Innovative – Has it been done before or are you improving on what’s been done?
  • Unique – What’s the USP (Unique Selling Point)? How’s it different from the competition’s? Does the value differentiate yours from your competition’s?
  • Problem solving – What problem does it help the customer solve? What does the client benefit?
  • Profitable – Will it earn money? Will it cover the costs and more? It has to be profitable on the long-term.

Business idea is not a business opportunity

  • Market – Is there a market for it? Are you creating a market? Will your created market willingly accept and adapt the idea? A promising business idea must offer a product or service that would be accepted by a large market.

Business Opportunity

The opportunity to make income as a business owner. It’s an existing and well packaged business investment that allows the buyer to profit from a business idea.

Elements of a business opportunity

  • A need.
  • The means to fulfill the need.
  • A method to apply the means to fulfill the need.
  • A method to benefit.

A business idea is not a business opportunity except it has been proven to make profit. Because an idea is just an idea till there’s return on investment (ROI). Then it evolves into an opportunity.

Though business ideas are innovative no one will continue to sponsor a money losing venture.

A business idea is not a business opportunity till it’s able to answer the following questions:

  • Will the product or service add significant value (benefits) to the end user?
  • How many people will buy the product/ service?
  • Will the business be profitable? Is there an apparatus in place to ensure the business breaks even and also makes profit within 12 months – 36 months?Business idea is not a business opportunity

 

  • Do you have the money to start and operate this business? Because the capital invested must be realistic and affordable for you.
  • Does it have the potential for residual income?
  • Does it have a low level of liability risk and high level of returns?
  • Will the business idea fit into the four basic capital factors: human capital (the staff you employ, skills and abilities you acquired during your career); sociological capital (your networks and support groups); psychological capital (your attitudes, values, opinions and beliefs); and financial capital.
  • Are you ready and willing to drive the business to success? You must be very enthusiastic.
  • Will it improve with time?
In Conclusion

Reading through this you have seen a business idea is not a business opportunity. Rather a business idea evolves into an opportunity.

So how does a business idea evolve into an opportunity? Through conducting market research on your idea, feasibility study, writing a business plan and working with a business team to ensure its success.

Do share your thoughts in the comments. 

4 Entrepreneur Decisions You Should Make To Be Successful

Entrepreneur decisions should never be overthought else you will never make headway.

In every success story, you will find someone who has made courageous entrepreneur decisions. — Peter F. Drucker.

As (aspiring) entrepreneurs what decisions are you struggling to make?

Entrepreneur Decisions

Crossroads in Decision Making

When I started catfish farming I used imported feed for the first 3 months then finish with self formulated feed. Overtime the cost tripled due to the exchange rate.

I had to decide if I would stick to either the imported, local or self formulated based on the results I got.

The price of the imported is now cut throat, the local also because they import additives and are competing with the imported. While the mill where I compound my self formulated feed also jacked their prices.

I had to decide which to stick to for costs cut.

I’ve had to make decisions as this and much more as an entrepreneur.

One of the characteristics of an entrepreneur is the ability to lead. And being a great leader entails the ability to make good decisions at the right time.

Entrepreneur Decisions

The decisions you make as an entrepreneur varies from stage to stage of your entrepreneurial journey.

1. The Launching Decision.

2. The Turning Point/ Pivot or Persevere Decision.

3. The Tipping Point or Delegation Decision.

4. The Letting Go or Succession Decision.

Which I further explain:

• The Launching Decision

You have a book of ideas tucked away somewhere. You feel it can solve a problem and also provide you some income.

This is the first of all the entrepreneur decisions you will make. Which is to become an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Decisions

Choices in Decision Making

You will need to decide if you want to leave paid employment or be a part time entrepreneur. This decision also entails others such as:

1. Is your solution a product or service?

2. Is there a market for it?

3. What’s your pricing strategy?

4. What’s your Unique Value Proposition (Unique Selling Point)?

5. You also need to decide on your Mission & Vision Statements, Tagline, Logo, Company Culture, Goals and Objectives.

6. What’s your customer acquisition strategy?

• The Turning Point/ Pivot or Persevere Decision.

This entails the decision you make to take your business to the next level.

The results of testing your idea will determine if you pivot or persevere. Also if you will continue being a solopreneur or if you will expand.

Expanding is one of the most strategic entrepreneur decisions you will make. It involves stepping out of your comfort zone at the right time.

Thereby culminating into decisions such as increasing product or service options, job benefits, hiring new staff or outsourcing jobs, job role and payment.

And determining new location and market’s interaction with your new product/ service.

You also need to decide if the internal workings of your business can sustain the expansion and if it’s not just a flash in the pan.

Also consider if your brand, market and price strategy aligns with the expansion? These are questions that will also lead to more entrepreneur decisions.

Entrepreneur Decisions

Strategy in Decision Making

A good example of this decision is the example I gave in the introduction of this post. I had to decide to cut costs so I can remain in business. It involved looking into my budget, cost and price strategy.

• The Tipping Point/ Delegation Decision.

At this point you have to decide to stop working in the business but on the business.

Prior to this you should have built a dependable team that can work in the business while you work on it.

Most entrepreneurs find it hard to delegate certain duties to others.

But you have to else you won’t have time to perform more leadership roles and generate ideas that can grow your business.

• The Letting Go/ Succession Decision

This is one of the most emotional entrepreneur decisions you will be required to make.

Letting go in business mostly refers to succession. What succession plans do you have in place? Is it your child(ren), family member, a staff or an outsider?

And other times it could mean a business gets acquired if no succession plan or it’s doing badly.

You have to decide if you want to remain in it or cash out after it’s acquisitioned/ merged.

This also includes:

1. Determining how much your business is worth.

2. Is the business still financially viable for you?

3. How much will you sell it?

4. Will you be retained or bought out?

5. Does the new owner(s) have the same vision as you?

In summary if you are the indecisive type partner with someone that doesn’t shy away from making decisions.

Because being an entrepreneur revolves around making decisions. And making them in time for that matter.

Conclusion

Being an entrepreneur involves being able to recognize a problem and solve it timely using the best possible solution.

Also the environment within which business is done evolves on a regular basis therefore it requires taking business decisions.

Are you ready to make these decisions? What other entrepreneur decisions have you made?

As (aspiring) entrepreneurs what decisions are you struggling to make?

I would love to hear from you in the comments!!!

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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Business Growth

Tips For Business Growth

As an entrepreneur you are constantly faced with the challenge of speed in your business growth. You listen/read so many tips and advice from all sorts of sources thinking if you just do all they said you will break out into the big leagues.

Exerting energy in the wrong direction takes you nowhere. Applying the wrong techniques will only stunt your business growth. Have you heard the saying a lot of people are going nowhere fast? Speed without direction is zero.

In this article I share tips that I read and tried out (still using) which actually aided my business growth. You can try them too.

Growing a business should not be a race most especially if you intend to leave behind a legacy rather it should be done systematically with planning and great organizational skills.
These tips will contribute positively to your business growth:

  • BE ORGANIZED AND ORDERLY
    There is nothing more systematic than being organized and orderly. Ensure you keep detailed and accurate record of everything; every document signed, transactions done and not done, receipts issued, complete data of every employee even applicants etc. Also ensure your goals are properly outlined into daily, weekly and monthly targets. You cannot measure business growth without goals. This makes it simpler and achievable.
  • BE CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE
    As an entrepreneur be open to new ideas. Innovation is the bedrock of entrepreneurship. If you feel you are not innovation savvy then get a team that is. Surround yourself with smart people; employ based on what they have to offer and not on who they know. This will only speed up your business growth.
  • RE-TARGET YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS
    Getting clients to do repeat business with you is far cheaper than what it costs to get new clients e.g. adverts, publicity etc. Applying the Pareto’s principle 20% of your clientele brings in 80% of your entire business earnings therefore it only makes sense to re-target your existing clients for your business growth.
  • NEVER NEGLECT COMPETITION
    Become a competitive entrepreneur. Look closely at your niche and pay close attention to what the influencers are doing then do something better or improvise on what has already been done. Monitor your competitors on all levels. Be all up in their business but not in a rude way and find out through questionnaires, suggestion boxes etc. why your customers prefer your competitors to you and work on improving on their concerns.
  • BE PREPARED AND TAKE CALCULATED RISKS
    Adequate preparation is a must for business growth. Ensure you have all it takes to meet up with demand for your products and services e.g. if you run a manufacturing business make sure your machinery is at top notch. Your methods, policies, procedures etc. should be such that allows for expansion on a short notice to meet up with the business growth.
  • PARTNER WITH COMPLEMENTARY BUSINESSES
    Work together with companies whose business complements yours that is it either completes or adds more value to yours e.g. if you own a PR company and you feel Social media is overwhelming for you then work together with companies that do Social media expertly on a full time basis.
  • STAY DETERMINED
    Have you heard the saying fake it till you make it? I am not saying lie; I am saying hang in there till you eventually get there. Being positive minded will get you to your destination faster than fear. Mentally see your business growth rather than give in to fear.
  • REGULARLY BE IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE
    Increase your online and offline presence either organically or otherwise (free or paid). As much as people have gotten to know your business offline there is a certain reach you can cover offline. You should use the opportunity social media offers to expand your business reach thereby expanding your business growth.
  • DIFFERENTIATE YOUR ACCOUNTS
    Never see your business account as same as your personal account. A lot of entrepreneurs fail to distinguish between their personal purse and the business purse thereby spending uncontrollably and in turn ruining the business. Rather pay yourself a certain amount as salary and use it to cover your personal expenses. Also always plan ahead for expenses so it does not catch you unawares.
  • CONNECT WITH CLIENTS
    As the business owner you ought to connect more with your clients and more often with the 20% that brings in 80% of your income. Be your brand ambassador because no one can explain your vision better than you.
  • MEASURE SUCCESS AND REWARD IT
    For business growth it is best you take into account what works and what is not working to make the necessary changes such as reassigning staff, letting them go, cost reduction etc. Success can be measured using questionnaires and interviews to find out what your customers feel about the products and services you have to offer. It is imperative to measure success and reward it; this reassures your staff and encourages them to do better.
  • DELEGATION
    Being good at one thing does not mean you can run an entire company by yourself. Once your business starts growing steadily employ capable hands to run the business efficiently. You perform excellently as a Sales person does not mean you will perform excellently as an Accounts, Operations or HR person. When starting out it is better you use contract staff to reduce costs such as salaries, allowances, taxes etc.
  • FOCUS AND CONSISTENCY

Focus on your vision and chase it relentlessly. Focus on your clients and ensure you do not lose sight of what they expect to get from                 your business. Focus on the development of each product and service before diversifying. Make a mark by consistently hitting a                           target.

Please feel free to share tips that have aided your business growth with our readers 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.