I began my career in financial services and this exposed me to all kinds of entrepreneurs, giving me a deep understanding of what drives them and what they need to be successful. My involvement in the E4Impact Foundation MBA programme (https://e4impact.org/) provided further opportunities for me to be engaged in entrepreneurship eduation and SME business operations.
One of the things I noticed about entrepreneurs is that they have the same grit, commitment, and passion no matter what kind of businesses they start or how big those businesses grow. The entrepreneurial journey is bumpy and draining and, on the way, you will always encounter some challenges but it all depends on the will and zeal of not giving up. My business lessons for entrepreneurs include the following:
Once you have decided on the type of venture you want to start, the next step on the road to business success is figuring out where the money will come from to fund it. Where do you start? How do you start and when do your start? Before your business will breakeven (or even just profitable), you need to find a way to finance its birth. Most people opt for loans or other sources to fund their business, however, the best place to begin is by looking in the mirror. Self-financing is the number-one form of financing used by most business startups. Self-funding your own business has less pressure and helps you learn fast as you are accountable for your actions.
Having the right team is important is one of the most important decisions every entrepreneur should consider during the business ideation and brainstorming. My advice is that as an employer or a business person you need to bring on board people who understand the brand and are willing to share into your brand vision. Hiring the right people is crucial for the success of your business and that's why entrepreneurs should have a formal hiring process in place when looking for new staff. Also look for people who fit into your company culture, and always look beyond the CV.
Network with the right people:
In today’s competitive marketplace, relationships and networks are critical asset. Networking with the right people will help position your business in a competitive environment and help generate leads for customers and key partners. Your network serves not only as a lead source for new business, but as a sounding board, a support system, and a news source. Your ability to manage and nurture your network can become a valuable part of your brand arsenal, allowing you to enhance and advance your reputation.
Manage your business finances and Accounts well:
Knowing and understanding the state of your financial affairs is the best way to make sure the cash keeps flowing. Staying on top of your finances means you can avoid unforeseen business debt and have enough money to invest in and grow your business. This also helps one ensure that they do not get into trouble with the authorities when it comes to issues around tax evasion.
Ensure you have a Social Media presence and visibility:
There are now over 4.2 billion active social media users, which is almost twice as many as there were just five years ago. Those users usually spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media channels every single day. There is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to digitized their businesses and position themselves online. Some of the opportunities include building brand awareness, developing customer relationships, and making sales directly through social media platforms. A solid social media strategy can help drive growth for the entrepreneur's businesses and developing lasting and loyal relationships with their prospective and potential customers.
Find mentors and offer mentorship where necessary:
Mentoring for entrepreneurs will ensure knowledge, experience, and hard-won insight transfer over time. Having an experienced mentor at your disposal is one of the most powerful assets any business person can have to improve upon their skills and growth of their business. I will advise entrepreneurs to have a mentor who will help them grow their business as well as encourage them on their journey.
University of Professional Studies Accra