By Dennis Omukunde
It is always a dream come true to set up a business venture and see it scale the heights of entrepreneurial excellence. However, there are certain precepts that one may fail to take into account which usher unprecedented challenges. Correspondingly, these challenges can be mitigated appropriately through certain principles that ought to be observed from the very onset of establishing the start up.
Problem 1; Organization
One among the many pitfalls that many entrepreneurs encounter is lack of proper entrepreneurial-business organization. This entails the basic structure of the business from its initial stages. As an entrepreneur seeks to establish his/her venture there are certain question that he/she has to respond to appropriately:
• What kind of business do I intend to set up?
• What is my target market?
• What products or services do I seek to offer them?
• What profit am I likely to make and at what margin?
• How good is my book and record keeping as well as my managerial skills?
• What does the future behold for my business venture? Will I de-localize it or am I going to be at the same position?
To respond to the above questions, the entrepreneur ought to structure a business plan. This will serve as a blueprint in the establishment of the business. It identifies the business in its respective facets: the type of business, target customers, the products or services it will be offering, mode of funding from its onset, by who, and what are the modalities involved i.e. is it from personal savings or through a loan acquired from the bank, what offices shall the business start up have in respect to the roles that have to be acted upon starting from the entrepreneur who is the Manager to the attendant who serves the customers, how shall the book of accounts and records be kept of which it will be prudent the entrepreneur to have sufficient knowledge and mastery on balancing basic/simple books of account to perfectly know the profit accrued, at what margin and what is the rate of stock turn over at a specific time frame. Likewise, what does the entrepreneur expect from his/her business after a given period of time?
Problem 2; Market research
The second drawback entrepreneurs stumble upon is failure to meet/satisfy customers’ expectation. This rests mainly on the customers’ dynamic tastes and preferences. A classic example that I relate to in one way or another is a friend/neighbor sets up a kiosk where it was non-existent and other two or more people within the same neighborhood/shopping center or locality go ahead to set up the same business offering the same product or services. It is indeed frustrating and disappointing to the customers because some polarity within the market has been created resulting in preference for the first kiosk and consideration of the rest as a last resort.
This begs to questions why entrepreneurs are not inventive and innovative.
To successfully curve a niche in any market an entrepreneur ought to establish a start up that offers a new product or service which is of better quality. However, the prospective entrepreneur should conduct a market a research on what is present in the market, interact with his/her prospective customers on what is lacking in the market and what they equally need. This gives the entrepreneur a wide pool of choices on what to offer and how to achieve it, all this in the best interests of the prospective customers. Likewise, he must have a target market whom he/she meets all their needs holistically. Once this is achieved the entrepreneur can go ahead to seek for feedback from his/her customers mainly to improve his/her products or services, offer complimentary services such as after sale services. This gives a customer all the reasons to be loyal to that business enterprise regardless of its size.
Problem 3: Management/Leadership skills
Sadly, successful start ups are very few because of poor management skills applied in the business. In as much as the entrepreneur is the manager of the business he/she ought to remember that all the successes and failures of the business are upon him/her. However, with all the risks he/she takes it is prudent to practice good management skills by leading from the front, understanding the start up inclusively in terms of its strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
Starting with the basics an entrepreneur should strive to establish a proper employer-employee relationship that is founded on business ethics. This encourages high levels of productivity in all spheres of the start up which becomes a force to reckon with in the society considering that with its high productivity it is able to give back to the society and build the community too. Similarly, the business maintains significant relevance to its customers in view of the fact that as the entrepreneur relates well with his/her employees the business strives an everlasting association with its customers since it has earned the necessary market share it needed.
Problem 4: What next?
After the business venture is up and running, operating smoothly with rising profits and increased rates of stock turnover an imperative question of interest to the entrepreneur is, what next for the business?
I believe the true hallmark of entrepreneurial success from such a beginning is de-localizing the initial venture and opening another one (a branch) somewhere else. This challenges the entrepreneur to be thorough and meticulous for the second time with no room for mistakes. Once this is considered the business is stable enough and one can relax and as money works for him/her.