On the lessons I learnt from the failure of an entrepreneur, top on the series is the 3 fundamentals to consider before starting your business. They are:
Have a good relationship with yourself
Have a good relationship with your team
Have a good relationship with your market/alliances
This has to do with having a psyche reset and being one with yourself to ensure you succeed in business.
Be deliberate in planning and execution.
Sam Ikoku who was the Keynote speaker at the Entrepreneurship BaseCamp, continued by advising that you, as an entrepreneur must have a business model and let your team deliver on that model rather than a business plan.
When it comes to staffing, I learnt that you can't just hire people who most of their value to you is occupying your office space and greeting you "Goodmorning sir/ma" as you walk in, then towards the end of every month, you look lean and anxious because of bills and salaries.
Hahahahaha…that scenario is so typical.
I still have friends who believe that the first thing to do when you want to start a business is to get an office, pay the rent, hire staff who resume work daily, and pronto business has started!
Hire only people you need and when you need them.
That my method of hiring CEOs or freelancers and working with them on partnership basis, is great. You'd spend less and get more.
When you have a partnership deal with your 'new improved team', work with them through idea prototyping, and they'd be committed to your work even more because they'd feel a sense of ownership. That means you must carry them along in your plans and concepts, asking for their ideas and inputs as you go.
Sam taught that instead of hiring people you may not need ALL THE TIME, you can easily coordinate your team virtually with video conferencing techniques no matter where they are in the world.
Very importantly, he advised that entrepreneurs should share profit with these people – their partners. Such a value adding team is as important as having a great Board of Directors.
On getting customers and retaining them to becoming clients; Referrals he said, are best. My businesses have benefited a lot from this method; I don't think I could have still been in business without it.
Truth is, people always buy from people they 'like' or know. That's why Sam Ikoku said you must learn to turn people who benefit from your service into your business evangelists. Use the referral reward system. Yes, genuinely reward people who refer customers to you. That way you can effectively turn your business to a referral machine.
On properly coordinating your business, he 'propounded' the use of the principle of pre-eminence. This ensures that you never work IN your business, but work ON it. When you work IN it, you'd be consumed with the day to day drudgery of work and may not be able to have oversight and develop scaleable techniques to grow the business.
This sounds like a joke abi?
The truth is that most Nigerian business owners never open more branches or increase their product line because they are involved IN their businesses through life.
The things I learnt eh, you will believe can last a lifetime of prosperous businesses.
Did I tell you that it was in the Entrepreneurship Basecamp that I really understood the clear difference between 'clients' and 'customers'. This babe ain't ashamed to learn ooo. It hit me like day and night kind of clarity.
He made me understand for the first time that Clients are returning customers. You must ensure that you don't just have only one-off buyers (customers) but a range of clients by looking out for their welfare beyond sales and payment. He said it clearly that it is Clients that sustain your business, Customers cannot. Enough said!
On your services/product offering, he advised you make your suppliers and even competitors your partners. Yes, never try to own everything. On your services / product quality, ensure they are BETTER before they are Cheap. Maintain quality. Think of revenue that should accrue before thinking of cost. Your customers and clients won't mind.
Make your business more of a BRACELET than BANGLE, don't be rigid. Adapt to market and economic trends. Think Global, start local – Glocalisation. You must not get customers from scratch, you can get them from other businesses that don't need them. Many light bulb ideas in this paragraph! Did you grasp the ideas?
Oya, hit me with questions. Or send you your suggestions or what you are currently doing with some of the ideas I've shared!