Just about everyday we come across the word ‘entrepreneur’, either some local saleswoman is calling herself an entrepreneur or we are hearing about top entrepreneurs who have achieved a lot in this world already so even the less educated in the society are well aware of the term ‘entrepreneur’ but it is easy to understand that there is a big difference between Dangote and your local rice seller, both are entrepreneurs but why is one way above the other? Why is one expanding his business while the other remains relatively stagnant although she may have a lot of customers? These are reasons behind this piece where we will attempt to master the Dos and DONTs of an entrepreneur. As a background to our study an entrepreneur, according to the new Webster’s Dictionary of English Language is one who undertakes to start and conduct an enterprise or business, assuming full control and risk. So a poor man collates his available income and goes into subsistence farming and describes himself as an entrepreneur, you may laugh but he is actually spot on. However all shoes are not of equal sizes, some entrepreneurs are way higher than others not exactly because they all didn’t start from the same level, building their business from the scratch but because there are a few sacrifices that you must make if you intend to have a fruitful business life which some adopt while others are too conservative to try them out. It is quite understandable that most people would rather maintain the status quo so long as their business is providing enough food on the table then the talk about expansion can wait for another day but people like that are always likely to end up with dwindling businesses so if you,as an aspiring entrepreneur wants to make the most of your opportunities then there are things you should do and others that you should never attempt. We have narrowed these down into the Dos and Don'ts of an entrepreneur Dos: Mainly the ideas here are things you may have heard already a thousand times too, but let us look at how to implement then properly.
1) WORK HARD: Yes, you may see top entrepreneurs who take three weeks or even more off work to go on vacation with their families but try to ask them if they had such an opportunity when they were still building and you would hear a resounding NO. Hard work is not just a catalyst it is the main ingredient and without it nobody can even dream of being successful. Hard work entails going that extra mile, working for that extra hour even when your body seems too tired to move, but care should be taken that one does not work above the limits of the human system, however any sacrifice made towards the achievement of success is less likely to ever be regretted. 2) EXPAND: The idea behind expansion is a board one which would include a lot of other DOS as the case may be. To expand a business requires a proper analysis of all the options available to you and then picking the right one. A commercial farmer in the East cannot just decide to start planting yam which is not suitable to the type of soil found in the East, that would not be expansion that would be a meaningless risk but he can decide to start rice cultivation and other similar things that are adept to the East, even if it means charting unguarded territories such as animal husbandry. Expansion requires a lot of tactical analysis with a definite business model in mind. Bringing it down to the normal roadside entrepreneur, just because your current business is keeping enough money on the table does not mean that there is no need to expand. You could be a computer operator with a blossoming business, then try to open up a confectionery store to supplement and from there on you might even add a printing press. But whenever you get the opportunity endeavor to expand your business. In general expansion requires proper planning. 3) SAVE: Without backup profit any business is almost likely to crash. Eventually every business must have it’s low times when it would seem like you are putting in a lot of money and getting a little in return, also every business would have a period when it would appear that you are putting in little and getting a lot. The idea behind this is to save enough money from the hey days so as to balance out the bad days. This principle is similar to what was applied by Joseph in the bible. At times you may have to forego a lot of things so you can save but it is absolutely necessary as a single Naira you save could be the difference between your business going forward and it going down. Saving also precedes expansion, you cannot expand if you do not save for it. In general as an entrepreneur you need to cut out some unnecessary expenses such as owning fleet of cars if it means saving up enough income to maintain your business. 4) BE FLEXIBLE: Rigidity or conservatism has been the bane of many an entrepreneur. Let us assume you have a farmland and even before you were born people were implementing shifting cultivation on the land but a proper analysis of the land shows that you could easily adopt an intensive farming method and still get better results, in this case flexibility could be the difference between a blooming empire and a failed enterprise. As an entrepreneur you should be willing and ready to challenge the status quo, anything that does not work is not worth maintaining, anything that works, even for other people should be adopted. However, flexibility does not mean that you should change everything at the word go, rather small changes at a time would limit the shock of excessive changes over time. 5) EDUCATE YOURSELF: Disclaimer, this does not exactly mean going to school. Education simply means gaining knowledge and as an entrepreneur this can be achieved through various means, reading newspapers for one could enlighten you on grants provided by federal government for SMEs while watching television shows could expose you to new ways of utilizing a sowing machine to achieve even greater results. You need not be formally educated to achieve a lot but nobody can deny that you need education to stay up to date with the recent goings on in the country. A smart entrepreneur who pays steady attention to the stock market could decode rare commodities and may work towards importing or producing those rare commodities, creating a monopoly and earning a lot from that, so constant education and acquisition of knowledge is required to maintain a strong foothold in business. 6) BE PRAYERFUL: I do not believe that prayer alone will turn a lazy man into a millionaire but it would be foolishness to deny the fact that prayer can be the difference between two equally hardworking men. Prayer could expose you to different dimensions that you may have not even attempted to venture into before while also protecting you from natural disasters such as fire outbreaks and others, these are usually the mainly destroyers or promising businesses. Maintaining a healthy relationship with God, therefore is paramount to achieving success as an entrepreneur.
THE DONTS: These are similarly intertwined. Doing one thing that you are not supposed to be doing can lead you into yet another thing that you shouldn’t be doing either. These are usually the business killers and are summarized subsequently.
1) RUN YOUR BUSINESS AS A DAY JOB: Some people tend to believe that their business is just there to put food on the table without any real strategy aimed at developing or growing the business, to them so long as it provides a roof over their heads they are okay with it’s current position. This limits you to very little achievement if any and would easily prevent you from reaching the set targets and eventually when any form of disaster may strike you will end regretting the lack of expansion 2) REMAIN PRIMITIVE: We have a lot of technological inventions that could make the day to day running of your enterprise a joy to behold. Some have easily inculcated the use of computers and other such inventions in their day to day running and as an entrepreneur you should be ready to adopt new things that will propel your business. There is no point explaining over and again that computers are immense to the growth and running of business, while electronic medias are strong advert options w rather easy to learn venture and keep on making your money? 3) Finally DO NOT BE SEASONAL: Seasonal entrepreneurs are those who work hard during the seasons and drag back during the off season. They only become core entrepreneurs when the promise of profit is great but drag back when they think that there is nothing to be gained at that point. It is then easy to understand why a tailor’s shop remains the same every year because they are only after the excessive profit they can make during the ‘seasons’. Entrepreneurs who have the intention if making it big should endeavor to abhor this seasonal approach to business. In conclusion, opportunities abound for aspiring entrepreneurs but this can only be tapped by those who are willing to work hard, foregoing a lot of benefits so as to make their mark in the business world.