BusinessDay

Top ways entrepreneurs can win in a tough business environment

The Nigerian business environment is challenging and entrepreneurs have to find new ways to combat these hurdles or risk losing their market.

Looking through different successful entrepreneurship books by authors such as Chris Omoijiade, Fred Mouawad and Neil Patel, there are more than a dozen ways entrepreneurs can stay ahead.

Discover and understand your why

What has kept and grounded successful entrepreneurs is that they discovered their Why. In business, because it is so tough you are going to come across times that you will have everything that has to do with business. Everybody will go through crazy times asking why they did not invest their time and money in something else. According to Omoijiade, your why is your anchor and foundation. It is the essence of why you do what you do and understanding it, is critical in starting your journey has an entrepreneur. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. You must have a driving force inside of you because that is what is going to keep you till the next morning,” he said.

Do some soul-searching.

Before starting a new business venture, you have spend time to reflect on your passions, intentions and how your ideal company should look like. “Your startup is an embodiment of your whole and a reflection of your beliefs,” Mouawad explains.

Build a winning team

One of the only ways to excel in business is to build a winning team. You cannot excel or get far alone. You cannot be a successful entrepreneur if you don’t build a strong and solid team. Many entrepreneurs are struggling because they don’t have a winning team but rather build things by themselves. When you build a business where employees and stakeholders realize that the business is part of the parcel of what they are, it will succeed. One of the reasons business fail is because employees feel that they don’t have a stake in that business. Many times we feel that it is just giving them salaries but it goes beyond that. That is why you need to put the structures in place to make them feel important and part of the business.

 Plan your finances

Most entrepreneurs use thir saving to start their business and in most cases it is risky. That is why you need a plan to minize it. Plan out your finances in the beginning and try to stick to it, but know that the plan will have to be adapted along the way.

Pick the right type of business.

Don’t just pick the right business; also pick the characteristics of the industry you’re selecting. In some industries, everyone is cordial and friendly while in others tough talk is the norm industries require you to be formal and understand traditions. Some depend on your ability to form personal connections with customers. Consider whether all aspects of the business will be a good fit for you.

There is no free lunch, be ready for opportunities

Entrepreneurs who want to build a business empire or get ahead are those who are ready to pay the price. There is no free lunch. Many businesses struggle a lot because they are not thought through and know that there is a price to pay. You need to understand that you must pay the price in so many ways.

Build products and services for the market, not yourself

You are not in the business for yourself but others. In mapping out those products and processes, you must ensure that you are not just thinking for yourself. You cannot push products in the market and expect it to be successful. You can fill the pulse in the market by listening to your customers. You set up a business based on the needs of people. Develop the art of listening to the market and get feedback. Ask the right questions to your customers to get the right answers.

Embrace risk

The definition of an entrepreneur is someone that can take risks. Many times we find people who are very conscious and want to get ahead in their business but are not willing to take a risk. Such people are not entrepreneurs but self-employed. You can’t get far without risks.

Stay ahead of trends or set the trends

There are a lot of people who get lost in their present situation and are not following the treads of the industry and the world. The world is moving at such a fast pace that is why you must keep up otherwise you will be crushed. Keep your eyes out for the trends and know what is making the world tick. Once you can discover that, you are in business.

 Leverage on technology

If you don’t leverage technology, your business will go extinct. In your operations, how much are you leveraging on technology, are you constantly dishing out things and thinking that this is going to remain the same? There is a strong need for technology in our modern business space. For you to scale to a level you want to, you must leverage technology.

Keep your eye on the future.

It is not easy to run a business, that is why it is easy to lose your focus for a long lasting business. “Build an advisory board to provide you with additional external perspective.” Mouawad recommends.

Mouawad also recommends thinking through your exit strategy–as a seven-time entrepreneur, this is probably always top-of-mind for him. “Do you plan to sell the company, pass it on to the next generation, or go public?” he asks. Thinking through your exit options “forces you to evaluate your company–and figure out how to increase its value,” he says.

Stand out in a world of too many similarities

A lot of us are part of what is called “ a wandering generality”. You follow what everyone else is doing instead of you to be a meaningful specific. Your desire to be distant, special, irreplaceable and unique means that you must refuse to be average. If you are distant in the way you do your business, your customers will come around.

Develop emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the capacity for you to be aware, control and express your emotions. People take this aspect for granted. Not even a day or a week is sufficient enough for you to develop emotional intelligence.

Omoijiade emphasied that emotional intelligence has been rated as one of the top scaled for you to move ahead in life. “The ability for you to understand and control yourself and also express yourself to others can make a difference in your business between success and failure. Some people have succeeded and failed because of emotional intelligence,” he said.

Invest in personal development and build personal communication and interpersonal skills

There is no successful businessman that sells only to himself. Dealing with people and how you relate with them will show how successful your business is. Once you are in the business of selling, developing these skills is very important.