Every successful business started with an idea. Just one idea. There are many business opportunities in Nigeria. In starting a business, all you need is one of these opportunities to transform yourself into the next Nigerian entrepreneur.
In an earlier article, I shared with you 7 tips to develop business ideas. However, the most profitable business ideas in the world are not going to make you money if you don’t act on them. David Allen said in his book, Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – never allow yourself to have the same good idea twice.
The moment you have a great startup idea, the next and wisest thing to do is to take action and commence your journey to become a successful entrepreneur. So how exactly do you turn your idea into a lucrative business startup? Consider these 6 steps.
1. Believe in yourself
The prospect of starting a business and all the responsibilities that come with it could seem daunting at times. Suddenly you realize you are in charge of your own self. Your business could succeed or fail and it all rests on your shoulders. But you must never stop believing that you can do it. The people who succeeded before you did not have any extra bit of luck; they did their due diligence. They planned, they prepared and they believed in themselves. Read the biographies of every prosperous person both past and present and they would be telling you the same thing. Believe in yourself and go out and launch your business.
This is one of the most important exercises you will ever undertake to ensure the success of your business startup. The person who fails to plan, plans to fail. You hear it all the time and it’s true. What is your business goal? What problems does your business aim to solve? What’s the startup cost? What’s your expected revenue? How long should it take to break even? Your plan should include answers to these questions and more.
3. Assess the resources at your disposal
How much money do you expect to commit to your business? Do you have the network you need to make it happen? How much time and energy are you willing to commit to your business? If you have a job, you might not commit the same amount of work hours to your baby business as the unemployed. Getting this out of the way lets you know where you stand and how long it’ll take your business to break even.
4. Analyze your options for finance
Every business needs capital for take-off or sustainability. The issue of raising capital is one every aspiring entrepreneur faces at one point or another. There are many options available to raise capital for your baby startup. It is important to analyze those options and make sure they will hold before you set out to register your business name.
I realize how serious the issue of finance could be and so I have written articles on how to raise capital for your startup, how to find angel investors willing to invest in your business, how to create a winning pitch deck to get the funding you seek from investors, and I have also profiled one Nigerian investor in particular who is waiting to hear your business idea and possibly invest in it.
5. Register your business/company name
If you plan to build a strong business, your business needs to be registered, really. Many people neglect this step out of ignorance and shortage of funds sometimes, but in the long run you benefit more from registering your business name than running a business that does not exist. Here is everything you need to know about why and how to register your company with the CAC.
6. Study your target audience before starting a business
Find out everything you can about your target market. Understand their buying habits, culture, beliefs, basically everything. It’ll save you a lot in marketing and advertising cost. And you will make fewer mistakes down the road. The way people do business has changed a lot over time. Before, companies created a product, then looked for customers. These days, you find your customers and then you create a product to suit them.
7. Create and build your brand
Most new startups focus on making profits immediately at the cost of brand building. In starting a business it is more important to focus on building a brand than on making money immediately. You will make money in the long run if you plan and execute well. Your brand is what sticks with people. Create your logos, write your unique selling proposition. Think of MTN, Everywhere you go; Nike, Just Do It; Cowbell, Our Milk; Peak; It’s in You, etc. these are all strong brands and you want to have a strong resilient brand just like them. Brand building takes time, wisdom and effort but it will be well worth it in the end.
Starting a business is not easy, especially in Nigeria. But it’s fun and rewarding. I would love to hear your success stories and answer your questions about your business startup. Comment.
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