10 Reasons Why Now Is the Right Time to Become an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship offers our government the opportunity to create more employment opportunities for its citizens. There are many challenges that face an entrepreneur in our country but with the right strategies at hand, we can overcome the challenges. The alleviation of such problems will create an ample environment for the thriving of entrepreneurship. The availability of capital is one of the reasons that limit the entrepreneurs from starting their businesses. The access to finances for capital in Nigeria through many financial institutions might be deemed as a daunting task to many but there is a wide range of funders ready to offer support to young Nigerian Entrepreneurs. However, to get funding, a number of requirements must be met.

The problem of lack of funders has been partly solved through the emergence of Nigerian angel investors and venture capitalists that invest and ask for returns on investment on the venture and at the same time are involved in the management of the venture partly. This is advantageous since the entrepreneur may acquire additional skills from the investors. The returns that are required can be rates of up to 30% on the capital employed. Other organizations such as NGOs and the Nigerian Investing Commission also encourage entrepreneurs to venture into this line of business.

Nigeria is bracing itself up to shape the future beyond oil manufacturing and this is in fact part of the national agenda. This makes now the best time to invest in entrepreneurship. The oil industry has been dominating the economy by contributing way over 80 per cent earnings on export not forgetting its 50 percent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of our country. Given that majority of Nigerians are unemployed and considering the current economic realities, we as a country have a great need of constant job creation. Our commercial and industrial sectors have to be diversified as well.

In comparison to other West African countries such as Benin, Ghana, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger and Senegal, Nigeria is the most efficient in the implementation of adopted reforms aiming at improving the business environment for entrepreneurs. A research carried by Gallup in the year 1998 showed that 67% of Nigerians were considering opening and running businesses. This presents the highest rates in these West African counties. In contrast to other countries in West Africa, the awareness of entrepreneurship among the populous is higher in Nigeria placed at 44%. This means that entrepreneurship is more easily taken up by our country as opposed to the other countries in the western Africa region.

The assurance of our entrepreneurs in the accessibility of a competent work force is another reason why more citizens should consider entrepreneurship as an excellent business idea. Venturing into the entrepreneurs hip business in the country assures our entrepreneurs have a skilled labor force to carry out their work. As many as 75% of the Nigerians feel that they can find qualified wok force that can perform different tasks and that can enable ventures to run successfully when given the chance to.

In comparison to other countries, the copyright laws are not keenly respected by many and this denies many entrepreneurs their hard earned money. This may discourage entrepreneurs when they are investing for fear of diminished returns due to piracy. According to a study conducted by Gallup, 60% of the residents of Nigeria believe that the government has the capacity to protect the intellectual rights of the entrepreneurs together with the property that our entrepreneurs might encompass during their business lifeline. With our government bracing itself to protect the intellectual rights of our people, now is the best time to come up with new business ideas and engage in successful entrepreneurship.

The promise for higher returns is eminent in our country. This coupled with the assurance of financial success should act as a stimulant to the uptake of entrepreneurship instead of staying unemployed. Moreover, 50% of the Nigerians have confidence that our government will allow the entrepreneur to include as much wealth as they can in their ventures. This is based on the research conducted by Gallup in the year 1998. This gives the entrepreneur the incentive to venture into business and enjoy the returns.

Many West African countries have high unemployment rates of up to 70 to 80 percent. This has been further affected by the current world crisis that is causing massive job loses through out the world. The statistics released by the Nigerian education ministry show that over 60% of the graduates do not get employment immediately after school. They posses the skills but do not have the employment opportunity to put their skills into productive use. This gives the reason why most of our graduates should venture into entrepreneurship and become self employed instead of relying on other corporations for employment. This also offers our entrepreneurs the chance of being their own bosses resulting in the suppleness of the staff employed and in return creating job satisfaction. The economic growth of our country is uplifted as more employment activities are created and the level of unemployment is drastically reduced. The Nigerian investing commission has brought up programmes to help many obtain the required skills to achieve successful entrepreneurship.

Transformation of the different sectors by the Nigerian government resulted in the liberalization of the economy allowing for entrepreneurs to endeavor into various ventures. These opportunities present our entrepreneurs with the opportunity to access enhanced services. The sectors affected by this include the telecommunication sector which has led to the improvement in the information flow between businesses thus spiraling growth of many businesses. Further infrastructural development should provide our entrepreneurs with the necessary infrastructure for conducting business without any difficulties.

Our government’s introduction of a program that aims at encouraging the exports and reduction of imports has lead to the proliferation of the opportunities that are available for our entrepreneurs. The Nigerian government has also established close ties with other western countries such as the United States and Europe to necessitate such trade. This export program offers a wide market for goods and services that an entrepreneur produces and offers for sale. This guarantees the production of high quality for both the export market and the local internal Nigerian market.

Nigerian entrepreneurs can enjoy the benefit of lower taxes that is offered by the government through tax incentives that include lower taxes, tax exemptions and enhanced price ceilings. This allows our entrepreneurs to enjoy the returns on the capital they employ on the investments that they undertake.

Nigeria is progressively trying to incorporate modern-day technology into various government sectors. This came into scrutiny with the exploit of the internet which has been integrated into the edification system. The revolution in information technology offers numerous opportunities and loads of our entrepreneurs are capable of taking advantage of this to launch their business enterprises into the worldwide arena. This is possible through internet affiliate marketing and hosting of websites. Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises most of which fall in the informal sector offer a wide range of business opportunities that can boost our economy to greater heights. What remains now is for our government to offer more support and encourage young entrepreneurs and the already existing ones to enhance the competitiveness and quality of Nigerian businesses.

Owner-Management-Skills and Knowledge – Your Second Test As an Entrepreneur

The Global Entrepreneurial Monitor’s (GEM) report 2013-14 findings demonstrate the difficulty entrepreneurs face across the globe. Now in its fifteenth year, the report covers each region in the world encompassing 70 economies be they developing, semi-developed or developed (e.g. termed Factor- Driven; Efficiency-Driven and Innovation-driven in the report) old (Source- Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2014 by Jose Ernesto Amoros, Niels Bosma and Global Entrepreneurship Research Association [GERA].

Over the fifteen years GEM has been going, one finding repeated itself- the vast majority of nascent entrepreneurs (also known as early-stage entrepreneurs) globally – involved in setting up a business – fail. It means they never become owner-manager of a new business (up to 3.5 years old) or advance to become owner-manager of an established business, more than 3.5 years]).

The finding raises a question: What makes it so difficult to start a small business and ensure moving to the owner-manager of an established business stage?

GEM report cites reasons as per comment by the entrepreneurs themselves! Starting and discontinuing a business – in the eyes of business-owner – boils down to an unprofitable business, problems getting finance and personal reasons. Financial issues (unprofitable businesses or problems obtaining finance) remain the most important reason mentioned for business discontinuation in the majority of economies, also in other stages of economic development.

Finance – the lack thereof is understandable. The rate of business discontinuance is highest in the factor-driven economies -mainly in Sub-Saharan African economies – where high level poverty is common.

Extrapolating from GEM findings, in some – mainly-innovation-driven economies – a significant share of entrepreneurs who discontinued owning and managing their business did so for reasons such as selling the business as it had value, the opportunity to get a good job; and for some, an improvement in their personal situation.

Many entrepreneurs who managed to stay afloat will tell a prospective small business owner they are still trying as hard as they could – each and every day – to survive; let alone getting into a position to turn their business into something with a high market value ready for selling. They would also agree on the energy needed to manage a business spending many hours early mornings and late evenings.

Seasoned entrepreneurs would warn against learning as you grow along the business life cycle.

It is important to work hard and smart. Few small businesses can afford a team of specialized staff, forcing the business-owner to become multi skilled.

Discussed are key owner-management functions a prospective and going entrepreneur face from a skills and knowledge point of view.

Managing a small business warrants a holistic approach comprising at least the following.

  1. Administration

Administration is often underestimated. Main types (they exclude the often cumbersome inherent tasks to each) include: Bookkeeping and other financial administration, cost accounting and administration, finance and credit administration, payroll administration, production administration, purchasing administration, quality administration and control, sales administration, and inventory administration.

Other forms of administration: Quoting administration, costing administration, debt administration, client databases and Complaints administrations.

Some of these administrative tasks would be very relevant to your type of business and industry, others less!

Finding a way to learn more about administration skill and knowledge is advised as you prepare for a venture.

  1. Communication

You will found yourself communicating with many different types of people. Audiences will include customers, the bank manager, suppliers, creditors (those you owe money), debtors (those that owe you money) and others.

If not a natural speaker or compiling documentation, then there is need to consider how to overcome these weaknesses! Daily running of a business entails answering telephones, doing presentations to customers, negotiation with bank managers for an extended overdraft, negotiation with creditors for more time and negotiation with debtors to pay outstanding invoices! Writing, oral and presentation skills are important.

Finding a way to learn more about business communication skill and knowledge is advised as you prepare for a venture.

  1. Financial

Failure at managing a business financially could potentially mean failing before the venture had a chance to move into a growth cycle. Many business owners opt to make an accountant (given they can afford one), financial manager! While the accountant could be a valuable source of advice the entrepreneur should learn how to take financial decisions based on financial data.

Entrepreneurs, more often than not, do not have formal training in fundamental bookkeeping, or in financial management. Managing finances even at a basic level is a very challenging task.

Entrepreneurs would find yourself trying to master at least the following: Profit planning, costing of products and services, sales planning (revenue) balancing it with expenses and possible taxes, general ledger, accounts receivable ledger, accounts payable ledger, general journal, sales book, cash book (or their equivalents) and regular books of account

Accountants would at the end of the financial year consolidate all financial data and present the business owner with financial statements to enable submission of tax returns.

Entrepreneurs are advised to master basic accounting and managing finances.

  1. Human-resources

Business-owners surviving harsh times to grow later will end up with a few staff members. Once the entrepreneur gets to that stage he (or she) would have to manage people and the following: Employee contracts and role description, introduce staff to their environment (induction training), training for workers, practice of Labour legislation, fair discipline and how to address disobedience, high morale and positive attitude, production levels, recruitment and selection- getting the right people, staff benefits, staff demands and staff planning generally

By learning more about these tasks the entrepreneurs prepare itself for the day they would need the knowledge. The internet provides a wealth of information and examples of human resources management in a small business setting.

Which bring one to a crucial skill, information-technology!

  1. Info-technology

Entrepreneurs find themselves in an age of information. Tools are needed to manage waves of information from outside the business.

Each and every aspect of business is related in some way or another to information and the technology linked to it. First and foremost there is the issue of computer skill and use of software programmes (as many as one could, always relevant to your business).

If fortunate enough to afford a personal assistant to take care of tasks on the computer, this would still not exonerate entrepreneurs from being equally skilled at using this technology.

Business owners find themselves many hours behind the computer long after the assistant has gone home.

Entrepreneurs are advised to master computer skill and software to run its business more effectively!

  1. Legal

Entrepreneurs will gradually find themselves learning more about the legal side of a business as legal advice and assistance are costly.

Entrepreneur come across at least the following related to the laws of the country you find yourself in, including: Registration of your business with the relevant authorities (unless you operate as a sole proprietor), Income tax registration, company taxes and registration with relevant Labour authorities

Legal areas that have an impact on the business including (among many others potentially): Income Tax Acts, Labour legislation Acts, trade licences, product liability Acts, environmental Acts, standards for products and services, Usury Act, information Acts and consumer Acts

Regarding contracts (in addition to all of the above)! Entrepreneur should be able to read, interpret and analyse contracts. Identifying potential pitfalls is important. One could turn to a legal expert for advice, but would there be capital to cover fees for each smallish business deal?

Entrepreneurs could learn to draft elementary agreements. If a business deal is very complex then consider legal assistance.

Seasoned business owners would advise against not having agreements in place, bargaining on mutual trust and potential dire consequences!

There are templates available covering a variety of agreement types. To acquire a library of these and absorb the content is advised! Business agreements should be documented, covering all deliverables and costs in detail; and be signed!

  1. Marketing, sales and distribution

As part of business planning the entrepreneur drafted a comprehensive marketing plan to be put into action.

Some entrepreneurs are natural at sales and marketing! A potential problem is they can become overly embroiled in the marketing side of their business, neglecting the other areas of management. What happens then?

Orders fly in but no-one can invoice as the entrepreneur might be computer illiterate not taking heed of how important technology is to business.

Or, not taking stock recently, the shelves are empty.

Equally bad for business, the orders are based on prices dating back months while there was old stock. The entrepreneur will now, if he delivers, be selling at a loss.

The lesson learned is an administrative and technical one.

  1. Production or/and service and retail

Business is about manufacturing and selling a commodity, or if the entrepreneur is in services render a service at a fee.

Manufacturers would come across a number of start-up tasks when starting his (or her) business, including: Factory or office layout, product design, production planning, materials management, stock control, maintenance and upgrading, selling of product and distribution and post sale services planning.

It amounts to a lot of work considering business owners also have to take care of all other management tasks discussed thus far! Or if fortunate enough to afford staff, the business owner would ensure a handle on each management task.

Input to ensure the business work successful comes to a multitude of activities!

In conclusion, many prospective entrepreneurs might feel disillusioned after reading the article but it is better to be prepared when deciding to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs knowledgeable about main challenges – when starting a venture – would have an edge over those who walk into one not knowing how important skill and knowledge are in surviving!

The 5 Senses of an Entrepreneur

If you have seen me speak you will know that I believe the word ‘entrepreneur’ is used way too much these days. People seem to wear it as a badge instead of just getting out there and doing entrepreneurial things.
Just because you run or own a successful business doesn’t necessarily mean that you an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs have a different mindset to others. They will go way above and beyond to complete and finish something that they have started.

I have developed what I call the 5 senses of an entrepreneur which will highlight those differences.

We all have 5 which are sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch. The entrepreneur also has those 5 senses but to them they mean something totally different. The 5 senses relay messages to your brain which makes you operate in a certain way. This is the same for the entrepreneurial sense. The entrepreneurial senses direct an entrepreneur to operate and succeed in a certain way.

Below is how an entrepreneur uses the 5 senses.

SIGHT.

Entrepreneurs can see things normal business owners can’t. By that I mean that they can see potential in the smallest of things, whether it is a new trend or a different way of doing something and in turn gaining bigger and better results from the others around them.

They also have the foresight to see past the hurdles or obstacles that most business owners would see as a full stop and press on regardless of the issues that they may face.

They aren’t really good on the stuff that is right in front of their faces, the day to day stuff as they are already thinking far in advance.
You could say that some entrepreneurs have blinkers on. Once they are focused on something, they will see it through to the end. Whatever comes their way will be quickly dealt with so as they don’t lose momentum or become distracted.

TASTE.

Entrepreneurs can taste success in everything that they do. It doesn’t really concern them with the current taste of a deal or a venture as they know what the ultimate taste of success in that deal when it is finished and completed will actually taste like.

Even when they have a taste of something bitter; whether that is a deal gone wrong or a wrong decision, they will still press on until the sweet taste of success is filling their mouths.

Just as kids when we are all made to eat those disgusting vegetables (the cauliflower and brussel sprouts) and then as we grow up we are able to make our own choice as to what is on our plates, so does the entrepreneur. They have been through the hard yards just as everyone else. They just want to have the choice as to what taste stays in their mouths for the longest period of time.

Until they taste it, they will not give up.

SMELL.

An entrepreneur can smell success from a mile away. In fact, they can smell it before they even experience it. It is that sweet smell that keeps them driving towards touching and living it.

Just as they can smell the sweetness of success, so can they smell a bad deal. Now I am not saying that everything an entrepreneur puts his or her hands to will always work, but as they go through their lives they will know quickly if something smells a bit off.

It is this sense that is the most important one to an entrepreneur. Without the whiff of something potentially huge and exciting, an entrepreneur will usually let it go.

They also have the ability to smell “manure” a mile off.

HEARING.

With the ear, it receives a whole lot of different vibrations and sound waves which in turn it processes it into something that makes sense to our brains. This in principal is what happens to an entrepreneur. All of us hear different feedback, various business opportunities and potential deals throughout our lives. What makes an entrepreneur different from the rest is that he or she will decipher that information (usually very quickly) and either act upon it or dismiss it straight away just by the sound of the information that he or she has heard. Where as most people will go down the path of that information and potentially lose out when it isn’t what was first perceived.

The entrepreneur will also have a knack of blocking out the negative information or comments that come into their ears. They will not be the type of person who will allow that negative information to pass into their thinking an in turn, into their actions.

Entrepreneurs have selective hearing. They know what they want to hear and they know what success sounds like.

TOUCH.

An entrepreneur will not give up until they have a firm grip on what they have been pursuing. For some it may take them a short time and for others a very long time. but until they have that success by the throat, they will not let it go.

You see it is this sense that is the reward stage for an entrepreneur. It is the thrill of the hunt with the catch mounted high on their walls of life.

This is not to say that everything they set their hands to will work. It is that they know the feel that they are looking for. They know how hard they need to press or how gentle they may need to be. It is the same principal with holding a baby as opposed to a hammer. One is gentle the other is forceful. The true entrepreneur will have an understanding of the touch that is needed.

So as you see, there are many facets that set an entrepreneur apart from a normal business owner.

Why not take the entrepreneur test(TM) on not only yourself but also your staff and you will see where you stand and where your strengths really are.
This is a great tool for any business owner.

Go to www.justinherald.com