One of the most compelling features of man is his ability to desire strongly for comfort in one way or the other. Man from inception, has always craved maximum comfort, and the ultimate dreams for most are; cars, houses, beautiful wives, children and a nice income. However, dreams I believe should transcend the mere thought of cars, houses, life partners, and a number of offspring. Dreams I believe should be bigger. I want houses in leading developed countries of the world, a company that racks in billions of dollars in profit on monthly bases, and I want to grow with my company not in my company.
The human mind doubts and these are centered on the possibility of dreams and the achievability of plans, and leads to questions being raised on the dreams men have. But just as Adam Smith succinctly captures that; ‘human wants are insatiable’ as we have been created as beings to keep working and striving for possessions till our last breath, I believe that with continuous work on solid plans, dreams can certainly become realities.
With the geometric growth of the global population alongside the rapid and fascinating advancements in technology, the challenge of unemployment and underemployment remains a mind boggling phenomenon and this has for a very long time set a limit to what can be achieve by humans.
In tackling the challenges of unemployment, the missing piece must be found. This will go a long way in providing solutions to societal problems and it will also provide and better the environment where desires for greatness in life can be better fulfilled. This missing piece is entrepreneurship.
Indeed, entrepreneurship is a great risk that only courageous people will want to take. Being an entrepreneur implies leaving one comfort zone to a zone of uncertainty and it involves using one’s creativity to create employment opportunities, usually starting with nothing. And as it is with life and human psychology, success attracts applauses and failure is often greeted with scorns as opposed to encouragements which are rarely offered. The total number of people who are ready to take the risk is minuscule and the larger percentage are ready to work for them since they think it is safer not to take risks. The Yorubas say: ‘Regardless of the fact that a business thrives or not, the worker’s salary is always intact’. This, however, does not seem to be the case in this century business world as it has always been in the past. Technology has evolved greatly and it is still progressing at a faster rate, that for a business to go on with the competition in market, all it need is just a very few number of people while the most essential part of the job is handled automatically through the application of artificial intelligence and robotics.
I so much admire Sir Richard Branson, an English tycoon with the highest number of companies in the world (Virgin Group) with more than four hundred (400) enterprises. I also do have enormous respect for his business policies. He is a man who, with nothing, started his quest for business enterprise establishment. He started with no finance, no marketing strategy, no understanding of competition, and no market analysis, to mention but a few. All he had then was a dream, entrepreneurial streak in him and a knack for making money, even the future of his business venture was a dense haze to him, but his willingness to take the hit that life would give him has always been at the forefront of his life. His start is similitude to that of a child about to take his or her first walking step, where the first step turns out to be a success, he continues to move, but if otherwise, he stands to start again.
This man’s success have proven to an extent that dreams are capable of becoming realities when converted to smart goals – Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Time bound – and are divided into long and short term goals.
How to get started
The moment a business idea has been gotten, that is what has to be done has been figured out, then the following are necessary steps to be taken.
Mentor / adviser
Obviously there are different categories of people, but when it’s the turn of business ideas, people are categorized into three:
Dream Pusher: This category helps people with their dreams. They push people towards success and pull them up when they fall.
Dream Stealer / Thieves: All what people in this category do is to steal business ideas and concepts of whatever is achievable. Anyways, “they can only steal dreams but cannot steal the passion to succeed in them.
Dream Crusher: These are people who badmouth dreams right from the start, they keep saying words like, ‘It can’t work’, and they show no sign of encouragement.
After the dream is been turned to a SMART” goal, the first thing to do is to get oneself a dream pusher who is also going to be a mentor or an adviser. This is a person with wide experience of business enterprise and is always ready to help people achieve their goals and dreams.
The next thing to do is to balance the idea with a little reality. Before moving any further, the idea must be run through a validation process. It is that, in order for a business to be successful, it must solve a problem, offer something needed in the market or fulfill a want. This need can then be identified through research or trial and error method. During market exploration, the following questions must be answered: Is there a need for your anticipated products/services? Who needs it? What is the competition like? How will the business fit into the market? It is important to ask oneself some questions before taking the plunge.
In order to make the idea a reality, a business plan is needed. A business plan according to the dictionary is a summary of how a business owner, manager, or entrepreneur intends to organize an entrepreneurial endeavor and implement activities necessary and sufficient for the venture to succeed” (http://wikitionary.org) and it is a must have for all new business ventures.
Although starting a business involves an initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses, it doesn’t always require a lot of money. The funding aspect of a business is obviously the most challenging, and it is the determinant of success and failure of any dream. You hear people say things like; I have this fantastic idea, but how do I get finance? Many people do rely on parents and rich relatives for assistance but they are not always ready to assist our business quest. Finance can be generated to fund ones dream in a lot of ways, some of which are bootstrapping (personal financing), Venture Capitalist, angel investor or soft loan (family and friends), crowd-funding or crowd-sourcing, small business grants and loans, IPO’s, among others. The drawn business plan (a very concise one) assist a lot when considering finance.
Getting the team ready is another critical step to take. If the business does not necessarily need any supporting hand, that is, if it does not require hiring employees, then the only team required is those to go to for advice, motivation and reassurance when the road gets bumpy. But if otherwise, that is, if you are starting with employees, co-owner(s) or a team, then a well-documented agreement on the modus-operandi, salary or sharing formulas and other things that would be needed for a smooth running of the business must be in place.
Starting a service based business is quite easy, dealing with finished products (wholesale / retail) is average, but creating a product might be quite difficult especially if it is a new and tech-type of product. Then, the team must be motivated and dedicated enough to carry on, a prototype should be created and tested, a copyright and patency should then be filed and a cheap and trustworthy manufacturer should be searched. Pitching shouldn’t be too long and the business growth must not be over-exaggerated. The entry strategy which includes understanding customer behavior, creating marketing mix and knowing how to put the “P’s” (price, product, places and promotion) together must be noted. The exit strategy as well must be provided for (loans and debts) in case of retirement or death.
THINGS TO NOTE
Coming across rejection throughout ones career is inescapable. Sir John Paul DeJoria did point towards this direction when he said; ‘You will knock on doors, and many will close on you. There will be people who don’t like your product, your company or you’. It is then of utmost importance to realize this from day one, for preparation before rejection happens will help one to be resilient. One should then be able to persevere whenever been rejected.
AIMING FOR THE BEST
One should try as much as possible to develop the best kind of products consumers want. This is one of those things that give one a better shot at being a success.
After putting the original spin on a creative role, then it’s time to cement ideas and approaches to give it greater public awareness.
There is more than one direction in which twenty-first century youths can go. They necessarily do not need to seek white-collar job. They can, through their critical thinking ability, provide solutions to societal problems and provide a specialty product that is in high demand. In either case, 21st century youths must have good business sense and the ability to make money in an industry that is expensive to enter and that entails considerable risk.
Employment opportunities can be created from nothing, so far one is willing to work hard, stay committed to dreams and ideas, and ready to take the risks necessary to see those ideas become reality. One should then take inspiration from the massive success of successful entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and one should not allow a lack of money or experience dissuade one from following ones dreams.
Idowu Usman Abiodun is a highly motivated success-oriented freelance writer, who writes contents on any niche. He is highly skilled, educated and experienced in the art of writing and has thus, assisted a lot of clients developed contents of great quality. He is presently the Chief Editor of Al-Fahm magazine of MSSN LAUTECH.