Earlier last month, we asked a couple of Nigerians what they wanted to do in the year 2020 and about 70% of the people replied that they want to start a business before the year runs out. This is fantastic as there are no limits to who can become a business owner in this part of the world. The most exciting part is that you don’t necessarily need previous experience, a university degree or a huge amount in your bank account to start a business in Nigeria. You just need to know your product or service better than anyone else, know your customer and have a burning desire to succeed. But possessing just these three skills do not translate to becoming a great entrepreneur.
So what do you need to do to ensure that you excel in your business venture this year or any other year? Over the next couple of weeks, I will share with you, the important steps you need to take to start a great business in Nigeria. Here are the first three (3):
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Yes! You must have heard this a thousand times and no, I am not going to NOT discuss it either. Contrary to what you may or may not have heard, the main reason why you need to conduct market research before you start a business is to determine whether your idea would become successful or not. No one wants to spend time, energy and resources on something that will not work.
This is why you need to survey and study your intended market to determine if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. Research helps make your business unique. It also helps you find and understand the customers for your business better, and most importantly, it gives your business an advantage over any existing competition.
So how do you conduct market research? A few methods which have been known to work include surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and in-depth interviews with experts in your target market.
2. WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
You know how structural engineers ensure that buildings retain their strength and ability to withstand both natural and artificial forces by constructing a foundation for a house first? That is exactly what a business plan is for your business; a foundation. It is what guides you through every stage of starting, growing and managing your business.
A business plan explains in detail how you intend to structure and run your business and writing a good one, can attract investors as it can serve as a marketing tool; something that will convince the people you are working with or the people who want to invest in your business that you know what you are doing and can get them good returns on their investment.
The beauty of writing a business plan is that there is no accurate way of doing it. There is no right or wrong business plan as long as it meets your business needs and what’s more? There are tons of free business plan templates online that you can download and use to put together your ideas.
3. FINANCE YOUR BUSINESS
So you have done market research and are convinced your business idea will be successful. You have also articulated your thoughts in the form of a business plan. Now, it’s time to fund your business. Starting and managing a business requires money and how you choose to fund your business when starting could determine how you run and structure that business in the long run. In other words, financing their business is one of the first and most important decisions business owners make.
First, you need to work out how much funds your new small business needs and once you’ve established that, the next step is to figure out how to get these funds. A good number of ways you can fund your small business include self-financing, a small business loan from a bank, business grants from the government, venture capital from angel investors and crowdfunding.
So feel free to deliberate on this and maybe consult a financial advisor before you make up your mind on which avenue to use to fund your new business.
As an aspiring entrepreneur whose dream is to own the best small business there is on this side of the globe, these are the first three steps you need to take to insure your dream. What’s next after these steps? Well, stay tuned and you will find out next week.
Until then, keep aspiring, keep innovating and most importantly… KEEP SPARKLING!
PS: Got questions or need clarification? Hit me up in the comments and I would be glad to answer them.
Okwy from Sparkle