The year 2017 is coming to an end. 2018 is just less than a step away. We are looking up to a new year with a fresh mind. As for aspiring entrepreneurs, I wish that you enter 2018 with a fresh mind and new thoughts. are many things that we don’t understand about being an entrepreneur or starting a business of our own. I will outline below some of these things so that it will help you be a better entrepreneur in 2018.

Who is an entrepreneur?

Many people are still to understand who an entrepreneur is. Simply put, it is that person who identifies a common problem, looks for a solution and then sells the solution for profit or sustainability.

In another sense, it is that person who sets up a business or businesses, putting at risk his/her money with the aim or hope of making profit. In a nutshell, an entrepreneur needs to be talented, can see opportunities and can develop these opportunities into a profit-making business.

Below are some points that you should not take with you to 2018 as an aspiring entrepreneur.

1. You can’t start a business without funds

Not true. This is totally a wrong approach to look at things as an aspiring entrepreneur. What is business? I consider it an application of a skill for commercial purpose.

If I can sing and get paid, then I am in business. You don’t need money to put your skill into the market. You need just your skill.

NB: You need money to grow a business and skill to start a business.

It is rare to find a funder who will risk his money in the mistakes you are still to make.

Checkout an article I wrote about 8 Businesses You Can Start With no Capital in Cameroon.

2. Getting a Business Idea is Difficult

What business should I do? This is one of the biggest problems aspiring entrepreneurs have. It is a normal thing. They always find it difficult getting a business idea. “How do I go about it?” This questions keep coming all the time.

Below is an outline of some of the ideas that I have put together to help you come out with a business idea:

1. Identify your greatest source of satisfaction

2. Solve or fix a problem

3. Monitor changes & trends

4. If you can’t find one, copy one

5. Start doing something, anything

You can read more about this in 5 Effective Ways to Get a Profitable Business Idea in Africa.

3. Keeping your business idea to yourself

Many aspiring entrepreneurs I have coached usually find it difficult sharing their business ideas with me. This has been a bad attitude that has killed many startups at the initiation stage in Cameroon and Africa as a whole. We have a ‘killer’ business idea and we don’t want to share it because it will be stolen.

Very wrong. Why keep it for yourself? Don’t worry about it being stolen by others. There are chances that some one has come up with a similar idea somewhere. Now, what you should worry about is who is going to put it in the market first.

As you explain your business idea to get feedback, you will realize what a mess you would have made if you had kept it to yourself. Opening up will open you to partners, potential team members, investors as well as press attention.

If your business concept is based on your passion, then no one can do it better than you.

Two important things you need to do to develop your business idea is to

  1. Spend time with the people in the industry you want to go into

  2. Get a mentor or seek counseling from a coach

Things to take note of:

  • Keeping ideas to yourself stops it from growing

  • Passion: Use what you love to make money.

  • A successful entrepreneur is that who is passionate about what he or she does.

4. Marketing is for Big Companies! Really? I don’t think so. It WAS expensive, but now, it is very cheap. The analog is expensive and giving way to the digital which is very cheap. Marketing was expensive and at first was for big companies. Yes, because they used the TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, etc. which small businesses could not afford

Digital marketing, the whole package, not just social media marketing has pushed behind the traditional marketing and big companies are taking advantage of this. They have come to understand that digital content is consumed daily as people spend most of their time with smart phones, laptops, desktops, tablets and many more.

It is no longer that time where entrepreneurs ignored marketing because it was expensive. It’s no longer a liability or an out-of-budget expenditure. If you come up with a great digital marketing plan, then this can be a great boost for your startup. It will help you have consumer insights which will accelerate and grow your business.

You can check out these five Ways to Market your Startup Online.

Digital Marketing

Blogging, social media marketing, SMS marketing, email marketing, content writing, videos, graphics, etc

5. Team – I won’t bring people I don’t know in to my team’s true. Don’t bring in people you don’t know to be part of your team.

Recruiting team members is one of the most important things when you want to build a strong business. How to find the right people to join your team is what matters.

Bringing in people just because you know them is very dangerous for a startup. You have to select people on the basis of what they can contribute (that’s how you know them) and the needs of your business. Get the competent ones, even if it means from your family or on friendship base. Commitment to your project should be your watch word. A team member must have more to offer in a specific domain than you, else there is no need bringing him/her in. In business, a 1 + 1 = 2 partnership doesn’t work. The partner has brought in nothing new. A 1 + 1 = 3 partnership is what you should go in for. The team member should bring in more than you know in the field that you want to recruit. Checkout these 5 Successful Tips on Recruiting Team Members For your Startup.

There are many things you have to know as aspiring entrepreneurs, but most will come when your business has already started.

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