August 6, 2022

What is a business?

According to Wikipedia, business is the activity of making one’s living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is “any activity or enterprise entered into for profit…” Very often, the word is used interchangeably with entrepreneurship. While a businessman’s main focus is not on innovation, but on making sure a company is making profit, an entrepreneur on the contrary, focuses on generating new value, and this value could be social, emotional, aesthetic and/or financial.

If you are an entrepreneur and/or want to start a business in Nigeria, we say congratulations!. As a developing country, the opportunities are enormous.

Here are 10 requirements to be successful in your business venture:

Carry out a Self-evaluation:

To succeed in any space, business or non-business, in Nigeria and abroad, your level of determination can make all the difference. Nothing is easy anywhere. To make your choice of a business venture, evaluate yourself. It is often better to venture into a business that centers on what naturally interests you. When things go south, the “utility or satisfaction” derived from the business can keep you going. I advise you monetize your hobby. A guitarist for instance, can start a YouTube channel, create a blog, do songs, join or start a band, teach, sell/repair. This does not mean you cannot venture into something new and grow passionate about it, just be sure to engage in something that thrills you. It will be easier to commit, to be consistent, to persist and to dedicate your time to. Don’t forget that in business- passion, dedication, commitment, consistency and persistence will guarantee success.

What problem am I solving? Do people need this? In other words, study your target market.

Before venturing into any business, it is important to first identify a problem you can solve, or a solution to a problem that needs improvement. Strange? Shouldn’t be. Now consider the inventors of abacus. Their invention solved mathematical problems, and the inventors profited. Consider the generations of computers till today’s Apple products. Compare the sizes and capabilities. Steve Jobs did not identify and create the first solution to mathematical and communication problems. But he definitely tapped into it and provided a better solution that does more and is particularly convenient. What people don’t realize is that there are still infinite problems requiring solutions, and existing solutions still require improvements. What’s more, there are also solutions getting more demand than supply – that is insufficient/variety of solutions to a problem. For instance, to solve computing, social and communication problems, there are desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. they all do the same thing, but they vary in features, like convenience and mobility. You will agree that they’re times using a desktop beats using a mobile, and using a tablet beats using a desktop. In the same vein, we have android, ios, windows, etc. they also basically do the same thing, but then the problem of interface. All these have their competitive niche and they’re all doing very well.

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Don’t be afraid of Starting small.

It is commonly said that Rome was not built in a day. Time and patience matter in business. You can’t and shouldn’t rush it. Take your time. Building a business is like climbing a ladder, from the first step you take, you learn about balance, risk and how to proceed. This is important because even when you’re high there, and things go south, you will know how to easily get back up, and experience is still the best teacher.

Be conscious of your location and competition.

Go where the market is. Take your product/service closer to your potential customers; availability and proximity encourage patronage. Also, be conscious of your competitors, no matter how novel the solution that you are providing is. There are people waiting to copy whatever new business idea they think is great, and they may have the means to do it better but don’t be discouraged, the man with the original vision understands his idea more. On the good side, your competitors push you to do better. Find, explore and exploit that competitive niche. However, your competitors shouldn’t be your focus. Your customers and target market should always be on your mind. Your competitors will not patronize your business, your customers will. You’re not making your business better for your competitors, you’re making your business better for your customers so they always pick you over the competition.

Take your Name, logo and brand Seriously

Never forget that presentation and branding mean a lot in business. Carefully choose your business’ name, logo, tagline and colors. It is a largely a fact that general branding will determine the attitude your customers will have towards your product and service. Take Apple for instance, iPhones and iPads don’t give any special added advantage over other phones. You do the same calls, messaging, multimedia, chatting and surfing but you find people pay alarming amount of money for the product. This is the function of branding. And they match it with the quality of the product. Can you believe the recently released iPhone 12 and 12 pro are sold without charger and headphones? You need to buy those separately after buying the phone but people still don’t mind. This is because apple has been able to distinguish itself out of the crowd of the many other companies.

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Move with time and innovations:

There is always something to learn. Don’t be lazy otherwise you will become “old school”. Always carry with you the mindset of learning new things every day to improve and keep up with times and innovation.

Capital/Funding:

All businesses have a minimum capital requirement. Some businesses are capital intensive, others aren’t. Ensure that your financial strength is enough to cater for the basic/standard requirements of that business before venturing into it. Better to suspend launch and source for funds, than start off lacking the major tools/equipments to work with.

Get your company registered:

it is important to have your business venture registered as a business or a corporation/company. This confers rights, giving the backing of the law, and guarantee that your business is accountable. It will help gain the trust of your customers enough to transact with it without the fear that you will “japa” with their money.

Get a team:

We exist in a community of people, providing solutions to problems directly/indirectly affecting people and we expect to profit from these people. It is important to have people assist. May be as business partners, employees, contractors, friends and family. Their assistance can range from investment, expert assistance, down to word-of-mouth referrals. All these will go a long way in guaranteeing your business’ success. Try to be a people’s person, or get people who are to be for you. The importance of people relations  cannot be overemphasized.

Ensure your Marketing is Effective;

Marketing determines the success of your business. It is the channel of communication between your business and customers. It creates brand awareness, engages your customer, creates and maintain a relationship with them, builds your business reputation, and ultimately boost revenue. Spare no dime in getting the best marketing strategy because no matter how great your product is, if it is not well marketed, it won’t sell.

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See your business at the top!

Aniekan Imeh LLB 

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