In this exclusive article from Business Insider AfricaThe internationally recognized business coach shares her five success tips for young and aspiring African entrepreneurs.
1. Enter for the right reasons
Entrepreneurship has become the order of the day now in our society, especially in Africa. Some dive into entrepreneurship to create more income stream, some do it to escape the 9-5 in hopes of becoming their boss, while for others it is to create more time and freedom, and the list is endless. My advice is to go for the right reason; Just because your parents are successful as entrepreneurs doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be successful. Just because your friends are doing it and it seems easy doesn’t mean it is, and you want to do the same. Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park and it is not for the faint-hearted. Therefore, if you enter for the wrong reasons, you may give up along the way or burn out and waste your resources (time and money) that you could have invested in the right path for you. Quitting your day job to start your entrepreneurial journey because you want to be your own boss shouldn’t be the only reason to start a business. This is because you will be working longer hours than your day job. Your clients/prospects become your indirect boss because all your business decisions will revolve around what solves a problem for them. Eventually, if you have the right structure, you will have the freedom of time, but it takes time; It doesn’t happen from the start.
It has been said that the day you stop learning is the day you die! Think about it; you can never pour from an empty cup, so you have to keep refreshing and learning. You can continue learning in various ways; all you need is to find the one that works best for you and use it. The multiple ways you can keep learning are through:
- book reading
- Listen to Audibles/Audiobooks
- listen to podcast
- Attend strategic and relevant events/networking
- Learn from an experienced mentor, coach or colleague
- Failing forward: learning from your failures
- Ask questions when you are not sure
Everyone wants financial freedom through their entrepreneurial endeavors; however, it is critical to know that ultimate wealth comes from first impacting the community and customers you serve and not from blind pursuit of money. My mentor once told me, “When you serve first, other things will follow.” Other things can be money, wealth, strategic relationships, open doors, and the list is endless. So be careful that you don’t get clouded by the pursuit of money and forget why you started your business: to make a change and make a difference in people’s lives. Once you’re clouded with money instead of making an impact, it becomes challenging to create a sustainable business.
Where do you see your business in 1 year, 5 and 10 years? Create that vision from the beginning because this vision must be your North Star. This vision should drive everything you do and you should respond to it. One of the traits of an entrepreneur is having a vision of something and the desire to create it. So, it would be better if you made that vision always clear. If you suddenly feel like things aren’t looking right, it could mean you’ve strayed from the initial idea, so all you have to do is go back to that vision board and do it again. Don’t lose sight of your vision. This will help you create a sustainable business. Let your vision guide you.
5. Find and hang out with the right people
People can make or break you! Who you associate with can determine whether or not you are successful. Find people who lift you up, uplift, connect, motivate, and be honest with you. Persons who may be responsible to you. Don’t forget who you are with is who you become. The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already who you want to be.