The Nigerian business environment is terrible. Regulation, Infrastructure deficiency and a terrible reputation are constantly conspiring to kill your business.
There are no guarantees that you will succeed but having worked within a corporate organization and consulted for a couple of startups, there are four things I have pinpointed that Startup Leaders need so as to give themselves a chance at success.
1. Drop The Title
Your fledgling business is just starting. It has yet to break even. You and your team are doing a little bit of everything so you are a business lead, an accountant and the HR all in one. Kindly drop the titles. You don’t need to announce yourself as The MD/CEO of nothing. You don’t need that air of self-importance.
You also need to dissolve hierarchies as it stifles creativity. Everyone should work together and encourage your team to share ideas, build bonds and communicate freely whether they are going up or down.
2. Never Run Out of Money:
You have to find a way around this. Money is the lifeblood of startups especially ones that are barely breaking even and have not solidified their business model. You need funding. So you might need to cede control of the business, get shareholders, involve venture capitalists and make sure that you focus your business on making money as soon as you can. The bills won’t pay themselves.
3. Never Run Out of Ideas
Your Team will be looking up to you. They probably joined because of the vision you shared. So your vision needs to be that of a business that will make impact, add value and reward them. Time and again, they will recourse to you to provide answers, to craft strategies, to engineer survival partnerships that will keep them coming to work the next day.
So as a Leader, you need to read books. Read on businesses. Eric Ries, Ben Horowitz, Malcolm Gladwell, Brian Tracy and Harvard Business Review are some of the titles you need to read. Take courses if you can afford to and get ready. Your brain might be all your business has
4. Never Run Out of Talents
You cannot do it alone so you must recruit. So you need to do this smartly. Understand that your team can make or mar you. Go for talents that are hungry and would love to make an impact. In this regard, do talk to people, degrees and certificates might be prequalification requirements.
Certificates and degrees can only show just a little. In Nigeria, some people do not even earn those. So you need to actually talk to people. Select based on energy, creativity and hunger. Then do not forget to train, mentor and allow them to mentor you in return.
These four things, I believe will give you a chance in making it in the cold world of entrepreneurship.
What have worked for your in your journey through entreprenuership? We would love to know in the comment section below