As it may have come to your attention, the life expectancy of Small Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in Botswana is between 3-5 years. Being an entrepreneur myself, I’ve come to know that in most of cases, startup success or failure is all about knowing the both how and why of taking an action and always being clear about which steps to take next. To help this process, here are 8 essential things you need to know about running a successful business.
Find a mentor
Ask any successful business man out there; and they will tell you that someone gave them a piece of advice along the way, to getting where they are today. A mentor and mentee relationship is not a commercial one but stems out of respect by the mentee of the milestones and/ experience of the mentor. If you do not know anyone who can mentor you, join a networking group and find them. Being an entrepreneur is a series of highs and lows. You need to surround yourself with people who understand that when things don’t go your way, it is not the end, but an opportunity to grow.
Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.
Hire the right people
Make sure the person you are hiring is not just someone with the basic qualifications you need. Look for someone with motivation, creativity and the right kind of personality to make it in your industry and fit in with your business. Then once you’ve found that person, treat them well, engage them and make sure that you create an environment that they will thrive and give their all in.
Always check the numbers.
Most entrepreneurs are good at a few things, but the most important, and probably the most overlooked, is money management. I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand the formula for profitability. You always need to keep a close eye on where money goes and how it comes in. By keeping an eye on your detailed records, you’ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing.
Analyze your competition
Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors, after all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make money or you can find better ways of enhancing your offering so that you stand out from them.
Prepared to work more hours
Entrepreneurs should never quit. When things are difficult, I always say this phrase to myself, “If so and so made it, I too can.” It pushes me to think and work harder so as to accomplish more. In turn sacrifices have to be made such as, spending less time with family, friends and sleeping fewer hours. I do not want to live my life saying, “If I only would have…”
Know your customers
The key to good client relationships is leveling-off of expectations. Let’s say you are a service offering business; before taking on a client’s business, ask them what they expect to get out of your service. Then explain how you may be able to respond to their need. If you provide a better service for your customers they will be more inclined to come to you next time they need something instead of going to your competitors.
Stay focused and be consistent
The old saying that “Rome was not built in a day” applies here. Just because you open a business doesn’t mean that you are going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving short term goals and give the rest time to come together on its own. You also have to consistently keep doing the things necessary to be successful, day in and day out.
In conclusion, I promise you that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It requires focus, discipline and perseverance. It will be the most difficult work you will ever do, but it will be the most rewarding too. Just keep learning, keep networking, keep evolving and remain consistent in challenging environments.