Going it solo as a business person can sometimes get to you. Everything rests on you – production, marketing, delivery and customer relationship management.
Some days things don’t go right and you don’t feel like going on. Here are a few things you can do to make your entrepreneurship journey easier:Listen to motivational speakers and business people before you start your day. This will inspire you with ideas and energy to push to the next level. I listen to Jim Rohn and Patrick Bet-David. YouTube is a great resource.
Leverage the average of 5. Since you are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with, be intentional about connecting with people who have gone ahead of you in your field and hang out with them, read their books and seek them out as mentors. They will shorten your learning curve.
Connect with God. My Christian faith starts my day and helps me surmount obstacles. Even nature reminds you with the sunshine and the thunderstorms that there is someone bigger than us who orders the earth. When the obstacles seem to be beyond you and you have done your best, it will help you to know that there is someone beyond it. As our people say ‘las las.. you go dey alright’.
The economy has not been particularly favourable for businesses in recent times. A lot of people complain about not being paid for their work or outrightly having no customers. For most crafters, that can be a huge problem, especially when your craft is viewed as a luxury, not a necessity. Here are 3 things you can do to improve your cash flow.EVENTS: You need to create more avenues for the right kind of people to see your work. Where there’s a crowd, there will be commerce. Find creative ways to show up at exhibitions, marathons, parties and religious programs. Volunteer/sign up as a sponsor to adorn the stage, the compere, your choir/ushering unit, the backdrop, a bus or children’s church classroom with your art. This will definitely get more word around about what you do.
DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF: In ailing economies, unemployment drives many people to businesses with a low barrier to entry. Many craft businesses are that way. If you are a makeup artiste, baker, paper crafter or hat maker, you can attest to that. When there are too many people in a market, the product or service will be commonised. You can differentiate yourself based on customer experience, discounts on purchases, creative product packages, promos and more. For instance, a makeup artiste could start a video series “Market Makeover” where she shares tips and tricks to improve day time makeup, the places to get the best buys on cosmetics in the market and surprises women in the market with free makeovers for their next ‘owambe’. That way, she creatively stands out from the hundreds of thousands of ‘me-too’ make- up artistes out there.
PARTNERSHIPS: Two are better than one for they have a good reward for their labour. Partnership is a key to multiplication. Find businesses with shared interests like similar target markets or complementary goods and partner to run a promo; improve your value offering or to carry out projects on which you can both leverage your databases and networks.
I saw very young ‘okada riders’ and kiosk owners wildly celebrating Sai Baba’s win. And I thought ‘Isn’t this too much?’
They zoomed ‘upandan’ the streets, performing all sorts of acrobatics on their bikes and congratulating one another. I worried that some of them could get injured or die in the process. Nothing physical or spiritual warrants this kind of celebration.
Hian! I asked one of them, “Dis one wey una dey celebrate like dis, Atiku no be your broda?”
He smiled, flashing yellow teeth at me.”Atiku na my broda, but Atiku na tif.”
Wow! So, that is Atiku’s reputation even among the seemingly uneducated who we think may not follow politics.
Guard your reputation with everything you have got: Obasanjo’s singular statement about Atiku being a thief years ago, still plays a strong card against him though he has never been convicted of any such crime.
When you see people try to make mincemeat of your reputation address it with all you’ve got. Atiku never addressed the issue immediately when the allegation was made. Years later, people still buy that story.
Learn to control your brand’s story: Your perception is your reality. Your reputation is your brand. Your consistent actions and material you put out there have built you a brand. Consciously or not. Someone may call you a politician because you are always discussing politics. While you laugh at it like a passing joke, it is a subtle feedback of your personal brand.
Every human gets to that point in life when he feels stuck. The things you used to do that brought you success are no longer working.
This is a signal that times have changed but your knowledge has remained stagnant. When times change, you must discern the shift and find the skills to excel in that change.
Stagnation is a messenger who tells you that you are trying to grow into your next level with the same old skills and knowledge that brought you to where you are.
You may have been out of work for a long time, and you have sent your CV to over 500 organizations without an interview invitation. Maybe you should review your tactics. This pattern that got you that first job may be the stumbling block to your next level.
People who are used to tradition often miss seasons of transformation.
Tradition works to preserve the old.
Transformation serves to usher in the new.
If you noticed that the circumstances of your life seem grounded, assess the changes around you.
If people used to troop to your place of business and stopped, what changed?
If you once were the stellar employee in every place you worked, and now nobody remembers your name, what changed?
Assess the environment and acquire the necessary competencies to match the change.
Today, the biggest brands utilize social media, direct mail and events to tell their stories. You don’t need a big ad budget to do that. Now we all have the same tools.
But, do you know how to use them? Here are some tips to telling your story.
Establish your audience and their location: It is important that you know the market segment you want to appeal to, who they are, their income, lifestyle and social/physical location.
Establish their conflict: What problem do they have and need to be addressed? How will your company solve that for them?
Understand context: Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a little girl who lived with her step mother.. Get into the context from which the problem emanates.
I will be hosting a class on storytelling in 2019. If you are interested in participating, send an email with your name to: email@example.com and you will receive the details of the program.