Starting a business is an exciting time in the life of an entrepreneur until you start and things are not going on the way you envisaged.
If you are detailed enough to develop a business plan prior to launching your brand, there’s a high probability that your business plan states that you’ll make record-breaking profits at the end of your first month. However, there’s always a gap between what the business plan projects and what actually happens in reality.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, my message to you is that the period of waiting is not a period of lamentation. Rather, it’s a time of preparation!
I remember when I was an event planner, customers didn’t come as early and as much as expected and this made me worry a lot. Sometimes, I would spend the whole day lamenting about my lack of customers and worried over things I had control over. One day, I was invited to a wedding planned by another vendor so I decided to use the opportunity not only to celebrate with the couple but also use it as a learning experience.
Upon arrival at the church, I watched as the vendors were moderating the entire event and everything was flowing seamlessly. And by the end of the church service, I concluded that if I was the vendor hired to plan that wedding, I would have achieved less than stellar results. Yes, I could plan events but there was a need for me to brush up on some aspects of my event planning skills. From that day onward, I made up my mind to stop lamenting about the lack of customers but to appreciate the moment of waiting and use that period of preparation.
It is a very disappointing thing for you to wait to sign up your first customer and still be struggling to deliver on your promise. It is not wise to be complaining about the lack of customers when you could seize the opportunity to perfect your skills.
Preparation (thorough) sets you up for success when the opportunity finally arrives.
Based on how you currently run your business, how prepared are you for opportunities?
If I need your services for more people than you’ve ever serviced in your business, will you be able to meet up? How long do you spend daily improving your skills and crafts?
If you are currently waiting to sign up your first customer or maybe you desire to expand your customer base or increase sales, what specific effort are you putting in to make sure that when the opportunity finally comes, it does not slip by you?
No matter how long you’ve waited for an opportunity, always remember, the period of waiting is not a time of lamentation, it is a period of preparation.
Thank you for reading! How are you currently preparing for opportunities? Please leave a comment and share this post with a friend.
The Startup Battlefield Africa Competition is an event organized by TechCrunch, a US-based company that seeks to identify and support startups focused on technology and innovation that helps to optimize supply chains, increased access to education, strengthening farmer’s revenues and so much more.
The first competition for Sub-Saharan Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2017 but this year’s event is scheduled to hold in Lagos, Nigeria on December 11th.
Pre-registered and pre-screened startups will have the privilege to pitch their ideas to a live audience and a panel of judges for an opportunity to become “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup.” The winner will go home with $25,000 USD in no-equity cash plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt in 2019
Although applications are now closed, startups and business owners are welcome to attend as guests. This will provide a great learning and networking experience for all attendees. If you are interested in attending, you can get your tickets here.
As a small business owner, many times you might be tempted to look outward instead of inward when things are not going in the direction you had anticipated. However, when things are taking the downward spiral turn or if your business is not growing well, the best place to start is to look inward and you might find surprising ways you might be killing your small business.
In this post, I’ve identified 10 surprising ways you might be killing your small business.
1. Going with every wind of change
As an entrepreneur, you are burdened with the task of making decisions that could directly or indirectly affect the growth of your business. One of such choices might be deciding which new technology to embrace or which social media platform to become active on. Whatever choices present themselves to you, try and ensure that you don’t change what is already working.
Change is a constant, however, going with every wind of change is a surprising way you might be killing your small business.
Don’t try to be the first one purchasing a new technology neither should you position yourself in such a way that you are the last person to get on board. Always update your knowledge and be patient when making decisions that affect your business growth.
2. Ineffective pricing
As a small business owner, the sole purpose of a business is to make PROFITS. If you don’t make profits, then you are not running a business; it’s a hobby. In order to make profits, you have to price your products/services competitively.
When determining your PRICE, don’t just look at the cost price of your product and add a comfortable percentage.
Rather, consider the cost price plus your overhead costs. Your overhead cost includes but not limited to transportation, communication (phone bills), meals, electricity bills etc. If you keep pricing your products based on cost price only, you are killing your small business in a way that it might be too late before you realize it.
3. Lack of social media presence
If you think you are too busy to maintain an active social media presence for your business, you might find yourself in hot soup sooner or later. Think about it; if your customers spend most of their time on social media, you might as well socialize with them there.
Socializing with your customers and interacting with them gives you an opportunity to get to know them up close. When they know you better, they become your mouthpiece and introduce you to their friends.
4. Selling on Credit
If you want to fast track your business death, sell on credit! Selling on credit is bad for business and as a small business owner, you should not lay this foundation for your business. If you have been selling on credit, seek counsel on how to stop unless you are ready to shut down.
5. Not following up with your loyal customers
Let’s face it, your loyal customers are the one responsible for 80% of your business profits, why take them for granted?
If you don’t follow up with your best customers or you don’t touch bases with them routinely, they might start to lose interest in patronizing you.
Remember, your competitors are out there trying to woo your loyal customers to their side. Whenever possible, try looking for ways to keep them loyal. Give them a surprise offer or reward, they will appreciate you for it.
6. Lack of integrity
If you lack integrity in the way you conduct your business, it will die a sudden death. You might get away with your lack of integrity at first but when it boomerangs, it’s usually fatal and irreversible. Rather than making empty promises, it is best if you are plain about your strengths and weaknesses up front.
7. Poor customer service
Attitude is everything! If you don’t treat your customers well, you are killing your business gradually. People want to know that you appreciate them for choosing you over your competitors. One of the best ways you can show your appreciation is by offering a good customer service to them.
No matter the quality of your products or services, if you do not provide excellent customers service, you are gradually hurting and killing your business without you even knowing it.
8. Failure to keep proper records
One of the mistakes I also made earlier on was a failure to proper records. The importance of keeping proper records cannot be over-emphasized.
Keeping proper records ensures that you accumulate sufficient data over time and helps you to identify what part of your business that needs improvement. I
t also ensures that when you need the records, you can easily locate them. If you don’t keep proper records in your business, you are gradually killing your business.
9. Not conducting market research
Routine market research is a must for every serious business owner. The needs of your client base change over time so you need to identify their exact needs and ensure that you are meeting those needs in a way that is mutually beneficial.
10. No marketing
As a small business owner, you should be involved in actively marketing your business to prospects and current customers. If not, you are like a boy winking at a girl in the dark. He’s the only one who knows what he’s doing while others don’t. If others don’t notice your business due to a lack of marketing, it will die a natural death.
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As a business owner or a career professional, one of the keys to growing a profitable brand or building a successful career is in your network. This is because the more quality people you know, the more you increase your chances of having access to life-changing opportunities that can catapult you from obscurity into the limelight. And in order to increase the quality of people in your network, you much learn the art of networking. Learning the art of networking, however, comes with constant practice as with everything in life. My first networking event was what I’ll term nerve-wrecking because I found myself in a room of 200+ business professionals. I found it highly uncomfortable to introduce myself to others and at the end of the day, I left without seizing the golden opportunity that was presented to me. Today, my story is different. I attend networking events well prepared to network with others and get the most out of it and here are seven (7) tips for getting the most out of your next networking event:
- Find out what type of guests the event will attract: Successful networking is not just about attending any type of networking event, it’s about attending events that will be relevant to your growth. Prior to accepting an invitation to attend a networking event, you must conduct your due diligence and find out what type of guests the events will attract. The type of
- Plan your outfit ahead of time: Now that you know the type of guests that will attend the networking event, you should begin to plan your outfit way ahead of time. You must find out from event organizers what the appropriate type of dressing is. You should not be overdressed or underdressed. If possible, take time to visit the organizer’s social media accounts or website to see if they’ve planned similar events and observe the mode of dressing for past events. Do not wait until the last minute so you won’t be flustered and disoriented
- Know your route and plan your mode of transportation: Unless you already know how to find your way to the venue of the networking event, you should plan your mode of transportation ahead of time
- Practice your elevator pitch: Networking events can be uncomfortable especially when you have to walk up to a stranger to introduce yourself. One way to reduce anxiety and make this more bearable is by exuding confidence that comes with practicing your elevator pitch way ahead of time. When you learn how to introduce yourself properly and with confidence, it creates a memorable experience for those who interact with you. This will, in turn, encourage them to follow up with you.
- Take plenty of business cards: There’s nothing that screams not being serious more than attending a networking event with a business card. It’s like a farmer who shows up to the farm without his tools. How will he or she get the work done? Your business card is a small but powerful tool that sends a message to anyone you hand it to that you mean business. Always have an abundant supply of business cards and do not wait until you have an event before you start scrambling around
- Introduce yourself to others: On the day of the event, you must not only sit and chat with those you know, but you must also move around and interact with others you don’t know. Interacting with people you don’t already know is an opportunity to build your network. Avoid talking too much about yourself. Instead, ask questions and listen to others while they talk about themselves. Be sure to collect their business cards as well.
- Follow up: Collecting business cards is useless if you don’t follow up. There’s an old saying that states that “the money is in the follow up” You must get tired of following up because that’s where the money is. If you don’t follow up with someone whose business card you collected then it’s as good as not collecting the money at all.
In all, always remember that networking is a rewarding exercise and it’s not just about how networking events you attend, it’s about the quality of people you network with and your ability to make the best use of every opportunity.
Thank you so much for reading! What additional networking tips would you like to share? Please leave a comment. Also, if you found this piece valuable, kindly share with others.
I have a weakness and my weakness is that hardworking women gets my attention 100% of the times! What’s not to love about a hardworking woman filled with passion, love and committed to making a difference?
One of such hard working women that have gotten my heart is Oluwatobi Busayo Asenuga, CEO, Rubidily Baby Store, the number one online baby store in Nigeria. I met this amazing woman on the “streets of Zukerville” when she joined my freemium Facebook Group for power women entrepreneurs and it didn’t take long for me to realize that she had a dream bigger than “self.”
Her attitude got me curious so I tracked her down for an interview where she shared her dreams, hopes and aspirations. Read her story below and be inspired.
What informed your decision to start your business?
In 2014, while shopping for my soon-to-be-born baby, I felt some type of indescribable joy inside of me and I said to myself, “what if I am also part of other women’s joy by starting a brand that caters to babies?” That was the beginning of the beginning.
After I had my baby and going through all the rigors of motherhood, the thoughts of starting my baby brand became even stronger. I knew instantly that owning a baby brand would not only afford me the opportunity to be a part of other women’s joy but it would also give me an opportunity to educate, enlighten other women on what to expect as they navigate the difficult terrain of motherhood and ultimately making a difference. And so with very little money, I took a step of faith and started Rubidily Baby Store.
What is the mission of your business?
The mission of Rubidily Baby Store is not just to sell baby essentials, it is to make a difference by coming alongside mums of toddlers and provide them with the much-needed support needed to raise a total child in the first 5 years of life.
What is your vision? Please include where you will like to see your business in 5 years.
My vision for Rubidily is to build it as a brand to be reckoned with when it comes child and mother health. I want Rubidily to be instrumental in reducing child mortality rate in Nigeria by at least 20% in the next 5 years while also being the number one for mums seeking quality items for their toddlers.
What makes you different from other similar businesses?
I am a firm believer in offering value. I have a genuine passion in what I do and so I bring my loving self into conversations with mums and mums-to-be while also creating a platform of mutual trust and understanding. Rubidily Baby Store is not just a baby shop – it’s a haven for mums.
What current projects are you working on?
Currently, I am looking forward to starting an NGO next year tagged “ It’s New To Me.” My goal is to collect baby and toddler items from mothers who no longer need them and then donate items collected to the less privileged mothers in society. Also, in line with my vision of reducing child mortality rate, I intend partnering with well-meaning people, governmental agencies and international organizations that are committed to providing sterile birth kit to women in rural areas in Nigeria.
Do you have any advice for those who would like to start their business?
First, it is important that everyone who wants to start their business should believe in themselves. According to my mentor Seun Akinlotan, if you are a business owner, you already understand how draining it is to be an entrepreneur. Beyond the glitz and glamor of entrepreneurship displayed online belies countless hours of hard work that has a semblance of slavery. In this case, slavery to work that comes with trying to build a profitable brand.
My advice to those who are yet to start their business is to get a mentor that will hold their hand. Also, they need to identify with people who are headed in the same direction as them. For me, I draw my strength from my OSBS Elite sisters.
What is your best quote?
Be the help someone needs. Together we can make the world a better place.
How do you want people to support you?
This is hard! However, I will be extremely grateful if people can support my cause by providing clothes and necessities for the less-privileged mums in the society by donating baby items they no longer need. I will also be highly appreciated if people visit the Rubidily Baby Store on Instagram and Facebook as 5% of my profit are channeled toward humanitarian causes.
See more collection on Instagram
How can customers reach you? Include website, social media links etc.
You can reach me by calling +2348136786943
Thank you for reading! Have a question for Tobi Asenuga? Kindly leave a comment below and remember to share this post with a friend.
As a small business owner who’s trying to build a profitable brand, one of the best ways to grow your business is by having lots of referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways because not only does it save you money you’d have otherwise spent on advertising (and probably training of your staff), they also let you know that you are serving your current customers exceptionally.
Would you like to get more referrals for your small business? Then, read on.
First, as a small business owner you need to understand that without a consistent flow of high-paying customers, it will be hard to build a profitable brand. With this perspective in mind, you must be intentional about how you present your business to the “world.” The world, in this case, is anyone who might interact with your brand either online or offline. Being intentional involves mainly the simple things that many people don’t pay attention to. These simple things may include having a business email, the way you greet prospects, how you respond to inquiries, how helpful you, how prompt you are etc. These examples might sound inconsequential but they go a long way in creating the right impression in the minds of the “world.”
Once you are excellent with your presentation, the next thing you should pay attention to is your word and how you deliver value to your customers. People will refer you others when they know that you always do what you said you would do and even a little more. Keeping to your word may be as little as getting back to a customer when you said you will get back to the customer, apologizing from your heart when you are late, resolving disputes and the likes. Do not take customers for granted even when you’ve probably known them for a long time. People are watching both consciously and subconsciously and this will go a long way in determining whether they’ll send referrals your way or not.
Another way you can get referrals for your small business when you are the best at what you do. The competition in the business world is fierce and only those who are excellent can withstand the fierceness. Being sloppy in your work or offering services for which you are not well-suited for might earn you a quick buck but it won’t earn you a referral. If you are always struggling to get referrals from your current customers, it might speak to deeper issues with the quality of the service you provide or the goods you sell. If you do not have a big advertising budget that will secure you a space on the billboard by the roadside, you need to commit to excellence in your goods and services.
Other ways in which you can also earn referrals for your small business is by appreciating your current customers routinely (not just at the end of the year), caring for them beyond taking their money (like knowing what bothers them, sharing in their joys and pains alike), starting a loyalty or reward program and forming strategic partnerships where possible.
Thank you so much for reading! What other ways do you think you a small business owner can get more referrals? Please leave a comment. Also, if you found this piece valuable, kindly share with others.
Thousands of new businesses spring up daily around the world but not many are born out of passion. That’s not the case with Adenike Falade, a Nigerian woman whose fragrance business was born out of her passion for “smelling” nice.
Adenike Falade is a young Nigerian woman and co-founder of Davellin Int’l Company based in the city of Ibadan, South West, Nigeria. The company produces sweet fragrances that are hard to resist.
Adenike is one of many women who believe that nothing is out of reach unless you do not put your mind to it. I started perfumery out of my passion for loving sweet-smelling fragrances. I would often buy and sell imported perfumes to my clients
I started perfumery out of my passion for loving sweet-smelling fragrances. I would often buy and sell imported perfumes to my clients, she recalls.
One day, an opportunity to learn about perfume making was presented to her and she was too thrilled not to embrace the opportunity. After the initial learning process, Adenike did not go to sleep. Instead, she worked hard to produce fragrance based on the principles she was taught. From a small batch production, she thought “what if I could take this to the next level?”
That was how she began to research ways in which she could translate her passion into something tangible.
With a seed capital from the salary she earned in her day job, she started producing and selling fragrance to family, friends and well-wishers alike. At first, it was an uphill battle. She had to go through a difficult learning phase. The feedback from the initial production batches wasn’t encouraging and she had to decide between pressing on and giving up. She chose the former. With the help of her mentors, she garnered enough strength to withstand the pressures of not meeting up to expectation.
Today, she’s pleased that she didn’t give up. Not only has the fragrance quality improved, but she has also gone from producing one fragrance to expanding to two with the third one in the making. Also, from her city in Ibadan, her fragrance brand is beginning to gain grounds in other parts of the country and beyond.
One of the things that have kept her going is her vision which she says it’s to become a household name across the world.
On what makes her fragrance different from all others in the marketplace, she says it’s affordability, uniqueness and long-lasting effect. And because she’s rapidly expanding, she says her next focus is machine processing upgrade, product distribution and online sales marketing.
On what her best quote is, she says “impossibility” does not exist. For new entrepreneurs, she had this to say “Don’t be afraid to start small with a focus of growing large.
She loves reading, traveling and dancing and to catch up with her latest production, check her out on INSTAGRAM. You can get six (6) 100 cl bottles of her perfume (Autumn Body Splash) for 3600 NGN ($10). This can be used as the perfect Christmas or end of the year gift for your family, friends and even employees! Hurry, visit her INSTAGRAM page and place your orders now.
Thank you so much for reading! Have a word for Adenike? Please leave a comment. Also, if this piece inspired you, kindly share with others.
I have always dreamt of owning a global brand but quite frankly, that dream was quite intimidating given the fact that I was not raised with a silver spoon. However, something in me kept telling me it was possible so I never discarded the idea – though I tucked it away for many years. By the time I decided to start exploring the possibility of unleashing my ideas, I then decided to survey the people around me. The general consensus was that I should not register my business because it would put me under the radar. Obviously, I was directing my questions to the wrong people because registering my business gave exclusive access to tools and resources that are only available to registered businesses.
If you are thinking of starting your business or maybe you already started and you are yet to register your business, here are 5 reasons why you should register your business.
- It puts you under the radar: A lot of people are scared of being under the radar but trust me, if what you do is legitimate, the best place to be is under the radar. If you are an expert in what you do or the services you offer, you want to make sure that you get started on the right note.
- It ensures that you get paid: Many people will rather pay to your business account than a personal account and you can only open a business account if you own a registered business. Corporations and Multinationals will definitely not do business with you if you don’t have the appropriate credentials and if you are okay with being the best-kept secret, then you might keep running your business without properly registered.
- It makes your brand legitimate: The only way you can own a business legitimately is by having it registered. Anyone that tells you otherwise either does not love you or does not know any better.
- It protects you: Registering your business is also a way of protecting your finances. For example, In the US, if you register as an LLC or a Corporation, people cannot go after your personal finances if anything goes wrong. You might need to check your local laws for what applies in your country or state of residence.
- It gives you access to opportunities: There many government rebates and tax breaks given to small businesses and if your business is not registered, you will not be allowed to be a part of these opportunities.
If you need to register your business in Nigeria, you may visit the CAC website
If you need to register your business in the United States, you may visit the IRS website.
Thank you so much for reading! What additional reasons would you like to share? Please leave a comment. Also, if you found this piece valuable, kindly share with others.
I used to believe that top-level success was reserved for those who were raised with a silver spoon. Not that I wrote myself off, but it was just that somewhere in my little brain, I never thought I could rise above the status of a local champion let alone think that my story could extend beyond Abeokuta (also known as Rock City), a little city in the South Western State of Ogun, Nigeria.
My life took a U-turn and my story changed when my husband and I relocated from Nigeria and we had to start our lives from scratch. During that process, I was privileged to meet an amazing mentor who saw something great in me and was willing to guide me through the process of making my dreams come true.
As the days flew by, I also got myself acquainted with messages from Jim Rohn, Les Brown and Brian Tracy. I remember hearing Jim Rohn say he dropped out of college at 19, Les Brown said he never attended college while Brian Tracy even worked as a construction worker at some point in his life and there was I, a graduate with a Master’s degree thinking being a local champion was my lot.
I decided to pause and reflect. In my moment of reflection, I said to myself, if all these people could succeed against all odds, I had no reason not to. That was my eureka moment! My mindset began to shift and I began shedding away and overcoming my limiting belief. I went through an entire process of tearing down every wall of limitation I’ve built in my mind over the years and started recreating my reality.
After shedding and tearing down, I then decided to rebuild. I replaced fear with boldness, self-pity with self-acceptance and excuses with action. In the process, I fell and failed severally. Each time, I fell and failed, I was quick to remind myself of Thomas Edison who failed 10,000 times before finally breaking through.
Today, I look back with gratitude and all I can say is THANK GOD FOR THE PAUSE!! I feel liberated to now know that success is not reserved for special breeds, it’s for everyone and anyone who wants it.
Do you want success?
It is within reach, but there is a huge problem. Success is dependent on principles. If you follow its principles, it will favor you. On the other hand, if you don’t follow its principles, it will elude you.
NOW, I don’t know your personal situation but I want you to know that whatever it is that is holding you back – age, gender, location in the world, educational background or socioeconomic status etc – you can do more than you are currently doing and can achieve so much more than what you can currently imagine. The key is to PAUSE, shed every limiting beliefs and overcome your fears.
This year, cut out the noise, pause and reflect. Press that pause button right now, seclude yourself temporarily and spend time with YOU.
Discover (or rediscover) yourself, read as much as you can, look for a network of great minds (here’s one for you), actively search for great mentors and stick with them, restrain your wandering eyes and heart…follow very few people, believe in yourself and execute. Also, walk away from anyone who belittles your ambition or gets in your way of attaining great heights. You can do more and be more…and if you are ready to embrace your passion, monetize your skills, and build a profitable brand online in 2018, send me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org right now and I’ll help you get started!
Question: Did you find this article useful? Do/Did you have self-limiting beliefs? How were you able to overcome them? Join the conversation and leave your comments below. Thank you!