Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ideas? Not Enough

This particular post is a special one. In the following discuss, I want you to meet a senior friend who has influenced my life in many positive ways, a scientist and an astute business man. If you think you have an idea or ideas, Prosper OlakunleOjerinde posits that you need more than just ideas to be successful in business. Let us hear from someone who’s been there and done that.

Meet Mr Prosper as he tells us what other things are needed with ideas to make a success in business.
(This article was published on a facebook group page. Republished by permission)

Many times as a business man; I’ve been privileged to hear/witness people discuss/pursue very laudable business ideas. But to my amazements, 50% of this ‘very laudable’ ideas end up in the trash can(the business being unable to survive tests of time),20% remain yet an idea(never realised),15% remain thwarted(never rise to become large scale businesses) and just about 10-15% live to make the proprietor proud of himself.

Despite this woeful statistics, it’s amazing to still see a whole lot of people making efforts to generate business ideas, but then, only to fail.
Times and times again, I’ve discovered (as a man who started his business six years ago, amidst very unfriendly economic crises with just #12,000; ten thousand of which was borrowed. But today by God’s grace, can boast of a business worth well over a million naira, to speak conservatively) that having laudable, time proven, success oriented, failure proof ideas is not enough for a successful business endeavour.

I need to state very quickly, that most of us fail and would continue to fail in business, because we don’t put first things first. Most people think what ensures a good business is having a very good idea, large sum of money as capital and/or very powerful connections to movers and shakers of the economy.
As nice as this may sound, I want u to know that if you have all this in place, you can still fail if you don’t put the first things first. To ensure success, you need to know that it’s only God that knows the end from the beginning’s such, a business idea may seem very laudable, but if God is not in it, you’re simply ploughing your ground for erosion.
The God-factor is one thing you must never overlook. You need to take your time to ascertain the mind of God concerning any endeavour, if you want to ensure succeed AT ALL TIMES. But if you won’t mind to fail once in a while, you may simply employ the trial and error method.

You need to be sure of what you really want to do before you venture. Always try not to put your money into what you’re not fully convinced of. Others may be making it big there, but if you keep having checks in your spirit, you need to take a second look. You must understand however that not every check in the spirit means no! Sometimes, God just want you to take note of a very minute, but significant detail you were going to overlook. So, if you ever have a check in your spirit, TAKE A SECOND, BUT CAREFUL LOOK, BEFORE YOU PLOUGH!

Any business you cannot do without being paid, DON’T VENTURE INTO IT. The reason so many businesses fail is not because they have no capacity to thrive but because there was so much drive for profits, that the business was unnecessarily strained. The proprietor’s idea of a successful business was about how much money he makes at the end of the day.
If you’re so much concerned about how much goes into your pocket at the expense of your customers satisfaction, joy of helping people meet their needs etc., you’ll only survive but for a while. Successful people enjoy what they’re doing so much that even if they were not paid, they still would have done it.

This is what most people do first, but unfortunately, it’s N0 4 on the list. However, it’s a very important part of the steps.
You need to do a lot of market surveys before you venture into any business. How do you do it?

 i. You need to find out about the product of your interest-How durable, customer satisfying, user friendly etc. How do you market it to win your intended customers attention and patronage etc.
  1.       ii.  Find out of the customers quest for this product-How many and what categories/age of people have interest in this product, Where can they be found, how would they want it delivered etc.?       iii.   Where can you find this good/product cheapest and best? If you find good qualities at very cheap price, you’ll tend to satisfy your customer more by making it available cheap, thereby making more money in the long run. 
              iv.  How best do you present this product?-Packaging.
         v. Where should you be located for easy accessibility
    vi.                    vi. How many people are doing this business already in that locality? How much is their turn over? Would joining them be a good idea? How are they doing it to sell? &how do you do yours to sell more?

This is a very important issue to consider when starting a business. A good location means a good business, while a bad one means otherwise, all things being equal. Always look for a very suitable location

A lot of people do not understand the logic behind making your customers your friends. Don’t ever treat your customers as strangers. Show interest in their personal lives and challenges. Let them know that you’re not after their pocket but their progress. If your customer sees you as a friend, He will always come around and each time buys something. He will find it difficult to go elsewhere because, he wouldn’t want to offend and so you retain him and still win others.

May be the most delicate aspect of ensuring the survival of your business is getting the right person to work for you. Getting the right person will always require prayers and tactics, because most of the people showing interest in your job, do not intend to help but steal! So, you must be able to discern the right person from the wrong. You must have standards and basic requirements you mustn’t compromise.
Avoid sentiments and never get emotionally attached. Always be ready to hire and fire whenever the need arises. Motivate your members of staff, discipline when necessary, reward excellence and hard work openly and stupendously, never befriend an opposite sex working for you, show interest in their personal challenges and help solve it as much as possible, set targets for them, otherwise they (and your business) grow dormant, be very sensitive to small discrepancies that can lead to big losses, never be too familiar!

The easiest way to fail as a business man is to joke with your records! If you want to keep growing, you must keep the records of all your business activities; sales, expenditure, income, salary etc. That way, you can easily monitor your growth and or otherwise and discover your lapses for corrective measures.

You need to put a system in place for continuous self-assessments. How is the business doing? Are you growing at all? What problems are you having? What causes them? How do you resolve them? Etc.

You must always set targets for yourself, the business and the staff. “When there is no vision, the people perish”. You need to continually set short term and long term targets. It doesn’t matter how you started or how much you depend on the business for your sustenance; a good business must be able to rejuvenate, regenerate and eventually replicate itself. However, this would only happen if you’re targets driven. Set targets for 3months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 15 years, 30 years etc. and ensure that you do everything to realise it. Don’t steal/play pranks pls.

A good name they say, is better than silver and gold. If all you want is money and you don’t care about what God and people say, you’ll surely make so much money but only for sometimes. Someday, everything would go wrong. But for a perpetually increasing business/blessing you need to maintain a good name before God and men. By living and leading (not acting)a life of integrity. Let your yes always be yes and no, no!

Always pay your tithe and understand that it’s your way of saying thank you to God and not your seed for a compulsory blessing from God. God is always committed to blessing hard works because He is good. But your tithe tells Him you recognise His goodness, thereby increasing His commitments and blessings to/upon your life.

Always pull out for a retreat! Never get bored before you pull out, because then you will only take time to rest and not to think. But always take time out to think, assess your business, project into the future and design a new package/approach. During retreats ask yourself very pertinent questions that’ll determine the fate of your business and procure answers. Do some brainstorming! You might even go with some tapes, books or person(s) that can motivate your genius. And, create enough time to sleep and allow distractions (ideas come sometimes from seemingly distractions)

Always meet with your staff to impart them with your new visions, challenge them to greater tasks, and implore them to do their best and/or reward them for a job well done

You can NOT do these things dynamically and fail! That’s impossibly impossible!