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SME 101: Do You Want To Launch a Successful Business?

We live in unparalleled times; times of desperation and turmoil but also times of rare opportunity for unprecedented success.

These are times where people go to work on Monday morning, fire up their computers only to discover that they have been yanked off the company network and no longer have a job.

Others leave work on Friday with the normal ‘have a nice weekend’ ‘see you on Monday’ only to get a SMS by 22:48 Saturday night saying that their services are no longer required.

On account of this reality, most people are (quite rightly) scrambling to perfect their Plan B, their side gig, or like I like to call it – their ‘Change Parachute’; everyone wants to regain a sense of control over their lives. No one wants to be left outside in the cold.

Also, these are times were people are hungrier than ever before; hungrier for success, significance, impact, financial security etc. People want to make it on their own terms …in show biz, fashion, technology, ecommerce, agriculture, you name it they want it. Whatever the trigger, the hunger is the same; people want to take back control of their lives. They no longer want to be at the mercy of THE BOSS.

For those who want to move from under the thumb of THE BOSS and set up shop, I have a few tips (that I have distilled from my personal experience, research, talks with mentors and other entrepreneurs as well as books/articles) that I hope will set you on your way to launching a successful business.

#1 of 5: CORE STRENGTHS

Define what your business will do along the lines of your CORE STRENGTHS. Don’t assume that your business will be successful because you have a keen appreciation or love for a subject matter alone. NO!

Success does not come from love or passion; you have to play along the highway of your CORE STRENGTHS.

If you really love and appreciate food, you love eating, understand the basics of regional cuisine and what not should you go ahead and start a restaurant? Maybe not. Why? Owning and running a restaurant involves a lot more than a love for food.

I googled ‘skills to run a successful restaurant’ see some of the skills I found a list which includes Accounting, People Management, Creativity, Customer Service etc. See?

If these are not your CORE STRENGTHS, your chances of running a successful restaurant as a going concern will most definitely be inhibited.

So, what business interests you? You need to find the skills that are required to run that business successfully. Yes, you can learn some of these skills, but success comes when you play in the area of your DOMINANT STRENGTHS. Be real with yourself.

#2 of 5: SOLUTIONS

If you want to your business to be really successful in every way that counts you need to go into business for the right reasons.

In my head I’ve looked at businesses that seem set up ONLY to make money (note the word ‘only’); meaning that the only reason they exist is to make money for the owner(s). I am sure you know [about] someone who went in to oil and gas supply business, not to ensure that citizens in a location have unfettered access to the either PMS, AGO or kerosene but for the sole purpose of making oodles of money.

For reasons I will not go into at this time (it’s outside the scope of this post), I have noticed that these businesses seldom last beyond 10 years (if they make it that far). On the other hand, businesses that are created to SOLVE PROBLEMS are the businesses that last. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, House of Tara, etc come to mind.

Think of it this way, in an ideal business the object (service or product) is to serve the subject (the customer) and not the other way round. No matter how innovative your object (product or service) is, eventually the subject (customer) will lose the sense of novelty, migrate to another business where the object serves it/them or find an alternative. Does this make sense? Money is a good outcome from a successful business; yes, profit is expected – but not at the expense or on the back of your customers. Successful businesses see profit as the customers’ way of saying thank you for solving a problem (with your product/service) for them. So, to have a successful business, you have to find a problem and solve it; customers will come, and keep coming.

#3 of 5: COMPELLING VISION

This next tip is a doozy; it is required if you want to succeed in leadership on any level. As an entrepreneur you know you are a leader, don’t you?

But you have to come next back next week to read about how your compelling vision helps you launch a successful business.

While you wait for part two though, it is worthwhile to interrogate your mind. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What really are my core strength? It helps to sit down quietly and write them all out. Don’t just assume you have these strengths. Strengths must be corroborated with action. What I mean is that strengths don’t exist solely in your mind. If you have or are not actively using your strengths in executing your passion or work, chances are you don’t have this strength.
  2. Why am I opting for this line of business? Yes, entrepreneurs want returns – that is normal. But when money is your only reason for embarking on your venture… tut, tut, tut.

Next week, we will discuss more tips.

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Liz Taylor

Liz is a trainer, life strategist, conference speaker and customer service consultant. She is the face behind the LizSpire brand and Chief Executive of Eva Wright. Liz finds mediocrity abhorrent and is driven to bring a full measure of Godly excellence in everything she does no matter how small. One of her consuming passions is helping people identify and develop their latent potential, and giving back to her community. She runs a pet project called “Save Nigeria’s Voice” that collects and routes used books to orphanages and rural schools. A prolific writer, she is the author of ’45 Reasons Not to be Ordinary’ and ‘Contemplations: Echoes of the Deep Vol 1’.

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