Of Headless Chicken and Entrepreneurship
You know how children aspire to be lawyers, doctors and pilots when they grow up? Well, I never had that. In a way, I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The concept of doing business has excited me for as long as I can remember and even now, it is what gets me out of bed in the morning, eager for another new day. Don’t get me wrong, it has not always been smooth sailing. But then again, if it was, life would be rather boring wouldn’t it? It is through the challenges we face that growth is experienced.
During my teens, I needed to raise money to boost the bursary fund in high school and essentially, keep me in school. I did this by selling foodstuff to students.buyer-and-seller-dice This was a school-sanctioned activity for a number of students who like me, needed help with school fees. The administration provided the capital and all profits went directly into the fund. This made it possible for students to be part of the bursary process and by owning it, the tag ‘poor students’ was never associated with us.
Even though I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, this was the first time that I could see its fruits first-hand. Owning the process gave me a sense of dignity in that I did not have to passively wait for handouts. Thus began my entrepreneurial journey. Many of my friends could not understand why I did not consume my own merchandise. Yeah, self-control can be an issue in business because the entrepreneur has needs too, right? But eating the foodstuff would have been synonymous with self sabotage and this first entrepreneurial experience taught me to be disciplined with my stock.
Understand Your Market
If I had sold vegetables and healthy snacks at my high school, I would never have turned a profit. To meet the demand, I needed to sell what my clientele wanted, which was a lot of starch and crunchy snacks. One of the main elements of being and entrepreneur is in understanding the needs of your market, and meeting those needs effectively. Clients are not interested in what you want; they are interested in what they want. It sounds a little harsh, but nobody buys goods or pays for services to make the business owner feel good.
Opportunities vs. Money
While many people around the world have an interest in entrepreneurship, most do not know what kind of business to set up. My first business after school a number of years back was distributing IT equipment to companies. Most of the people who were getting in the trade at the time were doing so because it was perceived that that was where the money was. Contrary to popular opinion, this is a truly flawed criterion for selecting an area to be an entrepreneur. I chose IT because that was where the opportunities were.
For every business person, the impulse to follow the money can have one running around from one business to another like a headless chicken. Headless chicken do not do well, trust me. Best case scenario, they run for a few minutes and then fall down dead because well…they are headless. Pursuing an opportunity eliminates the madness and provides the entrepreneur with the focus necessary to take their business to the next level, every day.
Regardless of whether one’s entrepreneurial journey begins when they are three years old or sixty, you are here now. Some people need to put more energy into it because it may not necessarily come as automatically as it seems to do for other people. But the good news is that with the world becoming a global village, the necessary tools, experts and networks are now available; to hold every aspiring and new entrepreneur by the hand and guide them through the process.