Welcome to another week of financial learning. In my last two articles, I looked at everyday financial excuses we give for our inability to stay financially disciplined.
The responses have been overwhelming and encourage. I will urge that we work on curbing our excuses from this journey towards financial freedom. The more we adhere to excuses, the more we invite and accept failures as part of life.
Failing is a process of life. Being a failure from previous failings is a choice! You become what you see. If you see yourself succeeding in the future, no amount of setback can sway you away from that joyful goal. I want to graduate this idea of starting a business. Readers will recall that in my earlier article titled “Go for your financial Key”, one of the ways I suggested towards wealth creation was starting an aside hustle or business.
Starting any business in Ghana and Africa is difficult! It entails mental, spiritual and systemic battles.
Mental battle in the sense that you will have to fight against negative thoughts from within, friends and families. People that you will look up to for encouragement will most often than not beat the “it is not possible” drum harder. Only a few are able to process and master courage beyond these negative thoughts and voices.
There comes a spiritual battle from people who never wish good things for us. You find these people in almost every family. They will fight against you spiritually through nightmares, illness and possible accidents. Their aim is to stop you in your tracks.
The sadder battle is our societal web or what I term as systemic entanglements. How to register that business, who to support with capital, location, regulatory procedures, etc. all form part of the systemic battles. The delays alone can make you change your business line and strategic. Competition within this system sometimes gets physical with daylight sabotages and Machiavellian tactics to ensure you do not join the industry.
The above form some reasons why many harbor desires to start an aside business yet drop such hopes and aspirations. With that said, I still believe anyone who falls off because of the above battles has accepted to be a failure!
I, therefore, want to look at three (3) things that we all need to understand if we want to be great entrepreneurs in Ghana and the world at large.
A business is a commercial venture you engage in with the goal of making a profit. Starting any business comes with only two possible outcomes. The business will either fail or succeed. The swing between a failed and successful business is very thin. In this article, I will explain the tools needed to be successful.
Everyone dreaming of engaging in any business should have what I call the 3 Rs:
1. Right Mindset
2. Right Team
3. Right Mentors
Starting a business comes with the right mindset and focus. One needs to understand and appreciate what exactly he or she wants to engage in be it service, construction or manufacturing. This right mindset will lead you to your business plan. The mindset should be “never say die”.
Your mind should be ready to push through in the face of trying moments. No amount of market research and survey will make the beginning of the business easy. The beginning will always be challenging and tough. Nevertheless, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!
Determine to make the business successful in the face of economic and societal difficulties.
If your mindset is weak, chances are that you will throw your hands in despair when things start falling apart.
All successful business people went through patchy moments in their career. Com Mirza, the CEO of Mirza Holdings started and failed in his first eight businesses. He, however, succeeded on the ninth attempt!
The road is not going to be smooth. However, with the right mindset, you will succeed!
Be your own motivator! Self-motivation should be your greatest tool and not friends and families.
Another crucial tool to success in any business is the assembling of great minds. No one can effectively run a business alone. You will need people to take charge of some aspects of the business as it grows to be it suppliers, staff, creditors, competitors, etc.
There are partners that we have to value and treat well especially working colleagues. No matter your investment in a business, your staff will remain its greatest asset!
We need to treat them well and build a sense of purpose and spirit of teamwork. With teamwork, every member will feel needed in the business and thus, put in their maximum effort to make sure it succeeds.
The business should not just revolve around some few individuals. Successful businesses are not “ONE MAN SHOW”!
Bring your team members up to speed with the vision and mission of the business.
Besides building the right team and having the right mindset, the third success-driven effort for your business is having the right mentors. Mentors are people we look up to in terms of their standards, their work, and their teachings.
Almost every business that you may want to engage in has trailblazers. One of the ways to know you are on the right path is by matching up whatever you do against the earlier heroes.
Any field that you take be it industries, artwork, financial or sports, we have some mentors who could act as great source of inspirations.
We need to learn from their success point as well as low points. You need their success points as a road map and their failures as a guide.
When you take the media space for example in Ghana, there are mentors such as the Despite group, Multimedia, Daily Graphic, etc. As a young person wanting to venture into the print and virtual media space, you need to get closer to these people to learn how they succeeded. Getting closer is not just having an interviewing session with them. You can read books about them. Find out from people who know them and if possible getting in touch with them.
They will also serve as a form of insiders into the business you want to engage in. Beware of the old prophet who will lead you into destruction anyway.
Beyond these three tools, we also need to build products and services that solve obvious societal problems.
A good business plan should locate societal deficient and tend to solve it. When the issue of communication started building up in Ghana, the smart business people set up what we used to call “Space to Space” which bridged the gap of people traveling around just to deliver messages and interacting.
Many people set up a tabletop desk where one could place telephone calls. With time, mobile phones became cheaper and that business faded out. Such a business today will not be successful because that is not a societal problem now.
Your product should also be borne out of innovation! Following the norm can sometimes not yield the needed results. We should, therefore, try to develop products that are dynamic and technology-driven.
I am very sure you appreciate the fact that starting a business in Ghana will not be easy. Nevertheless, with today’s few words, we have no excuse not to at least try with the right mindset, the right team, and the right mentors.
Get closer to expert advice in any business model. No matter how costly that consultation may be, failing can never be compared to it. Whenever you feel like quitting, remember that Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did you feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!
Patrick is a chartered banker and has been a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana with a good membership