I have often advocated in my previous threads that every Nigerian should at least own a business. This is the fastest way to alleviate poverty. In as much as the government keeps sharing bags of rice and other stipends, people will continue to suffer because their immediate desire is being met but their long term need is left unattended to.
In this article, I want to highlight the basic steps you can take so as to start your own business.

These steps are applicable to both online and offline businesses.

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1. Generate an idea:

This looks like the easiest part, but it is not. This is where many businesses crashed even before they took off. As opposed to what many people think, an idea is not just what comes to your mind randomly and you feel is noble for a business. An idea is a need that you recognize which has the potential to fetch you money while you need it. The idea you have will be stronger if it comes from having been in a position/place to see or experience for yourself what you need or what others need. Once you can feel that need (and not just think it) it will create in you the passion for the business.

2. Acquire necessary information:

Now that you have come up with a brilliant idea, it is time to gather facts. I talked with someone last month who started a business which he was already pumping money into but had no idea how the business runs. That’s pathetic. At this point, you need to acquire information so as to understand the dynamics of the business, the population of the market, the competitors etc. Once again, don’t assume; instead, do research. Carry out market surveys, visit those already in the business to see things for yourself and get acquainted to the “how” of the business.

3. Time to brainstorm:

Now you have your idea and you have the basic information about the line of business that you want to delve into. It is now time to think. It will surprise you that very few people think. Most people just act solely on instincts. That is not good for business. Brainstorm on what you can do better, how you can cut down on production cost, how you can seize your own share of the market, what you can do to give you an edge over your competitors etc.

4. Create a simple business plan:

The business plan will serve as your guide. Yes, you know everything already and it is in your head but still, write it down. Research has shown that whatever you write down on a piece of paper actually burns deep into your mind which in turn makes you naturally conscious of it. Write down the basics of the business plan such as your vision, your mission, objectives, strategy, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) etc. Once you do this, you will have a clear cut direction of where you are headed. remember the 6p formula that says “proper prior planning prevents poor performance”

5. Do Reviews from time to time:

Set aside time to periodically assess your business. This goes beyond the daily or weekly inquiry into the profits of your business. When you do a review, you take a holistic look at your business to find out what is not working and what you can do to improve it. Often, you will find out strategies that are obsolete and ineffective. Also, you may notice a strategy giving you unusual hits. Whatever the case may be, ensure you prune the business regularly so it will yield more growth for your business. Zoom into methods that work and let go of those that are not working.

6. Learn to identify opportunities:

There are plenty opportunities that you can take advantage of to boost your business. It may be in the form of publicity for your business or even loans or grants. Learn to look out for them. In fact, those with businesses are more likely to be picked than those without one if an opportunity shows up. Don’t assume that such opportunities are not for you. Take the leap wherever and whenever you can. If you do, it will give accelerated growth to your business.

7. Get a mentor/Model:

This is highly important in virtually every field of human endeavor. The tragedy of the youths of today is to think strength is a substitute for experience. A mentor is someone that models the success that you desire. For this purpose, such a person will be very valuable to provide you with tips and insights that he/she has gleaned over the years through experience. In this way, you will achieve success with greater precision and have little room for failure.
Never assume that owning a business is difficult. The hardest part is to start. Once you start, you have conquered the fear and procrastination that many are still battling with. Nevertheless, with enough information, planning and action, you can grow your business over time.