The importance of marketing is not alien to an entrepreneur. You already know without being told that marketing is how you get your products/services sold.
So this unusual article is not about marketing, it’s about why your marketing isn’t working. It’s about your conversion strategy, the critical missing link in your marketing arsenal. It’s about fixing your marketing strategy so that it can begin to work as it’s supposed to – bring in sales!
The Critical Missing Link in Your Marketing Arsenal
If you’ve been in business for about 3-5 years, I’m sure you would be familiar with what I am about to say next.
That you have some form of marketing system in place isn’t a guarantee that you will always make the sale.
That you are running an ad, either online or offline doesn’t mean anyone who comes in contact with the ad will eventually buy.
That you have a team of salespeople making presentations daily to your target customers doesn’t guarantee instant sales.
The greatest deception that can ever happen to an entrepreneur is thinking or believing that sales can be made in an instant. Now, don’t get me wrong, as you know, there’s always an exception to every rule; both in life and in business.
So for this rule, let me quickly mention the exception. The only time sales is made in an instant is when you are selling a commodity. A commodity is a product/service that is as generic as sand and as common as air. In other words, there’s nothing really special or unique about the product/service. Such a product/service is not a brand and will ultimately be left to the mercy of price.
But if there’s any drop of uniqueness, difference or novelty about your product/service, then it has the potential of becoming a brand and you shouldn’t expect an instant sales from your marketing efforts.
Because of the buying decision making process.
Between the first time a potential customer comes in contact with your product/service and the time they eventually buy, there’s a big gap. That gap is the buying decision making process and it needs to be deliberately guided.
This is why you need a conversion strategy.
What’s Your Conversion Strategy?
The job of marketing is to create an attention or awareness for your products/services. This is what I refer to as the first encounter with your brand. Before anyone will buy a product/service, they must first know that such a product/service exists. It is the job of marketing to make sure that they do.
And there are different ways of making this happen;
- Advertisement: TV, Radio, Billboard, Online, Print, etc.
- Word-of-Mouth: recommendation from family and friends, colleagues, etc.
- Direct Marketing: one-on-one sales, telemarketing, SMS, email marketing, etc.
- Retail Marketing: sales outlets, exhibitions, trade shows, shelf space branding, product packaging, etc.
All of these and many more are the several ways of creating that first initial exposure for your product/service with the intended target market. Expecting to make the sale on this first encounter with your brand is why so many marketing efforts fail.
This doesn’t also mean that you cannot get lucky and make the sale on first contact, you can. But don’t always bet on it. Erroneously accepting this notion of making the sale on first contact as the norm is like expecting to take your date to bed on your first date.
While this may happen for some, it’s not the rule, but an exception and one that is completely subject to chance. And you shouldn’t leave your marketing to chance; this is the essence of a conversion strategy.
Your conversion strategy is how to deliberately initiate, sustain and nurture the fragile relationship your marketing efforts has just helped you create with the potential buyers of your product/service. The most important keyword here is “deliberately”. Your conversion strategy is not automatic, it must be deliberately created.
In popular marketing terms, your conversion strategy is your sales funnel. It’s how you turn a PROSPECT [potential customer] to SALES [customer]. Without it, all your marketing efforts have failed.
In fact, the whole essence of your marketing is to get the attention and interest of your target market in order to initiate, sustain and nurture a relationship with them. Your conversion strategy is how you take the attention and interest your marketing created and turn them into sales.
It’s not sufficient to just capture their attention and interest, a relationship with the potential customer must be initiated, sustained and nurtured. The end goal of this relationship is the eventual sale of your products/services. But if you attempt to force the sale on them on your first encounter, you will most certainly be resented and will ultimately lose the sale.
How to Create a Winning Conversion Strategy
To create a winning conversion strategy, the following essential elements must be put in place;
Establish a Direct Communication Link With Potential Customers
The very first step in creating a winning conversion strategy is to establish a direct communication link with the potential customer. This simply means capturing their contact details. This can vary depending on the product/service involved.
But in most cases, there are generally 3 kinds of contact details you need to establish a direct communication link with the potential customer;
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Contact Address
Anyone of these 3 or a combination of any two will do. But I must warn you, such details don’t come by easily. Your potential customers will not part with them until they are given a compelling reason to do so.
To get access to their contact details, you have to be willing to give them something valuable in return for free. This is generally known as bait and it can take various forms depending on the product/service and the peculiarities of the target market.
For example, when we ran a cybercafé, we gave out 10 minutes worth of browsing ticket for free to every first time customer in exchange for them to become registered members. Of course, the membership registration was also free and also came with more value added perks, but it required them to drop their contact details.
On this blog, naijapreneur, the bait is the free “The Entrepreneur’s Journey” ebook which I give away in exchange for email addresses of my readers. This is one of the popular baits used online to capture the contact details of potential customers who visit a website.
The list of what you can give away for free in exchange for the contact details of potential customers is endless, you just need a little bit of creativity and ample knowledge of your target customer’s needs and wants.
The bottom-line is to give away something they will value and that is closely related to the products/services you are selling. Examples include;
- Information Products: eBooks, video tutorials, podcasts, online course, newsletter, etc.
- Limited Access: free trial subscriptions, free trial downloads, free trial membership, etc.
- Sample Products: free air time, make up, training, product testing, etc.
- Promo Items: branded souvenirs, etc.
- Free Consultations: coaching session, diagnostics, therapy, etc.
Demonstrate Value Through Periodic Engagement
Now that you have established a direct communication link with your potential customers, your next step in developing a winning conversion strategy is to demonstrate value by engaging with your potential customers periodically.
That you have direct communication link with them is not a license for you to overwhelm them with endless sales letters or promos, no. Remember this is a relationship you are nurturing, so always think win-win and not win-lose. In other words, put the needs of your potential customers first.
Your goal here is to engage with them by demonstrating value. I call this strategy educate and influence. Here is where you demonstrate the superior value of your product/service. Rather than making claims, you simply demonstrate what makes your brand special. You demonstrate your thought leadership [expertise] as a brand.
You can do this through the following;
- Case Studies: share stories on how your product/service is helping other customers
- Articles: offer practical ideas and tips that addresses their major problems
- Testimonials: share what your satisfied customers are saying about your product/service
- Industry News: keep them abreast with relevant industry trends, issues and events
- Market Surveys: engage them with thoughtful questions to help you understand their needs
- Product/Service Updates: educate them on how your products/services can solve their problems
All these will keep your brand top on their mind without abusing the privilege of engaging with them. Over time, their perception of your brand will increase as you continuously engage with them by demonstrating value.
Make an Irresistible Offer
As you nurture a win-win relationship with them through value adding periodic engagements, they would have been ripe for the sale. Most times, even before you make an offer, they would have started contacting you to buy.
It’s at this point that you can take the relationship further and create an exclusive irresistible offer about your product/service that will benefit them. This is when you out rightly ask for the sale. The benefit of making an irresistible offer is that it helps many who aren’t ready to buy yet, take advantage of the promo offer.
Don’t try to lump all your offers at once, create several offers and introduce it to them periodically.
Every marketing effort starts with the target market and ends with a sale. Your conversion strategy is the journey you take the target customer through from their first contact with your brand till they eventually buy.
The process looks like this;
Target Market -> Prospect -> Customer -> Repeat Customer.
Without a winning conversion strategy, you can lose the potential customer half way before they become customers. This is the reason why most marketing fails, because of the absence of a deliberate conversion strategy to help the target customer through their buying decision making process.
Startup planning refers to all the essential things you need to consider when starting up a new business.
As an entrepreneur, there are so many things you need to consider when starting up a new business. But of all these things, the 5 essential factors you need to focus on during your startup planning that will guarantee a successful launch of your new business are;
- Business Model
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Startup Planning: 5 Things You Fundamentally Need to Start A New Business
To build a great company, you definitely need a great team. Successful startups are not created by an individual. They are created by a team.
The first essential element of your startup planning is people. Your startup idea is not going to automatically create itself; you need people to make it happen.
I’m sure this is an obvious factor to you. Where most entrepreneurs miss out is determining what kind of a startup/founding team they need to put together.
A good startup team, according to entrepreneur magazine, should comprise the following people;
- The visionary and dreamer. Typically the core founder with the vision that leads the rest of the team.
- The customer champion. Someone who steps into the user experience role making sure the product is giving buyers exactly what they need and want.
- The innovation architect. This programming-savvy member is supposed to tie together the right technologies to build the product and keep the company on top of industry trends.
- The rainmaker. This is the financial and business wizard assessing the viability and profitability of the company and keeping a close eye on the burn rate.
The product/service you want to offer to your target customers is the second essential element of your startup planning. What are you going to sell?
Your startup is only as good as the problems it is being created to solve in people’s lives. Your product/service is the solution your startup created to the problems in the lives of your target customers.
There are certain criterion this product/service needs to meet to qualify as a viable product/service;
- Uniqueness: the product/service your startup has created must be significantly differently than all the existing options currently in the market. Why? Because no one needs another “me-too” brand. To get the market’s attention, you gotta stand out from the crowd!
- Usefulness: the product/service your startup wants to offer her target customers must be capable of meeting their needs and solving their problems. In other words, it must be useful to the buyers. Why? Because people don’t buy products/services, they buy utility – the solutions in your products/services.
The market you want to serve is the third essential element of your startup planning. Who are your target customers?
A very clear understanding of the people who have the problems your product/service can solve is crucial to your startup success.
If your product/service is great BUT there’s no market for it, you’ve failed.
So to ensure there’s a ready market for your product/service, you need to clarify the following;
Market Size: what’s the total addressable market? That is; what’s the total number of potential buyers/customers/users for your proposed product/service?
Growth rate: how fast or slow is this market growing? Is there an opportunity for expansion?
Demography: these are the average or typical characteristics of your target market. These characteristics might include age, annual income, educational attainment, type of occupation, region of the country they live in, or number of individuals living in their household. Demographics help you understand who buys your product or service.
Psychography: these characteristics go beyond the external to focus on your target customers’ psychology, lifestyles, and behaviors. Psychographics can include such factors as where your target customers like to travel on vacation, the kinds of hobbies and interests they have, the values or opinions they hold, and how they behave. Psychographics helps you understand why they buy.
Your business model is the fourth essential element of your startup planning. A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.
The business model is like a blueprint for a strategy to be implemented through organizational structures, processes, and systems. Without one, your startup cannot succeed!
A good business model design according to the greatest book ever written on the subject, ‘business model generation’ should cover the following 9 building blocks which form the four main areas of a business: customers, offer, infrastructure, and financial viability.
1: The Customers:
- For whom are we creating value?
- Who are our most important customers?
2: Value Proposition:
- What value do we deliver to the customer?
- Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve?
- Which customer needs are we satisfying?
- What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment?
- Through which Channels do our Customer Segments want to be reached?
- How are we reaching them now?
- How are our Channels integrated?
- Which ones work best?
- Which ones are most cost-efficient?
- How are we integrating them with customer routines?
4: Customer Relationships:
- What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them?
- Which ones have we established?
- How costly are they?
- How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?
5: Revenue Streams:
- For what value are our customers really willing to pay?
- For what do they currently pay?
- How are they currently paying?
- How would they prefer to pay?
- How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?
6: Key Resources:
- What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require?
- What Key Resources do our Distribution Channels require?
- What Key Resources do our Customer Relationships require?
- What Key Resources do our Revenue Streams require?
7: Key Activities:
- What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require?
- What Key Activities do our Distribution Channels require?
- What Key Activities do our Customer Relationships require?
- What Key Activities do our Revenue Streams require?
8: Key Partnerships:
- Who are our Key Partners? Who are our key suppliers?
- Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners?
- Which Key Activities do partners perform?
9: Cost Structure:
- What are the most important costs inherent in our business model?
- Which Key Resources are most expensive?
- Which Key Activities are most expensive?
This is the fifth essential element of your startup planning. How much do you need to startup your new business? Do you have this money? If not, where will you get it?
There’s no denying it, every business needs money to run. So the availability of it or lack of it can mean success or failure for your startup.
But before you run off to raise money for your business, here are 9 brutal facts you need to understand about business funding.
And lastly, not every entrepreneur is qualified to raise money for their startup, especially from financial institutions like banks. So to assess yourself before heading out to banks, the following factors must be met;
The 7Cs of Credit
- Do you have experience running a business?
- Have you had this business for more than one year?
- Do you know this industry well?
- Do you have a good team working for you?
- Is the business operating well?
- Cash Flow
- Is your business profitable?
- Do you have a bookkeeping system that will allow you to demonstrate this to the bank?
- Can you produce financial statements from this data?
- Is your cash flow sufficient to make the loan payments?
Do you have sufficient reserves, or other people who could invest in the business, should unexpected problems or hard times arise?
- Do you have collateral (business and/or personal) which you can offer?
- Is the property you own yours, or do you share it with your husband or family?
- Can you show the bank that I am honest, and keep your promises?
- If I’ve had a loan or supplier credit before, did you always pay on time?
- Have you always paid your personal bills on time?
- Can you prove this to the bank?
- Do you have good references?
- Is the industry that you are in a good one?
- Do you have a unique product or service which makes you different from your competitors?
- Is there growing demand for my products? Does a loan make sense for my business?
- Are you committed to working hard so that your business will succeed?
- Do you really want it to grow?
- Have you put your own money into the business?
Starting up a new business requires a lot of planning on your part as an entrepreneur. This post has been able to highlight 5 of the essential elements you need to focus on during the startup planning phase of your new venture.
Under each element, I have highlighted the actionable process you need to take during your startup planning. Doing them is what will guarantee that you launch your new business successfully!
Over to you
Are there other critical factors entrepreneurs need to consider during their startup planning? Feel free to contribute through the comments section below.
Business revolution is what unusual entrepreneurs start.
They don’t just Do business, they START a business revolution.
I have always strongly believed that there’s more to entrepreneurship than just business as usual. I believe entrepreneurship is a test of your life seeking expression through an idea.
The idea is one that possesses you to do something about a problem, a need or an opportunity. It draws upon your passion, life experience, skills, and talents all channeled into creating a SIGNIFICANT company –a business that is different [unique] and making a difference [useful].
This is essentially our gospel here at naijapreneur. We are about changing the world and profiting from purpose. So anytime I come across a resource [book, person, website, tool, product, etc.] that will equip you more on this unusual entrepreneurial journey, I’m always very excited to share it with you.
The Business Revolution Manifesto
His clarion call was bold;
“Don’t just build a business, start a revolution!”
The underlying question that prompted the business revolution manifesto was equally bold;
“What if instead of fighting to build a traditional career, business or brand, you could tap the power of movements and revolutions to launch and build a fast-paced engine of growth and impact?”
The answer is what you’ll discover in this 66-page business revolution manifesto titled; The Art of Revolution™, a riveting, information-packed manifesto that reveals the 18-step Framework for building a business that MATTERS!
The business revolution manifesto covers the following 18-step framework for starting a business revolution;
1). Revolution Avatar: Who is your Revolution Serving?
2). Identify Shared Pain
3). Who is your Dictator?
4). Who is your Leader?
5). Create An Inciting Incident
6). Identify your “Away From” Rally Cry
7). Identify Unifying Beliefs
8). Define your “Toward” Vision
9). Building your Resonant Story
10). Craft your Manifesto
11). Define the Path
12). Deepen the Tribe Mentality
13). Assemble your Torchbearers
14). Identify Key Resources and Allies
15). Swarm the Launch
16). Mechanisms and Milestones [Measurement]
17). Design your Contagion
18). Ultimate Structural Goal: Tipping Point
Grab your Copy Now, It’s FREE!
To download your own copy of the business revolution manifesto, click here. In it, you’ll get the full 18-element framework, along with insights and case-studies to help you apply the framework to build a business that MATTERS!
One last thing, don’t be selfish with this. Freely you were given, freely you should share with others who need it. Thanks!
Can Everyone Become An Entrepreneur?
To effectively answer this question, we’ve got to go back to the very beginning; what is entrepreneurship? We need to understand the very meaning of the word –entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is derived from the French word ‘Entrepreneur’, dating as far back as 1723. It means an individual who undertakes, organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business with considerable initiative and risk.
In other words, entrepreneurship is simply the practice of being an entrepreneur – a person who takes the initiative and risk to start a new business venture.
Since this is so, then the next logical question should be this; is everyone capable of taking the initiative and risk to start a new business venture?
The keyword here is capable.
That is, do we all as humans possess the capabilities to become an entrepreneur?
The answer as you will soon find out is YES!
But don’t just take my word for it, let’s dig in deeper to unveil this mystery. To do that, we will be looking at the 3 major paths research has revealed people take to become an entrepreneur.
How To Become An Entrepreneur
According to Bill Aulet, the professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship; there are primarily 3 ways of starting a new business venture.
Meaning, there are basically 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur;
You have a breakthrough technology
You have an idea
You have a passion
You Have A Breakthrough Technology
This is perhaps the most celebrated form of becoming an entrepreneur. Names of great inventors such as; Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of facebook, Elon Musk of Tesla, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and of course the legendary Steve Jobs all come to mind.
These are extraordinary people whose inventions have moved the world forward. They have literally changed the way the world works through their breakthrough technologies. Entrepreneurs in this category are the exceptionally gifted minds.
When people think of the word entrepreneurship, they are the very first kinds who come to mind, naturally. Permit me to say this; they are the standard when it comes to entrepreneurship. Their breakthrough inventions are not response to existing market needs. Rather, they just create new needs and new markets that absolutely never existed.
Their ability to invent breakthrough technologies often leaves the rest of us to wonder if we could ever become an entrepreneur. The impact they make in the world as a result of their breakthrough technologies, make the rest of us seem like we are just playing.
We cannot help it but to wonder if we could ever accomplish such feats in our life time. I don’t know about you, but I certainly ask myself this. I mean, this people are simply out of this world, they literally invent the future!
You Have an Idea
Closely following the people who become an entrepreneur by creating new business ventures from their breakthrough technologies are those with great business ideas.
They don’t invent any breakthrough technology, they simply think up breakthrough ideas that completely change the way a product or service or industry works. These breakthrough ideas are then translated into new business ventures.
As a matter of fact, their ideas are usually a radical improvement or alteration of an already existing business model. They literally turn the old on its head and come up with unusual ways of solving the same problem faster, better or cheaper than all the existing players in the market.
Their genius lies in thinking up new ways of combining different processes or approaches of solving a particular problem or creating a particular product or delivering a particular service.
Popular examples include; DELL, Fedex, eBay, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, CNN, SouthWest Airlines, Starbucks, Amazon, Spanx, etc.
These are the kind of ideas you call the million dollar idea. They are not your everyday ideas. They are not seen by the average Joes. They come only to those whose minds have been prepared for it!
You Have a Passion
The last, but certainly not the least way of becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business venture is by having a passion.
Of all 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur, this is perhaps the easiest entry level for everyone. Anyone willing to take the initiative and risk entrepreneurship requires will do just fine with this 3rd option. This is the kind of entrepreneurship for the rest of us!
When compared to the other two options, it is far less intimidating to become an entrepreneur by starting a new business venture around your passion.
The first requires a great level of creative genius in a particular field.
The second requires a great level of insight and opportunity.
But starting a business around your passion doesn’t require any rare gift besides the ones you’ve already been given from birth. You don’t need to be a creative genius to have a passion. You don’t need insight and opportunity to have passion.
All you need to have passion is to be alive.
All living souls have passion. It is there whether you choose to admit it or not.
People who become an entrepreneur by starting a business around their passion are seemingly ordinary people who do what they do extra-ordinarily well.
The secret lies in their decision to do something significant with whatever they are passionate about. They simply take what they have been given from birth and consciously make up their minds to do something meaningful with it. They build businesses that matter!
It’s not so much about the invention, technology or idea, but fundamentally about their passion to solve a particular problem. Their secret is their passion to make a difference in a particular field, industry or society. They are driven by change and their passion is their only weapon for creating that change.
Think about successful entrepreneurs like; Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Tommy Hilfiger, Mohammad Yunus, Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Rupert Murdoch, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Clark, etc.
They are not exceptionally gifted than the rest of us, they are just ordinary people who love what they do and do what they love extra-ordinarily well. They are simply using their God-given talents to create multi-million dollar businesses.
They are the entrepreneurs who want to make a difference using their passion to create unusual products/services for solving humanity’s problems. They don’t wait until they create a breakthrough technology, in fact, in most cases they can’t. Neither do they wait to strike a breakthrough business idea, in fact, in most cases, they don’t.
I belong to this category of entrepreneurs. For me, entrepreneurship is all about changing the world and profiting from purpose/passion. I created this site, naijapreneur to help as many out there who also belong to this category to discover entrepreneurship for the rest of us.
As you might have now realized, there isn’t anyone who can’t become an entrepreneur. The problem in most cases is trying to become a different kind of entrepreneur following a path you weren’t created to function.
Finding your own category of entrepreneurship is crucial to your entrepreneurial journey. You shouldn’t force your way into a category you don’t have what it takes to function, rather, flourish in your category.
Nevertheless, there’s no law that restricts you to any one of these 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur. I wrote this unusual article to point out that there are other approaches to becoming an entrepreneur than you might be aware of.
What’s most important is that you know which one of them you started or is starting your entrepreneurial journey on. And make sure you enjoy the ride; after all, no one forced it on you!
For every new subscriber to naijapreneur, in the welcome email, I often encourage them to write me back telling me about what they are currently struggling with in their business.
In other words, what’s their business status quo?
Exactly 3 days after their subscription, they get another email from me asking them to tell me what they are currently struggling with in their business.
Why do I insist on you sharing your business struggles with me?
Because I know you wouldn’t be reading naijapreneur if there wasn’t something bothering you as an entrepreneur. That you are here is enough proof that you have a problem that you don’t want or lack a result that you desperately want.
I am glad many new subscribers respond to this and share their current business struggles with me. And to everyone who did, I replied with specific action steps to take to change the situation of things in their business.
For some, I ask a couple of questions to better understand their unique situation and for others; I point out likely causes for their struggle and then offer action steps to improve their situation.
This is fair enough, right?
But what happens next after replying these emails has never ceased to amaze me, —SILENCE!
You would think that for someone to have taken the time to reply and point out what their business struggles are, they would eagerly implement the recommended ideas. But alas, nothing happens!
At first, I used to be bothered about this, but as more and more people repeated this same thing, it finally dawned on me what the real issue was; CHANGE IS PERSONAL. Your Status in life is solely determined by YOU!
As much as I want to see changes in the businesses and lives of my readers, I cannot make these changes happen for them without their involvement.
As much as I want to change the status quo of their business, I cannot do so until they make up their minds and take the necessary steps to change their status quo.
Define Your Status
Generally, people when in problem, fall into one of 3 categories in life;
- Status quo – they know they have a problem, but want the problem to solve itself. Avoid them; you can’t convince them of anything.
- Away from – they want to fix something, cure something, alleviate something, get unstuck. They want a way out from their problem. Support them.
- Toward – they want to achieve something, gain something, be something. They see problems as the test they must pass to get ahead to the next level. Encourage them.
Which One Are You?
A man was walking through a forest when he saw a crippled fox. “I wonder how it manages to feed itself?” He thought.
At that moment, a tiger approached, carrying its prey in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left what remained for the fox.
“If God helps the fox, he will help me too,” The man thought. He went back home, shut himself up in his house and waited for the Heavens to bring him food.
He lay there in bed waiting for God to provide for him as he had for the fox, but instead just starved.
Just when he was becoming almost too weak to go out and work, an angel appeared.
“Why did you decide to imitate the crippled fox?” asked the angel. “God has given you gifts and abilities to contribute to the world and make a living, while looking after the crippled foxes of the world. Get out of bed, pick up your tools and follow the way of the tiger!”
I only have one question for you today. Which one are you, the fox or the tiger?
Who is the Status Quo Entrepreneur?
You will know them when you see one;
They are the tigers who envy the fox
They are the dreamers that never do
They are the pessimists who never see good in anything or anyone
They are the know-it-all with no results to show
They are the fast talkers who never really listen
They are the full-of-idea types with no clarity of what to do next
They are the planners who are too scared to execute
They are the busy-bodies who rarely pay attention
They are the cheerleaders who never participate in the game
They are the copycats who never take the time to find their own thing
The most obvious sign of the status quo entrepreneur is stagnancy –they are stuck in their inaction. Neither going forward no going backward, they are just exactly how and where you last saw them.
There’s very little you can do to help the status quo entrepreneur. The way out lies in his/her hand.
Action is the Antidote for the Status Quo Entrepreneur
You can complain all you want about the state of your life and the state of your business. You can consume all the motivational self affirmation materials in the world while hoping that positive thinking will bail you out.
Nothing much will change, until you decide to take action.
The most effective way to change anything is to do something about it.
All the information you have been gathering from reading naijapreneur BUT never putting them to use will not change your business.
You can keep on following the path of the status quo entrepreneur or you can become like the tiger and forge your own pathway in life and in business.
The choice, as always is YOURS!
Clearly understanding the characteristics of an entrepreneur is an important step in your entrepreneurial journey.
Because being an entrepreneur requires a lot from an individual that is often not properly thought through before many venture into entrepreneurship.
But until recently, entrepreneurs were not widely studied. There was a general lack of knowledge and information about what made them tick. One of the leading studies on the anatomy of an entrepreneur was published by the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship in 2009.
Although no one has found the perfect entrepreneurial profile, there are many characteristics that show up repeatedly. Based on these re-occurring traits, entrepreneurs can now take a readiness assessment survey to determine their entrepreneurial profile.
In this unusual article, we will be going through some of the wildly accepted characteristics of an entrepreneur that make up the anatomy of entrepreneurship.
The Top 10 Characteristics of An Entrepreneur
The following are the top 10 characteristics of an entrepreneur that are widely accepted. If you’ve ever doubted yourself as an entrepreneur, the following can be re-assuring or dispelling.
A series of interviews were conducted with distinguished entrepreneurs. They were asked what characteristics they felt were essential to success as an entrepreneur. Good health was a characteristic mentioned by every entrepreneur interviewed. Entrepreneurs are physically resilient and in good health. They can work for extended periods of time, and while they are in the process of building their business, they refuse to get sick.
In small businesses, where there is no depth of management, the leader must be there. You may not be able to afford a support staff to cover all business functions, and therefore you will need to work long hours. We all know people who use part of their sick leave each year when they are not sick. Entrepreneurs are not found in this group. At the end of the eight-hour day, when everyone else leaves for home, the entrepreneur will often continue to work into the evening, developing new business ideas.
Entrepreneurs do not function well in structured organizations and do not like someone having authority over them. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone else and will strive for maximum responsibility and accountability. They enjoy creating business strategies and thrive on the process of achieving their goals. Once they achieve a goal, they quickly replace it with a greater goal. They strive to exert whatever influence they can over future events.
In large, structured organizations, entrepreneurs are easy to recognize by the statements they make: “If they wanted that job done right, they should have given it to me.” One of the dominant characteristics of an entrepreneur is their belief that they are smarter than their peers and superiors. They have a compelling need to do their own thing in their own way. They need the freedom to choose and to act according to their own perception of what actions will result in success.
Entrepreneurs are self-confident when they are in control of what they’re doing and working alone. They tackle problems immediately with confidence and are persistent in their pursuit of their objectives. Most are at their best in the face of adversity, since they thrive on their own self-confidence.
Sense of Urgency
Entrepreneurs have a never-ending sense of urgency to develop their ideas. Inactivity makes them impatient, tense, and uneasy. They thrive on activity and are not likely to be found sitting on a bank fishing unless the fish are biting. When they are in the entrepreneurial mode, they are more likely to be found getting things done instead of fishing.
Entrepreneurs prefer individual sports, such as golf, skiing, or tennis, over team sports. They prefer games in which their own brawn and brain directly influence the outcome and pace of the game. They have drive and high energy levels, they are achievement-oriented, and they are tireless in the pursuit of their goals.
Successful entrepreneurs can comprehend complex situations that may include planning, making strategic decisions, and working on multiple business ideas simultaneously. They are farsighted and aware of important details, and they will continuously review all possibilities to achieve their business objectives. At the same time, they devote their energy to completing the tasks immediately before them.
Accounting reports illustrate this characteristic. Accountants spend hours balancing the accounts and closing them out. For them, the achievement is to have balanced books. The entrepreneur only wants to know the magnitude of the numbers and their significance for the operation of the business.
Entrepreneurs accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They may or may not be idealistic, but they are seldom unrealistic. They will change their direction when they see that change will improve their prospects for achieving their goals. They want to know the status of a given situation at all times.
News interests them if it is timely, and factual, and provides them with information they need. They will verify any information they receive before they use it in making a decision. Entrepreneurs say what they mean and assume that everyone else does too. They tend to be too trusting and may not be sufficiently suspicious in their business dealings with other people.
Entrepreneurs possess the ability to identify relationships quickly in the midst of complex situations. They identify problems and begin working on their solution faster than other people. They are not troubled by ambiguity and uncertainty because they are used to solving problems. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders and are usually the first to identify a problem to be overcome. If it is pointed out to them that their solution to a problem will not work for some valid reason, they will quickly identify an alternative problem-solving approach.
Entrepreneurs find satisfaction in symbols of success that are external to themselves. They like the business they have built to be praised, but they are often embarrassed by praise directed at them personally. Their egos do not prevent them from seeking facts, data, and guidance. When they need help, they will not hesitate to admit it especially in areas that are outside of their expertise. During tough business periods, entrepreneurs will concentrate their resources and energies on essential business operations. They want to be where the action is and will not stay in the office for extended periods of time.
Symbols of achievement such as position have little relevance to them. Successful entrepreneurs find their satisfaction of status needs in the performance of their business, not in the appearance they present to their peers and to the public. They will postpone acquiring status items like a luxury car until they are certain that their business is stable.
Entrepreneurs are more concerned with people’s accomplishments than with their feelings. They generally avoid becoming personally involved and will not hesitate to sever relationships that could hinder the progress of their business. During the business-building period, when resources are scarce, they seldom devote time to dealing with satisfying people’s feelings beyond what is essential to achieving their goals.
Their lack of sensitivity to people’s feelings can cause turmoil and turnover in their organization. Entrepreneurs are impatient and drive themselves and everyone around them. They don’t have the tolerance or empathy necessary for team building unless it’s their team, and they will delegate very few key decisions.
As the business grows and assumes an organizational structure, entrepreneurs go through a classic management crisis. For many of them, their need for control makes it difficult for them to delegate authority in the way that a structured organization demands. Their strong direct approach induces them to seek information directly from its source, bypassing the structured chains of authority and responsibility.
Their moderate interpersonal skills, which were adequate during the start-up phases, will cause them problems as they try to adjust to the structured or corporate organization. Entrepreneurs with good interpersonal skills will be able to adjust and survive as their organization grows and becomes more structured. The rest won’t make it.
Entrepreneurs have a considerable amount of self-control and can handle business pressures. They are comfortable in stress situations and are challenged rather than discouraged by setbacks or failures. Entrepreneurs are uncomfortable when things are going well. They’ll frequently find some new activity on which to vent their pent-up energy.
They are not content to leave well enough alone. Entrepreneurs tend to handle people problems with action plans without empathy. Their moderate interpersonal skills are often inadequate to provide for stable relationships. However, the divorce rate among entrepreneurs is about average.
The 10 qualities outlined above are not all that is needed to become and succeed as an entrepreneur. They only serve as the most distinguishing characteristics of an entrepreneur based on research. To see how well you are stacked up or not with these qualities, take this readiness assessment survey.