The journey to being your own boss is not always smooth. The increasing number of failed businesses, low turnover, twists and turns can be discouraging. This is probably the reason why coaches and professionals alike continue to dish out entrepreneurial tips to serve as a refresher for the 21st Century woman/man in business (and also for those yet to take the plunge).
I am one of those yet to take the plunge (in it’s entirety) and so when I heard about a workshop tagged 21st Century Woman Armed For Entrepreneurial Greatness, I was sold.
Moreover, attending the workshop was going to be an opportunity to meet with friends and school mates from high school. I did attend, th workshop was fulfilling, the mini reunion was amazing so much that it compelled me to share 5 Easy Ideas For A Mini High School Reunion
Every 21st century woman is intentional about her finances and source of income, the 21st century woman is intelligent and resourceful amongst other things. This is why you will find a woman who does school runs, works a 7 to 5 job and still caters to one or two businesses online or offline on a daily basis. Did i hear you say super woman?
Achieving a proper work-life balance is key for any 21st century woman. Sometimes, it gets tiring and that is one of the reason we need to keep being reminded about why we want to start a business, why we started one in the first place and why we need to keep persevering.
Finding a CEO or successful entrepreneur that will readily share their journey to success is gold. Listening to other men/women entrepreneurs share their challenges is usually inspiring. The challenges they go through while starting their business reminds you that these problems cut across every business owner, it motivates you to keep pushing and to focus on finding solution to a problem.
This was exactly how I felt while listening to three experienced business owners / coaches share their entrepreneurial tips during the workshop. The essence of this post is to share the lessons:
This session was taken by a life coach and she gave a whole new meaning to what clarity entails just by an illustration.
A lot of people start their business for all the wrong reasons. The most popular reason is the bandwagon effect. Miss A starts an online thrift store, it looks doable and then you start yours, Mrs B has a blog, her collaboration deals look juicy and enticing so you start yours too. Mr C starts an online weight loss programme and you want to do that as well.
While someone’s business can nudge you to start yours, it should not be the main factor. Goals will always be different and so will the challenges faced.
Clarity before starting a business allows you to think about the business ideas you have, research on the processes and challenges, find your niche and then implement them. Clarity allows you look at things through your glasses and not someone else’s.
We react differently to challenges, some people give up instantly, others fight their way through and adjust gradually while others get desperate and meddle in things they ordinarily will not be involved in. Clarity before starting a business keeps you stable regardless of the challenges you face. It helps you find out what is most important.
To know if you are on the right path, answer these salient questions honestly:
- Am I living my life through my own lens?
- Am I living my life through other peoples lens?
- Is my vision authentically mine?
- Am I holding on to things that do not align with my goals?
Borrowed visions have made entrepreneurs give up halfway and they lose opportunities to shine. To gain clarity, get back to a place of authenticity and stay in your lane.
For this tip, I like that you do not have to be a business owner. Clarity is useful in every career and general lifestyle.
Thoughts, Goals, Plan and Action.
The second workshop session taken by a renowned entrepreneur was tagged Moving from Thoughts to Plan and Action. She shared personal stories and I was truly inspired. Here are lessons I took with me:
As an entrepreneur, you are constantly thinking of ways to be resourceful, how to produce content that has value, how to get the right market,how to create a balance between work, family, yourself and friends. The thoughts are constantly coming and sometimes clashing.
An entrepreneur should first seek clarity. This will help you discover yourself and figure out your important goals. You can pursue more than one goal and excel at it but you need clarity as this will help you arrange your goals in order of importance. From the thoughts you are constantly having, ask yourself some questions-
- What is your goal as a mum?
- What is your goal as a business owner?
- What is your goal as a student?
- What is your goal as a friend?
- What is your goal as a trainer?
When the thoughts come, have them written out as goals and categorize them.
Planning is very essential. It is brilliant that you have 5 categories of goals written out, however it could be a mess without proper planning. You will need to answer more questions –
- How much time can you allot to a goal?
- Can you merge some of the goals you have made?
- Do you need to be physically available for all of them?
- Are the resources available?
- Can you delegate some of the duties?
- Can you think about challenges that may occur?
- Can you plan ahead for these challenges?
- What will you resolve when your parents or spouse do not encourage your plans?
- Do you need consultation?
During the clarity session, I realised the reason why successful business owners have mentors or a life coach.
A Life coach helps you gain clarity by asking you very technical questions, they also hold you accountable so you are always on your toes. The solution to most problems is always with you and when you plan ahead, there are minimal challenges to deal with.
Action is also know as the implementation stage and if most things were done right in the beginning, it should be like a walk in the park. This does not in any way mean kicking off your shoes and relaxing. You will need to monitor, engage in persuasive marketing, self advert, online marketing e.t.c
You need to be open to make instant changes in your business once you notice there is a need to do better. Whatever challenges you encounter at this stage should not be able to deter you. Infact, this is why a clarity session is important. The reason you started a business should be valid enough to get you out of bed every morning.
While in business, it is possible to rediscover yourself. An entrepreneur’s mind is built to keep finding possibilities to improve.
Making Profit In Business
The third session was a run down of what goes on in a business and ways to ensure you make profit.
- Establish – Growth – Maturity – Decline
This is self explanatory. At the establishing stage, you are expected to generate ideas, find a solution and provide same to people.
For the growth stage, you invest in the business, you get profit, re-invest, get clients and keep learning while in business.
It is believed that at Maturity Stage, you already have a standing, you are solely about making profit, you have returning customers and you implement beneficial changes when necessary. This stage is also very crucial because it determines if a business is sustainable or not.
If a business does not get to the maturity stage and retain it’s place, then it is heading for a decline. Every entrepreneur detests failure or a decline stage.
To make profit, an entrepreneur needs to identify a need, start a business in that area (after due deligence) and provide the product or service for consumption.
The aim is usually to fill a void and definitely to make profit. From experiences shared at the workshop, it is evident that the profit making stage is one of the determinants of a successful business.
Just as I pointed out in Questions Before the Quest, it is important to ask thought provoking questions that can spur you towards your desired goal. A lot of things count at this stage because you are faced with real time competition. You must have quality products, the right quantity, unique selling point e.t.c.
These questions below have some answers in them, some for you, some for the consumers and some for the workers. There must always be a balance to achieve the required result-
- How passionate are you about your business?
- What are you excellent at doing?
- What makes your product/service unique?
- Can you diversify?
- What market will you cater to?
- Are you recognisable?
- Are you afraid to fail? You should not be.
- Are you outside your comfort zone yet?
- Do you have a relaxed and conducive working environment? Are your workers happy?
- When was the last time you and your staff got trained?
- How do you plan to overcome roadblocks?
- How creative are you while marketing your content?
Tips like this have been shared over and over again but what is important is actually implementing the things you know. I am sharing these lessons for myself and anyone else who wants to try their hands on entrepreneurship.
It might be difficult at first but there is something about staying put and refusing to give up. When you start telling your success story, it can serve as an inspiration to other people.
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