Misconceptions About Entrepreneurs That You Should Know Before Starting Your Business in Nigeria – We are all aware of some of the characteristics of an entrepreneur but some of these characteristics have given us a bad orientation about entrepreneurship and starting a business.
Some of these statements, we have agreed to and some others we feel they are not really true but entrepreneurship goes beyond what you see it to be and this is what we are going to be showing you in this article.
This article is going to give you a clearer knowledge about entrepreneurs and also show you everything you need to know about entrepreneurship in other to start up your business in Nigeria successfully.
You should be glad you came across this article as you are going to be seeing some things you thought you knew about entrepreneurship are not really true and that is why we call them misconceptions. These are the reasons a lot of business in Nigeria fail either in the first years or expansion stage.
Your business is not going to be among those failed business as we are going to help clear any confusion you have about entrepreneurship and starting a business in Nigeria.
In this article, we are going to be showing you some of the things we already know about entrepreneurship but we will also be showing you the right information you should have about entrepreneurship so you will not be misled when starting up your business in Nigeria.
In order not to bore you with much talk, let’s kick off:
- The entrepreneurs’ main motive is to make “profit”
Frankly speaking, profit is a real drive to starting up a business outfit because no entrepreneur will venture into a business where they won’t make profit. But this is not the only motive of a business owner and in most cases; it is not even the main motive.
As an entrepreneur, you should have a vision that you will be looking to turn into a legacy which means that even when you are no longer there, it will still stay strong. Many entrepreneurs are driven by their passion to create and innovate and some others want to change the world around them and touch lives.
Many entrepreneurs are driven by wanting to be part of their own plan and not someone else’s plan. It is not always money that makes people start their own business as you may have assumed.
You are unhappy at your place of work and have the intention to become free and startup your own business outfit. Besides, starting a business is not a means to get-rich-quick; most business take years before they start yielding profit so even if you are after making profit, try to create something that will meet a need or solve a problem and the profit will start coming.
- All you need is a fantastic idea
This notion has misled a lot of people both the ones that are creative and others that are not creative. Some people find it difficult to come up with fantastic ideas and they feel that the ideas they come up with must be able to disrupt the entire market (disruptive innovation).
It is quite good to have a great idea but ideas are more like raw materials that need to be processed into finished product. After coming up with your amazing idea, there should be a plan on how to implement your idea and make it a reality. It doesn’t just stop at having an idea; you have to be innovative by implementing the idea to create something new or modify an existing invention.
Even for you that doesn’t have an idea or you are finding it difficult to generate a fresh idea that is dazzling, there is no need to fret. You can work on an existing idea and modify that idea by making your innovation different from the existing one so as not to encroach on someone else’s trademark or intellectual property.
You don’t need a new idea to be an entrepreneur; be creative or learn to be creative as it one step to success. Creativity will help you start your business, gain a foothold in the market and also retain your customers.
- Entrepreneurs are high risk takers
It is true that entrepreneurs take risk; it is one of the qualities of an entrepreneur. It doesn’t necessarily mean that entrepreneurs take too much risk, any risk or high risk. Most successful entrepreneurs learnt to take calculated risk. You see we mentioned “calculated risk”. They try to balance the benefits and risks of venturing into a particular business. Mind you, it is risk that makes selected individuals engage in certain businesses.
Taking risk is not gambling or about being lucky because you cannot bank on luck in running a business. Entrepreneurs like challenges especially when it plays to their strengths and to their advantage.
Before entrepreneurs take risks, they critically analyze the best idea that will proffer solution to the identified problem and see how they can turn it into a business opportunity to make something out of it.
- Entrepreneurship is a get-rich-quick scheme
Most people believe that starting a business is a fast way of getting rich. They believe that all they have to do is establish the business and the money starts rushing in. Sorry to disappoint you, while some businesses can become successful in a year of establishment or launching, some others take time and years.
Everything boils down to a number of factors which could be:
- Type of business
- Size of the market for the product
- Location of the business
- Amount of capital
- Management and many other factors
Even with the right things are in place, there is still no guarantee that the business will thrive. So you should not go all into entrepreneurship with the main motive of getting rich quick, you might get frustrated and quit too soon.
- Entrepreneurs don’t have time for their personal life and relationship
It is true that all successful entrepreneurs dedicated their time, efforts and resources to their business. They had to work for long hours and also had series of sleepless nights and they also skipped meals at some point for a greater good. But it is not always so.
You are the master of your time and schedule. For an employee in a firm, if there was a need to be at work on Saturday, they will have to be there as they do not have a choice whatsoever unlike an entrepreneur.
You decide if there will be a need to work on weekends. Most entrepreneurs fix their work schedule in a way that it won’t encroach into their weekends and disrupt their private time with family and friends even if it means working long hours during the week.
As an entrepreneur, you control your schedule to some extent and so you have to manage time effectively as it is a very important skill for an entrepreneur. You cannot do everything at once; you have to take it step by step and one after the other. Make a list of the things you have to do every day and stick to your schedule.
Avoid multitasking as it might increase your work ability but it lowers your productivity and can lead to break down. Create your schedule in a way that you have time for your personal life.
- Starting your business means you will be free
Many people have this notion that being self-employed or starting your own business means you will be free and be in control of your own time and schedule. Well, this is not far from the truth but it doesn’t mean you will have so much leisure time.
Starting your own business requires great sacrifices and efforts. In most cases, it requires a lot of sleepless nights and even skipped meals. So leaving your 48 hours job a week and starting your own business doesn’t guarantee freedom or so much time to yourself. It just gives you enough time and energy to focus on your business.
- Failure is not acceptable for business
In as much as failure will certainly bring sad moments, it is a stepping stone to success. Failure opens you up to other way of attacking a problem and also trying out another idea if not a better one.
It is not every idea that springs forth a successful and thriving company. Most successful entrepreneurs at one point in their journey encountered failure. Bill Gates watched his first company crumble but this failure led him to his innovation and legacy (Microsoft).
The notion that failure is not acceptable is a myth and you won’t head anywhere with this. There are always two things involved in generating ideas and implementing these ideas; it is either you succeed or you fail. In as much as your intention is to succeed, failure doesn’t mean that you are a loser. It just means that you should try something else and do better.
When you fail, you learn; when you learn, you grow and when you grow, you succeed. So in starting a business, do not expect everything to go smoothly; you are likely to encounter some setbacks and challenges. All these setbacks teach you important lessons and add to your experience.
- Everyone can be an entrepreneur
Did I say everyone can be an entrepreneur? NO. Everyone cannot be an entrepreneur. Don’t be misled by the statement above. It is true that the resources are available to venture into a business but not everybody has the ability and potential to run a business and also see it thrive.
Mind you, we are not saying that entrepreneurs are selected; we are saying that you can be an entrepreneur but not everyone. In many countries, entrepreneurs make up a small portion of the population even though countries are now encouraging entrepreneurship.
Anybody can be an entrepreneur; there is no supernatural strength in being an entrepreneur but you have to be creative, dedicated and devoted. Be able to identify problems, be creative in trying to generate ideas to solve the identified problems and be innovative in implementing these ideas to solve the identified problems.
- You need a formal education to become an entrepreneur
The obvious truth is that you don’t need to study business or even go to college to become an entrepreneur. Having a formal education does not guarantee that you will be successful as an entrepreneur.
Do not get the wrong idea here; we didn’t say that you shouldn’t have a formal education to become an entrepreneur but it is not really necessary. Education is quite important as it will boost your technical know-how.
Most successful entrepreneurs didn’t even complete their college education but they are successful today. It is not really a criterion to becoming an entrepreneur.
Also entrepreneurship is not really tied to the commercial field or profession only. Whichever profession you find yourself, you can become an entrepreneur and start up your own business. It could be from your natural talent or a learnt skill.
You don’t need a certificate to become a successful entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurs are independent minded and loners
It is true that entrepreneurs are willing to work independently in order to succeed. But in some cases, entrepreneurship or starting-up your business is not always a lone work. An entrepreneur that keeps to himself or herself and do not ask questions will never start up or run a successful business outfit.
You have to seek advice and also learn from other entrepreneurs. Get to know how they scaled through setbacks and also the mistakes they made so as to avoid making such that would make you waste time and resources.
Entrepreneurs are curious people; they are inquisitive and also problem solvers. It is normal for you to start up working alone but it is ideal that even if you are working alone, you should ask questions and in some cases relate with other entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneurship is for the old and advanced
Have you ever checked the list of successful entrepreneurs? If you haven’t, go through the Forbes list and see for yourself. Most of these entrepreneurs are advanced and this can be a discouragement to young entrepreneurs.
Well, age is not a criterion to being an entrepreneur. Besides, most of these men started their journey at a young age and grew with the company gaining experience as they advanced. Whether old or young, the age doesn’t matter provided you are creative and innovative.
Harland Sanders (KFC founder) got his breakthrough in his 60s while Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook) got his breakthrough at 23. Though experience is an advantage and preferably most advanced people have the experience, it doesn’t stop the young generation from exceling as entrepreneurs. The young generations now read a lot and have a vast knowledge of how to go about starting their business.
Your age shouldn’t stop you from starting your business. So it is a myth that all entrepreneurs are old and also that all entrepreneurs are young.
- Entrepreneurs are uncharitable and they use people
Many people believe that for you to succeed as an entrepreneur or stand out against competition, you have to be cunny, deceptive and hard. Well, it works in some cases but most of the times you get to lose your best employees and customers due to your attitude.
Most people believe that entrepreneurs are so money conscious that they don’t give out a dime or offer alms. But this is not always true. They just try to be cautious of their spending as they are trying to establish an enterprise and a thriving one at that.
Even if you have to be hard or rigid, know when to be rigid and to be flexible. Don’t be seen as a stiff-necked person that does not give ears to others. Always appreciate your employees so as to bring out the best in them and also encourage their inputs.
Do not be a control freak and give others the opportunity to control certain areas of your business or company and accommodate people’s opinion.
- Entrepreneurs can be successful if they have large capital
This very myth has discouraged many people from starting their business no matter how small. Some people believe that “Rome was built in a day”. Well, the truth is that a castle started with just a brick.
It is true that capital is very important in the growth of a business but it doesn’t determine the success of the business to an extent. You can plough a large amount of fund into starting up your business and end up going bankrupt at the end of the day. It is all about utilizing the resources (money) you have effectively and efficiently.
Most successful entrepreneurs didn’t really start with a large capital; they started small and grew their enterprise into an empire. So for you that have the notion that large capital is what you need to start your business, you have to look at the type of business critically and analyze the cost of running the business venture. It is true some businesses need large capital to start up but it doesn’t mean that you cannot start small.
Start small and grow your business into a large scale enterprise.
- You need to be connected to the right people to be successful
Your success is not tied to anyone and you don’t have to depend on anyone to be successful. In as much as connecting with the right people is an advantage, it is never a necessity or a criterion to be successful. One of the things you need is the right drive to succeed.
As an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to work hard and put in your best effort to achieve success. Don’t expect things to be given to you; hard-work brings the right people to you and to work with you.
Most successful entrepreneurs didn’t start looking for connections before they started their business ventures; the connections came as a result of their success. They attracted the right connections and people.
You have to start up first and your commitment and determination will bring the right people to your doorstep. People will want to work with you and for you because they see you as committed and dedicated.
- Being an entrepreneur is hereditary
Do you think Aliko Dangote was born as an entrepreneur? Funny enough, his parents were not entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship has nothing to do with family background or gene. Even if your family runs a business, it doesn’t mean that you would excel in running your own business as it might not even be your destiny.
You don’t need to be born into an entrepreneurship family to become an entrepreneur and like we said that there is not special strength or power in being an entrepreneur. So you don’t need to inherit any gene or trait from your parents that will spur you to start up your own business.
Most times, people even learn to be entrepreneurs. They learn the pros and cons, some marketing strategies and concepts in running their business.
By and large, we have considered some misconceptions that may either encourage or discourage you from starting up your own business venture. You have to look at these myths we have highlighted and explained in this article so you will understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur and start up your own business in Nigeria.
Entrepreneurs are not super-humans; they do not have super powers. They are people who identified problems, got inspiration from the problems and turned them into business opportunities, deployed the necessary resources to exploit these problems, added value and create a business venture that will certainly last for a long time.