The decision to become an entrepreneur is often met by some challenges such as lack of money to set up, but there are people who believe they have the capacity to push on despite the magnitudes of stumbling blocks around them.
The question is how did they manage to become successful business owners?
A peep into their books could help you become someone worthy of being called an Entrepreneur. Look around you, some people are making waves, largely due to their unrelenting efforts.
Many successful business owners have also been in the same position you are today, simply because they do not have the financial capacity required to turn their business ideas into reality.
But in this article, we will reveal to you the simplest ways into becoming an entrepreneur in Nigeria even if you do not have the required capital to finance your business plan but first, let us go into details on what entrepreneur is all about.
WHO IS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
An entrepreneur is an individual with a strong motive to start a business and also be ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the business. Having only equity in a business does not make one an entrepreneur, being an entrepreneur is more than that as you are not just at the forefront of it, but you take it upon yourself to be the starter, initiator, planner, and driver of the venture.
One of the key elements of an entrepreneur is the ability to see what others may find difficult to see plus a real passion to make it happen. Entrepreneurship is more than contributing capital towards a business. Of course, we have seen people with financial strength that have contributed massively to an idea and people tend to misrepresent them as entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur is a creator, they are not but one could ascribe them as businessmen and women.
Becoming an entrepreneur is having the strong desire to breathe life into your ideas. Regardless, anyone with a financial muscle in a business can choose to act as one, but it is the passion and willingness to make things happen that make one an entrepreneur.
WHY YOU SHOULD BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
1. To become rich
Studies have shown that the most common reason why people become entrepreneurs is that it remains one of the ways one can easily get rich. Most 9-5 works do not offer employees or workers a platform to succeed and make enough money. There are even some organizations that will not allow one to have a side hustle.
These organizations believe having a side business will distract you which may hamper your productivity at work but the truth is most employers will rather keep you especially if you are one of the best hands they have got. They know that once you finally get in touch with reality, they could lose you for good. They are also in control of you, decide when you are deemed for promotion, when to sack you or give you other duties.
Starting your own business is an attempt to test the water. You do not necessarily have to work full time when you are just starting, but you could try to take it slowly. Keep going and It won’t be long before you realise it is the best decision you have ever taken provided you have what it takes to manage a business as an entrepreneur. If you are so serious about getting rich, your 9 to 5 job is not the solution, you will need to activate the entrepreneurial traits inside you.
2. To cut out boring tasks
Working under an organization could get boring in the long run as you do have much flexibility, it is the same routine you follow and probably may be on the same salary scale for years. You are not the sailor here, someone has the wheel.
For years, you wake up at the same hour, get to work, and carry out the same tasks which may not challenge you to become better. The truth is it gets to a point whereby these recurrences get boring but being an entrepreneur is like being in control of your own destiny.
You could choose to wake up whenever you like without losing focus, and you can choose to sleep anytime. As an innovator, you are more willing to try other things without feeling the need to follow a set of rules. All these flexibilities make one better and through that, you could get new ideas.
3. To become a better part of themselves.
Some are born to become forerunners, no matter where they are or what they are doing, there is this force that always draws them to become what they have always wanted to be.
People have quitted jobs despite earning huge salaries just to prove to nobody but themselves that they have what it takes to see it through. The passion that an entrepreneur carries is unmatched and very easy to spot if you spend quality time with them.
Even if you think you do not have what it takes, you can still give it a try. The only thing is that you will need to work hard for these skills to reveal. Besides, you may not even know you have it until you get a spot and the better way to know is to leap.
Another major reason why people accept to become entrepreneurs especially in developing countries like Nigeria is because of the difficulties in getting a good job. The number of graduates with no jobs keeps rising daily and there seems to be no way out of it.
If you find yourself in such a situation, then it is about time you become one. You do not need to wait till next year or a year after before finally accepting to take it up. The truth is the longer you are here, the more experience you accumulate. Therefore, procrastination needs to be abandoned.
By the time you are really on top gear, you will find out that being an entrepreneur and successful at it is more rewarding than working for measly salaries that most employers offer.
5. To make your dreams a reality
Our ambitions are different, yours could be to work your way into the top in your working place which is not bad though but if you have this tingling sensation to create something or have a way of making an already created product even better, you are definitely on the right path.
We have seen several people with business ideas that then go to make it a reality. From there, they are able to become one of the successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria. For instance, it used to ice water in tied nylon until one man decided to improve on it. This is what entrepreneurs do.
6. To become a boss
Many people spend their time working from 9 am to 5 am, and then forget their other activities. If you want to be in charge of your time, then becoming an entrepreneur is becoming a boss. A boss decides, others can only make suggestions.
There is no better feeling than waking up each day knowing that you are the boss, call the shots, and even work as it pleases you. Although entrepreneurs have been known to work tirelessly, the new generation of entrepreneurs now works smartly instead of working harder.
HOW TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR IN NIGERIA WITHOUT MONEY
Step 1: Preparatory Steps
These are the basic steps to becoming an entrepreneur in Nigeria:
Have a business idea
You need an idea if you ever want to be heard and taken seriously. Look at all startups in Nigeria, it all starts with a simple idea of how to solve problems, and today, startups like CowryWise and Piggyvest are now cashing out big time.
To be heard is to have something worth hearing upstairs and there is no better way to do so is to go through them many times. Remember, you have little or no money right now, therefore you are a little disadvantaged but as a driver and starter of the proposed project, you need great ideas that have greater chances of usurping competitions if ever there are.
Meanwhile, it could even get better if it is an idea that is yet to take over the country. Look at indomie, it is the biggest noodles company in the country to the extent that even consumers refer to any noodles as indomie. This is an advantage of being the forerunner.
Nonetheless, As an entrepreneur, you do not necessarily need to create a new product, you can make another product even come out better. For instance, if you feel that people love to take garri, milk, and groundnuts in their offices, then you could brand them.
Make a decision
Making a decision is one of the hardest parts. While brainstorming your business ideas, you must have thought through the challenges you could face if you decide to push through your dreams. If you have a regular job, you will be pondering whether you should quit it to go full time or keep your job and start the business as a side hustle.
To be honest, if you are working for a private firm, it will be very difficult to manage your startup but at times one can not underestimate the power of will. Entrepreneurs are known to be risk-takers and this is one of the most challenging events that you will come across as an entrepreneur. Sometimes, it could turn out big if done right or even lose all for trying to unveil your entrepreneurial traits.
Whatever your decision, you need to be sure it is the right decision you take but you won’t know if you do not go through with it.
Find mentors and network with people
Even when deciding to go full or part-time into a business, you need mentors that have already taken the path. It does not necessarily have to be in the same line of product, but someone with experience in various fields. It could be in the procurement of raw material, getting merchants, the best location for the business, payment set up, and more. Remember, you are just a starter and you need to form an alliance with already established entrepreneurs to gain valuable inputs.
You also need to network with people that will help your business succeed. Seminars, business meetings, and workshops are the best places to meet people with the same interest. From there, you could find people that you can partner with, potential investors, distributors, and even some of your target customers.
Most importantly, while networking with others, be coachable. Being coachable means you have the temperament to receive whatever is being thrown at you, be it negative or positive reaction, open to suggestion, and able to evaluate how you have fared so far. This is one of the traits that make an entrepreneur.
Research your proposed business
You probably thought networking with others should be enough to get you through, but the truth is there is always something new to learn and even unlearn. For example, ice water tied in nylon used to be great deal years back, but not anyone. Some business ideas, no matter how much awareness you create, would never mean anything in the market unless you rebrand them.
Find out if there are available markets for it, how much money you will need to start, the business location, the kind of people you need to work with you and so on.
For example, A newly established alcohol company in kano may be a very wrong move especially when the majority of the people here shun it. Sales will no doubt be very low and you could also meet with some resistance from the natives. In places like Lagos, Abuja, or Port Harcourt, you definitely have a chance of making the business thrive.
Spy on your competitors
If the product is not new, then there may be enough blueprints to follow. You need to be able to create something better than your competitors to beat them.
To do that, buy their products and carefully analyse them. Meet with some of their customers. You can even read reviews on social media platforms. If at all, there is something they have not been doing right, you could put it on your list. It could be they are charging more, then you have a loophole you could take advantage of. You need to create a big impression and to do that you must be all about customer satisfaction than the potential income the business could generate.
Step 2: Make your entrepreneurial dream a reality
Draft out your business plan
The next step to becoming an entrepreneur is to write out your business plan. A great business plan should have some of these elements such as Executive summary, Description, Products and services, Marketing and operation plan, Organization and management, Bios of key management, Personnel plan, Financial plan, etc.
If you are not ready to make a standard business plan, you should at least have your mission statement, objective, vision, short and long-term objectives, and how you plan to finance. Most successful startups started this way, having a business strategy will help help your business be on the map.
Source for funds
Here is another difficult part of becoming an entrepreneur. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need a large amount of money to fulfill those dreams but the question is how do you intend to get the capital?
Forget the title, it will be difficult to gain the support of people if you are unwilling to part with some cash first. People want to see how confident you are about the project and you can do that by willing to contribute not just your sweat, but the little amount you can afford to put down. Despite the difficulties, there are still investors and sponsors who will happily back a great idea.
If you are into paid employment, you have probably had some money put away for the venture, if not, then you will be looking for places where you could get the required money to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams. Luckily for you, there are several ways you could do that but most importantly have a business idea with a high possibility of success. Notwithstanding, nothing is assured as there are factors that come into play.
Below are the different ways Entrepreneurs can get money to start a business:
1. Raise money via crowdfunding sites.
There are lots of Equity-based and rewards-based crowdfunding sites where you can get the right funding for your business. If you are using an equity-based website to raise money for your venture, then it is the same as saying you are selling shares. If anyone contributes money via an equity-based website, they become shareholders.
Donation-based crowdfunding website in another way you could raise money as a prospective business owner without having anyone become a shareholder. However, you may need to show some appreciation by sending gifts later.
If you are a product creator, a prototype could help you get people that are willing to help either as backer or shareholder. Therefore, you will need to make a good impression as potential investors and backers rarely put their money on a business awash with doubts. A prototype could help and if you have got none, you could prepare a link where people can access your business plan.
2. Seek grants.
Another way you could get money for business is by applying for business grants. It is one of the safest ways to get money as an entrepreneur without lingering thoughts about how to pay back or the cost of borrowing.
Despite the challenges of getting grants in Nigeria, we still have some private companies, federal and state companies giving out grants to businesses that they believe will have a positive impact on the economy. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), YouWIN Connect, Diamond Bank BET Programme, AYEEN Financial Grants, etc are among the grants entrepreneurs can access in Nigeria.
3. Apply for Credit facilities.
If you could get the money elsewhere, a loan is not the best option for a new venture. Most business ideas that started with a credit facility always end in ruin as the cost of running always overwhelms the entire project.
If you choose to start your business using loans, there are many ways to get loans in Nigeria. If you need a small loan, you can always apply online but if it is a huge loan, then you will need to visit the bank. If you are able to convince the bank, then you should be able to get a sizeable loan
4. Get money from friends and family.
If you want to be able to do your business without having to worry about how to quickly pay it back, getting money from family and friends is always one of the best options.
Family members even go as far as giving you the money in form of grants and are always the most patient even if you borrow from them. One of the most rewarding aspects of getting money from family and friends is that you will not have to worry about the cost of borrowing or interest, at times, they just need you to return what you owe and at a very reasonable period.
5. Bring angel investors or venture capitalists on board.
Venture capitalists and angel investors are profit-driven companies or individuals that invest their money in a business. They analyse ventures including the risks and rewards and then pursue the ones that are guaranteed to bring them profits (a healthy return on investment) from time to time.
The major similarity between the two is that Venture capitalists do not own the money used for investment, instead pooled money from investment firms, pension funds, or corporations for investment while Angel Investors use their own money to invest in any venture that they believe would increase their stance. However, venture capitalists are always very careful when investing, therefore they are more likely to invest in established businesses.
As a business owner looking for finance, you will find angel investors in seminars, workshops, religious centres, social media platforms, forums, and business meetings, and even among friends. You could also talk to venture capital firms like Venture Garden Group, Cordros Capital Ltd, or Treasure Capital and Trusts Ltd, there are quite a great number of venture capitals in Nigeria but you should prioritise on getting the best.
Register your business
Now that you have the finance sorted, it is time to have your business registered. There are lots of benefits that you can tap when you register your business. Registering your business is one way to tell the world you are here to stay, this unique identity will help a lot.
Another reason why you should get your business registered is the ease of getting bigger loans as the business grows. Individuals, banks, or investors are more likely to part with their money when they know it is registered. Banks for example tend to give larger credit facilities to registered businesses like Nirsal Microfinance Bank.
In Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is your plug, you can visit www.cac.gov.ng for more information. You can also carry out online registration via the platform. Ensure you have a location on ground before registering your business.
Put your business on the map
Now is the time to become a real entrepreneur and to become one, you need to set up everything you need in your location. Work with like-minded people, the ones that share your values and that are likely to help you succeed. This is one of the important things you need to get right, as the right people will achieve your dreams.
While also making the right calls and bringing people in, understand that every business or product has a period whereby sales are low especially when they are just out. It is on you to create the perfect marketing and promotions to help people know about the new products in town.
Even if you are short of money, you can also use social media platforms to advertise your venture for free. Set up a team to meet with people in your environment, give them a great offer, and do what will most likely bring attention to your businesses. It is always difficult for new business, but it is your commitment while adhering to the dos and don’ts of the business that will make you survive in the long run.
Concentrate more on customer retention for now more than the big profit you want to make. By winning over customers through promotion and marketing, your revenue is more likely to grow. As long as your product is of great quality, they will always demand more. Meanwhile, always start with a price a bit lower than the competitors’, this is one of the ways to penetrate the market quickly.
Explore, learn and invest in yourself
Anyone can become an entrepreneur but the work of an entrepreneur is never over, there are always new heights you can attain. To become a rich and successful entrepreneur, you must be willing to explore. Successful business owners are not stagnant in thoughts, they learn on the job, read books and content, pick ideas from people, in their working environment, and anywhere.
They ask questions if they are in doubt. To this set of people, knowledge is power and this is what makes them stand out from others. It is what you know that you can put into practice. Most importantly, be positive. This is how to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.