By Adewoye S. Ademuyiwa

Starting a small or medium enterprise is a crucial decision. It is a decision many people continue to make every day.

If you are thinking of taking the bold step of starting your own business, there are a couple of things you ought to do, to make sure that you do not run out of business shortly after you start. Imagine someone deciding to start a typewriting business in these times, it is beyond reasonable doubt that the person would go out of business even before starting.

Let’s consider some of the things an aspiring entrepreneur must do to start and grow a business:

  • Create A Clear Message About The Value You Offer

What customer issues would you tell the world that you are tackling? What exactly are you asking your potential customers to pay for? The value you offer is what your customers would know you and pay you for. Likewise, the values you offer will determine whether your business will be financially buoyant – or not.

  • Understand Your Target  Market And  Focus On Your Customer

Many businesses don’t offer excellent products and/or services. Yet, you find that they are thriving. business because they understand their market and pay close attention to the behavioral patterns and buying habits of their customers. Before opening for business, you should take time to understand the demographic and psychological characteristics of your potential customer base. You must understand what propels them to make purchases.

It is also advised that you keep a close watch on the actions – and inactions – of your major competitors. You should also take time to connect with people who run similar enterprises. It’s also a good idea to review the websites of your competitors to see what they are doing that you are not doing, and why.  Equally important, you should regularly visit their social media platforms to see what their customers commend or chastise them for.

  • Take The Long View Of Starting Small And Growing Big

I often marvel at how young men and women, with little or no experience, dream of setting up multi-million naira business empires. I am also surprised when I see a person who has just started a small business is expecting to hit the million naira mark within a few weeks. Truth be told, nothing is impossible – more so with tech trends. Granted the exceptions, the general rule cautions us not to despise little beginnings. Start small, build tract and keep growing.

  • Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses

As an entrepreneur in embryo, you must know the areas in which you can – or cannot  –perform. As your business grows, you should know when you need to hire more staff to leverage your strengths and complement your weaknesses.

  • Find And Work With Mentors

No individual can have the knowledge and skills to do all the works that need to be done in a business. Even more, nothing beats experience. This is why it makes sense for a budding entrepreneur to lean on the insights, experience and abilities of others who have travelled the road. It will be helpful to find an entrepreneur who has done, or is doing, the same or similar business.

  • Write Down The Aims And Goals Of Your Business

Starting a business is tasking. It challenges how you allocate your time and resources to the business and your other activities. How then do you measure your results if you do not have pre-determined and documented aims and goals for the business?

You must have objectives and expected outcomes which will help to keep you on track. Setting clear aims and goals will help to ground your actions. It will also help you to figure out those areas where you need to change – or adjust – the aims and goals of your business.

  • Know Your Business Numbers

It is important for you to know how your business is doing. You should know your customer base, revenues, sales, profits, etc. by numbers. Knowing your numbers and having them handy will help you make correct choices in managing your business.

  • Love What You Do

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely vocation. There is always more work to do than the time available to do them. There will moments of despair and times of triumph. What will keep you going between good times and bad times is your love of what you are doing. Enthusiasm is the fuel that keeps you up and running.