Starting with the most basic question is who an entrepreneur is? An entrepreneur is a person who sees an opportunity or gap in the market (for me market can be anywhere in school, in church, outside country name it) and exploits that chance.
Three years ago I started a business of detergent making which at that time I was naive with the field, and I didn’t realize the challenges I could have faced – though it is a field that I am very interested in and I hope one day I will venture into it.
One year down the line after starting my new haven I closed my business, leaving most of my customers with a lot of questions why did I decide to take such a road. I was bitter with myself, and sometimes I looked myself as a failure until I overcame the storm.
Here are the lessons I learned from my journey.
Do your market research well, so that you can be sure who is your target market and how the market looks like that will help you make a wise and a firm decision. (about this point I have talked in depth in this blog post, please click the link to read more)
Launch one product at a time
When I started my detergent making company because of the hype and the excitement of becoming my own boss I went ahead and introduced more than five products, for instance, I had a bleaching agent, stain remover detergent, fabric softener and all that.
After 3 months I realized one product is in demand compared with the rest of the products I had. What happened all my profits were left in the products that were not making their way into the market. And that was one of the causes that contributed my business to fail. I wish I could have launched one product and give my customers a chance to tell me what they want.
Have enough capital to fund the business or have people to invest in your business.
I didn’t believe this truth until I experienced it. You know when starting a business, you got wishful thinking that your savings will be enough. And the world makes us believe as entrepreneurs when you invest you will get double the amount of your investment as your profits. But what we don’t know is that even if you have invested, you need money to run the business and to spend on the expenses that occur on a daily basis.
And let me tell you when the business is at an infant stage and you use the profits on your personal needs plus paying the expenses the business will not love you at all. At this stage, every business needs external sources of funding.
My friend Martin Luenendonk in his article- The Definitive Startup Funding Guide (From Business Idea to IPO + Facebook Case Study) has talked much more about the funding.
Market! Market! Market!
You know a simple truth behind marketing is if you don’t market your products and services there will be no person who will know what the hell you are doing.
Three years ago I didn’t know the power of taking your business online. At that time I was doing my marketing with word of mouth, which was also helpful to me, but if I had known that I could use certain platforms to make my products be known well like Facebook, it could have yielded different results.
I learned when starting a business, any way of marketing your business is helpful (because you want to get your name out there) but there are ways which are more helpful than others especially if you want to take your business worldwide.
Consider both Quality and Quantity
One fact about my products was of good quality, and that made me get more recommendations from the people I used to sell to. But one problem I used to have is the quantity of the product that I used to produce.
Because it was a small venture, I could not cater for people who wanted to order in bulk quantity, so I used to lose a lot of customers and remember I didn’t have enough capital to run my business.
I learned when starting a business; you need to be prepared.
Have an appealing package.
Either you are producing products or services everything deserve a good packaging. Something you are proud to be associated with and also Packaging is a way of marketing and helping you to stand out in a competitive market.
But mind you even packaging requires you spend some pennies for you to have something professionally done, so you need to be equipped.
Focus on Your New Business
This is obvious, when your business is new it needs your focus so that you will know whether it is growing or not. Don’t entrust somebody else to look after your business, especially if it is a startup.
Thank you for reading!