When I started my business I made simple mistakes I didn’t have to make because I was too proud or afraid to ask questions and seek help. The lack of experience of our young entrepreneurs in Nigeria mixed with enthusiasm and great eagerness to win can lead to costly mistakes.
Starting a business at a young age is simultaneously exciting and challenging. And making mistakes is something that can’t be avoided as human beings.
I will be sharing some mistakes young entrepreneurs make in Nigeria and some of which I was a victim of. If you’re a young entrepreneur in Nigeria, I will advise that even if you have not make any of the mistakes I will be sharing, you need to be aware of them so as to avoid them.
10 Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make in Nigeria
1. Trying to do Everything on your Own
I can vividly remember that when I started my freelance writing business, I was the only one doing everything. I was the only one looking for clients, writing and promoting my brand. It took a lot of my time to the extent that I hardly have free time for myself.
I wasn’t making the kind of money that I make now because I was thinking that nobody can be able to do it the way I do. So, I better do it myself. It was really a big mistake I made at first.
You need to have an understanding of what abilities you offer and what type of people you need to place around you. You are not doing yourself any favors by trying to do a task you don’t enjoy doing.
You should begin looking at who can be brought on board to help you from the first day of starting your business. There will be tasks in any business that you, as the owner, should not be focusing on if you hope to build any sort of sizable organization. Why are you doing admin work when you should be out closing customers, talking to the media, and landing new partnerships?
Right now, I have team of writers that do the writing task while I just proof-read and edit to my taste before submitting to clients. It has really help boost my income and given me time to expand my business to better clients.
2. Living the Dream Lifestyle Too Early
This was what brought me to my first debt ever in my life. I made the mistake of thinking I have already arrived and was spending money anyhow. It took me 3 months to be able to pay off my debt. I ate the money I should have used to pay my writers.
I know it is very tempting most especially for young entrepreneurs making enough money from their business not to show-off.
Please, no matter how much money you think you may be making at the moment, don’t start living an extravagant lifestyle. Even Dangote didn’t do that when he was making millions in the industry.
This one mistake can lead you to debt (just like what happened to me) and might even led to the fall of your business.
This I have seen among young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. They just want to start a business today and hit big 5 figures the next months. Brethren, if it were easy, every young entrepreneur will be very rich.
Many new young entrepreneurs have ambitions to start a business so they create a website, try to make a few sales, go all out for a few months and then stop completely. Building a business is all about patience.
Always remember it takes time to develop your business and get people used to what you have to offer. Make sure that you do something every day no matter how big or small to move your business forward. Never lose momentum.
4. Lack of Focus
Instead of trying to do everything and be everywhere, you would rather narrow the focus on the things that do matter for your business. Learn to say no to things that do not directly help you achieve one of the goals and objectives on your list. Avoid distraction and concentrate on what matters most.
5. Starting a Business just for the Money
If you want your business to be a success you truly need to love it. By all means money is important but it may take a while before you see a profit. If you don’t really like what you’re doing you won’t last long.
Try not to fall into get-rich-quick scheme traps, make sure you’re doing something you love to help you stay motivated. If you read the stories of famous entrepreneurs and how they built their organizations, you will find that it all comes down to the root of loving what you are doing.
6. Not Thinking About Marketing
Young entrepreneurs make a mistake of starting a business and not making time to marketing their business. They believe that when they build their business, customers will find them and come do business with them.
7. Not Building Business Around A Customer
The best way to make a lot of money quickly is to find a customer who has a problem and is willing to pay you to solve it – and then you go out and build a business around it. Most entrepreneurs take the opposite mentality of “if I build it, then will come” only to realize that they’ve built it and nobody is coming.
Instead of talking to customers as to why they’re not coming they decided to continue building and building. Soon, they find out that they’ve invested years of work and nobody is interested in buying from them.
8. Having too Small Margin
I was experiencing this in the early stage of my business and life was very difficult for me I must confess until I made a change to increase it. Having a healthy profit margin will be critical to your success.
Setting it too low now will make life infinitely more difficult for you in the future — your customers likely won’t be thrilled when you need to raise your prices later on.
Take a look at your production and operating costs, and determine how much flexibility there is. Can you reduce these costs in the future if necessary? If not, choose a higher profit margin now to accommodate these costs.
9. Not Seeking Mentors
One of the best ways to get your business off the ground is to find out what other people have done to be successful and implementing that strategy into your business. Find mentors who have knowledge of your business and are willing to help you. If you approach the right people and show a genuine appreciation the advice you get will help your business be a success.
10. Hiring your Best Friend
Making hiring decisions based on friendship or emotion is not a good hiring decision. You need to hire a person for possessing a relevant skill set, but not for being your best bud. If you hire your best friend in your business, you will find it difficult to express your grievances when needed because you may be thinking that it will tarnish your friendship.
It is crucial that everybody in your team can accept constructive criticism, without it being misconstrued as personal. A friendship built on business is better than a business built on friendship.