Kizito Okorowu December 28, 2016

One of the things that has become a yearly ritual or norm is the art of making resolutions or setting goals. Folks are known to see the new year as a fresh slate on which to achieve their yearnings, desires and aspirations.

2017 isn’t going to be different and as is the custom of most, goals are broken into various segments usually from emotional to financial goals.
One financial goal that trumps others is that of starting a business or setting out on the path of entrepreneurship. This is a good thing but many go about it the wrong way.
You see, setting a goal to start a business isn’t what will make you a superb businessman. Far from it! There are lots of things to take note of before venturing into entrepreneurship in the new year.
In this article, I’ll highlight cogent points you must consider if you don’t want your business to crash and prevent your goal from turning from a day dream to a nightmare.

1) Background Doesn’t Matter

The best entrepreneurs running successful mega corps don’t necessary have core competencies in the businesses they head.

Jason Njoku for example didn’t have a background in the arts before running what is arguably one of the most successful internet companies in Africa.
This issue of background has deterred many would be entrepreneurs from venturing out. A pursuit for background competency has also made many let red hot opportunities go cold.

There’s another side to this coin but oftentimes, it’s the entrepreneur and not his background that turns out to become the defining yardstick for success.

2) Have A Co-Founder

Few businesses that will start in Nigeria in 2017 can survive with a single founder at the helm.

Paul Graham an astute startup mentor and principal at Y combinator, one the world’s most profitable business incubator has as his criteria that when starting a successful business or startup, founders should have a cofounder if they are keen about succeeding in their startup venture.

The Nigerian business landscape can not be navigated alone. You’d need a coach, a mentor, an investor or an advisor who will most times double as your co-founder at the onset to act as a sounding board for you business ideas and to help you validate your business decisions.

3) Good Location

In 2017, not all locations will be right for your business. A new business in Nigeria will survive or die largely due to the location it decides to operate from.

This is where a proper understanding of your market or niche will help you ace the issue of location.
Start where you’ll get the most traction, patronage and mileage in terms of your business deliverables.

There also the aspect of starting in a niche that has the willingness and ability to pay for your products. This will help you zero in on the right location for your business.

4) Have A Focus

The temptation of starting out is that one may go in different directions confusing activity for productivity.
You must have a focus of what your business is about. What need do you specifically plan to solve? What aspect of the value chain do you want to start operating from? What will be your competitive advantage?

The above will need a great deal of focus to be able to articulate and execute with resounding success.
Say you want to go into ICT, you’d be better off starting as a digital marketing outfit before progressing to software designing, web hosting and so on.
There is also the need to be focused on the platform that will make the biggest impact in your business in 2017.
The platform you utilize either online or offline will determine whether your startup lives or dies once you get traction. On the wrong platform scalability will be the bottleneck. And users often don’t wait for you to figure it out.

5) Plan Towards Sustainability

This should perhaps have been the first point to address. Some businesses that had a 10 year mega plan folded up even before crossing the half a decade mark. This wasn’t the work of village demons but one of the root cause would have been a lack of an efficient sustainability plan.
Every business owner must have an idea of what the future of the business will look like before setting out. I’m not saying you should become a diviner, I’m just saying be a lot more introspective.
Set measures in place to ensure that your business can outlive you as a one man concern. Financial prudence is one virtue that keeps a business alive. Respect for clients is another one. These go hand in hand in determining how much your overnight goal can become regarded as an overnight success.
Planning with sustainability in mind will help adapt your business or startup to survive the trying economic terrain. Be certain, 2017 isn’t going to be a piece of cake. Brace yourself!

6) Be Prepared For Expansion

Don’t let an opportunity to expand meet you unprepared. Rehearse for it even from the get go.
This doesn’t discredit the earlier thought of focus but rather serves as a validator. Preparing for expansion will help you stay open to veritable opportunities and take advantage of them when they come.

In 2017, don’t start a business in Nigeria without expansion in view.


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