In response to my daily posts on various WhatsApp and Facebook groups, quite a number are asking me the question, “How can we get into entrepreneurship? We want to quit formal employment.”
As a Doctor of Philosophy scholar in Business Management & Entrepreneurship, I will try not to go academically in my response but be as practically objective as possible.
Before I delve into the definition of entrepreneurship, it is prudent to start with the word entrepreneur because it is the entrepreneur who does the act of entrepreneurship.
An Oxford English Dictionary definition depicts an entrepreneur as a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
It is evident from the above definition that an entrepreneur is a risk-taker. You set up a new business, something that you have probably never done before, committing your financial and material resources in anticipation of profit. This business can be the provision of services or products, depending on your venture.
Then, entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business bearing any of its risks, with the view of making the profit.
There are four fundamental truths about entrepreneurship that I need to explain i.e. the DLRRP of Entrepreneurship:
Entrepreneurs are great thinkers. Starting a new business is not for cheap minds. That is why you see most people choose to die employees.
We all know how architects come up with a clear drawing of your house in 3D format. That’s the thinking that entrepreneurs need to go through in order to have a clear mental design of the new business they want to venture into.
Entrepreneurs continuously design and redesign for them to remain relevant in the marketplace. As everything changes, they also need to keep up with the pace of change and even go ahead of it.
Once you are clear about what you want to do, the next step is to launch the idea into an enterprise. A lot of people ask me this question, “Coach, I have a brilliant idea, how can I start?” The best answer is, “Just get started.”
You will not get started until you actually start. Quite a number talk about capital as their major clutch to starting a new business. Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, a British business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist, argued against the issue of lack of capital as a hindrance. Those that are lazy to start their own business are so keen to blame lack of capital.
Branson started his first business venture, a magazine called Student, at the age of 16. He didn’t have much capital to start with. As a matter of fact, Branson endured the hassles of starting that business with a few coins and a £100 that his mother got from selling a necklace she had picked at their gate. She had surrendered the necklace to the police in case the founder could come looking for it, but time lapsed then the police returned the necklace to Branson’s mother.
Savings have also proved to be a good starting point for a small endeavor. You have to start where you are. The majority want to start from where they are not. There is no way you can start big.
A question can also come from those in countries such as Zimbabwe that, “How can we save the RTGS balances? If you want to start a business that involves stocks, especially the nonperishables, save it in stocks.
Entrepreneurs are creative and innovative beings. They can venture into a business that others are already into but add their own uniqueness for competitive advantage. There are those who come up with a completely new business idea. They all still remain entrepreneurs. The smarter you are in terms of innovation and your articulation of ideas makes that difference.
Richard went on to start the Virgin Group in the 1970s, which controls more than 400 companies in various fields. We also have our own great African entrepreneurs, Strive Masiyiwa of Econet, Tivavenge of Simrac, Tavanda Mutyebere of Chicken Slice, the list is endless. Study how all these launched their businesses, then you will see that it is not only capital that matters. You need a sharpened idea that can pierce through the minds of those that have money to want to support you in your lucrative endeavor.
It is one thing to launch and it is another thing to run or sustain the business. There is a company called Afro Foods that at some point took over CFIs (Farm & City)’s Town and Country branches. The company lasted only for a season in the market. They failed to run retail outlets.
An entrepreneur needs to be knowledgeable in terms of how to effectively run and sustain the business. One of the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs is the ability to see beyond the ordinary person. They focus more on opportunities that avail themselves in the market and attack them with alacrity and celerity and with unquestionable dexterity.
Running a business is not theoretical. It is actually a practice that an* entrepreneur must engage in. You can’t be called as such when you fail the running test. An organization is as strong as its internal controls and management systems.
We may have read of great company failures in the world and even in Zimbabwe. An entrepreneur must be prepared to face the risks associated with this journey. There are quite a number of risks associated with running your own business. Those operating in Zimbabwe can produce a book full of risks that are being encountered in the process.
The ability to circumvent these risks defines an entrepreneur. Without taking up some amount of risks, you also cannot expect a meaningful return. Entrepreneurs take calculated risks as they seek to exploit opportunities in the marketplace.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers.
As you can see according to the sequence of these truths, profit is at the end. Do not expect to get profit from the outset. You need to follow through the sequence, designing, launching, running, bear the risk involved and anticipate to get the reward at the end of it all.
Profits are those residual dollars after having taken care of your cost of sales and all the other relevant overheads. It is imperative in the first years of your business that you have a greater chunk of these profits that you plough back into the business for growth purposes.
A lot of upcoming business people mistake sales for profit. This is the greatest mistake that can be made in the entrepreneurship journey.
The other deadly ill that is rampant in Africa is show off. Africans seem allergic to money. They quickly react at the sight of a few dollars that they would want everyone to know they have gotten it at last. Just like allergy, it’s an outward manifestation of something that you could have probably consumed or fallen prey to in private.
Look forward to the next episode entitled Entrepreneurs’ thinking process.
Kudzanai Vere is an Entrepreneur, Author, Transformational Speaker, and Professional Business & Life Coach.
He is the Founder and director of programs at Transformational Mindset Institute, Founder and Executive President of Premium Business Network International, Co-Founder and CEO of Kudfort Enterprises, Lecturer at Women’s University in Africa, Doctor of Philosophy student in Entrepreneurship & Economic Development.
Has extensive coaching experience in the following areas;
Entrepreneurship | Personal Development | Leadership Development | Organization Development | Financial Literacy | Management Training | Team Building.
Can be contacted on +263 772592232 | +263 719 592232
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Websites www.tmi.co.zw | https://www.kudzanaivere.com