All the successful businesses around began as bad ideas. Google.com, Multimedia Group Limited, UT Financial Ltd., General Law Consult, Papaye and so on. They are often said to be bad ideas of the originators because others do not share in those views or they simply do not understand the vision of the creators.
When entrepreneurs come up with ideas that they wish to develop into a business, they are often met with discouraging remarks like, “this won’t work”, “I know someone who tried something like this and it didn’t work” or “this dream is too big” and “do you have what it takes?”.
It is more common, especially in our Ghanaian society, for people to be pessimistic than optimistic. Truth is success stories are not easily celebrated, but failures are always referred to, and people are even discouraged from openly celebrating their achievements. Those who try to do so, are said to be ‘blowing their own horns’.
But, despite this situation, some of those who have persisted with their convictions have succeeded in turning their business ideas into profit making ventures that have also opened up employment avenues for hundreds of Ghanaians. As a result they have also changed their financial situations and have gone on to impact other people’s lives.
Do you have a business idea?
Do you have any business idea? Usually, these ideas come up in sketchy forms and sometimes difficult to put a finger on.
The idea may come in the form of a nudge, you just feel it, you have a sense of something you could do, a venture you could evolve and make business out of.
Truth is, that was how some of the successful businesses around began from the instinctive feelings of those who started them. The initiators and promoters usually have a feeling about the business and then they figure it out in their minds.
You probably have an idea too, some idea about anything, it could be anything at all that could be crystalised into a profit making venture.
If you pursue your dreams of a business concept in a correct, consistent and clear manner, you might be on your way to laying the first stone to your business empire.
Write down your idea
The first step to molding your business idea is to put it down in writing. Write down the idea as it comes to you, even if vaguely.
As you do, remember that every business exists to meet a need. Your business idea must first and foremost be born out of the desire to meet a human need.
Businesses provide goods and services that people require for their daily survival. If your business idea is to provide what people need, then you are on the right course.
You should also find and talk to people who may share in your ideas and are willing and available to assist you to polish it. You should also look for people who are informed and knowledgeable in the business and ask for their counsel.
Indeed, you might meet some people who would deliberately discourage you, just so they would compel you to motivate yourself! Self motivation is a very important character that every entrepreneurs needs to cultivate, because it is what you would need in every step of the way.
You should also know that some people’s way of encouraging you, is to test your endurance! They know you could do it, but they test your ability to withstand genuine resistance and opposition, by playing against your ideas.
But because, it is not easy to tell who is genuinely testing your resolve, you must promise yourself never to give up. Persistence is a trait every business builder must have. Entrepreneurs do not give up easily. However, if along the line, you discover that your idea is not viable, please, revise it or where necessary, discard it.
Develop a product
In considering your business idea, think seriously about a product. The product is what you would sell out there to a potential customer to satisfy his or her needs or wants.
If you develop a product that meets a particular group of people’s needs, then you are beginning to have a business.
The product must be people specific, and therefore, must be so designed to meet the targeted group, and there should be enough justification for this group of people to be willing to part with hard earned money to buy this product – and that means they must derive maximum satisfaction from using this product.
The Business Plan
The business plan is the most important part of your business.
The business plan is the blue print of your business. It is what you would need if you must raise financial capital, get credit and even build a management team.
It tells everyone who might be interested in your business the beginning and possible end of your business. Because a business plan contains your financials as well, it clearly gives an idea of the viability and profitability of the business.
In writing your business plan, you must be personally involved, even if you are contracting a consultant to write it for you.
The business is yours, so you must know it thoroughly. You must therefore, get involved in writing your business plan.
It is what any venture capitalist, angel investor or financial institution would ask to see if they must assist you with money as a start-up or an expanding business.
Every business requires the expertise of individuals to thrive. Employees, therefore, are an integral part of every business.
The people, who would work to make your business grow, are also part of the business. In hiring people for your business, you ought to look out for the kind of people with the necessary skills to produce the items and the services you intend to market.
It is therefore, important that you have a principle of hiring, training and keeping your staff. Some businesses argue that when they hire and train staff, they leave the business. But what they forget is that, before they hired these people, someone else trained them. And again, when they train staff and they become competent, they do little to nothing to retain these employees.
Rewarding your employees appropriately and making them happy is a sure way of growing your business.
If you have a business idea, don’t let it remain just an idea. Go on, develop it, crystallize and realise it.
You may not always have the money to start your business the way you want to, but you can also use what you have – your talent, skills, personal property, relatives and friends as well as other existing businesses.
You also should not start big, start it small and grow it carefully.
An example is Herman Chinery of Softtribe, a software developing company. He has been called the Bill Gates of Africa. He started his business from his bedroom, using an old desktop computer.
No matter how hard it may seem, go ahead, don’t wait any longer, build your dream business.
And if you try and it fails, don’t give up, try again!
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi