If you ask me, there are a group of people equally as important as celebrities and politicians but do not get the appropriate recognition. These group of people are called Entrepreneurs and I am proud to be one of them. With the amount of contribution Entrepreneurs make to the economies of most countries, I am bewildered I don’t see more of them lauded and revered like most celebrities are.
Entrepreneurs must be rewarded, encouraged, empowered and celebrated and this has to happen in any society. Entrepreneurs can change the way we all live and work. Innovators and inventors can change our quality of lives. In addition to all that, successful entrepreneurs act as role models and their business models copied. Make no mistake, Entrepreneurs are important and contribute significantly to every country’s economy and here’s 10 reasons why:
1) Entrepreneurs Create New Businesses: Naturally! Since they are self employed, the only other way to earn a living is by creating a business. Most people start from scratch and create a business they have an interest in, while others can simply buy an already existing business; either ways a new unique enterprise has been formed.
2) Entrepreneurs Create Jobs: By virtue of the fact that they have created new businesses this definitely holds true. The more businesses they create the more staff they need to assist them in running the businesses. From bakers to mortgage lenders, from 2 staff members to hundreds of staff members, entrepreneurs have a habit of creating jobs.
3) Entrepreneurs improve Industry Standards through Healthy Competition: Competition is good, healthy competition is even better. In other to gain competitive advantage, entrepreneurs continually strive to improve their products or services, this no doubt reflects positively on the industry set standard. Car dealers for example might give discounts or allocate points to customers who are accident – free within the first year of purchase in order to gain an advantage over other car dealers. This in turn promotes safe driving which is beneficial to the automobile AND insurance industry. Restauranteurs or Hoteliers could do the same for the Catering and Hospitality industry.
4) Entrepreneurs create new Skills: Think about an inventor with a never before seen product; to promote, market/sell and make a profit from this product, the entrepreneur would have to train other people as to the technicalities of this product. And its not just inventors alone, skills acquisition can range from customer care and services to plumbing and carpentry. The more diverse the scope of the business, the more skills needed to fill the jobs created.
5) Entrepreneurs create Wealth and Empowerment: Developing (and already developed) countries benefit significantly from the wealth businesses bring into their society. From societies in South America where citizens are empowered to grow coffee beans to societies in Africa where farmers benefit directly from Mangoes sold to Europe and America. Entrepreneurs, by creating new products, services and technologies enable markets to be developed around these items creating wealth as a result.
6) Entrepreneurs contribute to the National Income: Entrepreneur must pay taxes (in one way or the other) These taxes go directly to the national purse. It also follows that the taxes businesses pay is related directly to the size of the businesses. In the UK (as at 2014) small and medium sized businesses had a combined turnover of more than £1.6 Trillion. Do you see how much tax will be generated and added to the national purse? Don’t forget, there are countries with more entrepreneurs, thus more businesses. It is why most governments welcome entrepreneurs and their businesses.
7) Entrepreneurs create Social Change: Some entrepreneurs are so cool, they create businesses not to make money, but to effect a change in society through the people they help. Social entrepreneurship (using business techniques to find solutions to social problems) is not a new phenomenon, however it is becoming more pronounced and visible lately. Every society have issues that need solving, some entrepreneurs have thus made it their life’s mission to attempt to solve these problems or at least minimise them. Entrepreneurs have taken on issues like child marriage, poverty, climate change and social injustice. Some of my favourite entrepreneurs with charitable ventures are Tony Elumelu (Tony Elumelu Foundation), Bill Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Opray Winfrey (Oprah’s Angel Network)
8) Entrepreneurs sustain Innovation beneficial to the country: By introducing new technologies to the market, these cool entrepreneurs can come up with new, creative gadgetry that could even serve their countries. The military can benefit from it (Missile guidance and delivery systems), the health sector can benefit from it (pioneer drugs) History making technologies have been created by entrepreneurs and we all benefit from them even today. Steve Jobs(RIP) – Apple Computers, iPhones and iPads . Bill Gates – Microsoft. Stephen Katsaros is also an Entrepreneur and the founder of Nokero International, which is building a better, longer lasting, and solar-powered light bulb for use by the 1.6 billion people worldwide that live without electricity. Amazing!
9) Entrepreneurs encourage trade networking: By forming and carefully maintaining mutually beneficial trade relationships with other entrepreneurs, businesses and in other regions, entrepreneurs gain knowledge and wisdom from networking which in turn can be applied to their various societies. One of the easiest ways to promote themselves is networking and because it is virtually cost-free, most entrepreneurs engage in it. By engaging in it (networking), they systematically promote it (networking) and their trade to other trades and entrepreneurs and vice versa.
10) Entrepreneurs are the new celebrities: Goes without saying, if Entrepreneurs generally contribute more to the economy than the film or music industry then they must be celebrated like movie or music stars. Some times I go to my local grocery store or take a walk in the park and people pass me by like I don’t exist, I am yet to be pursued for my picture or autograph (except at networking events where I am the Guest Speaker) I am an Entrepreneur and that needs to change, don’t you agree?
So when you see an entrepreneur today, commend them, celebrate them, buy tickets to see them and hear their talks, because they help sustain and improve the economy you live in and make sure you get an autograph because they might be the creators of the next greatest thing.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or manager you most likely have varying definitions of success. But, one thing we can all agree on is that being successful isn’t just about how much money you have in your bank account. It’s about having an attitude that makes us want to wake up every morning and do something bigger and better than the previous day. But, sometimes you need a little bit of inspiration. Even if you believe that you’re already successful, here are 22 quotes that can motivate you to strive for even more.
1. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi
2. “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” – Abraham Lincoln
3. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda
4. “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
5. “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey
6. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas A. Edison
7. “I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success … Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.” – Nikola Tesla
8. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
9. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
10. “Businesses that grow by development and improvement do not die.” – Henry Ford
11. “Chase the vision, not the money.” – Tony Hsieh
12. “You can say anything to anyone. How you say it to them will determine how they react to you and the future of your relationship together.” – John Rampton
13. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
14. “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Steve Jobs
15. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Tony Robbins
16. “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” – Jeff Bezos
17. “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali
18. “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” – Richard Branson
19. “Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
20. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
21. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash
22. “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk
23. “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” – Dr. Seus, ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Nigerians shouted and the electorate voted with their feet and ushered in a change in government. This change came in the guise of President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Military Head of State of the country. Amongst much fanfare, President Buhari promised change; which will directly alleviate the suffering of the common Nigerian, as well as improve their lives. The wind of change presently sweeping the nation comes with the hope that business opportunities can improve under this new government. While we await the manifestation of President Buhari’s plans for his country, here are 6 business areas that must be explored:
Oil & Gas: Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. This is the numero uno of investment opportunities, however, investing in this sector is no mean feat. As with economies all over the world, oil and gas is a market dominated by a small number of oligopolists. This means entry into it is minimal to near impossible, but if you have the capital investment to get in, your returns will be astronomical.
Renewable Energy: Even though Nigeria’s economy is now classed as the largest in Africa, unfortunately, electricity supply in the country is at best epileptic. Past governments have tried but failed to solve the problem with power generation fluctuating between 1500mw and 5500mw. If the new dispensation is to be believed, then investors and entrepreneurs must actively look at finding lasting solutions to the power generation problem in the country. Renewable energy is the wisest solution.
Renewable energy is generally known as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. This type of energy replaces conventional fuels in 4 areas and one of which is electricity generation. The abundant supply of sunlight, wind and rain in this west african country, can only mean that with the right innovation and investment, power generation can be very lucrative. Wind turbines and solar panels must surely be considered and business ideas associated with both must not be discounted. This market is open in Nigeria but requires a significant amount of investment to be considered credible.
A few challenges await entrepreneurs or investors looking to go into this kind of business. Obstacles include (1) the cynical nature of Nigerians; this is due to the fact that many Renewable Energy companies have promised but failed to deliver in the past, (2) lack of support by past governments to assist companies who invested in renewable energy. However, there is every reason to be hopeful with the new government. (3) the technology has not been completely tested for the Nigerian environment. If all this is taken into account, there is no reason investors in renewable energy won’t make a killing and smile to their banks.
Security and public safety: This is a major problem in Nigeria. The bane of armed robbery and street violence in the recent past has now been compounded by the emergence of terrorism and kidnapping. Most foreign countries now advise their citizens “against all but essential travel to” more than 10 states in the country. But in the midst of all that chaos is a business opportunity. The current government is aware of the country’s security lapses and as such business ideas that can improve the general safety of Nigerians must be considered. To make a profit, ideas that are simple, straightforward and non complicated should be pushed forward. It is important to understand that entry into the security and safety industry in Nigeria ranges from low to high investment, and as such returns will mirror the level of investment. I believe very strongly that Nigerians can invest in their own safety by coming up with security and safety innovations and make some money out of it.
Anti graft/ Anti corruption: If you want to make some money by doing business in Nigeria, this is it. The major campaign slogan for President Buhari was “Change” and the promise to significantly reduce corruption in his country by tackling it head on. Some countries have termed Nigeria as ‘the most corrupt nation in the world’ Rightly or wrongly, things need to be done to promote transparency in the country. President Buhari promised a reduction in corruption and was overwhelmingly voted into power based on this promise. With that in mind, there is an astronomical level of expectation placed directly on him (and rightly so). Any entrepreneur or investor worth his salt should seriously consider anti corruption ideas and innovations. With the present level of expectation, this is a ball Mr President cannot afford to drop. Entrepreneurs working in partnership with the government (Federal or State) will no doubt be successful in any business venture related to anti corruption.
Training: From banking to agriculture; from customer service to road safety, training (at all levels) is beneficial to any growing society. Nigeria should not be different. Short, sharp bespoke training combined with appropriate training facilities are lacking in the country. Nigerian entrepreneurs together with foreign investors can look at this area and devise solutions that are profitable but at the same time helpful to Nigerians. Captains of industry, Heads of Departments and even Chief Executives can benefit directly from training packages bespoke to their industries to align with the ever changing face of global business. Training providers can make a significant impact in Nigeria thus making training a major investment opportunity.
Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is ESSENTIAL for the sound and sustained economic development of a country therefore entrepreneurship development is essential too since entrepreneurs contribute to the national income. Entrepreneurs create upward social mobility, change, development and NEW BUSINESSES. It is my opinion (and many others) therefore that these ‘national treasures’ must be protected, promoted, supported and encouraged. As stated earlier, Nigeria is considered the largest economy in Africa, until recently, this was not the case, but the Nigerian GDP now includes previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines and film production. Industries that were single handedly created, nurtured and sustained by entrepreneurs without government support.
Entrepreneurship must be encouraged in Nigeria and in return entrepreneurs must develop themselves. It in encouraging that entrepreneurship come naturally to the common Nigerian who need little or no motivation to start a business. But these guys (and girls) need honest but hefty financial backing in order to sustain and grow their entrepreneurial flair. I have come across business ideas that could quite simply change the way Nigerians live, but the lack of support and finances have stymied the realisation of these ideas. Quite unfortunate really.
If President Buhari keeps his promises to the Nigerian people, this can only mean business opportunities will abound and lead to an improvement in business and investment during his tenure. We are praying and hoping.
I love giving back and helping others. I recently created a Facebook group that now has more than 4,000 entrepreneurs. We discuss startups and share information. It gives me good insight into some of the different obstacles entrepreneurs face all over the world.
I’ve been able to drill down this list to five specific areas I see entrepreneurs fumbling. This is my advice:
1. Stop talking, start doing.
The wantrepreneur disease runs rampant in different circles. I hear and see it frequently. There’s a reason why the “Just Do It” slogan became so popular. If you want to be an entrepreneur, be one. There are thousands of people who are less talented, less intelligent and less driven living the lives that they’ve envisioned because they figured out how to start. That’s obviously step one.
2. Stop building, start testing.
This is my favorite approach to business. I love testing ideas and figuring out if my assumptions are correct. Even better is when they’re incorrect because I get to learn why. There’s a reason why the lean startup methodology has been so popular and why agile development continues to be the best approach.
It makes no sense wasting time, energy, effort and resources before you’ve determined if there’s even a demand for whatever it is you are building or offering. Testing your ideas saves you time and helps you build or offer something people actually want.
3. Stop looking for funding, start providing value.
I was guilty of this early on in my startup career. I thought that investor funding was the solution to everything, and if I just was able to find the right investor I would be able to build my dream company. That’s hardly the case. In fact, funding is a result of business value (especially now, with traditional seed rounds non-existent), not a means to it.
4. Stop selling, start sharing.
Nobody wants to be sold these days. People want to be engaged with your story, vision and/or value of your product or service. Case studies and testimonials are a great way to share the benefits of your product or service. Learn the art of storytelling and share your excitement about your business, the opportunity and the benefits your company provides, and share that.
5. Stop being busy, start being productive.
There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. I used to catch myself being and feeling “busy” all of the time. Busy is a mental state. Productive is actually accomplishing tasks and objectives that help move your business forward.
We all have a million things that need to be done at any point in time. Figure out how to prioritize, set aside specific time for specific tasks and the times of day when you’re most effective. Use this information to be productive, and lose the mindset of “busy.”
During a networking event, I was once asked why the most successful entrepreneurs seem to be heartless or just completely stone-cold wheeler dealers.
It is very easy to see why most people have that perception about entrepreneurs; particularly successful ones. I once had that perception.
I have since understood a few truths about people in business. One common trait of successful entrepreneurs is shrewdness – which in other words mean ‘showing sharp powers of judgement, astute or shark’ very easily translated to being insensitive. The richest entrepreneurs in the world possess powerful instincts, are very astute and are sharks. They roam the waters (business environment) and once they smell blood (business opportunities) they pounce (strike a business deal) and move on to the next one.
It is the case with ALL of them – Sir Alan Sugar, Richard Branson, Aliko Dangote etc. They simply have that unmatchable (killer) instinct. They take no prisoners, but this astuteness can sometimes be perceived as insensitive.
You will not hear Sir Alan Sugar speak without using the phrase “Its a Dog eat Dog World” making you understand that in the business world, you either kill or be killed. But is it really?
Here’s my take on it, the business environment differs, but as we have already established, successful entrepreneurs are shrewd. Observers, followers and aspiring entrepreneurs have over time held on to this belief that in order to succeed in business you MUST be an insensitive and cold hearted bastard.
The business world is an open ocean, filled with sharks with very little food; you need to be able to kill other sharks to survive right? Wrong. You need to be cleverer thats for sure and you simply need to match (or even surpass) the skills and power of the biggest shark. That is the only way you can survive. You don’t need to step on others to get ahead.
Of course, you can be successful too if you manage to kill some of the other sharks, but is that how you want to be known? The entrepreneur who will do anything to be successful? Is that what entrepreneurship is about?
I have seen entrepreneurs resort to the unthinkable in order to gain competitive advantage over their competition. Negative press release, bad comments on comparison sites and even sabotage are just a few dirty tricks employed by entrepreneurs these days. “Integrity is dying a very slow death in business these days”
Some successful business men (and women) display a hardened outer body, but some are just plain gentle but are equally as successful. Take Sir Richard Branson, widely considered a gentleman businessman; he is of a different ilk from Aliko Dangote or Alan Sugar, but he’s a shark nonetheless. He spots opportunities and take them. But he didn’t step on others to get there. Not suggesting Dangote or Sugar did, but do you see the difference? They are the same but not the same!
Michelle Mone – Founder of Ultimo bras seriously questions integrity and general attitude towards business. She created an empire, is a multi millionaire but didn’t sell her soul to get there.
Succeeding in business is only about being smarter, sharper, more intelligent, the better marketer, the one with the best instinct and MOST IMPORTANTLY the luckier. So, its not about working hard to completely destroy your competition.
They will always be there, even if you kill some, others will appear. So live with them but be smarter than them.
Entrepreneurs (established and aspiring) thinking they ought to display a kill or be killed attitude in order to succeed need not bother starting a business. They can try soldiering.
The message is simple: Rather than kill or be killed, all I’m saying is: “Don’t kill but try not to be killed”
Whenever you try to make positive changes in your life, you’ll experience resistance.
Sometimes, the resistance is internal, meaning you vs. yourself.
Waking up earlier to go to the gym sucks. Much easier to press “snooze.” Politely declining that slice of pizza when your coworkers just happen to be throwing another impromptu party….agony.
Same thing with starting a business. Sometimes you put so many obstacles in your own way that you forget why you wanted to start the damn thing to begin with.
That’s all internal resistance to change. Usually, that type of resistance is actually a good sign. It means you’re stretching yourself. But along with internal resistance, you’ll also face a lot of external resistance from people around you.
From parents who tell you to “be realistic”… “I know you like dance…but are you sure you don’t want to major in computer science? Starting salary is $80,000!”
To coworkers who tell you that you should just be happy for even having a job…”OMG in THIS economy??!!”
To friends who mock you, discourage you, or don’t even take the time to listen to you.
This is all external resistance. If you let these people affect your decisions, the results can be disastrous. Here’s the truth: People who criticize you, overlook you or belittle you for doing what you love don’t actually understand your “why.”
Related: To Motivate Yourself to Success, Find Your ‘Why’
They don’t understand why your passions, dreams and desires are so important to you. And that’s OK. It’s perfectly OK to live a life that others don’t understand.
It’s perfectly OK to choose a career that isn’t “normal”.
It’s perfectly OK to stay up all night, working on something that you care about, even if it isn’t even making you money right now.
It’s perfectly OK to be the freak, the misfit, the outcast.
The only thing that isn’t OK is giving up your unique personality or hiding your gifts because someone else shamed you into shrinking from your potential.
So today, go out and live life on your own terms. In due time, all the people who mocked you will go from disparaging you to asking, “Hey…how’d ya do that?”
And all you’ll be able to do is grin.