Many years ago, as a junior consultant in my first job, I had a conversation with one of our biggest clients. This guy was the co-founder of one of the biggest eateries in Nigeria. The conversation came as a result of my insatiable quest to find the secrets of successful entrepreneurs in the murky waters of entrepreneurship.
During the conversation, this brilliant and successful entrepreneur told me that he succeeded by learning how to swim with the sharks in the business world. The entrepreneurial world is full of sharks. And these sharks will not hesitate to devour any fish that doesn’t know how to swim. For him to succeed, he took his time, studied the market, sharpened his swimming skills before he went ahead to swim. After the conversation, I found that this entrepreneur succeeded in swimming effectively with the sharks by following these four wonderful strategies listed below:
1. Be organized. Think ahead
Self-organization is one of the salient skills in succeeding as an entrepreneur. There is no going back on this important skill. You must know what you want and work towards achieving it. You must define your target market from the outset. I find it strange to find many young people wanting to succeed in business without great organizational and customer identification skills.
A good organizational skill requires you to identify and differentiate what is important from what is urgent. You must also know when to pay attention to each of these when it is appropriate. In the business world, importance is not the same as urgency. What is important might not be urgent. And vice versa.
You must also learn to differentiate your needs from your wants. Business success comes from understanding the difference between these two. Organizing and prioritizing your needs will help you plan and think ahead. It will also help you spend time with people who need to succeed in your industry as much as you do.
2. Avoid time wasters
You cannot swim effectively with the sharks in the business world if you consistently enjoy the company of time wasters. The best things time-wasters can do for you are to steal, kill or destroy your time and great plans thereby prolonging your journey to success in your industry. Time wasters are not just people; they could be anything. And from experience, the three biggest things that steal our time are procrastination, indecision, and perfectionism.
Many ideas that could change the world are still being pushed to tomorrow. And because they are consistently pushed to tomorrow, they will never be brought to reality. Procrastination is a killer of beautiful ideas that could add value and meaning to life.
Indecision is another time stealer that must be avoided. My entrepreneur friend said that when he decided to launch into business, he didn’t have all the information needed to build a successful business at hand. He just had the necessary information to launch out. Today, many more intelligent and industrious people who allowed indecision to keep them from launching out are nowhere close to him.
Perfectionism is also another time stealer. You must not have the perfect time to start your business. You just have to make the time perfect.
3. Be realistic
‘Before I started my business, I was realistic to myself. I chose a business that I am passionate about and set goals that I can reach. I didn’t just follow what everyone was doing. I also checked what can sell in Nigeria. I realized that not every business can fly in Nigeria, but the food business is a necessity that will always stay.’
Being realistic is a sure way to succeed in today’s highly complex business environment. Your ideas and visions must be rooted in reality. As a modern entrepreneur, your business must be geared towards what you can attain otherwise you will burn out in the long run.
It is great to have awesome desires. But without a real plan to attain those desires, they are just wishes. And wishes have never changed the world or satisfied a customer, only action does.
4. Be guided by noble values
The success of any business empire is highly dependent on the values set by the founder. Values are guiding mechanisms that give you the ability to take an action or not. Without great organizational values, a business cannot define its tradeoffs.
As a modern entrepreneur, do have good organizational values?
Are these values defined? To swim effectively with the sharks in the business world, today’s entrepreneurs must strategically follow the principles outlined in this article. The business world is tough and harsh, only entrepreneurs who master these principles can swim successfully with the sharks without being swallowed.