Young, would-be entrepreneurs should note that success in business comes from making products that customers need, and from providing quality customer service which will make customers want to come back, thereby raising profits. However, research has shown that for every one thousand new start-up businesses, ninety percent fail within the first five years of operation, due to various factors. But the ten percent that succeed owe their success to certain qualities displayed by the entrepreneurs operating them. So what are these qualities? Here are some of the qualities that would-be young entrepreneurs can develop themselves and deploy in their businesses:
1. An Agile Mind: It is useful for entrepreneurs to possess an agile mind; that is, a mind that thinks quickly and intelligently to identify a need and move swiftly to fulfil it.
2. Business Consciousness: True entrepreneurs are business-conscious people who are completely obsessed with business opportunities and can easily identify one even when others see it as a problem. For example, when Jimoh Ibrahim bought NICON from the federal government it was a failed public corporation and constituted a problem to the government, but to him it was a cash cow waiting to be re-structured and provided with good management.
3. Dynamism: A true entrepreneur must possess the energy and enthusiasm to convert business ideas into reality. And this usually plays out in the ability to put together a bankable business plan which assists them to secure finance to execute their business idea. It is also the ability to work hard to pull out their business from a state of declining profit to a margin of profitability through the introduction of new ideas; to create a new business environment, spotting trends and adding new product lines to meet the changing tastes of customers; and to create awareness of their activities to turn around the fortunes of the business for the better.
4. Leadership Skills: This is very key to success in entrepreneurship because an entrepreneur should be able to select a team, delegate and direct, initiate actions, communicate, control, inspire and motivate employees towards achieving organizational goals and objectives.
5. Courageous: Successful entrepreneurs are courageous people who usually cope with the risks associated with running a business concern such as low patronage, a harsh economic environment, the risk of losing one’s total investment and the dwindling fortune of the business, etc. Despite all these aforementioned risks they sum up the courage to run their business successfully.
6. Discerning: The capacity to exercise a good sense of judgment plays a significant role in your being a successful entrepreneur because entrepreneurship involves making decisions, i.e choosing between alternatives. For example, before opening a shop an entrepreneur may decide to either employ a full-time member of staff or outsource most of his/her activities.
7. Ability to understand the market: Having a good knowledge of your prospective customers and target market coupled with information on what their specific needs are, before executing decisions associated with the market, mixes variables such as product, place, price and promotion which are critical issues in successful entrepreneurship.
8. Hard Working: Successful entrepreneurs usually display the capacity to work for a long hours in their business. And very often they do not see the long hours invested as working but feel as if they are having fun. This attitude is attributable to their love for their business. Perhaps this explains why it is extremely necessary for you to engage in a business which you truly love. Indeed, engaging in a business that your heart is not in is a recipe for disaster.
9. Ability to Accept Mistakes: As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, you are going to experience a lot of strange things in the business arena. And when you do, you can look so stupid. And you will begin to say to yourself: why do you allow this to happen with all your experience. My candid advice to you is to quit bothering about it. Accept you made a mistake and move on. To succeed as an entrepreneur you must develop the capacity to take mistakes as practical experience that equips you to be able to pursue your entrepreneurial dream to a successful venture.
10. Having more than a profit motive for setting up a business: The chief aim of an entrepreneur in setting up a business is usually to make a profit, but if you make profit-making your dominant goal for being in business, you’ll never succeed. This is very key because of the get rich-quick-attitude among youths in recent times. For example, a supermarket operator who refuses to destroy an expired tinned food item because doing so will lose him money, and sells the item to unsuspecting customers. If the expired food causes food poisoning resulting in the death of customers, he could be in serious trouble. Even if the customers merely discovered that the food sold to them was expired they will not return to the supermarket again. And worse still, if they decide to tell prospective customers of the supermarket of their experience, the net result will be lack of patronage and poor sales turn-over which will directly affect the profit margin of the supermarket. No business can survive without repeated customer patronage and favourable word of mouth recommendation from satisfied customers.
11. Networking: Actually, true entrepreneurs are always networking with others to enhance the success of their business. And they do this through joining trade associations, social clubs and relevant business associations for ideas and contacts to promote their business.
12. Capacity to stay on course: True entrepreneurs often demonstrate the capacity to hang on to their entrepreneurial dream against all odds. If they try one method and it does not work, they will try another and another until they eventually get the one that works. Those close to them are naturally going to think that they are out of their mind for persisting. Indeed in entrepreneurship you will constantly have to draw from the reserves of your resilience to weather through the storm of ups and downs, strains and stresses, pains and gains that are part and parcel of the entrepreneurial drive to excel. It has never being a game for quitters. I will see you at the top.