In middle-income countries like Sierra Leone, which has a lower employment rate, setting up a business venture is the most common. Financing and startup skills among others are some of the most challenging factors faced by upcoming entrepreneurs as shown by the Global Entrepreneurship index, which measures the quality and dynamics of entrepreneurship ecosystems in various countries.
This article focuses on six tips to have in mind if you ever decide to pitch a tent in the entrepreneurial sphere. The lessons are drawn from Wahid Awonuga, a medical doctor, photographer, and creative entrepreneur in Sierra Leone.
1. Develop a Passion for Entrepreneurship
The first lesson we draw from Dr. Wahid Awonuga is that passion is the driving force in industrialism and by extension everything else. Like footballers are prone to injuries and the struggle to find fitness, businesses too face difficulty to thrive. Investments sometimes collapse in a single day as opposed to making profits, a person investing in poultry can face a situation where all the chickens die in one day and different other setbacks may come. The very accelerating factor that would get a person back on track is their passion for what they do.
2. Be well-informed on what you want to undertake
Having the skill set of any business venture is a major challenge that people face in business. People are sometimes employed to fill this vacuum, but on the contrary, some of the people who are expected to push organizations forward, bring them backward. Dr. Awonuga has been able to bring people with no knowledge onboard and train them and equip them with the skills they need to work with him. If you have the knowledge, you must be willing to train people to be capacitated in what you bring them into.
3. Don’t see ‘competition’ as competition
The market is already congested and more people are joining the race on a daily basis, as a result of the low barrier to entry. This should not be an entrepreneur’s problem. For Wahid Awonuga, competition is essential for growth – that is the business mantra he developed for himself. One has to upgrade their products and services to match the tastes of buyers. Additionally, promoting your competitors helps you grow as well. There are times when consumers would need a service bigger than what your competitors offer. There and then they would turn to you if your services reach the extent. Prioritize customer satisfaction at all times, this takes you to a higher level.
4. Don’t settle for one product or service – be an all-rounder
Most people have started businesses and not too far from their start, they have left off their businesses. Primarily, low sales turnouts and inactivity are responsible for premature exiting from the entrepreneurship landscape. A possible way out sometimes is to try different things whether or not your business is thriving. Trying out diverse ventures increases customer base because if they are not in for one thing, they could be in for another. Thus, you have people establishing one-stop shops around to get consumers to stop by to get at least one product or service. Wahid Awonuga’s Infinity Creative Media, a twelve-man company, which offers a range of digital services such as photography, videography, media consultancy, and soon general printing is an example of a company on a journey to being all-round.
5. Differentiate yourself from your business
Yes, you may own the business, but there should be a firewall between your accounts and the business. A huge profit made should not warrant unjustified spending. Invest more to grow bigger. Also, when you take from the business, even a dime, be sure to return to it to balance your books. This rule applies to your family, friends, and allies too. The little things you take from the business are what start to bring you down right away. They provide the answer to the question of how your huge investment crumbled. This is a fundamental sustainability tip.
6. Play Safe
Playing safe entails not only being weary of business risks but also paying utmost attention to the things considered micro in the priority list. This involves paying business dues and laborers’ wages on time and creating a mutually cordial relationship between employers and employees, like Dr. Awonuga whose employees see him more as a brother than as a boss. Not having arrears to settle with either government or employees takes the power away from the people who can cause your business to liquidate. This gives you the added boost to focus on growth. On the same note, satisfied employees give their best to your projects, and ultimately, this enhances viability.
Wahid Awonuga is a medical doctor, photographer, and creative entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Infinity Creative Media, a company in Sierra Leone that specializes in media consultancy, photo and videography, graphic design, and general printing.
He was born to a business family, and that’s where he derived his passion from, coupled with his desire to employ people, and reduce unemployment.
Having spent about a decade in entrepreneurship, Wahid has established his brand as a force to reckon with in anything media-related. Besides doing media consultancy for different international organizations and development partners in Sierra Leone, his company also boasts of local and international collaborations.