He was beyond exasperation. After years of work, the literal hard labour, the sweat and grime; everything was a waste. He had no choice; he had to shut down operations of his feed mill.
Temilade started a feed mill after his father’s death left him with an inheritance. Before then, he ran a small poultry and had to travel miles to the nearest feed mill to prepare the formula he used in feeding his birds. Seeing his plight and those of other poultry and fish farmers in his locality, he decided to set up a feed mill with his inheritance.
At first, it sounded all easy on paper; but he quickly realised that all is not what they seem. He soon ran into difficulties in getting the needed machinery and had to pay consultants to get him started. After a few false starts, operations soon began in earnest and his profit projections were soon exceeded.
Temilade soon started going against all the tenets of a successful entrepreneur. There was no difference between the business account and his personal account. He soon started spending money on his personal needs at the detriment of the business.
Being the only miller in his locality, Temilade soon started treating his clients with disdain, thinking he could continue his monopoly.
Another entrepreneur started a smaller feed mill and soon all of Temilade’s clients began to patronise the competition. The usurper soon got a tangible loan from a microfinance bank and expanded operations. He was able to meet the needs of farmers in the locality and beyond.
Temilade tried changing business tactics, but it amounted to nothing. With long spells of zero patronage, he had to throw in the towel.
He agreed that although he had a wonderful business idea and executed it perfectly, he lacked the wherewithal to keep the business afloat.
He made a number of mistakes that he acknowledged. First, he did not keep his books properly. He had a terrible customer relation and he had poor work ethics.
Temilade is not alone, as several other entrepreneurs have had to close shop due to same mistakes.
Gbolahun Olayiwola, a financial expert and consultant, places the lifespan of the average business at two to three years. He has pointed out that the major failings of business owners are that they lack the fundamental skills to succeed in the ever-challenging business world.
Recent records presented by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) shows that there has been an increase in the number of businesses registered. With the 50 per cent slash on registration, several hundreds of new and existing businesses are being registered monthly across the country.
Olayiwola pointed out that many of these businesses would not stand the test of time, as about 40 per cent of them would go under within the first three years.
The Internet has several thousands of write-ups on what one needs to know before starting a business. There are also several thousands of published materials in bookstores that discuss succeed in business.
Experts spring up every other day explaining how their new-found idea proves to be the secret to making it in the ever competitive entrepreneurial world. They are all helpful. In fact, experts say the more self-help materials you read, the more likely you are to turn those words into action.
The list is inexhaustible. It is important to note that although one should be careful before applying every rule to business, it is not harmful to know the rules.
Investopedia suggests the following tips:
1. Get organised
To be successful in business, you need to be organised. Organisation will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day. As you complete each item, check it off. This will ensure you don’t forget anything essential to the survival of your business.
2. Keep detailed records
All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome those challenges.
3. Analyse your competition
Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.
4. Understand the risks and rewards
The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is: What’s the downside? If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards.
5. Be creative
Always be looking for ways to improve your business to make it stand out from the competition. Recognise that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas.
6. Stay focused
The old saying, Rome was not built in a day, applies here. Just because you have opened a business does not mean you are going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are; so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals.
7. Prepare to make sacrifices
The lead-up to starting a business is hard work. But after opening your doors, your work has just begun. In many cases, you have to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else, which may mean spending less time with family and friends, to be successful.
8. Provide great service
There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they will be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something, instead of going to your competition.
9. Be consistent
Consistency is a key component to making money in business. You have to consistently keep doing what is necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you make money in the long run.