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5 Entrepreneurship Myths

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5 Entrepreneurship Myths

Aramide Abe
Entrepreneurial myths
Being an entrepreneur is a trend that is increasingly seen as the solution to unemployment. Consequently, a lot of myths have been spread around entrepreneurship. Many of these, you have to do away with before starting out.
By Aramide Abe
In the past, entrepreneurship was one of the unpopular routes to take in order to achieve a successful career. However, these days, with the likes of Zuckerberg, Gary Vaynerchuk, or in Africa, the Linda Ikejis and Bella Naijas, Hotels.ng and IrokoTV founder-types, almost everyone wants to follow the startup path, or so it seems. Even the 9 to 5ers do not want to feel left out, with side businesses (a.k.a ‘side hustles’) springing up all around the continent. This is not a bad thing as it only helps further develop the African startup or SME ecosystem but it is important for us to dispel some of the misconceptions people hold about entrepreneurship prior to setting up a business.
Here are a few:
1. If you have a fantastic idea, you will be successful and make lots of money: Not necessarily, there are many factors which determine or drive the success of a business, such as the market, their understanding of your product(s) and/or service(s), the business environment, your core operations, regulation, and so on. Running a pilot is a good way to test a business idea with minimal risk.
2. With entrepreneurship, you will have more free time: Entrepreneurship requires twice as much effort most times, especially in the early stages when the entrepreneur is bootstrapping. Leaving a full-time job to start a business, for the sole purpose of having more time to one’s self is a common misconception. It could lead to frustration further down the line when the entrepreneur realizes how much work they have to put in to structure a business from a zero-structure state.

Never share your business idea: This is a problem with many potential business-owners who want to protect their ideas or ‘intellectual property’. The issue with not sharing an idea for feedback and/or recommendations is that the entrepreneur remains in a silo and is unaware of the business environment or market needs. Identify key stakeholders to share your idea with in order to test it. If you need them to sign an NDA, then you can get a lawyer to draft one.

4. You need to do most of it yourself in order to learn how your business works: Nobody can do everything. Being able to identify people you can work with is a key skill every entrepreneur should have. An entrepreneur will need to delegate more as the business begins to require him or her more for strategic meetings (such as presentations to key clients or pitches to investors) and decision-making. They could also share responsibilities with partners if applicable. Know your strengths, focus on them, learn as much as you can, but do not try to do everything.

5. Serving a wide range of client types shows versatility and can increase market share:This is actually false, not every client is your client. It is important to develop your customer profile(s). You may have one or more customer categories, still, once you develop these, you can streamline your focus to targeting these types of customers and channel your business efforts to reaching these clients. This can help improve processes in your operations, increase productivity and effectively, sales.

The fact that there are myths surrounding entrepreneurs is not surprising. It would have been shocking if there weren’t. What is important is you knowing what to do away with in order to ensure productivity and growth.

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Aramide Abe is an entrepreneur and the founder of Naija Startups, a virtual sectoragnostic startup accelerator, which has a vision to facilitate small business growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has collaborated with organisations such as Google to deliver capability building and skills for thousands of entrepreneurs in Nigeria and continues to partner with other organisations to provide value-added services to business owners across Africa.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.

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