What does it take to be an Entrepeneur?

What does it take to be an ENTREPENEUR?

Every month, KIM or Kenya Institute of Management, hosts a management forum. This month (29.9.11), the forum focused on the topic of entrepreneurship. The invited guests were Joanne Mwangi (CEO of Professional Marketing Services) and Vimal Shah (CEO of BIDCO), both successful entrepreneurs.

Some of the highlights from the forum:

‘It is business that drives an economy’

 We often ask ourselves, am I equal to the task? Am I good enough? Am I big enough?
 You must scan your environment and identify opportunities
 I’m never going to tell anyone it’s easy to start your own business-it isn’t
 An option is to start a side hustle to enable you to explore your options and the market
 You must be passionate about whatever you do. You must believe in your vision—at times, that’s the only thing that will keep you going
 Don’t give up-at least not too fast. 80% of success is you being present
 Fear of failure is a big issue. We are often so afraid that we don’t even start
 You must always have an attitude of learning—constantly and consistently
 What’s the worst that can happen? Go for it
 It’s expensive running around trying to sell your idea—you even begin running out of smart suits to wear!
 Make temporary sacrifices for long-term success
 There’s always an opportunity…you must find it.
 You must believe in yourself before you expect others to
 You must acquire skills you need so as not to be hoodwinked in your business
 You must change yourself before you attempt to change the rest
 What comes first: Idea, Money or Skill? Idea. Money is often used as an excuse not to get started. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it. Skill can be acquired or even outsourced.
 Why waste your time on small dreams? Dream big!
There is never a moment such as this. This is it. Step up! Stand up! Stop looking for others to grab the opportunity. It is yours for the taking!

 You need clarity in your goal—ask yourself, where do I want to be? What do I want to do?
 Your goals must ofcourse be SMART–specific, measurable, attainable, realistic & timely!
 There are really only two types of trading—that in goods, or services, or both
 Define your target market/customer. Identify a need that you will fulfill. A good business always fulfills a need—and in particular those related to our five senses
 KYC: Know Your Competitor. Know Your Company. Know Your Citizens. Know Your Customer
 Contrary to what many would have you believe, or what you believe, drawing up a business plan is not rocket science—in fact it is quite simple
 Passion is necessary. Passion is that fire in your belly. Nothing will stop you from things you want to do. Everything will stop you from things you have to
 The keys—Passion. A defined goal. Imagination
 Execution is key. Copy & paste doesn’t work. Yes, you can copy, but you must past differently
 You must be agile—ability to adapt and change quickly to circumstances is essential. One should be able to identify problems, rectify them and move on
 Knowledge—you can google these days
 Failure is the best teacher. Learn from it & move on
 Start small. Aim big
 You can’t do a correspondence course in swimming. Have you ever tried it? You must jump in in order to learn
 There’s always a better way. Find it. Never be complacent or arrogant
 You will achieve your dream, but only if you first dream. Dare to dream
 Read the constitution. There are huge opportunities within.
 There is tariff free trade across 14 countries of Africa—from Libya to Egypt to Zim
 There are four levels of management: Operations, Management, Directors and Stakeholders. You can’t be at all four levels. You must learn to delegate.
 If you need to sweep, sweep. Take your egos elsewhere.
 When you hear the 1st world speaking 3rd world language, you realize we are the emerging markets—they are the submerging ones.
 Don’t be afraid to change course—at any point.
 Cutting cost is about cutting waste. Waste are those things that don’t add value to the customer.
 The how comes after the what has been figured out
 You see some who buy the best of cars and then they have no money for petrol
 You don’t always want yes men on your team—you need people to challenge the way you think, the way you do business
 There are two types of people; the risk averse and the risk takers. If you’re not the latter, don’t embark upon your own business. Stay employed.
 University graduates shouldn’t be looking for work. They should be creating it.
 Every challenge has an opportunity behind it.
 Choose partners with due diligence. You find that partnerships often fail after success. Make sure when you select a partner that you are aligned. Make sure that you’re not aligned because you’re both poor but because you have the same vision. Otherwise, when you cease being poor, that glue that held you together will begin to unravel.
 Never go into a 50/50 relationship. That will lead to a stalemate. One has to have veto power to keep things moving.
CSR-Corporate Social Responsibility. I will be honest. I never liked CSR. That stands for Cosmetic Social Responsibility. It should be the other way around. It should be SRC. Socially Responsible Corporate. Socially Responsible Citizen. Socially Responsible Company.
 Just do it!

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