Entrepreneurs are an essential ingredient for sustainable development in any community since they have the ability to create unprecedented wealth for themselves and their communities.
The reasons we have so much unemployment and poverty in Zimbabwe is because Zimbabwe is not developing enough high impact entrepreneurs.
High impact entrepreneurs in the mold Strive Masiyiwa (Econet Wireless), Divine Ndhlukula (Securio Security Services), Nigel Chanakira (Kingdom Bank), Vivita Chivunga (Vivi Fashions) and many other great Zimbabwean entrepreneurs who have created employment and wealth for thousands of Zimbabweans.
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To remedy the situation it is essential that we create structures that enhance education, curiosity, innovation and creativity which are essential to nurture indigenous entrepreneurs.
It is also essential that Zimbabwe’s entrepreneurs are celebrated and their stories told in order to inspire the next generation of high impact entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe.
The question is, is it possible to learn how to be an entrepreneur and if so how, is it possible for government to create policies that enhance entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe and if so how. The old age myth of medieval management theory that entrepreneurship is a in-born trait which you either have or don’t is at best just that a myth.
Since it is possible to learn and improve your ability to identify a business opportunity and develop it into a product or service that the market is prepared to pay for, one can only conclude that it is possible to learn how to be a entrepreneur.
For in its simplest form entrepreneurship is the ability to identify an opportunity, developing an appropriate product or service to satisfy the opportunity and setting up business systems to deliver the product or service to potential customers at a price that will make it sustainable for you to deliver it.
So to become an entrepreneur you need to know and improve your ability to identify business opportunities. At first you will come up with as many business ideas as possible and then after conducting a preliminary market research you will have a feasible business opportunity.
But of-course that’s the easy part, you will now need to conduct a complete market research in-order to turn your identified business opportunity into a product or service that people are willing to pay for.
The market research be the basis of a business plan that will spell out the business systems that you will have to set up to deliver the product or service in a sustainable way to your potential customers.
With a business plan in hand, you can start your journey to being a successful entrepreneur, as a business plan is both a marketing tool to potential sources of capital and a map for the entrepreneur showing you where you are going and how.
The main elements of being an high impact entrepreneur are to outlined below in point form
- Identify a feasible business opportunity or idea
- Develop a product or service that people are willing to pay for
- Develop business systems to deliver a product or service to potential customers
- Develop the entrepreneurship mindset
I will now provide a short synopsis on the main elements that you need to know and constantly improve in your journey in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
The first element in line is on how to develop a entrepreneur mindset. Although this is point 4, it is the first ingredient that you require.
How to develop the entrepreneurship mindset
Entrepreneurs are know for their ability to take calculated risk, networking, relentless work ethic, discipline, vision, passion for excellence, resilience, patience and never say die mentality. These character traits are necessary for you to survive the ups and downs of starting and running a successful entrepreneur.
It is also necessary to read about the stories of successful entrepreneurs and general business books so that you can contextualize and internalize the entrepreneurship mindset.
You will also need to have basic knowledge about bookkeeping, marketing, sales and administration, there are many short courses that you can take to acquire this knowledge.
How to identify a feasible business opportunity or idea
Its very easy to think of a business idea, the difficult thing is to find a feasible business idea that has market potential. The best way to do this is look at the everyday problems you face in life and think of ways to solve them.
At this stage you will probably come up with 10-15 business opportunities, you will then need to conduct a feasibility market research on the business idea. A feasibility market research study will help you a look at the market potential of your business ideas. In the end you will probably have 2-3 business ideas that are more likely to succeed.
How to develop a product or service that people are willing to pay for
The only way you can convert a feasible business idea into a viable product or service that people are willing to pay their hard earned cash for is by knowing what the customer wants. So you will need to conduct extensive research in order to know as much as you can about your target market and your competitors.
Your business idea or opportunity should be spelled out in a unique selling proposition that differentiates your product or service from the rest and additionally makes your target market want to buy your product or service instead of your competitors.
From a process of iterative market research and product or service development you will come up with a compelling product that people want to buy.
How to develop business systems to deliver a product or a service
When you have a product or service you feel people are willing to pay for, the next step is to develop business systems that will deliver the product or service to market.
The main components of your business system are
- A legal business entity that is compliant with all legislation (tax, labor & environmental laws)
- Product manufacturing system (office, office equipment, production equipment)
- Product marketing systems (branding & marketing)
- Product sales system (customer relations management, billing & financial management)
The first step in developing the business systems required to deliver your product or service to market is to develop a business plan. The business plan will outline the exact configuration of technology and infrastructure that is required for your product or service. It will outline the monetary outlay that is needed to make your business a reality.
You will then need to look for finance to start your operations guided by your business plan, which in itself is both a marketing tool for finance and planning tool for you the entrepreneur.
You will notice that as you go through the motions of actually starting and running your business you will make a lot of mistakes. This is when the entrepreneurship mindset will help you persevere, innovate and do whatever it takes to make your business succeed in an ethical manner.
So this is how you learn how to become a entrepreneur, BY DOING.
Be a Doer plus the other stuff & you are on you way to becoming an High Impact Entrepreneur
This guest post by Greg Kawere was first written on 15 July 2012 under the title : How to be a Successful entrepreneur. Greg Kawere is the Founder & CEO of WebID (Web Identity) a digital technology company based in Pretoria.
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