|Ayomide Condotti, CEO, Africholidays Travel Group|
Ever since the economy of the country took a downward plunge into recession, the amount of job losses and business closures have been off-the-chart. Now, more than ever, the need for a self-employed business is great as Nigerian firms are not able to employ the massive number of graduates being churned out every year from tertiary institutions.
The business world is tough as it is but it is much tougher for Nigerian female entrepreneurs because juggling the traditional roles of mother and wife alongside the hassle of starting and running a business is not an easy feat. Through the years as a business owner myself, I have come to realize it’s not only about having a vision and pursuing it, proper business etiquette must be followed to ensure business success. I have learned and applied a few tips that may aid women who are looking to start their own businesses.
1. Identify Your Passion.
If you are going to invest time, energy and material resources into a business then you might as well make sure it’s something you are passionate about. When you’re passionate about a particular activity, you would not get bored and you would actually enjoy what you do. Turn your hobby into your money-maker. Whether it is fashion, catering or even marketing, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing. Your enthusiasm will definitely show through to your clientele.
2. Align Your Business Goals To Your Personal Goals.
Is your intended business a fulltime or part-time business? How does it fit into your schedule as a wife or mother? Is your main aim of running the business for enjoyment or for profit, or is it both? It is not carved in stone that you have to run a fulltime business. You could have a business that is seasonal or periodical like catering (which gets orders during the weekend for weddings and parties) or hair-styling (you could choose days in the week to actually go on home service to clients). Ensure you pick a business and a schedule that fits into your personal life to create a balance.
3. Separate Your Home Life From Your Office Life
It is imperative that you set aside time for work and time for your personal life. Never allow these two parts of your life to over-lap or interfere with each other. You must have a specific time for work and a time to attend to personal duties. Stick to your schedule as strictly as possible and only deviate if an emergency arrives with a client who should be made to understand that it is beyond your working time. You may also choose to create a work space in the home if you work from home. Keeping your work space organised is a way of reminding yourself of the purpose of that space.
4. Technology is Your Friend not Your Master
Enhance your knowledge and skills via the Internet. Keep appointments and reminders on your device. Check emails only during work hours. Once work time is over, shelf it all for the next working day. Get your business on the Internet via various social media platforms. Embrace the use of technology but do not be enslaved to it and neglect your personal life.
5. Garner Good Contacts
It can be difficult getting the right items or service when you are a sole business owner. And this is why the importance of good contacts can not be over-emphasized. You can get contacts from classified sites like VConnect and you can also get contacts via social media groups, training events or seminars. Find those who are in affiliated businesses and make links with them. You can never tell when you’d need a particular service or item that only one contact can provide.
6. Identify your brand.
It is wise that you meticulously identify what your brand is. What do you offer? What does it mean to a client? How far are you willing to take it? Does it have a lifespan or is it continuous? Package your brand right by creating a logo, picking a colour scheme that communicates the right views, developing your correspondence and projecting your vision and mission for the business. Ensure your brand is clear and as loud as possible.
Starting and running your own business as a Nigerian female entrepreneur is a challenge but it is also an adventure so put your best foot forward and take on those challenges and enjoy the benefits you are bound to reap.
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Article written by: Winifred Iheoma