Influencer or being influential: entrepreneurship is the new ‘sexy’
With the high unemployment rate, stimulating entrepreneurial growth, through self-employment is the only logical solution to a problem that is currently crippling Africa.
Entrepreneurship is the way to go because getting a job is no longer a viable option and having the mindset of an employee is limiting. Sustaining your livelihood through entrepreneurship is possible and we are seeing more and more people swaying towards this direction.
But entrepreneurship isn’t about the business plan, or having huge capital or getting a nod from that one investor that could help you take the first step. Entrepreneurship is about taking risks, thinking out the box, trying new things, it’s about leveraging off what you have and creating opportunities that work for you.
The first step is to redefine your hustle and discover the ‘why’ because by having the right mindset and understanding that the ‘why’ can’t be just about making money but needs to be aligned to your purpose, will steer you in the right direction. Secondly, your key interests and talent should help you solve a problem or fill that gap in the market that you have identified.
John Lombela, serial entrepreneur, founder and managing director of Cryptovecs says that entrepreneurs should have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and not be driven just by money. Lombela adds that money, however, will be a consequence of their actions but they need to have the passion and love for what they do, and they need to be driven to solving problems. “Passion, drive and courage to succeed should fuel an entrepreneur’s desire to achieve his or her goals.”
And thanks to the advances of technology, we are witnessing a burst of young innovative entrepreneurs that are thinking out the box and changing the entrepreneurial blueprint. This has drawn a line between influencers and influential individuals that are redefining what is to be an entrepreneur.
We also live in a world where everything has gone digital and even though the pandemic has caused millions of small business owners to go bust. This has created a vacuum and entrepreneurs need to identify every opportunity that needs a digital strategy implementation for it to succeed and fortunately every industry sector requires a digital strategy.
The 4th industrial revolution and each disrupted industry is a good place to start looking for the next best opportunities. “As for me, Blockchain technology being one of the 4th industrial revolution and disrupting the traditional internet era is one of the sectors I saw real opportunities 4 years ago.”
Whichever way you go, at the end of the day as an entrepreneur, you need to be creative and realise that your vision and dreams can be achieved and you will ultimately succeed in the end. And even though there are different types of entrepreneurs, the common thread is that they all started. And starting small shouldn’t dishearten you, because small beginnings are just as important as any other start.
Entrepreneurship is about having an idea, the drive and a ‘how-to’ attitude. It’s about taking risks because this is the only way you will be able to identify opportunities vs risks and be able to avoid future risks. More importantly, your entrepreneurial journey should not be solely driven by getting the coin, entrepreneurship isn’t just about money even though money ultimately comes.
Successful entrepreneurs are resilient and have self-confidence, and can pitch and sell their business and what they can do for potential clients, in a clear simple manner. They also have people skills, time management skills and are financially disciplined. And have mastered the art of letting their money work for them and have created multiple streams of income. This is vital until the business has grown to a point where there is a steady flow of income.
Sadly, entrepreneurship today is different from what it was yesterday.
Entrepreneurs need to stop thinking that to get started all they need is access to funding. Lack of money is one aspect that prevents many potential entrepreneurs to get started. Money is just an idea and is all around us. We need to move from looking for money when we get started, to how much value can we add to those whom we’re asking from to bootstrap our operations when getting started. Social media platforms have also positively influenced entrepreneurs who can build their brands to attract more business opportunities towards them. It’s important to build a personal brand that will become the best tool for raising funds and doing business.
Marketing and living by the four P’s, is no longer enough. Entrepreneurs need to utilise social media to their advantage and get into the habit of posting things that add value to the brand and company and avoid posting content that could tarnish its reputation.
Entrepreneurs need to sell themselves because it is the only way they will get buy-in from potential clients and possible investors. They need to brand and sell themselves and let social media make the positive noise needed to get the message out there.
In today’s world to succeed, entrepreneurs need to create a future through innovation and knowledge and this will stimulate entrepreneurial growth. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to be empowered by other entrepreneurs because no one teaches you how to be an entrepreneur but by learning from other entrepreneurs, they will gain the hands-on experience they need to succeed.
Entrepreneurs need to have a goal and decide to get started. “If you have a great business idea, develop the idea further and turn it into a project that can be executed. Put a team together that without worrying too much about how much money you should pay them.”
More importantly, they need to engage with the team to ensure there is buy-in on ideas and build the business as if its a global corporation that is being built with a dedicated board of directors. “This structure will allow entrepreneurs to raise funds for their operations much quicker than if they worked in siloes hoping they would succeed quickly in today’s environment. Bootstrap everything and focus on your goals while you let others help build your vision.”
The entrepreneurial journey can get lonely so it’s vital to make sure that the people brought on board should form part of the board and should find a place they will be able to execute their dreams without losing focus on the global vision.
Taking all this into account even though it might seem as though entrepreneurship is an easy solution to challenges facing Africa, African entrepreneurs need to start collaborating and sharing knowledge because it’s the only way their solutions will have an impact.