All over the world, micro, small-medium scale businesses have been generally believed to be the most potent weapon for conquering poverty and unemployment. Rather than just wasting away the productive years of your life waiting for a non-existing job, micro, small-medium scale businesses offers people the opportunity of taking control of their destinies, doing what they love and enjoy greater level of freedom.

As most national economies, including our nation Nigeria have been experiencing so much erratic fluctuations, relying on a single source of income is one way of exposing yourself to unsafe future. That is why, owning a business is one sure way of taking control of your financial destiny.  I always feel very sad each time I see workers on television protesting or lamenting their woes over delayed payment of their wages. According to Kasey Gahler CEO, Gahler Financial, “One reason to own a small business is the ability to direct the culture of your company.” In his words, "When you're in the driver's seat, you are making the decisions on how best to steer your company into the future.”

For the fact that this page was created to assist those who have been nurturing the idea of starting their small businesses, in this part we will be considering the major challenge drawing many of such people backwards. The problem of “How and Where Do I start from?”

While considering the option of starting your own personal business, it is important to first check if you possess certain characteristics which have been observed by experts to be critical to success in any business. Some of the key attributes that are essential for success in business are as follows:

a.      Personal motivation: The destiny of the business depends entirely on you; not the economy or the government so, it is important that you keep motivating yourself and others working with you to push the business to success. Lack of motivation results to procrastination, fault-finding, blame game, absence of innovation, and this will lead to business failure.
b.     Resilience and strong determination: Starting a new business is like learning how to drive a car for the first time. Fear, anxiety and doubt will always try to take you out but if you are resilient and determined to make the business work, you will succeed. As you continue, mistakes are bound to occur but as you learn from such mistakes, take corrective measures, adopt better approaches; gradually and steadily you will overcome all obstacles.
c.      Knowledge and skills: Skill is important for success in business. Take time to learn the rules and acquire the relevant skills before jumping into the business. Too many mistakes arising from ignorance could have a very devastating effect on the business. Some of the areas that you need to have certain level of skill include finance/accounting, marketing, negotiation, customer service, selling, cash management and planning.  

Another major factor hindering people from starting the kind of business that they have been dreaming about is money. For many people, their aspirations for owning a personal business have been placed on hold by lack of money. But there is also a way out. Today, more than ever before, several doors of opportunities have been opened to assist people raise easy and substantial amounts of money to pursue the business of their dreams.

As I wrote in part one, “A man who wants to do something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse” – (Stephen Dooley, Jr). I want to buttress this point with a story.  On 19thof February, 2011, I hosted a business seminar at Fidmed Hotels Asaba, Delta State. Coincidentally, that was the day Nigeria’s immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan visited Asaba on his campaign tours for the 2011 presidential election so, his visit adversely affected the turnout of the seminar. The seminar was all about making money from production of liquid soap and disinfectants.

But there was one participant, a single mother young lady who approached me at the end of the seminar and told me that she already signed up with a pure water factory as a distributor but that she has no money to start the business. In the course of our discussion, I observed that she is someone who possesses the ability to influence others. She also told me that what is needed to start the pure water distribution business is about N80,000. The money was for her to hire vehicle and also buy water from the factory.  I saw the zeal and the strong determination in her so I told her there are several ways that she can raise such an amount without even borrowing. She became curious.

So, I told her to find 10 persons that will be ready to join her to do weekly contributions of N10,000. When I said that, she shouted, “Where will I be getting 10k every week?” Then, I explained to her she do not even need to get 10k before she start; all she needs to do is to find 10 persons who are capable of saving such an amount weekly.  After each contribution, the money is giving to one person and you keep rotating it until every member of the group has collected. So, I left back to Lagos. After about 2 weeks plus, she called me that she has seen 9 persons who are willing to do that. When I heard that, I said to her, “now your business don start be that.” I told her to plead with other members so that they allow her to be the first to collect. Luckily they agreed. That was how she got N90,000 and started the pure water distribution business.

The next time she called me around August, 2011, every member of the group has received his/her contribution and she had even added the liquid soap production to her business. And you know what, her dream would have died if not because she was very determined.

What is your dream? The bigger your dream, the more chances you have at receiving help. Or you can start as a micro business and grow into a mega enterprise. In my next article on this page, I will be focusing on some amazing opportunities that you can invest in as micro business and grow into a multi million naira business within 6 months. Does it sound unbelievable? Watch out for it.      

Thinking Minds Integrated Business Solutions organizes monthly sensitization seminars on the practical ways of establishing micro, small-medium scale enterprises. For free consultancy services, call: 2348033291724, 2348052833097. E-mail: thinkingminds@ymail.com.