Target Customers, Not Friends!
Entrepreneurship is catching up fast with a number of Ghanaian youth and I must admit, it is refreshing to realize that people, while in tertiary schools and some, upon graduation decide, and determine to start a business on their own instead of the annoying tendencies of writing and printing out numerous application letters for jobs that seem not to be available.
Being an entrepreneur myself, though I have another day job, I have realized certain things that easily drain the energy of these once upon a time zealous persons. One major problem I have realized is the fact that most start up businesses fail to plan properly thereby forgetting to set a target for their goods and services. It seems they just start producing and simply anticipate that the products or services will be patronized. This then puts a lot of pressure on their family and friends as they start pushing them to buy their products. This may be seen as support by the family and friends and might help push the business a little bit but once all these persons are exhausted, the business stalls.
Entrepreneurship is a good thing. It creates jobs and helps people to realize their passions and how to commercialize it. Yet once you set out to do business, take some time off and think through your product or service. Ask questions directed at yourself and be sincere with the answers. Ask what exactly are you producing or offering? Which groups of people are in need of such a product or service? How will you reach this group of people? How will you sell the idea to them? Is it something that is already been done? If so, how different will yours be? Is it an entirely new thing in your area of distribution? Once the business takes off, you still have to constantly ask questions because other persons are likely to emulate what you do. What then is your competitive advantage over them? What will keep your customers loyal to you?
There is also this phenomenon of business owners slacking and resorting to self pity and chastising once they realize somebody else is doing a similar business. Instead of chastising them, rather look at what they do critically and focus on yours to add a value that they are not providing or to maintain your values that have made your customers stick with you all this while.
Of all these questions, the most important, I believe, is for you to clearly define your target audience. Ensure they are a dynamic group that will keep coming back to you just so your business will keep growing.
All the best to you business owners.