I get calls from people who are gainfully employed asking me what to do before they quit their jobs. Many of them are feeling tired on their current jobs and want to quit for entrepreneurship as soon as possible. Sometimes I here words like; ‘I can’t wait to join you’, ‘I am so tired of this job’, ‘this job sucks’ etc. Yes it’s true you might be tired, but I am sure you are not tired of earning a monthly income. Entrepreneurship is not what you rush into, especially if you have a stable job and a consistent source of income.
The fact that you are working today means that you are gathering certain experiences and skills for the challenges life could bring. Also everyone must not be an entrepreneur but everyone can be an Intrapreneur and still be wealthy.
Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges and struggles especially if you are based in Africa. The enabling business environment is not so conducive so you have to figure out how to make things happen in your business. Most people just think all entrepreneurs simply hit billions in less than six months. My friend it’s not like that in Africa especially Nigeria. You will work it out harder than your peers in some other parts of the world.
I always advise people not to jump into entrepreneurship if they don’t have the following checked out. you might also read this before you continue A-practical-guide-to-start-that-small-business/
- Ensure you have researched and planned out what market you want to serve: Market Identification is the most important part of starting. You must know the market, their price taste, challenges of the market and how to overcome them. You also need to know where to access the market. Don’t assume there is a market waiting for you. The market in Africa is dynamic and the demography is volatile. Your markets guarantee the service to offer the market and how to design the product or services. It also determines if the market gives room for growth. At least do a little market survey, ask questions and have a feel of what to expect when you step out. The first time I jumped out to sell I was rejected by all the people I met. It was discouraging but I never gave up and those people later became my first customers. Even the most attractive products or services get rejected at first. This market will also help you decide how you want to run the business and where, if it’s going to be a brick and mortar business with a physical location. This is with that fact that you already know the sectore you are diving into.
- Build Your Product: with the knowledge you have about the market: Having identified your market,, you can now design a product to fit these identified market. Test this product yourself, understand the product then give to your immediate circle to test. If possible get some of those customers to help do that, these you can do at your free periods or off days at work or you take leave to test them and move around. It’s always better to try things yourself or recruit someone that can assist in the first phase on a contract basis for this purpose. Ensure you don’t incur unnecessary cost while testing; it can be draining to the pocket. Implement feedbacks, changes and update the product for final release.
- Start small, give to people to pilot it for a period say like 30days. Remember that all these are happening while you still work, but you will commit extra time outside work to do these things. Don’t just rush out immediately, let few people use and give you feedback on their experience. This would show you how customers are willing to pay for the service or product. What I tell people is if you are able to make at least five sales or close deals in a month, then the light is green to quit even if there is no profit.
But before you quit, the following should be your final check list especially if you live in Africa or Nigeria.
These points I will outline below sounds funny, but they are real and can be devastating if not looked into, especially when the business doesn’t go as planned.
But before you quit, the following should be your final check list especially if you live in Africa or Nigeria. These points I will outline below sounds funny, but they are real and can be devastating if not looked into, especially when the business doesn’t go as planned.
- Have your Paid for your House rent? If you live in a rented apartment at least 1year rent is sufficient, as rent is a reality, if you don’t at least have an alternative, you won’t have head ache with accommodation when you are supposed to be thinking on how to grow your business.
- Have you paid for your children’s school fees or tuition if you have a family? This one is tough and always comes every three months starting in January. You can plan for 1 year also to ensure you focus on your business.
- Have you planned for feeding? For single people this can be managed but for family people children don’t know anything like I don’t have money, at least plan a minimum monthly food expense for your home.
- Prepare your mind that in the next one year at least there is no luxury or extreme comfort for you and family, everyone must be prepared and you must prepare your family if you have one on the impact of your decision. I mean your immediate family if you are married, please don’t tell extended family they will discourage you. You must be mentally ready to take up this adventure.
- Then quit if you have 1-4 taken care of , you are surely ready to quit your job in Nigeria or Africa, there is nothing like having a good job and earning well and suddenly you turn to a beggar because you wanted entrepreneurship.
- This is a bonus point: if you must partner, ensure they are people with like minds, same believes and ready to put in the same quota of sacrifice you are about to make, it’s better not to partner than partner with someone that will add to your headache, especially if they still keep a day’s job and you are going in full time. They almost likely will not understand the challenge you face daily except they are coming as Investors into the business.
Having said all these, this is just a guide and not a guarantee that the business will succeed. There are other factors that affect business growth which is not part of the conversation here, but this gives you a good landing base on your first exit from paid employment. Entrepreneurship can be tough, demanding and ultimately rewarding, go in with wisdom and succeed.
You can also read this I found it interesting 10 Things You Must Do Before Quitting Your Job
To your success