Here are some of my business lessons that I acquired in my different businesses and sales activities that I got involved in. I will write a series of short posts on P&P Mentor’s Facebook page to give each point some context and examples.
I avoided narrating so that this is not too long, but please think through each point and try to reflect using some of the attempts you made in selling or business.
Plan the project well in advance, check videos on project management on YouTube to gain good insights.
Always factor in delays in the project.
Draw the business activities, then plot all the related risks and threats to the business success. E.g. we had a challenge of entering into the venue because we were not authorised and also the rain almost affected us. Factors we undermined.
Fund raising takes much longer to acquire, I didn’t have cash to buy ingredients-we lost a day worth of business because I was waiting for cash I had borrowed. (Even now we are having the same challenge to fundraise for our main business, it takes time).
Projections are only just guiding figures. They tend to turn out differently. In part due to price fluctuations and also overlooking or not including other possible factors-you won’t foresee everything.
Entrepreneurs are inclined to underestimate costs and overestimate revenues & profits. Be careful of this trap.
Ask for help when in need. Do so in advance and be sure to keep your word for what you pledged or agreed to do in return.
Your business should be based on your main competencies so that you can still be productive without some of your main employees. Depending on one person or another person for critical services of your business is too risky!
Learn to be more self-reliant for critical services.
Economies of scale are real business principles and should be thought of in-depth. For most businesses, the more you produce, unit costs become low. Hence bulk buying and mass production increases profitability.
You need reliable,trusted and diligent partners to work with.
To avoid disappointments and making unrealistic plans and projections, it is highly important to make scenario planning and have contingency plans. Think about things from all angles and possibilities and solve the problems before they happen.
Critical resources like electricity or water supply can cut out, you need to factor such incidents.
It is critical to separate business and personal accounts, this kills many businesses.
Business works efficiently when the owner is around to organise critical processes and take quick decisions in the instance that things don’t go according to plan. Alternatively, the employees must be empowered to take decisions (develop a framework for them).
Observe closely what is happening in the business, especially with performance so that improvements can be effected daily and immediately. Reflections are important for efficient and progressive business operations.
I learned that access to the market can be a challenge to most of us who are small entrepreneurs. Hence we need people who will connect us and give us access. Personal connections are critical to gaining access to exclusive spaces, in particular political connections and relationships with people in positions of authority.
If you can buy in bulk and have strategic relationships with your product supplies it can drive down the input costs.
Must always explore cheaper ways of doing business but without compromising too much on the quality of your products.
Seek counsel and advice from the experts and experienced people.
Experiment to be able to learn new tricks and get better results.
Negotiations and resourcefulness are very very key in being able to make profits.
Hire diligent and passionate people.
Sales & revenue projections tend to be too high and ideal. One must stress test them to ensure that they are realistic and feasible.
In business, quick decision making is critical. You need to be able to observe the direction of the business on the ground and take corrective measures. If sales are stagnant, try something different to improve them.
Visit these frequently and make sure to master them, I am also still working on refining and ensuring that they become second nature to me.