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how to build and grow your enterprise

Virtually everyone dreams of having their own businesses. The last thing people envisage is the death or collapse of such a business. But available data reveals that 75 percent of small and medium-scale businesses die before they attain the age of two. In today’s Nigeria, there are a number of factors to blame for the large volume of failures. But in most cases, the death of such businesses has to do with personal management failures on the part of the owners.
However, the negative trends in nations’ economies in the last few years appear to have made novices of, even the best managers.
In Nigeria, big companies have been failing, just mortality among small businesses have soared.
Coming under various challenges, including the effects of the recent global recession, rising inflation, high interest rate on available loans and other infrastructural problems, the fact remains that businesses are suffering. The collapse of big firms, almost on a daily, seems to underscore the seriousness of the situation, going by data coming from the manufacturers association of Nigeria. But in the case of small businesses, the effects are felt much more, apart from emphasizing the depth of the adversity in the economy; failing big firm have other implications for small businesses. In most cases, most of the small businesses only thrive when their end-products serve as input in the production processes of big companies.
Generally, it is believed that the harder the economic challenges faced by big firms, the harder the impact on small businesses. Notwithstanding the general hardship, however, small businesses and management expert believe that in most cases, business growth and survival are a matter of how we think about things. For instance, business growth expert on small business tookit, emphasise the power of vision in hard times, especially in identifying opportunities, as a key factor of success. If your business does not seem to meet the need of the moment, then a good visionary management would change its style of controlling the problems, and there are a number of ways to do this, they say. “There are always substitutes for virtually all needs required for good operations. A good management acts fast in improvising, where there are problems,” the small business tookit experts say.
At a practical level, a renowned entrepreneur, advertising guru and chairmen, troika Holdings, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, says becoming an entrepreneur is the problem; but how to be a successful one, especially in the face of the various challenges.
“There are no tricks to becoming an entrepreneur; you can even be one when you leave this room. But I can only tell you that it is not everybody that can be a successful entrepreneur. There will be leaders and there will be followers,” he says.
Drawing from his own experience, he says he did not set out to become an entrepreneur, although he was already a successful advertising icon before venturing into entrepreneurship. According to him, his venturing into entrepreneurship, which saw him establishing a chain of business ancillary to advertising, came as a result to see opportunities and venture into them.
He says, “Look, I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur. There are basic things you see: you see opportunities and pursue opportunities. To me, that is what entrepreneurship is all about. You must see things that most people are not seeing; and having seen those things, you must be willing to them differently.
“Sometimes you are forced into entrepreneurship by the mere reason of survival” he adds. Nothing that such a trend has seen his business “advertising into what is called creating multiple streams of income. He stresses that one can get into entrepreneurship by accident and sometimes, by the sheer will to survive. However, he says the success and sustenance of the business will only come as a result of the entrepreneur’s focus on quality, his determined deposition to business and overall management skill. “We went into it by accident and by the sheer factor of the will to want to survive. How did it happen? We were working for clients and we were giving jobs to third party suppliers. In most cases, the third party suppliers were doing these jobs very badly. Clients were complaining and sometimes threatened to take business away from us. I then asked myself; why should I be punished for an offence I have control over? This immediately told me something – we could create subsidiaries to handle such jobs and do them well, without losing business. That was how most of our subsidiaries emerged,” he explains, stressing the role of vision and a keen eye on quality service delivery as a key factor for business creation and survival.
On the role of a good management system, Ralph Warner, in his book, “Surviving Hard Time,” says the first step is to draw up a survival plan. “The business owner, in the plan, prepares a current profit-and-loss statement and cash flow analysis, and then establishes an advisory board,” he says.

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