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The business and entrepreneurship series: most common reasons why entrepreneurs fail – Part 3

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REASON #8: A LACK OF CONNECTION AND DIALOGUE WITH THE CUSTOMER.
Don’t live or operate in isolation of your customer’s real needs and problems- what they need is your solution. Having constant conversations with customers to assess their problems is key. 140 character tweets will not help you. Real interaction and dialogue face to face with real customers is the key. Also use channels best for your customers not for your own convenience. Extend yourself, get out of your comfort zone and make it easy for your target to hear, understand your business, services and solutions. Talk to your customers daily to discover early what you’re doing wrong now – Don’t wait until after you’ve lost 100s or millions after a few months or years.

REASON #9: NOT BEING ABLE TO SELLING IS A BIG PROBLEM.
Not being able to sell enough to sustain you is BIG a problem. Putting in place a high performing sales force is key to your business success. Nothing happens if nothing is sold. Selling is like the blood (Life force) of every business. Who’s your top sales person? What does s/he do right and how does s/he do it? Have you modeled him? Are you clear about:
• What are you selling?
• Who are you selling to?
• Where are they? At what price?

Do you have a clear:
• Knowledge of your Business, Products, Services and Solution – This is very key to your sales success
• Knowledge of your customer’s needs – This is very key to your sales success

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Selling is the Life Force of any business.
• What is your sales strategy and target?
• Do you have an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly target?
• Exactly how much and what quantity must be sold?
• Is it clearly written, reviewed, revised and used to drive the sales personnel?

REASON # 10: LACK OF FOCUS : What makes startups succeed is their ability to quickly pivot. Lack of focus leads to the inability to make the necessary adjustments.
Without focus;
• Your business will lose it the competitive edge.
• You stand the risk of being blown here, there and every where
• You’re not known for anything specific
• You will leave potential customers guising

Note that customers have very short attention spans. Nigerian customers are not loyal – They move with the tide

REASON #11: EXPANDING TOO FAST: This is what is called PREMATURE GROWTH. Business expansion and growth is a good thing but it must be at the right time and expansion especially must be done the right way for the business.

This factor single handedly has destroyed a lot of businesses.
• Don’t move unto that high street yet
• Don’t open those branches yet
• Don’t hire too many people too quickly, hoping to grow into the roles – Let the need drive the hire
• Don’t spend too much money on branding or marketing when the substance is not yet solid.
• Don’t expand to early and then implode.
• Don’t commit business suicide

REASON #12: INABILITY TO TRANSITION: Most Entrepreneurs never transition from:
• Passion to Business
• Visioner (the Ideas person) to Leader.
• Technician to Manager
• SELFpreneur to ENTREpreneur
• Business to Institution

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Many businesses lack the strategic transition from a passion into a business, an institution and finally into a brand
• Wake up you’re not a baby anymore
• You’re no longer at the founding stage of the business.
• Grow up and become a business leader.
• Develop your relationship skills
• Deal with your Emotional baggage
• Invest in your own personal development
• Develop you self leadership quotient
• Develop your people leadership quotient
• Develop your business leadership quotient
• Develop your customer and relational mastery quotient
• Being technical gets you here (starts you off) but relationships get you there and maturity/EQ keeps you there
• Your character is key to investors, deal with your weaknesses and dysfunctionalities before they deal with you.

Here are some key Character traits of Top entrepreneurs;
• Integrity
• Emotional Intelligence
• Selflessness
• Sacrificial
• Empathy
• Prudence
• Timeliness
• Discipline
• Focus
• Boldness
• Innovation and creativity
• Initiative
• Visionary
• Self confidence
• Faith and tenacity
• Flexibility
• Patience
• Organized
• ETC
• Wait and sacrifice pleasures now; Endure the temporary pain today for actualizing the Vision tomorrow. Don’t spend the business money; The business needs money to grow. The money coming in is not all profit but money for;
• Cash flow
• Showing a financial track record and financial discipline
• To be re-invested in the business for its growth and expansion.

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As an entrepreneur you’ve got to quickly learn from failure – This is because successful businesses are born out of great failures that bounce back. Failure in business is not bad it’s not learning from failure that is bad. Don’t be afraid to fail because “failure is the gateway to entrepreneurial success” Don’t deny or be oblivious about your weaknesses and the mistakes you make, learn from them and turn them into an advantage
Learn also to manage your people right.
• Let them feel a part of the business
• Remunerate them reasonably
• Genuinely care about their well-being
• Listen to staff ideas
• Stop micro managing
• Don’t think you know it all
• Hire smarter and more experienced people
• Empower and trust them
• Create the right systems and processes.
• Put a performance management system in place
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin

INNOVATION is the ACT or PROCESS of introducing new ideas, products, solutions, services or methods for the satisfaction of the customer.
Benefits of Innovation to Organizations:
1) Positive Change
2) Efficiency
3) Productivity
4) All Round Quality
5) Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty
6) Competitiveness
7) Market Share and Position
8) Profitability

REASON # 13: NOT HAVING A SUCCESSION PLAN: Future leaders in your business should be identified in advance. They must be groomed into taking up management and leadership positions. They should be empowered to fit into these senior roles. Without an effective succession plan, your business will face unexpected dearth and death. Inject new ideas from time to time if not you will be recycling old ideas from the old people, many of which don’t work.

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REASON #14 – LACK OF SELF MASTERY
Under self mastery comes the following;

• Spiritual Intelligence and Mastery – Faith/Tenacity/Resilience
• Visioning/Imagination/Meditation/Activation/Time (Chronos/Kairos)
• Emotional Intelligence and mastery
• Psychological / Physiological mastery
• Knowledge of self and mastery
• Knowledge of environment and mastery – People; things; places
• Knowledge of the trade – Skills – passion – wisdom
• Knowledge of your beliefs and values and their influence
• Flexibility
• Sensory acuity
• Ability to consistently take action at the right time
• Self worth/Confidence
• Psychological/ Physiological mastery

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