“Rome n’est pas fait en un jour.” — A medieval French adage
First, consider this: the minimum living wage for a Nigerian family is between N 74, 200 and N 104, 200. This, when considering all that it must be spent on, is not enough to start an average SME.
Now, let’s assume you — having read some pretty good motivational books such as Understanding Your Potentials by Dr. Myles Munroe and See You at The Top by Dr. Zig Ziglar, and having listened to great motivational speakers like Jim Roh — felt the urge to lay your hands on an entrepreneurial venture as a student. The first thing that you would think of is: “where do I get money?” Right? However, as essential as capital is to the birth and success of your business, there are other things you must consider before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture, even before you consider capital.
This is no exaggeration: reading the books of bestselling authors would give you the motivation to abandon your academics and found the next big startup. However, urges without actions are like peels from fried groundnut in front of a powerful breeze. They are always blown as far away as possible, irrespective of how powerful and tempting the urges may be. Yet, truth be told, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Thus, without further ado, this article is about unleashing six important things your business idea needs before you think about its capital. They are: vision statement, mission statement, branding, networking, connection and sourcing for funds.
To start with, you need to birth a vision from your raw or crude business ideas. A business never thrives through competition or even its own challenges unless there is a sustainable vision on ground, which, of course, has to be long-term and immune to small-scale economic downturns. Since change is inevitable, this makes entrepreneurial activities differ from just “making money”. The moulding of business ideas into a vision that can withstand changes as they may come must first be put into consideration before funding the business idea. How do you intend to keep yourself in business? Therefore, the foresight for success must be first be guaranteed before taking the risk of investing your capital in the business.
Also, a vision without a mission to accomplish it is like pearls among a herd of swine. Both vision and mission are the basis for the fuel that drives the personalities called entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial success journeys. Take for example the vision and mission statement of Tesla Inc., under the leadership of Elon Musk. The vision, “A world of sustainable energy power house”, and the mission statement “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” serve as the drive for Elon Musk, which also results in the fact that Tesla should always be in existence. These statements drive his employees and all his potential clients source for Tesla products because of what it has to offer.
Likewise, as a student entrepreneur who can’t run his or her business alone, there is an absolute need for a mandate which your future employees and potential clients must run with
In addition to this, branding your business and yourself are part of the essential six. They must be clarified and done before thinking about the business capital. You might have pictured imaginatively what your business’ end product must look like, however, you need proper branding, which entails more than that. In the present world of business, branding a business has to start with you the originator. The world’s perception of a business originator matters, as it also determines how they will perceive the business’ products.
Moreover, as a young entrepreneur dealing mostly with young clients, branding yourself, your business and your products is very crucial and must be clarified before sought after before the business capital. The importance of this is that it helps you create a group of loyal clients to your brand. For instance, by making use of what you produce, these people have a connection with your brand and always think of you first whenever they need the type of products you sell. Also, branding includes being able to tell your business story as it has become a part of you.
Furthermore, networking and connection are important things you should have secured or mastered before putting in your capital. It will be a waste of time sourcing for funds when you have not granted yourself the time to building strong connection from a smooth relationship and there by building chains of network. So, when you’re invited to beneficial seminars, conferences, get-togethers etc., let your mindset be on networking and connection. These are common opportunities we often misuse Also, endeavour always to tell your business stories. It’s called capturing mind.
One last thing is learning about sourcing for funds. There are many opportunities out there which will never walk down to you if you don’t search for them. Opportunities abound, in different places, for different types of people. All you need to do is to find the ones that fit your business and apply for them. Send pitches, apply for opportunities. There are many innovation-centred challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs in need of funds for their business ideas and there are even some made available specially for students engaging in entrepreneurial activities in tertiary institutions. However, these opportunities rely on how groomed one has been with the previous five things we’ve discussed above. But without such prior knowledge (preparation) and at the availability of opportunity to get funds or grants, getting stuck with stagnancy is inevitable which makes a big dream remain just a big dream.
Therefore, before you determine just how much you need as capital for your business, consider the other requirements that would severely impact the returns your capital brings you, or whether your business will fail. These requirements have been discussed above.