1. Having a vision without a plan. Every business person has a vision for his or her business. For the big businesses, the vision is well-articulated and documented. This may not be the case for the small players, but at least, they have an idea of how successful or how big they want their businesses to be – that is their vision. The problem of having a vision without a plan is peculiar to small businesses. For example, you own a restaurant and will like to have 20 branches by the year 2030. If you are really serious about it, then you must draw up a plan to actualize your dreams. Your plan does not have to be in 20 or 50 pages. A page or two is enough. The most important thing is that your vision can be actualized through your plans, and that you stick to it, and make adjustment only when necessary.
2. Hiring the wrong people. One of my lecturers at the University of Benin where I earned my first degree in Accounting said and I quote, “Man is the hub around which an organization revolves. All other resources put together, without man to coordinate them are useless.” That’s just to show you the important role human resources (people) play in a business. You have to be very careful of the kind of people you employ to run your business. If you bring in the wrong people, your business will die. If you bring in the right people, your business will thrive. It’s as simple as that. Nothing kills a business faster than people with the wrong qualifications and attitude. To ensure that you don’t make the mistake of hiring the wrong people, there are a few measures you can take:
A. Never employ people you cannot manage or control. Some family members and close friends fall within this category. The worst part is, after hiring them, you may not be able to fire them.
B. Employ the right people for the right job.
C. Do a background check on your prospective employees. He or she has convinced you at the interview that s/he is the best fit for the job. But you still need to find out more about that person, before you hand him or her an employment letter. If you fail to do this, you may be employing a criminal or thief, someone who will come and kill your business, or kill you if you’re not careful. You think I’m joking? Have you not heard cases where employees kill their employers. There’s one still very fresh in our minds – that of the Naval Officer who was killed by his houseboy. Please don’t make the same mistake.
3. Not believing in your idea. Yes, not believing in one’s idea is one of the causes of business failure. I have met business owners who do not really believe that that business will succeed. They lack faith in the business, and are just running it for the sake of it. Tell me, how will such a business succeed. For your business to succeed, you must first believe in it. Take a look at all the successful entrepreneurs you know. In almost all the cases, they were the only ones who believed in their ideas. Having a strong believe in your business can be the difference between success and failure.
4. Lack Of Innovation. From our little understanding of entrepreneurship, we know an entrepreneur to be an innovator. He does not reinvent the wheel. You cannot be doing the same thing and expect different results. An entrepreneur wants something different from the status quo. Hence, he has to do things differently from how they were previously done. Lack of innovation is a business killer. Doing the same thing and expecting different results. It is the reason you see someone selling pap and akara (bean cake) in a kiosk for 20 years without any improvement. No new branches, no business growth, nothing. Be innovative and you’ll see positive changes in your business.
5. Fear of Failure. Fear is another business killer. It’s also what prevents business men and women from being innovative. They are scared of the results of their action. “No, if I do that, I may lose my money.” A true entrepreneur fears no failure. In fact, most of the successful entrepreneur you now today, have failed in their previous business ventures. Do your research and see the figures for yourself. Failure in business is not the end of life. Except you’re the type that does not learn, the lesson you learn from your failed business could be what will make you successful in your next one.