This blog post contains answers to questions you may have concerning setting up and running your business. We hope the following tips that have helped us tremendously will help you in successfully setting up and running your business.

Why are you in business?

First of all, if you are thinking of starting a business or you have even started one already, you need to ask yourself why you started your business. The intent behind your business will make a whole difference regarding whether it struggles or thrives. Click To Tweet

If your reason is to follow your passion and be your own boss, this doesn’t help you because you are the only one that cares about your passion; nobody else does. This kind of intent ultimately results in you making the business all about yourself. When you do this, you may as well kill the business before you even start it.

However, for your business to grow and thrive, you have to understand that the business is not about you at all. Rather it is about creating value for the market, your would-be employees (know that you are not building a one-man business) and people in your immediate sphere of influence, such as your family.

Making your business people-centric will help you identify the needs of the market, fulfil these needs and ultimately impact your world. Click To Tweet

Starting your business without quitting your job

We usually get asked one important question and that is: how do you start a business a business while you still have a full-time job? Or how do you manage your business while making sure it doesn’t conflict with your job?

First of all, know that it’s possible to actually have a full-time job and run a business. You don’t have to choose between the two.

In fact, it is advisable to have a job that gives you a stable source of income while your business is still finding its feet and not yet very profitable. Click To Tweet

However, the important thing is that you don’t cheat your employer by using your employer’s time to run your business. What you can do instead is to work on your business early in the morning before you go to work or at night when you come back from work.

This means you will have to structure your business such that it won’t require your physical presence all the time. A good way of doing this is to have an online model of your business. This will give you good leverage, something like a beta test where you can fine-tune your products and/or services before you finally launch into the business fully.

The place of drive in running a business

In starting or running a business, another important thing you have to note is that you need to have a driving force. This driving force can either be a history you don’t want to repeat or a future you want to create. Click To Tweet

This driving force is the fuel to the engine of the vision you have for yourself and your business. It is essential to have a drive so that when you can’t seem to motivate yourself and everything looks bleak, you can always draw the strength you need to carry on from it.

Start with what you have

While setting up your business, you may be consumed with the need to know all that needs to be known all at once. When you are thinking about everything at once, you will not be able to move forward or, in this case, set up and successfully run your business.

This is also called analysis paralysis, whereby thinking about everything you have to know or do overwhelms you to the point that you end up not doing anything at all. The import of this is that you have to be ready to learn as you go. Don’t expect to have the whole future at once; approach everything as a learning process.

Start small

Are you worried about getting capital for your business? Well, you really don’t have to. First, understand that capital is not just about money; it is whatever you need to run your business. Now, scale down your business to the smallest size and see if you still need capital to run it at that size.

State the things you need capital for and see if you can get them without actually spending money. For example, if you need capital to rent an office for your business, can you start from your house? Or can you borrow an office from someone in the meantime or even set up a virtual office?

The fact is, not having capital can sometimes be an excuse to limit ourselves and prevent us from getting started.

Essentially, when you recognise the smallest scale of what you want to do and exactly what you need, everything becomes a lot easier. Think big but start small. Click To Tweet

Please note, applying for loans should be your last resort; it is not advisable.

How to promote your business

When promoting your business or business idea, don’t make the mistake of expressing your passion instead of how your business can be of value to people and improve their lives. Instead, emphasise on how it will benefit people and the problems it will solve in the society.

Also, don’t tell people what you can do, show them―even if you have to use a demo. Instead of sending proposals of what your business does, show people the product or service and let them see why they need your business. Click To Tweet

Find a way to do it in a small way in order to whet their appetite.

How to separate yourself from the competition

If you already have a business, you may be concerned about differentiating yourself from the competition. The easiest way to differentiate yourself is to find out what you do best that others don’t. That is the key to true differentiation.

For example, if you’re an online printing company, you may choose to build your forte in customisation and including a human touch in your service delivery. Essentially, look for one area that you excel in and emphasise it. The people that value that area will eventually identify with you and promote you.

Identify what part(s) of your business gives people more value, and focus on that. On the other hand, find out what your clients do not care about and reduce those things or put less focus on them. Click To Tweet

In essence, you need to emphasise your strengths and when people eventually identify you with it, then you will be able to differentiate yourself.

This piece is culled from the May Edition of Business Mastery Class, a monthly series of high impact trainings sponsored by The Plenipotent Company and partners. Participants of the program, which holds every fourth Friday of the month, leave each edition with practical principles, tools and resources to help them implement what they learn.

Follow this link to register for subsequent editions.


Damilola Fasina is a final year students of Communication and Language Arts (CLA) at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. She currently interns with The Plenipotent Company Limited.