Being an entrepreneur is certainly not rosy and knowing certain entrepreneurship facts can definitely make it feel better. Entrepreneurship is a journey of many ups and downs characterized by certain facts which have become conventional knowledge. New and upcoming entrepreneurs would benefit from knowing these facts early in their careers to help them navigate their way to success by setting their expectations right.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur typically wears many hats especially at the initial stages of their businesses. They do books, marketing, vision, and product development. Experience would teach you as an entrepreneur that you are better off outsourcing or delegating key roles and focusing on your special abilities. But wait, who is an entrepreneur and what does it mean to be one?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary…
Definition of entrepreneur:
one who organizes manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise
An entrepreneur basically runs an enterprise and takes risks to profit from opportunities, right? It’s not so simple. Entrepreneurship is more mindset that simply starting a business and taking risks. This mindset sets the tone for everything that the entrepreneur does.
“At its core, [entrepreneurship] is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. Fundamentally, entrepreneurship is about … the ability to recognize [and] methodically analyze [an] opportunity and, ultimately, to capture [its] value.” – Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University
It is quite safe to say an entrepreneur is someone with an entrepreneurial mindset who sets himself a path of problem-solving, by taking risks and other roles to create market accepted and successful companies.
The hard aspects of being an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – The Ugly
You become free from a boss and 9 – 5 but you work more hours
You may have escaped a boss and have your freedom. It is yours to decide your working time and place but you certainly would have to put in more time. More often, you would not have a difference between leisure and work since you can get called at random and funny hours with business-related matters. This often occurs at the early stages of the business.
You have to get comfortable with discomfort
Getting out of your comfort zone may be the most uncomfortable thing one can go through in life. However, as an entrepreneur, you would have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable almost all the time. This can be attributed to many factors. Rejection, for instance, is something we all hate. Everyone wants to loved, accepted and wanted. But entrepreneurs get more Nos! than they can take oftentimes.
You are the pillar of your business
The success or failure of your company depends on you. This may sound absurd since you consider your employees as holding responsivities for the success of your business. The truth is. The overall responsivity is yours and yours alone. Mostly, the CEO or founder is the public figure behind the company. You would be the first to get the blame when anything goes wrong. But it mustn’t just be about wrong things, you get the praise when the company does well. You hold responsibility for each employee and the earlier you accept that fact and act on it, the higher your chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur.
You have to find a way to speed up your learning curve
Entrepreneurship cannot work without an attitude of learning. Have you wondered why most entrepreneurs read books more than the average person? Have you also thought about why the new thinking, “Your rate of failure would determine your success subsequently”? Truth is, failure allows you to learn and the faster you fail “Learn”, the more likely you are likely to succeed.
You have to do almost everything when you have little money when starting
This statement is particularly true for businesses in Ghana. This is attributed to the unfriendly interest rates leading to difficulties in accessing funds to start a business. Therefore, there are no finds to employ staff which means the founder has to do everything until there are enough funds to employ more skilled staff. The sad aspect is most businesses die before they get to that stage.
The best reasons to be an entrepreneur – The good
The possibilities are almost limitless
Doing a job comes with so many limitations even if you are a top-level executive. Your actions have to be sanctioned before any action can be taken. As an entrepreneur, you won’t be dragged by such constraints since you are basically the primary decision-maker. You have the freedom to take your business in any direction as you deem fit and prudent. This allows you to have access to limitless possibilities since you are only limited by your dreaming capacity.
You have total control
You have control over Decisions and you have control over the Fate of the company. Most founders love to have maximum control so they prefer to be the key shareholder in their organization so they can steer the company the lines of their original plans and aspirations while having the opportunity to get investors on board for financing. The point is, you hold total responsivity for the business unless you choose to give it away for legit or not so legit reasons. It’s up to you.
You create your dream team
I love this aspect of being an entrepreneur. Most would think their friends would readily join them because they’re building “The next Facebook”. Truth be told, your friends and family may be just the last group of people who would join you. Even Mark Zuckerberg got rejected by some of his friends back in college. It’s best to look for a good combination of talent and skills relevant to your business and your values.
Contribution to the national and global economy at large
According to the GEM report on Ghana in 2012, Many Ghanaian businesses don’t employ new staff hence contributing little to solving the unemployment in the country. However, the potential is massive if these small and medium businesses have the needed support and environment to grow and employ. SMEs also contribute about 70% of Ghana’s GDP. Now that’s huge. The private sector basically is dominated by services especially in hospitality and retail followed by agriculture. These sectors have more room and if the needed measures are taken, Ghana could be without most of their poverty problems.
Achievement of self-actualization goals
An entrepreneur I so admire, Jeremiah Buabeng, CEO of Buabeng Communications, often says he wants to build a great not just for money but also for the sense of achievement it gives. Self-actualization goals are at the top of human needs, according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This level of need is the highest and gives entrepreneurs the satisfaction of having achieved something that not only benefits them but provides for the society and world at large
The state of entrepreneurship/facts in Ghana
Women own almost half of all businesses in Ghana – Mastercard Report
“This is not surprising. Given that the country is a lower-middle-income and factor-driven market, women typically turn to necessity-driven entrepreneurial activities out of the sheer will to survive and support oneself and family,” the report said.
“These activities are often operated in the informal micro to medium-scale agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors of the economy, and take the form of self-employment (as opposed to job creation or business growth).
“The vital role that women play as farm owners, farm partners, and farm laborers is astounding: their contribution is estimated to account for around 70% to 80% of food consumed in the country. They have also become increasingly responsible for the education and other material needs of their wards, especially in female-headed households”.
80% of Ghanaians regard going into business as a good career choice and over 90% accord a high status to entrepreneurs.
84% of Ghanaian think they have the skills and capacities necessary to start a business.
60% declared that they are intending to set up on their own account.
New businesses are in the hospitality and retail sector (58%)
30% of the respondents (Entrepreneurs) are expecting to add no jobs in the next five years
Fear of business failure among Ghanaians went up by eight percentage points to 18%, this was still relatively low in the context of sub-Saharan Africa.
Some 9 out of 10 Ghanaian respondents in the 2012 survey said they saw entrepreneurship as a good career choice and accord high status to successful entrepreneurs (91%).
Young people in the 26 to 35 age bracket own almost 40% of Ghanaian enterprises
75% of businesses fail after 3 years
Small businesses constitute over 90 percent of all businesses
SMEs in Ghana contribute about 70 percent to Ghana’s GDP
Statistics Number 2 – 12 were taken from the Global entrepreneurship monitor except 10
Ghana is ranked 118th in Ease of doing business – World Bank
As a fan activity, let’s celebrate women entrepreneurs in Ghana
Entrepreneurship takes grit and guts. Without these, surviving is tough. Being equipped with this information should give you much more grit to go through the hard times. The benefits of being an entrepreneur are certainly great and almost limitless. Go get ‘em, Tiger.