I always say two things: Entrepreneurship is not for everyone; being an entrepreneur does not necessarily make you fulfilled. But whatever you decide to do, always give it everything you have.

Do not start a business for the wrong reasons. Start a business because you are passionate about creating a solution to a problem. If you are passionate about a cause, it will not feel like a job and if money is a long time coming, you will not feel disappointed and be tempted to abandon your enterprise. Starting a new business is about turning and processing your great idea into a lucrative venture.

To start a business, you should consider taking these important steps.

Prepare a business plan

A business plan is a living, breathing document that serves as a road map for your business. There are many business plan templates online that you can use to chart out a new course for your enterprise.

With a business plan, you have an overview of your company’s direction and all you need to do to get to your desired destination. If you find the business plan cumbersome, you can use the business model canvas which is composed of nine basic building blocks.

Understanding these nine building blocks (Customer Segment, Value Proposition, Customer Relationship, Channels, Revenue Stream, Key Resources, Key Activities, Key Partners, and Cost Structure), and how they inter-connect, gives you an edge over your competition.

Get out of the building

As a prospective business owner, your place should be in the field, with customers getting first-hand information and insights about their needs.

Your primary purpose is to find out if customers are willing to part with their money, because it is only when money changes hands that you can say that you are in business.

Don’t waste time sitting behind your laptop or in front of a whiteboard holding pointless strategy meetings. Get out of the building because outside is where the answer lies.

Incorporate lean-start-up methodology

Lean-start-up methodology is about starting small and growing as the business grows. It is about starting with the employees that you need, operating out of a co-working space and expanding to your own facility only when there is the absolute need for it. In other words, the lean start-up learns to avoid wasting resources.

Starting lean is also about learning all the necessary skills you need to kick start to a certain level. It is about bootstrapping the business and looking for ways to avoid unnecessary spending.

Know your sources of funds

I started my business, ReDahlia, with my savings. I was able to save sufficient to start the business because I was very goal-orientated with my finances. So, I learnt the art of investing early in life and I invested every penny I didn't urgently need.

Before you decide to start a business full-time, ensure that you have savings to last you at least a year. It is important to note that when you decide to raise money, first consider family and friends before angel investors, venture capitalists or bank loans.

Offer reference

Word-of-mouth is still the most effective form of marketing. Have a database of your clients and ask them to write reviews for your products or services. You can also offer to give a certain percentage of the initial sale to them when they successfully refer a client who makes a purchase.

Get a business name and incorporate

Getting a catchy business name is a herculean task. To get a business name, you need to brainstorm with friends. After the brainstorming session, take some time off and come back to the list already created; strike out any name that is not in line with your vision. Try to reduce the list to five names and make your decision. If you are not comfortable with any of the names, you will have to start the whole process again. This is a service we offer at Entrepreneurs.ng.

Once you have chosen a business name, the next step is to incorporate it with the government. In Nigeria, we incorporate with the Corporate Affairs Commission and there are different business structures that a business can be registered under. Entrepreneurs.ng, being an Entrepreneurship Development Center, helps business owners set up in Nigeria.

With a registered business, you can get a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and open a corporate account with any bank of your choice.

Secure your name across all relevant social media platforms and you are good to go.

Starting a business is an unending journey that presents new learning every single day. You have to pay attention to what is happening in your business and your industry to scale.

Congratulations on starting your own business!

This article was kindly provided by Entrepreneurs.ng