Starting a business today is as easy as any simple task we are called to perform. Nevertheless, many still find it very difficult to start. That is because they focus on starting big.
You may have asked yourself the question “How do I start? Well, you need to take advantage of opportunities. An opportunity is a chance that offers some kind of advantage or a combination of favourable circumstances to explore an unmapped territory. It can be a potential to serve customers differently and better than they are being served at present.
There are several types of opportunities related for instance to geography, the local abundance of natural and human resources, the lack of certain services and so on and so forth. Do you see any in your area?
Ideas on their own may be easy to generate, but not all ideas present opportunities! Ideas that seek to solve a problem in your society are the making of an entrepreneur. No matter how small and crazy your ideas may seem at first, do not neglect them, they can be useful in the near future. That is why I recommend that you always write down your ideas.
You never know… you might just be missing out on your opportunity by failing to do so. To fulfil your dream of starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur, you need to recognise and maximise the opportunities that present themselves to you.
A few years ago, a Cameroonian Engineer, Arthur Zang at 24 invented the ‘Cardiopad’. Africa’s first mobile system to transmit a cardiac signal over a mobile network, allowing heart patients in remote areas access to vital medical assistance.
The Cardiopad is a full touch screen medical tablet with long battery life that can send test results to specialists using cell phones. A great tool that could save many African lives. Zang’s interest in cardiology began after an internship at a local hospital where there was a severe shortage of heart specialists (opportunity).
I am of the school of thought which affirms that there are more jobs than job seekers. We fail to see because we focus on the formal rather than the informal job market.
If we decide today to explore our opportunities, we will all gain self-employment. Let me explain how most of us bypass opportunities. Imagine this: “You are that son or daughter of a carpenter who went from elementary school to the level of a bachelor’s degree, sponsored from the income of a local workshop. After graduation, you come back home and you say ‘there are no jobs’ still depending on the proceeds of that workshop. My dear, you have the chance to make yourself a better person. You may be asking, ‘How?’
Here is how: you can take pictures of the beautiful furniture your father has made, design a catalogue, put on some decent clothes then go out and look for uncompleted projects around you that will need furniture. It could be hotels, restaurants, snack bars etc. Try to seal business deals to be a supplier. Once you are able to secure one client, you are in business.
The demand will inform whether you and your father need additional labour. The workshop is now big, you have a job and you can offer others jobs. The business grows and your management skills take you higher. This is just an example of how we miss opportunities every day because we focus on luxury in office white collar jobs. We miss out on the chance of starting a business and creating our own wealth.
Most big companies we admire today and desire to work in started just like, if not exactly like that carpentry workshop. Find out what you are truly passionate about and figure out how to make a business out of it. Or observe a business process in your domain of interest and fit in either to improve on something or to create something new and add value to the process.
Think big, start small, move fast.
“If opportunities are invisible to the eyes, let them be visible to the mind”.
Ndeh William Asongwe CAT/ACCA Qualified
Founder The Entrepreneur
Advisory Associate at ACN & Co Certified Public Accountants and Registered Auditors