How to Avoid Becoming an Unsuccessful Entrepreneur

How to Avoid Becoming an Unsuccessful Entrepreneur

By Michael Egbulefu 

What exactly drives people into business these days? I am particularly interested in young people or young graduates fresh out of school faced with a daunting unemployment problem. What drives these set of people into business?

Is it the need to make money? The need to get out of the house? The desire to make a difference? To please a parent maybe or learn how to take over the family business? Or is there a particular vacuum they hope to fill with their business or a particular problem they wish to solve with their solutions or is it straight out driven by the spirit of materialism that has pervaded the consciousness of the 21st century youth? Maybe they are just too proud to work for anybody. I don’t know if this kind of pride is a good thing or a bad thing. It sure as hell has put a lot of people into trouble and sent millions down the drain and it has also made some young entrepreneurs very successful. So, I can’t say.

My opinion is that most people go into businesses these days in this country for a myriad of reasons which may include any listed above or not and I am not writing to point out the right reasons to go into business or run your own show (at least, not this time) because ultimately, humans want to survive by any means necessary, no matter what it takes. When it comes to survival and man, the end justifies the means. So, I’m not interested in the right or wrong reasons at this time.

In an economy where even the youngest of the young knows the dictionary meaning of recession and jobs we thought were formerly untouchable by economic downturn and we considered highly secure were lost in 2016. A man with a family to feed may not really need a reason to go into business other than he has to survive and help his family survive or lose his pride of place in his own home. So, in this case, survival and pride may be the driving factor. Ok, so what exactly is the reason for this write-up?

At this point, I believe that no matter the reason for venturing into the murky waters of private venture, certain preliminary steps should be put in place to avoid squandering savings on fruitless ventures. A young man who has searched and searched for jobs and drafted and redrafted his CV more times than he can count may be forced into desperation and this is a foundation for costlier mistakes in the future. Desperation will make for only short term business thinking…the easiest way to pay the bills or how to make it now…this is dangerous. What to do?


  1. Slow Down and Identify a Problem You Can Solve

Successful entrepreneurs are successful because they have solved a particular problem and met certain market needs. By identifying the problem you wish to solve and designing a business plan that solves it, knowing your target customer base and having a vision for how to better execute your plan, a startup is halfway there already. Knowing all of the above is not a one night affair and will take some time. So, slow down and figure it out before you jump.

  1. Avoid the Mistake of Seeing Opportunities in Everything

A desperate entrepreneur will see opportunities to make money in everything. This is a recipe for disaster. The truth is some ideas are better than some but when an opportunity is seen in everything, a desperate entrepreneur spends his/her money on a venture till he/she sees another venture that appears better and he moves on. This leads to constant change of mind and unnecessary spending which only makes him more desperate and the cycle continues.

  1. Know Yourself

Don’t bite more than you can chew. Contrary to what is being bandied about up and down, I do not believe everyone can own or run a business. Some people are wired to work for others, some are wired and more comfortable in an organised corporate environment, some people are risk averse and the thought of carrying or bearing business risks and pressures makes them breakout in cold sweat. Know what kind of business you can handle and know your passion and temperaments.

To conclude, I agree with David Worrell when he wrote that ‘the fastest, surest way to make money is to get a job’. The world of business gives success to entrepreneurs who are willing to get dirty to solve problems and realise their visions; wealth is just the reward from doing these things very well.
Michael Egbulefu is an Economist, he can be reached via

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