A reader sent me an email suggesting that the title of this column be changed from SME’s Chat to Entrepreneurs Chat.
I think his point is good, because the word “small” limits our imaginations. I hope people who read this column don’t want to remain small forever, but want to reach beyond their wildest imaginations, because after all, life is an adventure.
In his book, How to be a millionaire, Bryan Tracy makes an interesting statement: “Every causation is mental”.
The entire man-made world is an expression of thoughts. Look around you. The tall skyscrapers, fast cars, huge dams, long roads, beautiful houses, complex gadgets, delicious food; they all started as a thought in someone’s mind.
The same is true with all the successful businesses you see; someone thought of an idea and implemented it, until it became what you see today.
So, how big is your imagination when it comes to what you want to achieve in 2012?
Well, I have thought of my major goals for the New Year. First, I want to increase the number of people on my mailing list from 2 000 to 20 000.
Then I want to turn the BusinessLink Gold Club into the biggest networking and business referral forum for SMEs in Zimbabwe, with at least 1 000 paid up members and generating at least US$400 000 in commission for those who introduce customers.
When it comes to the Young Entrepreneurs Clubs, these are going to be launched in at least 2 000 high schools and colleges throughout the country. Finally, I want to retain a net profit of US$100 000 at the end of the year from my business.
If you are a serious entrepreneur, you have to set goals for the coming period, be it a year, five years, or whatever period you prefer.
Goals should be set after serious thought and should be ambitious but realistic. If they are too low and easily attained, you will get bored; if they are too lofty, you will be disappointed and give up.
After setting the goals you need to map a plan of action on how you will achieve them. Then you need to act on the plan.
One of the entrepreneurs I provide consultancy services to told me he wanted to change his type of business from engineering services to something that brings in more cash and profit.
His reason was that the engineering business was not performing to his satisfaction and he was struggling to break even.
I remember a famous business consultant saying in an international business magazine that most problems in business can be solved by selling.
To increase your profit, you have to sell more. This may sound too basic but if you think about it, selling is the key to success in any business.
According to the consultant, if you are good at selling you cannot fail. He even said if you can sell you will be crazy not to start your own business. And the good thing is that selling ability is learnable.
As you think of your growth plan, see how you can improve your selling skills so as to sell more.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs started by selling things. Network marketing, where you sell someone else’s products to people you know, made some people very rich. Network selling is commonly known for things like cosmetics (eg Avon), health products (eg Tiansi) and household utensils (eg Tupperware), but can be applied to almost any product or service. Starting with network marketing helps you develop the necessary selling skills you need in business.
To grow your business, you need to focus 80% of your time on marketing and selling. Get up every morning, get out there and start selling. As you get better in this essential skill you will find your business growing beyond your expectations.
As we launch the Young Entrepreneurs’ Clubs at high schools and colleges this year, selling is one of the important business skill we will be teaching young people who hope to start their own businesses.
Combined with other essential skills such as business planning, financial record-keeping and cash-flow management, this should empower the young people with the competences they need to get into the world of business.
Those interested in forming the Young Entrepreneurs Clubs at their institutions and in their communities will find more information at our website http://smebusinesslink.com.
Please email me your thoughts and feedback at the address below.
l Phillip Chichoni is a strategic business planning and financial management consultant who works with SMEs and entrepreneurs. You may contact him by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.