Rwanda’s Vision 2020 outlines the critical role entrepreneurship plays in economic growth and the achievement of the Vision’s objectives. Entrepreneurs have always been in our midst. We have people who own enterprises and assume significant accountability for the inherent risks and outcomes associated with those enterprises.
We are talking about people like Sina Gerard and others of similar ilk. Here I am also talking about the shopkeepers, moto owners and the airtime cards’ sellers. However, the truth is that the numbers of entrepreneurs in our country are still very small. We need way more entrepreneurs to achieve the Vision objectives.
The question is how do we make more entrepreneurs? The first answer lies in the will. As the saying goes “where there is a will there is a way”. It begins in the mind. You can be an entrepreneur if you want to be. After this you need to have a paradigm shift from a consumerist mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset.
You will need to start spending on assets that will generate more income. You will also need to think both of the short term and long term. Be ready also to take calculated risks even as you remain averse to taking these risks. This is having an entrepreneurial mindset.
It denotes a group of personal dispositions which lead to the innovative practice of identifying and/or creating opportunities, then acting to manifest those opportunities in a productive way. Most of us confuse opportunity with good luck.
The contrary is true most of the time. A lot of our problems are opportunities for entrepreneurship. Solving those problems is very profitable business. One man’s (entrepreneur) truly is another’s (consumerist) poison.
A willing mind must be backed by a business idea. Surprisingly, nearly everyone has ideas but what is depressing is that most of those ideas end up as mere wishes. And we all know about beggars, wishes and horses.
It is advisable to write down your business ideas. This makes you commit to it and think about it deeply and critically. When a great idea comes to you, the first question you ask yourself is what need the business idea is going to satisfy. This defines the target market/customers.
See if you have a method of satisfying that need in a simple, viable and realistic manner. Think of cost, production time, and popularity. Be open to different ideas.
Ask and record if people would actually buy the product.
No ideas? Start to think of your target market first; brainstorm a list of things like places they shop, things they like, and things you like. Narrow the list down to about three items. Keep cost, manufacturing time, and popularity in mind. Find the easiest, most realistic product.
Alternatively, think of a terrible idea. Truth is, you can’t tell if a business idea is great or terrible until you try it in a real marketplace. A lot of the successful ideas that have stood the test of time are “obviously” good, but a lot of them were rejected when they first began.
There is always a good reason against a good idea. Be ready to change your initially good idea. Remember, you will need people to make your business idea work and as Don Dodge says, “great people can make a mediocre idea work, but mediocre people can’t make a great idea work.”
As you come up with business idea, it is important that you identify the right business for you. Explore, be willing to look at different facets of yourself (your personality, social styles, age) and listen to your intuition. Ask yourself, “what energizes me even when I’m tired?”
The author is a consultant in skills development and entrepreneurship lecturer at Rwanda Tourism University College.