5 insights on achieving your entrepreneurial dream

This blog post is based on my notes from Pastor Wonuola Adetayo‘s thoughts during the panel discussion at Harvesters Entrepreneurs Forum on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Pastor Adetayo is Executive Director at Kainos Edge Consulting Limited and Director at The Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

We are often asked to dream big, but I believe it is a cliche that has limited people. I would say you should dream small. When you dream small, it moves you from being a dreamer to being a doer. It moves you from waiting to activating.

In the first phase of my career, I found that the higher I went on the ladder, the unhappier I became. My dissatisfaction was not with the work in itself but other factors that came with it. So I decided to step out and start a consulting/training business, which I have found to be my area of strength.

I had to throw away all the titles and learn. People told me that as a former MD, I could simply position myself as a consultant, but that would have been a wrong thing to do. It is important that you humble yourself and learn.

When you dream small, it moves you from being a dreamer to being a doer. It moves you from waiting to activating. - HT @wonuadetayo Click To Tweet

Starting out with no experience, cash and contacts, I borrowed an office from my sister and started writing proposals. I interviewed my personal assistant on the day that I was going to present my first bid, so that we would go together as a company.

Eventually, we succeeded in winning a bid to train 600 members of staff in a multinational company. The company leadership wondered how we could pull that off as the relatively unknown company that we were. They took us through the selection process all over again and we still emerged the winner.

So, what do I advise?

1. Dream small

What is the smallest feasible version of what you intend to do? Start with that. Dreaming big can lead to protracted take-off as a result of wanting to start big. But when you dream small you can overcome inertia and get moving. [Tweet that]

2. Understand your terrain

Who are the people that you want to serve and what are the peculiarities of your environment? Who are the major players in your industry and what are the critical success factors for your line of business? Take time to study and understand your terrain.

3. Have a global outlook

Global outlook helps you to scale. Dreaming small or starting small does not mean that you should be sloppy with your work. Rather, benchmark your standards against the best in the world. Insist on world-class quality in your attitude, skills and everything you do.

Find out innovations from other parts of the world that you can adapt to your own business. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Build relationships with key players and strategic partners that can help you achieve your goals. Collaboration is the new competition. You are too small to do all the things that have not been done before. [Click to tweet]

4. Be careful of tunnelled vision

Don’t stay with a vision that is no longer viable. You must adapt to changing times and redesign your business to take advantage of emerging realities. Otherwise, you run the risk of extinction. For example, consider the evolution of the digital camera and how it completely displaced Polaroid and prior key players who were caught in the trap of tunnelled vision.

5. Be committed to continuous learning

The illiterates of the twenty-first century are those who are not willing to learn, unlearn and relearn. Read, take relevant trainings and learn from deliberate interactions with people.

Don't stay with a vision that is no longer viable. You must adapt to changing times and redesign your business to take advantage of emerging realities. - HT @WonuAdetayo Click To Tweet

Concluding thoughts

One issue that often comes up in discussions about starting a business is the issue of having a side hustle. Depending on how it is managed, this could constitute an ethical dilemma, but it doesn’t have to be.

The world is changing. Companies need to come to terms with the fact that many employees are compelled to have a side hustle. In fact, some companies have started to support employees in this regard, thereby encouraging disclosure.

However, employees must be careful not to violate the principles of ethics and professional conduct. Fulfil your responsibilities at work. Do what you are paid to do, and ensure that you don’t use your employer’s time and resources to pursue your side hustle. [Tweet that]

Having said that, we must also understand that not everyone will be an entrepreneur. Some people are best suited to be employees, and that’s fine.

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