Internationally recognised business coach Mary Fashanu shares her top five success tips for young and aspiring African entrepreneurs

In this exclusive article by Business Insider Africa, the internationally recognised business coach shares her five success tips for young and aspiring African entrepreneurs.

1. Go in for the right reasons

Entrepreneurship has become the order of the day now in our society, especially in Africa. Some dive into entrepreneurship to create more stream of income, some do to escape the 9-5 hoping to become their bosses, while for others, it is to create more time and freedom, and the list is endless. My advice is to go in for the right reason; just because your parents are successful at being entrepreneurs does not necessarily mean you will succeed. Just because your friends are doing it and it looks easy does not mean it is, and you want to do the same. Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park and is not for the faint-hearted. So, if you go in for the wrong reasons, you might find yourself quitting along the way or getting burnt out and wasting your resources (time and money) that you could have invested in the right path for you. Leaving your day job to start your entrepreneur journey because you want to be your boss should not be the sole reason for going into entrepreneurship. This is because you will work more hours than you do in your day job. Your clients/prospects become your indirect boss because all your business decision will revolve around what solves a problem for them. Eventually, if you have the proper structure in place, you will have the freedom of time, but it takes time; it does not happen from the get-go.

It has been said that the day you stop learning is the day you die! Think about it; you can never pour from an empty cup, so you need to keep refreshing yourself and learning. You can keep learning in various ways; all you need is to find the one that works best for you and use it. Multiple ways you can keep learning are through:

  • Reading of books 
  • Listening to audible/audiobooks 
  • Listening to podcasts 
  • Attending strategic and relevant events/networking  
  • Learning from an experienced mentor or coach, or colleague  
  • Failing forward – learning from your failures  
  • Asking questions when you are unsure  

Everyone wants financial freedom through their entrepreneurial endeavours; however, it is critical to know that the ultimate wealth comes from impacting the community and the clients you serve first and not the blinded pursuit of money. My mentor once told me, “When you serve first, other things will follow,” Other things can be money, wealth, strategic relationships, open doors, and the list is inexhaustive. So, be careful that you are not clouded with the pursuit of money that you forget why you started your business – making a change and making a difference in people’s lives. Once you are clouded with money rather than making an impact, it becomes challenging to create a sustainable business.

Where do you see your business in 1 year, 5, and 10 years? Create that vision from the beginning because this vision should be your north star. This vision should drive everything you do, and you must answer to it. One of the traits of an entrepreneur is to have a vision for something and the desire to create it. So, it would be best if you made that vision always clear. If you suddenly feel things are not looking right, it might mean you have deviated from the initial idea, so all you have to do is go back to that vision board and go at it again. Do not lose sight of your vision. This will help you create a sustainable business. Let your vision guide you.

5. Find and hang with the right people

People can either make or break you! Who you associate with can determine whether you succeed or not. Find people that will encourage, uplift, connect, motivate and be honest with you. People that can be accountable to you. Do not forget who you are with is who you become. The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.