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It takes more than a great business idea and a huge capital base to hit it big in the business world, SIMON EJEMBI writes

It is true that limited access to funds has been a major setback for businesses in Nigeria.

The situation is particularly bad for small-sized firms.

“Nigerian small and medium-sized enterprises’ access to finance is low compared to other African countries like Kenya. Most working capital is financed through internal funds,” the Head, Finance and Private Sector Development, World Bank, Michael Wong, said at a meeting organised by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises in Lagos on Wednesday.

Several entrepreneurs with tales of failure have often blamed their inability to transform their business ideas to thriving companies on this.

Experts are, however, quick to note that access to funds and a great business idea are not all it takes for a business to succeed.

Successful entrepreneurs admit that such things as hard work and passion are equally important.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, Zanibal On-Demand Business Solutions, an indigenous software development company, Mr. UchennaIgwebuike, an individual requires the following traits, among others, to be successful in business:

Clarity of purpose

According Igwebuike, for an entrepreneur to succeed, he or she needs to understand the purpose of the business, and focus is key in that regard.

He says, “One of the things needed is focus. You need to have focus. You need to have an understanding of where you want to go and focus on that irrespective of the challenges along the way.”

Ability to manage failure

Igwebuike says any entrepreneur who wants to succeed in business and in life has to embrace failure and realise that failure is just a way of learning and guiding an individual to get it right eventually.


The Zanibal CEO adds that integrity is also very important to succeed. “When I say integrity, I mean in every aspect of it – as an intellectual individual. People can look at you and even if they disagree with you in terms of what your opinion is, they will actually realise that what you are saying is based on you advancing what is the best opinion about what you perceive.

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Hard work

Hard work is another trait that Igwebuike says entrepreneurs need. According to him, there is the need for people to be willing to go all the way and give ‘150 per cent’ to get things done.

Ability to execute plans

Here, he says good ideas are not all it takes. “It is really not about having ideas on what you need to do, but having the discipline, the focus to stay on course and get things done.

Networking skills

In today’s knowledge-based world, the ability to connect easily with people is very important, according to Igwebuike.

“Sometimes, you want to do certain things or source for fund, you find out that having access to people who will help you to do a whole lot of things can really smoothen your way to being successful,” he says.

He adds that the ability to recognise opportunities and seize them is also vital.

Co-founder, InventRight, LLC, a United States-based company that educates entrepreneurs on how to bring ideas to market, Stephen Key, writes in that the following traits are important:

An unwavering passion

The advice to do what you love has become a bit of a cliché. Everyone says, “Find your passion.” But that’s easier said than done.

According to him, being an entrepreneur demands commitment and dedication more than most jobs do.

“If you’re ambivalent or mildly enthused about your product or service, that’s not going to sustain you through the highs and lows that will inevitably occur. If you find something you love enough to want to share with others, that love will fuel and give you purpose,” he writes.


Key explains that the most successful entrepreneurs he knows always remember how much they can learn from others. “They ask for advice. They’re flexible. They soak up the best practices around them like a sponge. Fear of failure can make it easy to grip onto your vision with an iron fist, but rigidity won’t serve you.”


The desire to be an expert

According to Key, entrepreneurs like a challenge. He explains, “If they didn’t, they’d probably have chosen another line of work. But as exciting as it is to consider a new field, high-achieving entrepreneurs know that the benefits of staying in the same industry for a while are immense. When you spend years in the same industry, you learn its history.

“Knowing what’s been done before can help you to identify how it can and should move forward. In the meantime, you’ll build a network of relationships to support yourself in future endeavours, especially when times are lean. Those relationships are invaluable.”

A forward-looking approach

Here, Key explains that it is important for people to know where they are headed as that will keep them from losing focus.

He writes, “Successful entrepreneurs are always thinking ahead. They may stray from their roadmap, and that’s okay, but they have one in mind. Having a clearly established set of goals will keep you from getting stuck. Your goals may be constantly evolving, but if you don’t know where you want to go, chances are, you won’t get anywhere.”

A constant flow of ideas

One more trait successful entrepreneurs have, according to Key, is that they avoid becoming complacent. He says, “Having one project that’s doing well is great. But the successful entrepreneurs I know don’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they’re constantly asking themselves, “What’s next?” They understand that being a successful entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice, not a destination.”

More qualities

For the Managing Director, Enterprise Stockbrokers Plc, Mr. RotimiFakayejo, an entrepreneur who wants to be successful needs the following traits: passion, the grace of God, proper training, support from family and friends, resilience and professional guidance.

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