An entrepreneur is someone who sees a new opportunity and creates a business or social enterprise to exploit it.
Throughout the Pacific are examples of young, and not so young, entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity to do something for themselves and grasped it with both hands.
In this series I am exploring what it means to be an entrepreneur in the Pacific. Today my focus is on the resources we need to be successful entrepreneurs.
Recently I was talking with a young entrepreneur who was telling me that he couldn’t start his business because he lacked resources. I asked him to explain what he meant. Basically, he had no money, so he believed he could not start his business. By the time we finished talking we had created a list of all the resources he did have. These included himself (knowledge, skills, experience, entrepreneurial attitude); a good network of friends and family; land; contacts around the Pacific; an empty warehouse; a new computer and smartphone; an old car and some old but repairable machinery. Above all he was passionate, energetic and determined. Yet somehow, he had come to believe that with no money he could do nothing. Now, armed with his resource list, he is planning the best way forward for his business without giving in before he has already started! Starting a new small business with a loan is probably the worst possible thing to do and should be avoided if at all possible!
Of course, resources include money, but they include a whole lot more and, as the quote at the start of this article says, they start in the mind. If we believe we can do nothing without money or an expensive vehicle or a new computer, then we will probably be right! A positive mindset is a crucial resource for all entrepreneurs. Believe that you can do things, not that you can’t. That positivity will then encourage you to look around you and see what resources are available for nothing.
Resourcefulness is our ability to understand and use the resources that we can access and it is that quality that we must develop as entrepreneurs. There are resources everywhere – people, ideas, land, sea, communications, information, plants, trees, fish, animals, buildings, recycled equipment and materials and so on.
Human resources – people – are the most valuable asset that the world has. They are all desperately needed and must be well looked after. Think carefully about the people on your team. They may be staff or supporters or suppliers or customers or a mix of all of them. Treat them well with respect and they will work hard for you. Treat them badly and they are likely to work hard for your competition!
Document the resources you have available to support your business ideas. Once you have done this then they should become part of how you plan your business. Make sure that you focus your resources in areas that provide the greatest opportunity, rather than just making across-the-board decisions. For example, if you have land, think carefully about how best to use that land to give maximum benefit to your business ideas. Try not to copy what someone else has done – be original and different.
Collaborating with others is a great way to share resources and to get maximum value for both parties. Team up with other businesses who have different needs or resources. If you are lacking technology resources, then look around for a business that can share theirs and that needs what you have to offer.
During a crisis like a cyclone, you have to share resources and help each other out but you do not have to wait to a crisis. The sooner you start to collaborate with others the better so you can create a win win relationship. Running a sustainable and resilient business is not an individual activity. It needs everyone to support each other and to share resources so that they can be of maximum value
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller
Next week, I will look at the support that is available to entrepreneurs and how to make best use of it.
If you need any contacts or advice then do get in touch.
I hope you enjoy this series. As always, please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told.
Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Founding partner at Breadfruit Consulting.