Vera: You have a lot of enterprises and clearly an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. How do you define entrepreneurship?
Tito: My definition is ‘’Entrepreneurship is about using your life to make a difference through a business’’. In this definition lies 3 critical components that are necessary to successfully pursue your entrepreneurial dreams and eventually build a business that matters. I call these the 3 Ps of Entrepreneurship which are; the person (who): using your life, the purpose (why/what): to make a difference and the process (how), through a business.
Vera: Many people equate being entrepreneurial with starting a business but you have a different perspective. What broader meaning does this term have for you?
Tito: True; being entrepreneurial is popularly tied to starting a business. However, the principles of entrepreneurship transcend just the business domain. Entrepreneurship is essentially about creating solutions to problems; this isn’t limited to business alone. The principles of entrepreneurship can be applied to solving many other problems we encounter in life. Principles such as creativity, collaboration, teamwork, market research, etc. can be applied to other areas of life. The only difference is that you might not get paid for the solutions you come up with as in the world of business, but you get the results you desire, which is another form of profit in kind.
Vera: You’ve published the e-book ” The entrepreneur’s journey”; what’s your mission with publishing this book which you are generously offering for free?
Tito: Firstly, to help new entrepreneurs better understand and navigate their entrepreneurial journey successfully. People who want to be entrepreneurs can use the e-book as a guide rather than blindly going into business. I am giving it for free to promote and establish myself as a business development consultant with services that can help entrepreneurs build a business that matters.
Vera: Entrepreneurship is obviously more than simply having a good idea and implementing it. What does it take to be a good entrepreneur?
Tito: You’ve got to constantly be ahead of the market you serve in terms of understanding trends, the needs, wants, and realities of your customers so that you meet them adequately and create the future. Good entrepreneurs don’t simply copy an existing product/service or business, but create new ones through innovation that address practical problems people want to solve.
Vera: There is a perception that there are businesses that exist to make money and there are social projects which are more ‘living your purpose” type organizations. You believe one can profit from purpose. How does that work in practice?
Tito: Personally, I believe this dichotomy is an artificial one. For me, every business that is focused on solving any problem for target customers and leaves them better than before, is profiting from purpose. So long as your business is making the life of the customer better and you are enjoying the process of creating and delivering the solution for these customers, then you are profiting from purpose. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a for-profit business or a social business. Every business should meet the needs and wants of her target customers, period.
Vera: Many people struggle to identify their purpose. Drawing on your own experience how does one start to do this and find a channel for living it?
Tito: The question of purpose is fundamentally about a person’s interest, abilities and skills. As we develop as humans, we begin to notice that there are some activities we naturally are drawn to and desire to get better at than others. Purpose is all about the greater good we choose to do with our individual interest, abilities and skills, being fulfilled and giving our best contribution possible. Once you can tell what you are naturally fascinated about and love to do, decide what greater good you could do with it and you’ve solved the question of purpose.
Vera: When one has a dream that’s too big for them to take forward alone, what would you suggest they do to make it happen?
Tito: Every dream is usually bigger than the capacity of the dreamer to achieve it alone. So if your dream is just what only you can handle, then you definitely need to dream again. To make your big dream happen, you need the help of others. First kick start the dream yourself and work hard to achieve some results that you can show to the people you will need along the way. It is far easier to get people to join you when you have some results to show. No one wants to hang around a loser, so get out there and do the initial hard work and achieve some results. Your initial results will be proof that your dream has potential to succeed and worth backing. This is how I have done it in my business; so trust me, results speak louder than dreams!
Vera: You consider yourself as a people developer; what do you do to develop/grow yourself?
Tito: I am an avid learner. I learn through books, blogs, and trainings and apply what I learn immediately because I am more interested in the results the knowledge acquired can create for me than just having the knowledge. The learning helps me execute better and the results achieved help me grow!
Vera: Finally, what would you say is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur and how do you ensure you do not get discouraged?
Tito: It’s striking a balance between doing business and building a business. Both are necessary for success. Doing business is essentially about operations; the day-to-day activities you need to do to get your business going; in other words, working in your business. Building a business is essentially about growth. These are activities that are not day-to-day but those required to position your business for growth. In other words, working on your business.
Tito Philips, Jnr. is a result-driven entrepreneur, writer, speaker, business consultant and life coach who specializes in helping businesses and people to become ‘’significant’’ –unique (different) and useful (making a difference). He has written several articles on business and entrepreneurship some of which have been translated into Spanish and read monthly by over 15,000 small business owners across Spain and Morocco. He has “Platinum Expert Author” status on ezinearticles.com and has appeared in major Nigerian publications such as the SUN, Guardian, BusinessWorld and on major online blogs including, Problogger, Under30CEO, LateralAction and AfricanBrains. He runs the blog: www.naijapreneur.com
For more information on Vera Ng’oma’s work and resources in leadership, personal and career development and excellence building, click here.