Entrepreneurship 2022 – Navigate and accelerate in 5; By Ngozi Bell

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Do this as you read the next line – Stand up, think of something really funny/great and smile and then think of something really annoying and laugh. The truth is that both things have something in common, they happened! They are in the past, done!

The point is once something starts, then it can have a finite time. Now sometimes things do morph, get entangled, overcome other things, etc. but whatever state a thing is in; its original form gets on the trajectory of an expiration date or a finite schedule.

The most important thing you can do in order to see an outcome, an end point, a new beginning, a new place, opportunity, hope, way, obstacles overcome, pain endured, joy, problems ceased, issues solved, advances made, successes achieved etc. etc. The most important thing to do is to “Just start”! To essentially get it out of your head, your plans, ad nauseum analysis etc. 

Knowing that we all have had varying exposure on entrepreneurship and many of us are doing it, or have lived it in various forms and stages. I thought it prudent that in this new year of 2022 we revisit important principles not by repetition but by resourcing some simple angles with reinforcement.

Who is an entrepreneur – are they born or made – it can be romantic to debate this or at its plainest, academic, the truth is that what matters most is what an entrepreneur does! – It also matters that everyone who participates in entrepreneurship is one too! So, whether you invested, started it, supported it, worked for it, expanded it etc. – if you assumed the risk – you are part of it! By 2021 582m (MARKINGBLOG, 2020) people globally were identified as entrepreneurs, – just a little shy of 9% of global populace are representative of this class of people. We know by reason of direct experience that this is likely a gross under estimation as many continents are rife with shadow economies that are hard to quantify but can be experienced, all of which are entrepreneurs!! Notably 34% of entrepreneurs worldwide are women owned.

 Five items to accelerate and navigate your 2022 journey:

  1. Know What you know well – As the entrepreneur you are the subject matter expert in an important and typically unique aspect of your enterprise or endeavour. Whatever that is, you must know it. 

When you map the fine paths to entrepreneurship, it often looks like a v/t *(velocity vs. time graph) slope that defines acceleration. The truth is that in reality it’s completely unrefined, messier much a mass of spaghetti – with squiggly intermingled dependencies and relationships. It’s in that complexity that genius finds its birthplace, magic happens and dreams come true!. 

So know what you should know because the journey makes plenty room for the unknown!

Per the chart above regardless of the desired outcomes – legacy, efficiency, sustainability, validity, growth, wealth etc. You will encounter things – struggle, opportunity, favour, bureaucracy, failure, lack, impatience, discouragement, complexities, innovation, capital, lack, time, shortsightedness etc. Some will catapult, others will deter, some will open doors and others will create halts but together, they’ll keep it moving .

  1. Extend and expand what helps and propels – This means grow your cells of partners, beneficiaries, enablers, technology, markets, information, new knowledge mentors, sponsors, supporters. Investors, teams etc.

Like a scientist cultures cells to grow colonies of cells expanding them for use in different environments to create access to more value, do the same with everything that is good to and for you. Grow those relational cells of engagement to colonies of support and enablement.

  1. Share to create credibility One of your important roles in the foray into enterprise building is to create credibility – and subsequently grow your credibility currency – Your credibility currency is what gives you an anchor, it defines the extent to which your enterprise will be desired.

Partnerships that allow your enterprise share knowledge in exchange inclusiveness, engagement, empowerment as an information provider and contributor will increase your credibility currency. In the Ecosystem Development Model (EDM) – you can engage with the support complex, investment engines, corporations, accelerators/incubators, shareholders, customers, partnerships, influencers, government. You can contribute your unique knowledge and become necessary to the EDM.

  1. Establish your team, work or expertise into a relevant sphere – In some cases this can be best evaluated through the lenses of the public sector engagement – For example, compliance, regulatory, policy and industry standard leadership or advocacy can announce that your enterprise is serious and here to stay.

Some benefits are that unlike generations past, today we are in an era where many government officials may be engaged as equals. In times past, the age gap between official and entrepreneur was more than 2x and the difference in experiences were about two to four decades removed. Today there are many one-to-one correlation on age and experience for 30 to 50% of government representatives in many  constituents. That is an opportunity to be exploited – they need you to provide input – of course not to help your business specifically but to create an enabling environment, which in turn benefits the larger ecosystem. Support them with white papers, opinion papers. Help them have the information they need to support, defend, establish good laws, policies and regs – it invariably helps you! Help standard bodies consider your novel, cost effective, sustainable, more effective or efficient approach etc. Find early adopters by allowing key markets have early access to your solution, it exposes your work to real time use.

  1. Scale it because it must have enough “survival breath” – Survival breath is essentially the scale equired to keep a product going past the “valley of death” investment cycle or past the point of a high risk of failure. It can be simply defined as scalability which is a long word but not a big word! It simply means capable of significant expansion via increased use and deployment without degradation of performance.

Some example areas to scale include in patents (sectors with big impact include: STEM, genetics, biotech etc.), capital (as receivables, investment, sales, NRE), resources (people, process and tools), markets (reach, size, opportunity) – this is necessary to create sustainability – this is necessary to achieve the desired outcomes of the entrepreneurs dream.

A notable and unglamorous part of entrepreneurship is this – entrepreneurship while mostly positive has its downfall. Done right, entrepreneurship steadily increases wealth, however when left uncapitalised it can have detrimental effects. As you can see in the graph while entrepreneurship accelerates self-employment, uncapitalised entrepreneurship can accelerate income inequality and poverty (sciencedirect.com). See graph below.

So, entrepreneurship can only be defined by what is done, the outcomes of which can be varied, but that does not diminish the experience and must be accepted as okay! Happy New Year 2022!

About Ngozi Bell

Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work

experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).