In the fourth and final instalment of my interview with Ayoluwa Chase of Shopforme Purchasing Services, Ayoluwa continues to talk truthfully about her entrepreneurial journey. In this article she speaks about :

• What she would do differently if she had to start out in business again
• Two of the biggest challenges she has faced in business and how she overcame them
• One thing that she thinks can make or break a new business
• One pitfall she has noticed with other businesses

See her answers below.

If you had to start your business all over again, what would you do differently?

If I had to do it over I would have:

1) Begun building my business while I was employed. This does not mean working on your business during working hours and neglecting your job functions. It means that you work for your employer and give them their due and work on your business in your spare time. Working while building your business allows you the financial backing to invest in your business.

If  you choose to leave your corporate job to start your business, plan and save, so when you do leave you will be financially stable to maintain a business as well as maintain a good quality of life.

What have been two of your biggest challenges in business thus far and how did you overcome them?

1) Lacking Confidence in my Service.

I thought people would see me as a ‘Now come” and would not see the value I could provide. This resulted in me basically under pricing and undercharging for my services.
As my clientele grew so did my confidence as they continuously expressed gratitude for what I could do for them. As a result, I learned to value my own service. I increased my range of services and began to add more value.

Solution: Getting Positive Feedback and Self Investment

I overcame this by investing in knowledge and I dedicated myself to improving my craft. My expertise and service provision improved and my confidence grew as a result.

2) Burn out

As most new business owners, I tried to do everything myself. I was afraid to let go of certain aspects of my business as I feared no one will do it better than me. If you have to get it done right do it yourself, right…? WRONG!! My level of service began to drop. How could I ask my clients to rely on me and ‘leave the hassle to us’ when I could not let go myself?

Solution : Outsourcing

I took my own advice and outsourced a fully competent Virtual Assistant to hire my administrative tasks so I could have more time to focus on my core competencies. I hired staff to assist with other aspects of the business that ate up a lot of my time. I put systems in place. I automated, delegated and outsourced.

What is one thing that you would tell someone to be aware of that could make or break their business?

Systems and processes or the lack thereof.
Putting proper systems and processes in place for every aspect of your business allow the following:

1) Saving time – as some processes can be automated and will just repeat themselves.

2) Avoidance of burn out . Processes and Systems allows your business to function without you. This is critical in business. If your business cannot function without you then you will be constantly working. You will have no free time, you will be stressed and eventually you will burn out.

What are some of the pitfalls you have observed with other businesses?

Not Having Grit / Giving Up Too Easily

I have seen other small business owners or entrepreneurs give up or give in during the tough times. I think this is a big mistake. It is my personal belief that any type of business can be successful and thrive, once execution is on point. The key though is not faltering when things get tough. One thing I have learnt from the greats doing it in business, is to never give up. Even when things get shitty and trust me things will get shitty! You will question yourself and your decision to be a business owner. You will find yourself asking things like ‘why didn’t I just remain an employee?’ You will feel like a failure, you will feel like calling it quits, don’t! Instead work on yourself, learn and grow, work on creating better systems, processes and procedures to increase your efficiency, manage your time, seek help, outsource, delegated or automate as much as possible and keep at it. It will pay off eventually. I’m not at that point yet, but I’m on my way.

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