With the rising trend of entrepreneurship in all sectors, there is the need to look critically at the way we go about it so that the high rate of failure will be done away with. Many business ideas fail to see the light of the day and more that 80 to 90 per cent of new enterprises fail within the first year or two. How many of the enterprises established in the last decade still exist or is relevant in the present day settings? It is therefore of vital importance that we look at various surviving enterprises so that we can learn and follow the success stories of them. We need successful entrepreneurs who are capable of bringing in innovative ideas on board capable of changing our world for the better and brining in good dividends to them for their survival. Of notable mention is the social enterprise or the church expounded by the Lord Jesus which has survived over the years and has grown into a powerful movement globally.
We would need to consider the issue in five ways:
- Business Model
Many budding enterprises failed because they did not have an innovative business model and no wonder, they could not survive the strong winds of the entrepreneurial atmosphere. Jesus built his model using a simple but powerful scenario his team or disciples were conversant with. He said: “…Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”(Matt. 4:19 KJV). This innovative model turned simple fishermen into a powerful team capable of turning the tide in a predominantly unbelieving world. When entrepreneurs fail to understand their business model well and cannot make their team to follow same, then a recipe for failure along the line is created. It is evident that a clear cut business model with all the accompanying strategies and plans are very much needed for the establishment and survival of enterprises. On top of it all, it should be innovative for it to have relevance and acceptance.
- Mentorship Program
Lack of proper mentorship has been the bane of many enterprises in Africa and no wonder many of them fail after a few years. Most of them which survived did not continue after the death of their founding fathers or entrepreneurs. Many of such businesses use to depend on the ingenuity of their founding entrepreneurs and with no proper team or staff trained to carry out the ideals of the enterprise, a greater number of them could not continue after a while. Jesus trained his disciples extensively for more than three years that when he was not around, Peter and John demonstrated a remarkable knowledge of the scriptures and its relevance to the ordinary man that the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, composed of learned men, were astonished at their mastery of the scriptures and their boldness. The only answer was: “…they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (John 4:13 KJV). Mentorship enables the dream of the entrepreneur to be carried far than he even intended. It teaches the mentees effectively, emboldening them to carry out of the ideals of the enterprise they are with.
- Monitoring and Evaluation
The question an entrepreneur needs to ask himself is whether the business model and mentorship program he expounded are working well. The only way out is to monitor and evaluate the progress of the enterprise from time to time. After sending out the disciples in twos, Jesus evaluated their progress and periodically monitored them. The Twelve Apostles were thus molded in a powerful team capable of carrying out the mission of the Lord after his demise. His outreaches were properly executed and even miracles of loaves and fishes in the five thousand and seven thousand scenarios were properly accounted for and administered.
Jesus motivated his disciples to excel and do wonders even to the same extent or more than he was doing. “…He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he also do; and greater works than these shall he do;” (John 14:12 KJV). The seventy returned rejoicing that they were also capable of effectively carrying out the work at the same level that Jesus did. Whilst Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, he took time to explain the meanings behind his teachings to them, enabling them to understand exactly what he said. When we see our team as a competition, our enterprise is bound to fail. Microsoft Corporation is one example of an organization that has a well-motivated staff that is spearheading the advancement of the organization even in the absence of Bill Gates the founder at the helm of affairs.
Bill Gates went on successfully with Microsoft Windows to other sectors. In the computer software sector, the corporation has captured many grounds, amassing a great fortune, expanding steadily and continuing in many remarkable ways despite the stiff competition from other brands. What can we say of Apple with her landmark iPhone, iPod and iPad series among others. An entrepreneur needs to replicate his success and modify his products with further innovative models to stay relevant. Jesus taught his disciples this lesson of multiplication very well. He said: “…Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24 KJV). Our willingness to dissemination our knowledge properly to our mentees and staff, building them up with strong encouragement and information will bring out a strong team ready to take the world by storm. No wonder after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, 120 disciples he left behind who were empowered by the knowledge and experience with their Master, were able to move to all corners of the known world with a powerful message. It is said that Jesus wrote no book yet because of his strong entrepreneurial abilities, many books has been written of him more than any other.
The call to entrepreneurship is a noble call that must be responded to with caution and diligence so as to succeed and turn the world upside down for the better. We need people who are selfless to be mentored well and with the right training and expertise, will equally move out with innovative ideas to make the world a better place whilst sowing more seeds of powerful mentees to carry on the flame.