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As an entrepreneur. You are in a war zone. You must fight to win. You must deploy various strategies in order to be at par with your competitors. Entrepreneurship is a war zone and in this war zone, two parties are involved, your brand and that of your opponent or competitors.

You must be fully prepared.
How do you know you are fully prepared?
If you are in a war zone, your presentation matters. Your outfit should suggest what you are in for. Our outlook as entrepreneurs should suggest we are in for business and are in to win. Presentation of yourself matters, you won’t have a second time to create a first impression.
When I was starting my entrepreneurship journey, I had to learn in a hard way on the job. I had a phone conversation with a client who had agreed to pay certain amount of money. I agreed to deliver myself and on getting there, she totally changed her mind because my outlook did not befit the amount. I was paid lesser than we agreed. That is the world we are in now, especially in Nigeria. Your looks, store and product must be equated to the premium paid.
A soldier in a battle field should not only get his weapons, ammunition etc. He will kit up for it. He won’t forget his shield, boots, helmet etc.
You must look the way you want to be accepted.
As entrepreneurs we need protection just as a soldier on the battle field uses a shield to protect himself from all manner of attacks from his enemy. He uses  shield and helmet to protect himself from swords, arrows, gun fire, grenade etc.
As entrepreneurs we must protect our products too especially we in the tangible creative industry. More often than not, we design or create our products in public, around family and friends. By this we get vulnerable. Protect your brand by keeping certain information except you are ready for succession. Your competitors shouldn’t know certain things about you: your margins, customer data, sales, overheads etc. You must be discrete. Let them wonder about you and ask themselves questions, ”how does she/he do it”.
What are your weapons? As a soldier in the war zone, he has his weapons ready: his swords, riffles, gun, bomb, grenades, gun machines, missiles, arrow, bullets etc. They are  ready to get used. They are trained on the usage of each weapon.
What kind of training are you engaging yourself in? You must invest in yourself in self development like soft skills to enhance yourself and productivity. Go for grooming /etiquette classes. Fill the gaps your competitors are not filling. Some of us say we know all we need to get there but we may know, we don’t have it. Some of us have it but don’t use it. We must be deliberate and intentional. Always go higher. It’s a race and we don’t want to be out-shined.
There is a very important thing soldiers do. They collaborate. You won’t see only one soldier fighting. Fighting is done with the same purpose and mission. You will see a doctor in the war zone, cook, photographer, wrestler, boxer, karate expert, strategist, store keeper, nurse, etc. This set of people make a great team.
Why can’t we as entrepreneurs take advantage of each others strengths and team up to get great results.
Years back, I approached a make up artist to collaborate with us for a photo shoot but she declined after some days. She checked up my Instagram page and felt I was didn’t have enough followers to work with her. The next make up artist who was contacted got a big job by a client who bought the jewelry that was used for the shoot. Try not to always judge a book by it cover. It doesn’t mean sales aren’t happening outside Instagram if there aren’t many followers.
I have a number of upcoming entrepreneurs who have approached us for jewelry for shoot. I never decline. It is an opportunity to help raise someone. It feels so good when you give a helping hand. You never lose.
Written by Bimbo Balogun,
Creative director, Bimbeads Concepts