Thursday, February 25

The Pursuit of Excellence in Academics and Entrepreneurship

The Pursuit of Excellence in Academics and Entrepreneurship

What is Excellence?
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2003 edition, ‘excellence’ is defined as the quality of being extremely good or of very high quality. It therefore follows that to be excellent or to qualify to be described as such; one must strive to be “extremely” good or to produce something of very high quality. It is the “extra” that makes ‘ordinary’ “extraordinary”.

Culture of Excellence
Every youth aspiring to become great in future must imbibe the culture of excellence. You should always go the extra mile by doing more than what is required of you. You must pay attention to details and good finishing.

Excellence pays! In the words of Zig Ziglar “if you do more than you are paid for, a time will come when you will be paid more for what you do”.

How to Achieve Excellence in Academics
Excellence in academics is the bedrock of all other successes in life. Excellence in school opens the door to so many opportunities in life e.g. business, scholarships, connections, jobs, prestige, recognition, etc.

The following are some steps guaranteed to take you there. They have been tried and tested.
1.    Be connected to God.
2.    Be aware of your potentials and be self-motivated.
        “I look into heaven and I see promises
        I look into the world and I see possibilities
        I look into myself and I see great potentials
        Great promises! Great possibilities!! Great potentials!!! A Great Man” – Anonymous 
3.    Be passionate about what you do by “doing what you like or liking what you do”.
        ‘There is little success where there is little laughter’ – Andrew Carnegie
4.    Study, don’t read! Use methods like SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review).
5.    Pray as if you don’t study.
6.    Have a clear vision of where you want to be and what you have to do to get there.
7.    Set realistic goals. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART).
8.    Have good rapport with your lectures.
9.    Attend classes compulsorily.
10. Attend group discussions with serious students. Relate everything you learn to your environment. Go for practicals, excursions, internships etc.
11. Manage stress by managing your time well.
12. Keep healthy and fit (eat and sleep well).
13. Do all assignments well.
14. Avoid exam malpractice.

Academics and Entrepreneurship
While academics relate with studying from books, entrepreneurship deal with practical work that a person does to make money. The reality in today’s world is very harsh for those who stick to academics alone. To make a head way in the world today, you need to be a ‘die-hard’ entrepreneur with or without academics.

Who is an Entrepreneur?
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 2003 edition defines “an entrepreneur” as someone who starts a new business or arranges business deals in order to make money, often in a way that involves financial risks.

An entrepreneur has to make money but must focus on providing solutions to meet human needs and solve problems. People will only part with their money when what you offer helps them in a way that will put an end to their problems.

Who can be an Entrepreneur?
Everyone can and should be an entrepreneur. You don’t have to start your own business to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur working for another person is called an “intrapreneur”. Working for another person with the spirit of an entrepreneur will make you better than your colleagues who do just what is required of them.

Qualities of an Entrepreneur
1.  He or She must be ready to take risks.
2.  He or She must be passionate about the business.
3.  He or She must be ready to learn.
4.  He or She must be a reader.
5.  He or She must be public-spirited.
6.  He or She must be hard working and ready to multi-task.
7.  He or She must be skillful i.e. people skills, marketing skills, managerial skills and technical skills.

Being an entrepreneur is a process. You grow on the job. You may not be perfect at the outset but as you work on yourself, you will increase your capacity to succeed.

How to be an Entrepreneur
1.    Discover what you like to do. Turn your hobbies into business. This makes business fun for you.
2.    Start while you are still employed. This will help you gain experience and save money for your business.
3.    Get a mentor. You can have different mentors for different areas.
4.    Involve others e.g. family, friends, etc.
5.    Get the customers first. Discover what sells instead of forcing your ideas on people.
6.    Write a business idea. A quick plan is better than none.
7.    Do your research. Your research comes at the beginning and will have to continue throughout the lifetime for your business.
8.    Join related industry groups or associations.
9.    Get professional help e.g. from an accountant, lawyer, etc. You might waste time doing it yourself.
10. Seek approval from appropriate authorities by registering your business.
11. Think globally while you act locally i.e. go for quality.
12. Be professional from the word go. Have business cards, business lines, email, Facebook page, office etc.
13. Treat people professionally.
14. Get legal and tax issues sorted out. Learn all you need to know.
15. Be enthusiastic. A good spirit opens doors.
16. Get some training and work experience initially and keep developing yourself to stay current.
17. Be visionary. Plan for the future, foresee trends and see how to maximize them for your advantage.
18. Start small with realistic goals.
19. Keep overhead cost low and measure your growth.
20. Walk in the fear of God and with good faith in God. Never give up!

Conclusion
The biggest money making ventures in the developed world are privately owned. Microsoft for instance contributes a lot to the American economy and its annual turnover is equal to the budget of many countries put together.

Imagine how much Mark Zuckerberg makes daily from “Facebook” or Oluwaseun Osewa from ‘Nairaland’. If you want to be rich, you have to be an entrepreneur. Most people will not be rich by working for others.

While academic pursuit is important, you must not be a victim of your certificate. Education is basic but there is something you can contribute to humanity that people will be ready to pay for. Discover it, develop it, and turn it into a business.

To be a successful student or entrepreneur, you need to believe in yourself and persevere. It is not for the weak and faint-hearted. Be passionate about what you are doing. This will help you surmount challenges.

Difficulties are meant to develop us, not to destroy us. Fix your eyes on your goal and keep moving towards it.

Finally, remember that “with God, all things are possible”. You will surely succeed one day.

CREDIT: MR. STEPHEN LAWAL


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I hope you have found this write-up useful. Feel free to express your opinion on the need for youths to pursue excellence in academics and entrepreneurship via comment box, and spend four seconds to share this article with your loved ones on social media.


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