Last week we heard from the entrepreneur-horses, the realities and challenges of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Today, I want to share with you another dimension of my discourse with the horses: their experience-based advice to intending entrepreneurs.
Before then, Dr Chika Nwosu has asked pointedly and from the global side of the world ( the world is a global village but while some people are in the village side of the world, others are in the global side) who these horses are. Hoping they will not mind, some of the horses include Chief C.I Ezeh (John Holt PLC/UNICHRIS); Chief Eric Nwobi (Niger Holdings) Ikenna Oguegbu (Kojo Motors); Edy Muoemenam (Clarion Medicals); Basil Osuokwu (Obassey Group); Ijeoma Ubosi (Kontessa). Others are Emma Umenwa (Geneith Pharmaceutical); Ezenwagu Okafor (Anno Chemical Cosmetics Industry); Charles Egbudom (Form-Annex Associates); Bath Nwibe (Segofs Energy Services); Chika Muonanu (Niger Opticals); Sebastain Umeobi (Asjay Group); Johm Emetu (Big-Fish Restaurant). Also included are Prof Uchenna Nwosu (Apex Specialists Ltd); Luke Muonanu (L.I Muonanu & Co), Dom Okafor( Jocaro Ltd). Now that I have satisfied the inquisitive tendencies of Dr Nwosu, I will move on to the ‘sole business of the day’ as they did at the National Assembly on 11/6/19.
Our horses advised intending entrepreneurs who wish to make a success of it to embrace integrity, honesty, equity, truthfulness and trustworthiness. They advised them to be focused on what they are interested in, to make efforts to learn that line of business, to be vision driven, customer focused and passionate, and to offer unique values, which is the surest route to customer attraction and retention, and enables them to have reasonable markups in their prices. Those intending to make it as entrepreneurs in this highly competitive and harsh operational environment should acquire basic and business education, undertake feasibility studies, consult professionals and embrace the limitless possibilities of ICT.
They should also scan the external environment, especially political and economic aspects, understand how government actions and inactions affect their plans and redirect their businesses into the priority established by the government. They should also be watchful of changes in the business ecosystem and strategise accordingly. For instance, solar energy is becoming a reality.
An entrepreneur dealing in electrical parts (manufacturing or distributing) ought to note that the future of his business is shaky and plan accordingly. They should refrain from borrowing because loans are available and refrain from speculating with bank funds because failure to deploy the funds to the purpose for which they are borrowed is the surest route to disaster, unless an act of God occurs to save the situation. While entrepreneurs should relate with other parties, they are advised to make out time for whatever business they want to venture into, rather than handing it over fully to someone who claims to be an expert in that field. Diversification is essential because it enables one side of the business to support the other but intending entrepreneurs should move slowly but steadily and ensure that they do not over-trade
They should not go into a particular line of business because others are ‘making it there’; should dig in for the long term rather than adopting a hit-and-run perspective of voting with their legs whenever business is dull. They should eschew the get-rich-quick mentality, understand the principle of sowing and reaping, that they would sow before reaping and that one will certainly reap whatever he or she sows, whether good or bad. I have kept it short and simple but because this platform is not appropriate for an extensive discussion of the issues raised. But I believe that useful hints have been dropped and with this, I will leave the ‘horses’ for now and recall them when the need arises
Other matters: Our ‘black-white’ ladies
I will start this edition of other maters from two divergent but convergent stories. Before then, I wish to acknowledge the feedback from Ikenna Okonkwo of NNPC Environmental Services who informed me of his special interest in the ‘other matters’ segment of these interventions. Now, the stories: when Peter Obi was the governor of Anambra state, he took special pride of being the only ‘Mr’ in the comity of gubernators because his colleagues were Chief Dr… FAD, CLU, OPC, QED…. However, it is not just at the gubernatorial circles. Anywhere ten Nigerians are gathered today, nine of them are multi-titled: High Chief Dr Sir bla bla bla. In effect, the title ‘Mr’, is an endangered species, speedily heading for extinction. That is one story. The other day, I attended an event where the ‘jokist’ (MC) suggested that our ladies should seek NAFDAC certification because most of their body-parts, both seen and seen (eyelashes, nails, hair and the ‘other ones’) are artificial and mostly imported. These are different stories but they converge when you consider the fact that almost all our ladies are now ‘white’. Black (dark) ladies are now as scarce as the ‘Mr’ title and the emergent whitishness is another reason why some of them need NAFDAC certification. Look around your office, church, market or even your home and you will notice that all, well almost all, the ladies are now ‘white’. Well, not totally white but blackish-white! It is another dimension of our import dependence: foreign coaches, foreign toothpicks, foreign houses, foreign holidays, foreign accents and foreign accounts. I don’t want to comment on the wicked painting technology and the make-up, make-down or make-over, which makes it impossible for one to recognize an acquaintance at an event. Yes… we are progressing!
Ik Muo, PhD; Department of Business Administration, OOU. 08033026625,