Success is like a beautiful but shy Bride. She has strange habits and is always on the move, no time to waste, today she’s here and gone tomorrow. She moves constantly looking for the best conditions and people who understand how to attract and keep her. She’s always on her journey, never tired. She always travels with four guardians, loyal guards that one must pass through before one can have any encounter with her. These tireless companions are Knowledge, Discipline, Consistency and Discernment. Only those that study and develop the same character as her 4 friends will ever get to align and meet her.
Someone once said to me that Chinese and Indians can go anywhere in the world and prosper, because they don’t really look for jobs or employment in their destination country. What most of them look for is opportunity, and with opportunity, they will become Millionaires in a few decades. Opportunity is another word for a ‘market-gap’ or a problem to solve.
I personally have many friends that are Lebanese, who came over here as hospitality workers, brought in by richer Lebanese as ‘trusted hands’, to work in their facilities as Chefs, Bar Managers, Supervisors, and maintenance people. I noticed that in about a short 4-5 years, once they learn our Nigerian business terrain, most moved from being just staff (on salaries) to quickly opening their own outlets and becoming owner-managers too. Having seen the opportunities in our blessed land, they saved their money, made the right connections, and chased a bigger goal of wealth. How come most succeed, in this same Nigeria?
The quickest path to making money lies in adding value to other people. It can be somewhat easier to make money in Nigeria legitimately, than in many foreign countries that people are running to currently. Just remember this maxim: ‘Money follows problem solving opportunities.
A young lady mentee at university who hated spending time washing her clothes, decided one day to engage someone down the community nearby to wash and iron her clothes weekly, for a small fee. This allowed her more time for other things she enjoyed. One day, as she sat with some friends, who were complaining about how much time doing their laundry took, she realised that she had a solution for this problem and suggested that she could pick up their clothes once a week and wash/iron them before returning the same the following week. She told them that she would pick and process them in batches of 10 items (per batch, per week) and would charge only a small fee for the weekly service.
One day, as she returned a batch of clothes, she decided to wrap them in transparent nylon to protect them from rain and dirt and place a simple note inside with the amount owed. She also provided her bank details for digital payment, the recommended date for the next batch collection and her mobile number. . This new upgraded packaging and service process simplification caught the eye of other roommates in the hostel and seeing her service as an affordable solution to the dreaded crowded hand wash laundry room provided by the college, they began calling her phone requesting her services. Long story short, she created a booming business at the university, employed more hands and was able to make a handsome regular income , such that when she left the university, she had lived well and saved hundreds of thousands of naira. She was even fortunate enough to sell the business to another student for a good sum. . She’s now a graduate and while some of her friends are complaining about the lack of jobs in Nigeria, she’s confidently exploring other business opportunities .
Can you solve problems? Do you understand that a problem is an opportunity in the first place? Are you one of the many that complain from ‘dawn to dusk’, without doing anything about your issues? Research has shown that the average person complains 15 – 30 times a day, and also that people who complain without taking ANY action, eventually end up poorer in life generally.
Your success will depend on how you perceive the opportunities around AND how you solve problems for others (adding value).
There are 3 main reasons why Nigeria offers large potential for wealth and many foreigners see these also:
- Opportunities to add value exist where there are gaps in the smooth functioning of society., i.e. where problems that frustrate people exist, there also lies opportunities.
- Our population size offers a great number of potential customers all waiting for solutions that they are willing to pay you for. 200 million people is a heck of a market to have access to and these days with digital tools, reaching them is a lot easier.
- Labour is comparatively abundant. We have a large pool of people that are looking for work, especially in the younger demographic segments that can be employed quickly.
All successful entrepreneurs start from a problem. Your goal is to identify a challenge (problem) and then come up with a solution that helps people, such that they are willing to pay you for it. This is called adding value or value creation.
Problems are opportunities and usually hidden INSIDE people’s complaints. Resolve that from today, you will begin to train yourself to listen right through people’s complaints, to find what problems exist and resolve to become solution oriented.
See you all next time, where we will lay out the steps to starting a business and also touch on the mindset that we need to have.