Doing business in Nigeria could be a wonderful experience when your business venture succeeds, however before success there could be sorrows.
Contemplating starting a business in Nigeria could be compared to contemplating joining an army.
It’s not a joke. It’s a rough journey, a war and sometimes a wilderness.
Because doing business in Nigeria is like fighting a battle. There are challenges, headaches and fires to pass through.
I have been there before. I think I know what I am saying.
It’s not easy.
You have a whole lot of obstacles that will threaten your business success, starting from bad economy to extremely poor infrastructures (from power to road, water and other things that could help ease your pains).
It could be very tough, sometimes intimidating.
But, I have two things to tell you quickly;
First, business is not easy anywhere in the world.
Yes, doing business in Nigeria could be tough, I agree. But you see, doing business in the United States, United Kingdom or France is not easy either (maybe easier anyway)
I need to let this sink inside of you because so many people in Africa (and in Nigeria) usually exaggerate the problems of our continent (and countries)
They talk (and think) as if there is hell here and heaven out there.
So, get my first point right.
Though starting or running your own (small or big) business in Nigeria could be tough, it’s not bread and tea anywhere in the world (if it were, everyone would have been millionaire )
Here is my second point;
There is always a way out of any closed room, for the stubborn souls.
If there is a will, there is always a way.
“Where there is a will, there is a way… Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open”
Yes, starting or running business in Nigeria could be very challenging, there is always a way out, for the dogged (stubborn) souls.
Yes, you may be faced with the challenge of raising capital to start your intending business, you may have a big headache about the epileptic power supply or bad road network.
You may be concerned about the unvafourable business environment and government policies, if you’re willing to fight hard and fight through, you will succeed in your entrepreneurial journey, even in Nigeria.
How can you go about it? What is the way out? What and what should you do?
Pay attention to the following 5 helpful points;
1. Stop dreaming it’s going to be easy
When I was going fully into the business world (on July 24th, 2008), I knew quit well that business world is not a joke.
I knew starting a business in Nigeria (or anywhere in the world) is never a joke.
I knew I WOULD (not might) pass through hell, especially because I had nearly no capital to start my intending business venture.
But I was determined. I was dogged. I was willing to go through the hell (in fact, I was willing to die rather than becoming and employee)
This is the kind of mindset you need to start, run and succeed in Nigeria business environment.
If you’re not willing to be a soldier, you can continue searching for “good job”.
If you’re not prepared to fight hard, you may consider being an employee for 35 years.
But can I tell you the truth?
Even job isn’t easy, is it?
We all know what it means to be an employee. We know what it means to be serving someone (or a company) who doesn’t have our interest at heart.
We all have experienced what it means to be used (sometimes like slave)
(That’s one of the reasons why I wrote that I hate job)
So, being and employee is by no way a solution or a good alternative to owning your own business (even as running business in Nigeria is tough)
If you forget everything, don’t forget the fact that the company you’re working for is not your own and you may be sent home any time, even without notice.
I man called me yesterday and told me how his boss just called him last Friday and told him, “Your service is no longer needed”
No prior notice, just sack letter.
This can happen to any employee and it’s happening everyday.
The bank workers are loosing their jobs in thousands, the oil company workers are crying in tens, so, what makes being an employee attractive?
Starting your own business in Nigeria, running your enterprise and making it a success could be tough, yet, I think it’s not as tough as being an employee (my opinion)
Don’t call a spade another name. Don’t expect your business journey in Nigeria to be easy because it won’t.
2. Put on your pride
In our society today, being proud is seeing as a bad thing. However, we have good and bad pride.
We all need (good) pride to succeed in life.
This reminds me of one day in 2008 when my elder brother (older than me by about 10 years) asked me about what I want to do with my life. When I told him about my plan to be a successful business owner, he reminded me that it’s not easy, especially (according to him) because we were not born rich or have anyone who can give us capital like Dangote.
Out of “pride” I told my brother, “I’m going to become a successful business owner!”
It was a pride because there was no outward evidence to signal its possibility.
Be proud of your ability. Believe you can, because, truly, you can!
If your self-esteem is low, if you do not believe in yourself, the heat of the Nigeria business world will chase you back to the labour market (where you’ll continue searching for job)
My Advice for you;
You see, most people who achieve entrepreneurial success in the world are common men and women like you.
The difference, most at times, is that these people believe in themselves and pursue their business dreams.
At worst, if every man that has acheived something in life is extra ordinary I don’t think I am.
I was born a sickler. I spent most part of my first 17 years on Earth on the sick bed, using drugs and herbs or worrying about my ill health.
I was born in a very poor village and was never able to attend what you can call “good school” in today’s definition.
Here I am today. Though I have not become a millionaire, nor have I become the richest man in Nigeria, I think I have done something great with my life.
Why am I telling you all these?
Because I want to encourage you that you can.
You can start that business in Nigeria. You can run and make that business successful in Nigeria.
My Advice for You;
If you believe in yourself and are willing to pay the price, you will succeed in running your own business in Nigeria
3. Stop listening to the pessimists
So many Nigerians (and Africans) believe their country is the worst in the world, and that there is no hope of success or prosperity as long as they live there.
That’s the reason why embassies are filled with thousands of Nigerians who want to move out to the “greener pasture”
You can’t be part of this pessimists and hope for business success in Nigeria. As I advocated in the previous point that you have to believe in yourself, you must as well believe in your country’s ability to give you a chance to be rich.
You can be rich in Nigeria! But you have to stop listening to people who think it’s not possible.
Your can become a successful business owner I Nigeria, but you have to stop listening to the thousands of negative people who want to make you believe otherwise, this includes the media; the news paper, TV, radio and their negative news that tend to discourage you about the possibility of your business venture’s success.
My Advice for you;
Don’t believe those who are trying to convince you that Nigeria is hell or that businesses in Nigeria can only be made successful if you’re Dangotes
4. Be willing to fight, till the storm is over.
I was on phone, I think last week, with one of my proteges (who I am mentoring)
You will not like the kind of advice I gave him.
“Don’t expect any big success for the next 5 years”
This is hard to swallow but it takes time to excel in business, either in Nigeria or elsewhere.
That is the reason why Anthony Robbins says you must be able to pass through several frustrations, if you want to succeed in life (and business)
You will fail and make mistake, many times.
You will loose money and get stranded.
(Please note my word; “WILL”, not “may” because you cannot escape it)
I woke up one day in 2009 with my little business and behold, I slept at night with nothing. An unexpected failure has happened. I had lost my business, all of it.
I have invested money and time in wrong things and ended up regretting.
Your own portions of errors and mistakes are waiting for you. Don’t dream of escaping it because you cannot.
The solution is to be willing to continue fighting, even when the battle is hot.
You must be willing to endure.
You must be willing to start again, again and again, until you write your name among the Nigerian successful business owners.
My Advice for you;
Persistence is your only hope of success. You can never become a successful business owner in Nigeria, or even do business in Nigeria, if you’re not dogged, stubborn and persistent!
If little setbacks make you turn back, go get a job!
5. Weapons alone do not win battles;
Most Nigerians who wish to start business usually think in terms of the money to use to start a business venture (capital).
Well, I’m sad to announce to you that weapons alone cannot win a battle.
Capital to start a business is like weapon. You cannot go to the street and give raffles to a 25 years old men and then ask them to go to the war front. You will kill those young men!
So it is that you cannot become successful in the business, just by having money to start a business.
I once told a man something like, “see, if today I give you #5 million and you go into the business world, in this next 3 years, you may be poorer than you are now”
Most people will find this extremely hard to believe but it is the truth.
Thinking that money alone is what you need to start, run and become a successful business owner in Nigeria is like thinking that all you need to win a war is a weapon.
No. You need battles skills.
You need to learn how to fight.
How do you learn how to start, run and make business successful?
Sit down with people who know how to.
Get connected with people who have been in the business world before, who have passed through the heat and the battles before.
How do you get these people?
Seeing them physically isn’t that easy and sometimes impossible.
So many people have asked me over the years (even yesterday), “please how can I meet you?”
My answer is usually, “It’s not that easy”
Consider the location and time barrier and you will understand what I am saying here.
However, there is a way out.
I have “met” and learned from many of the world’s leaders, from virtually every continent on Earth, simply by reading their books.
In fact, some of these people are dead and I even don’t see the photographs of some (like Herb Cohen, Peter G. Getty), yet, they thought me wonderful things about how to start, run and succeed in the business world.
Go and sit down with the great minds and learn the secrets of making a business successful, by reading their wonderful books.
Go to the nearest bookshop and invest some amount in good business books.
If you think you can trust the ABC, check out some of our wonderful business books here
If you need to speak with me for anything, give me a call on 08100446044 /+1238100446044 (If my P.A answers your call, tell her you want to speak with me)
Though starting or doing business in Nigeria could be tough, there is always a way out, for the stubborn souls
I wish you best of luck!