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Debunking The Myths Of Entrepreneurship: My Take On Entrepreneurship In Nigeria

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my take on entrepreneurship

Debunking The Myths Of Entrepreneurship: My Take On Entrepreneurship In Nigeria

I woke up this morning with a nibbling feeling. I was thinking that something was not right. I checked a friend’s status and saw something like, “sleep is now a luxury.” It reminded me of when I used to tell my homies that Poverty has murdered sleep. For me, they needed to know my story before sharing it in my glory. This is my take on entrepreneurship from the little time I have spent talking to entrepreneurs, listening to them, and trying to become one myself.

Now, when I said that poverty has murdered sleep, I was naïve. How little I understood these things. I am also sure that my friend is also a product of that naivety. One fact remains that nobody cares.

You can keep your story to yourself and become successful. Whether you sleep at night or you sleep in the morning; that is totally up to you. People are only interested in what they see. Very few will want to know the process. You see, the process will only make sense when the end result will be worth it.

I see a lot of people doing businesses coming out to claim the same stage as an entrepreneur. You are merely selling and buying if you are a businessman but an entrepreneur creates. Give some respect man.

Nightwalkers, nightcrawlers, night gurus, or whatever they call it are some of the mantras from some people who think they are entrepreneurs. They may spend the larger part of the night doing things that have absolutely no bearing to entrepreneurship. Some of the big names I know all built-in silence. Remember, this is my take on entrepreneurship so no villain need be, please.

A Personal Experience Backing My Take On Entrepreneurship

You know I have always referred to myself as the Magician. Recently, I have taken on the title of the Controversial Local Man. Well, I’m also considering changing it. Have a synthesis of both. Why did I say this? Story. It is powerful. Maybe some stories will help. But remember, this is no story.

When I was in university, I was a bookworm in my first three years in school. I was obsessed with getting a degree in political science that I will probably never need. Strange, right? But that is your story too. Yes, your story.

I was so serious that I became the holder of the departmental keys. Thompson, Adaobi, Odili, Abagha, and all the earthmen can confirm this story. I was dedicated. I stayed away from alcohol and women. Momma told me they will make me fail. Chai, if only I knew. I was so serious that I didn’t tolerate noise in LG building. I did drive you out if you disturbed and nothing will happen. Remember, I’m a magician, so nothing will happen and this is my take on entrepreneurship. Tell those people to look at me with compassion and forgive my naivety.

When I got to the final year, I had already met with important people in the department. I knew some of the lecturers personally and we could grab a bottle or two once in a while and talk about girls and other supposed distractions. But, we could also talk about the reality of the outside world. I was schooled again on the outside world. I became a realist. I started studying Mafia literature and becoming very serious about playing chess. I became a realist and the best version of what I have always been. A strategist.

The bottom line is that in my final year, I had the best result. It was only in my final year that I made first class. Strange? I had more fun in my final year than I had in my first three years combined. The girls, drinks, and other indulgences but I came out clean.

What this means is that there has to be a practical strategy for your works. It is not enough to keep working hard. There has to be smartness to it. Suffice it to mean that I worked hard in my first three years and worked smart in my last year. Now, imagine what will happen if I combine hard work with smart work.

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating a wayward life as the way to achieve success before my mentees and even my mentors will come for my head. Everything I said here was my demonstration of how we get it wrong and still come out to shout some annoying mantras. We need to put some people straight. It is pertinent.

When any of you will call me out again, I will call on Amadioha and Arusi Okija for you. Okay, to ensure that doesn’t happen again, let us look at some of the myths of entrepreneurship and that will enable you to know the right thing to do and what you should be when you tell people you an entrepreneur. Let me not call names shaa.

With that said, let us look at the myths of entrepreneurship. This is a focus on my take on entrepreneurship and how it works.

My Take On Entrepreneurship: The Myths Of Entrepreneurship

my take on entrepreneurship

 

  1. As entrepreneurs, you don’t have personal lives

I don’t know where this is coming from but it is totally wrong. Very very wrong. Why would you even become an entrepreneur if you won’t have a personal life? This is where the principle of working both hard and smart comes into play.

As an entrepreneur, you are not expected to work for 24 hours a day in a year as some people think you should. Actually, I believe you should have more time than someone who is not an entrepreneur. You control outcomes.

So many people have abandoned friends, family, and some leisure activities because they are busy working. Given, entrepreneurship requires some energy and commitment but don’t ever think that abandonment will help you out.

Related: Politics And Entrepreneurship in Nigeria: The dilemma of being a Nigerian doing business in Nigeria

There is a balance and you need to strike it. You are not expected to become totally lackadaisical about it. That balance is what you need. Work when you need to but create time for your family and friends and other social activities as a way of staying wealthy in your soul too.

Time management can also help you. In fact, that is what you need. If you can, avoid multi-tasking. It is crazy shit. It has the same effects on your brain as sleepless nights and it is worse than smoking weed in terms of IQ reduction. It could also lower productivity.

So, my dear, stick to your to-do list if you can as that will always be better. One task at a time could be more productive than multitasking. I will probably write a piece on this topic. It looks juicy.

It is my take on entrepreneurship so, what can possibly go wrong.

  1. Entrepreneurs must take lots of risks.

Entrepreneurs take risks. That has been in our head for a long time. From the days of business studies that we were taught the factors of production, we were told that the entrepreneur who is the fourth factor after land, labor, and capital must take risks.

Here is what you need to know. Entrepreneurs take risks alright. But the risks are calculated risks. They are not gamblers. I know how many proposals that come our way but we don’t stand up and jump into all of it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. You need to have a little understanding of what to expect.

Let me illustrate. There is this huge deal that is worth lots of money if it succeeds. At the same time, it has the capacity of putting you out business if it fails. Would you take it? That is what I’m talking about. You must balance your risk with your reward.

  1. You must raise money from a Venture capitalist (VCs) And Angel Investors as entrepreneurs

my take on entrepreneurship

The biggest challenge entrepreneurs have is raising funds for their businesses. That is always the issue with entrepreneurs. They want to wait until one VC comes with a lot of money. This is a misconception. You must not get funding from a VC before you can kick start your business.

There are many sources you can explore. What happened to personal funds? I’m sure you can use it. You can take loans from financial institutions too; your family and friends can also help you out. You can also be crowdfunded. Thinking that you must pick money from VCs is just a big myth.

  1. Anyone can be an entrepreneur

This is very wrong. It is not everyone that can be an entrepreneur. So many people are trying to get a handle on this. Entrepreneurship, especially within the Nigerian sphere is not for the feeble-minded. It is for the strong.

I know when GT Igwe Chrisent preached that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Now, the dude has changed his mind. He says exactly what is written in the paragraph. It is not everybody that can survive it.

The fact is that most people are not entrepreneurs. That is very simple. There is a stat I saw. It puts entrepreneurs at 400 million out of the world population. That tells you a lot I believe.

Now, here is the tricky part. It takes a high level of motivation to become an entrepreneur. Therefore, anybody can become an entrepreneur in theory. However, in practice, it doesn’t work like that. It takes only a few people to get to that level.

  1. Entrepreneurs must have great and new ideas

I laugh in Swahili. Whoever invented that saying shaa. People are thinking day and night for their Eureka. You may never get something that has not been done and that is the truth. So, if you take an existing idea and make it great, does it make you less entrepreneur than the person with a brand new idea.

Let us understand it and follow it up. Uber came into the picture as the initiators of that car-hailing service. Lyft came in three years after and added their tweaks and twists. Now, there is Bolt. They also have their uniqueness but the idea remains the same. We just have to know exactly what we are dealing with.

Conclusion

This is just the first part of my take on entrepreneurship. Part two will come up soon. Sometimes, you need to unlearn certain things to relearn the good and relevant ones. Entrepreneurship could be all that is mentioned above but it is more than that.

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A Brief Analysis Of The Nigerian Paint Industry

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For decades, Paint manufacturing companies have long been in operation in Nigeria, mostly as subsidiaries of foreign paint companies. As time passed, however, indigenous paint industries sprung up and completely bought over the shares of these foreign firms and continued to expand with every passing year. Several technological advancements have been witnessed since then, with the Nigerian paints industry contributing a significant quota to Nigeria’s economy and employment scheme.

The existence of paint manufacturing companies in Nigeria dates back to as early as the nineteen sixties. Recently, there has been a high demand for paint due to the increase in construction of buildings for private and commercial purposes. This factors thus makes the paint industry a profitable one to invest in.

An Analysis of the Nigerian paints industry

A Brief Analysis Of The Nigerian Paint Industry

A Brief Analysis Of The Nigerian Paint Industry

It has been estimated that the about 128 million litres of paints are consumed in Nigeria within a year. In the year 2012 alone, the Nigerian paints and coatings industry was estimated to be worth about $200m. this grew to about $218m by 2013, signifying an estimated 9.01% growth rate.

There are two major components of the Nigerian paints market. Lack of sufficient access to funds and technical imbalances needed for the production and management of industrial coatings constitutes a major yardstick for distinguishing between the industry players. The first sector is the organized sector which comprises of companies possessing sufficient capital and efficient distribution system.

The second sector is the decorative paint sector, which houses both the organized and unorganized players. This component does not need advanced technological inputs. With a good governmental backing, it is quite easy for new entrants into the Nigerian paint market to thrive in the system.

This sector is dominated by about 5 key companies, each of which’s annual revenue is estimated to exceed $7m, with several other small and medium-scale companies scattered across the country.

So, as it stands, the decorative sector of the Nigerian paints industry accounts for about 60% of the total sales volume and/or value. The industrial coatings segment of the market, on the other hand, is said to constitute about 40% of the total sales volume and 29% of total production volume.

As Frost & Sullivan report, in 2012, the decorative paints & coatings sector of the Nigerian paints industry was said to possess a significant synergy with the real estate industry and estimated at 71% of the overall volume of coatings and pains in the country.

Nigerian paint industry Regulatory Bodies and Associations

The regulatory body for the paint industry in Nigeria is the standard organization of Nigeria (SON).

They are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that all manufacturing industries in Nigeria are duly certified, their products are safe and guarantee maximum consumer satisfaction through compliance with government policies.

SON encourages healthy competition amongst manufacturers and also give room for continuous improvement on quality of manufactured products.

Paint Industry Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMA)

Asides SON, another regulatory body in the paint industry is the PMA. PMA caters to the welfare of the Nigerian paint industry. It is headed by a chairman and serves as a voice as well as a monitoring body for paint manufacturers in Nigeria.

PMA caters generally for issues bothering on productivity and development of the industry. In 2016, an exhibition was commenced which now holds yearly.

The exhibition which is centered on annual raw materials, equipment and painting show held on the 23rd of October and was tagged “PMA Nigeria Coating Show”.

The event had exhibitors from the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Turkey, South Africa and India in attendance. The major aim of the exhibition is to develop strategies on how to handle the issue of high cost and scarcity of raw materials for local production which is a major challenge faced in the industry and to promote paint Technology by sourcing for local contents.

PMA (Paints manufacturers association of Nigeria) functions collectively with SON (standard Organization of Nigeria) to guarantee an acceptable global quality standard for manufactured products.

Challenges and Prospects of the Nigerian Paint Industry

These include:

1)     NEGLECT BY THE GOVERNMENT

The paint industry is one of the most neglected in Nigeria. There are no incentives provided and routine checks are not always carried out. This, in turn, puts a restriction on the percentage of the paint industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product of the country.

Also, the lack of an efficient regulatory system increases the emergence of new industries which lead to a decline in the standard of products manufactured.

2)     ACCESS TO FACILITIES

This can be said to be a major limitation for investors in the industry. These facilities include: constant power supply, access to funding, unavailability of raw materials, lack of proper facilities for certification and test purposes.

Prospects of the Nigerian Paint industry.

These include:

1)     QUALITY CONTROL

Due to the effort of the Paint Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the standard organization of Nigeria, the quality of paint produced has improved tremendously.

2)     HIGH DEMAND

The increase in demand for paints is as a result of the increase in building construction in the country which has also helped the sustenance of the industry.

LIST OF PAINT INDUSTRIES IN NIGERIA

Paint industries in Nigeria include:

  1. Premium paints,
  2. Dulux Paints,
  3. Meyer paints, Berger paints,
  4. IPWA,
  5. Nigerian German Chemicals,
  6. African Paints
  7. CAP Plc.

I hope we have made your search complete.

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How to Pitch Your Idea to Investors in Nigeria

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Are you an entrepreneur in Nigeria with a business idea that you want to pitch to investors? But you don’t have the finance to invest in the business and the only option left is to look for investors in Nigeria who would love to invest? Read this simplified guide to learn how to pitch your idea to investors in Nigeria in a professional way.

You see, Nigeria is a country with many people with money that don’t know what to do with it. A large chunk of these people will be very happy to invest their money in places that will bring them maximum profits or a good return on their investment. Having the opportunity to meet this class of people (i.e., angel investors) to share your business idea with is one problem.

Here’s what you should know…

You see, it is one thing to have a good business idea, but a completely different thing to know how to pitch it to potential investors. You need the skills of how to convince potential investors within minutes to invest in you, because if you don’t know how to do it professionally, investors won’t be able to understand what you’re trying to relate with them or how best to help you.

The importance of rehearsing your pitch is one thing I can’t stress enough in pitching potential investors in Nigeria. As an entrepreneur, you might think that you know your business in and out, and that when it comes to pitching it to investors, it will be easy just like singing the National anthem (is that even easy?). Well, this is not always the case most times. Cases abound where entrepreneurs freeze in front of investors while pitching, and ramble on and on. Many entrepreneurs don’t put the same effort they used in preparing their business plan to pitching their plan to investors. As such, you should take the time to acquire the needed skills of business idea pitching to pitch your business idea to investors in Nigeria with ease.

How to Pitch Your Idea to Investors in Nigeria

How to Pitch Your Idea to Investors in Nigeria

How to Pitch your Idea to Investors in Nigeria.

1. Start with a story, end with your solution

If you can relate your story to the problem you are solving in the market place, then do it. Nothing engages people better than a good captivating story. Start your pitch with a story that will catch your audience or investor’s attention, the complaint and address it to how your business idea will be the solution to the problem in your story.

So, don’t just keep talking about the problems all day, pitch your idea by showing potential investors how your product or service will solve the hungry market’s problem. Make it easy for the investor to understand how you plan to execute the solution with your idea.

2. Niche down to the exact market you are targeting.

Every product, service or business idea has a specific market it is made for. Don’t lie to investors saying that your product or services is for everybody on earth. It is too broad. Everybody is no market. Tell your investors the market needs your idea is meeting.

3. Analyze Your competitors

A quick analyses of your potential competitors is very important as every business has a competitor even if the competitor is located far away in another continent. Tell the investors how different your business model or approach to solving the problem is from that of your competitors and how much market share you are likely to take if your idea comes to the limelight through their support.

4. State the exact amount you need

Don’t beat around the bush about the exact amount of money you need to fund this idea. Tell investors the exact amount of money that will be required to fund the business idea to success, as well as how much have been invested (if any). Also, give a detailed breakdown of why you need the exact amount you have stated and the intended outcome of the money too. You can do this using slides, charts, tables, diagrams, etc.

These are few tips to know on how you can pitch a business idea to investors in Nigeria. I hope with this  information, you have gained clarity on how you can pitch your idea to investors in Nigeria. Go ahead and put it into practice.

If you have any questions on this topic or a related on, let me know in the comments box below.

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5 Ways to Spot Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

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The Nigerian labor market is very flexible with a skilled, low labor cost, highly motivated, and productive workforce. High level of education and efficiency are common factors for spotting exceptional employees. Besides, exceptional employees are easily self-motivated and self-managed.

Another important factor used for distinguishing an exceptional employee is the personality of the employee. This informs why some people are more successful at work than others? Travis Bradberry of Forbes magazine stated that following a research done around 2016, it was concluded that the key to exceptional performance is in the personality of the employee. Bradbery (2016) stated that the results indicate that “78% of leaders consider that personality distinguishes great employees, much more than cultural adjustment with 53% and even the skills of an employee (39%)”.

However, the qualities that the leaders pointed out as part of the personality are those of emotional intelligence. Unlike personality (which never changes), emotional intelligence can be transformed and improved. So executives don’t need to look for employees who have these skills. His duty, and also that of the company, is to help the entire team to enhance their emotional intelligence to become exceptional.

In essence, a typical team does all of its planning to achieve goals, with minimal intervention from management. Exceptional employees are also known to be healthily self-critical, with a willingness to learn and a commitment to making improvements both in production and performance.

It is clear, therefore, that the key indicators of exceptional employee are high level of education, efficiency at work, self-motivation, self-management, great personality, and emotional intelligence.

However, how can we see these playing out to determine how exceptional an employee? How does one spot the level of education, efficiency at work, self-motivation, self-management, great personality, or emotional intelligence of an employee? It is by observing if the employee has the following characteristics before and after employment.

Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

Spotting Exceptional Employees in Nigeria

5 Ways To Spot An Exceptional Employee.

 Exceptional employees may be spotted using the 5 indicators below:

(1) The Employee Is Willing To Delay Gratification.

Exceptional employees work outside the range of job descriptions. Rather than expect recognition or compensation to come first, they move forward in their work, confident that they will be rewarded later, but they don’t worry if they aren’t.

(2) Exceptional Employees Tolerate Conflict.

While exceptional employees don’t seek conflict, they don’t run from it either. They can maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically.

(3) Exceptional Employees Are Focused.

Exceptional employees are not distracted by grumpy customers or disputes in the office. Rather, they know how to detect the important issues and that is why they stay focused on what matters.

(4) An Exceptional Employee Is Judiciously Brave but Courteous

An exceptional employee is willing to speak up, ask a difficult embarrassing question, or challenge an executive decision. Besides, an exceptional employee chooses the best time to do act and thinks before speaking.

(5) Exceptional Employees Control Their Ego

While the ego is part of an exceptional employee’s drive to constantly improve, they never overdo it. An exceptional employee admits when he/she is wrong and agrees to do things differently with or without correction.

Becoming an exceptional employee is a skill, an art that can be learned and practiced to efficiency. One of the ways to become an exceptional employee is to establishing open and trustworthy lines of communication with the management and co-workers.

Besides, the Human Resources (HR) department has a role to play in the building of an average employee into an exceptional employee. Rather than dismiss below average or average employees, the Human Resources (HR) team can deploy technology to improve their integration with the entity’s values. In this sense, e-learning, for example, can have great value in developing courses that convey to that person what it means to work in that company and what it contributes to society.

Another mechanism that may be used to is improve an employee’s performance is proper mentoring, that is, involving some of the people with the best reputation and knowledge within the organization to protect and accompany the toxic worker, giving them advice and offering advice whenever they need it. In this way, individual attitudes can change, although care should be taken so that it does not in any way cloud the relationship between the company and the staff.

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