Nigeria and her economy in the year 2016 can at best be described as turbulent. How do you start, survive and grow a business in Nigeria’s turbulent economy?
What with the naira depreciating, the destabilisation of the oil industry, the current tomato crises and so on. There also have been massive job cuts that leave those still employed wondering who would be next on the chopping block.
Many have started seeking other means of financial inflow as a proactive measure should they find themselves next out of corporate employment. For many what to do and how to start off has become the question of the day.
I recently had a sit down with the Managing Director of Margolyn Farms – Mr. Peter Wilson and he had these ideas on how to start, survive & grow a business in Nigeria’s turbulent economy.
Start Now – While You Still Have A Job
The best time to start a business is probably while you still have a regular job. Starting a business like everything in life comes with a lot of uncertainties and risks. Staying employed helps you cushion the effects of these uncertainties while the idea/product attains market fit. starting small helps you correct and iterate quickly.
As stated above, there will be a period of product-market fit – when you’re trying to understand what your potential clients truly want. Starting small ensures you invest in absolutely necessary things and avoid the risk of tying down capital. Capital is very important and it is never a good idea to sink all you have in a business in one fell swoop. Taking Nigeria’s special circumstance where you wake up one day and products which were permissible previously may be banned later.
Another reason for starting small is so as not to spread yourself too thin trying to corner the market immediately.
Build A Formidable Team
As your expertise, service and clientele expand so should your staff strength. Build a formidable team – No man is an island and no one man has all the answers. In order to grow, you MUST surround yourself with people who can build your dream with you and for you. Failure to do this will result in stunted growth or none at all.
Monopolise The Market
Well – sort of. You actually can’t do this successfully except you have the Government behind you. The idea, however, is to make Barrier to Entry very high that you can’t easily get a competition. Monopolize the market: There are several ways to do this. Deliver consistent excellent and quality services/goods. Deliver Value for money that’s not easily replicated. Once you do these, you’re on your way to building a monopoly for your brand.
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation!
This cannot be stressed enough. Being part of the crowd just makes you one amongst a great many. Thinking outside the box sets you apart from the teaming lot providing the same services or any other service for that matter. In order to be innovative, ask yourself these questions. What isn’t there? What is lacking? What are the others doing and how can I do it differently or even better? Is it doable? If the answer is yes, what are you waiting for?
Always Think Positive
Always remember nothing is more powerful than the power of positive thought because positivity is actually 50% of the work done. Hard work is 25% and planning – the remainder. With positivity, you can sell Ice to an Eskimo. It takes a lot of positivity to go back and make a sale where you were once rejected. It takes positivity to continue despite the daunting challenges that doing business will throw your way, especially within the Nigerian context.
A final prerequisite on Mr. Wilson’s list… Perseverance. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step and what a lot of steps to one thousand. No Startup business flourishes over night unless you’re a criminal. So be prepared for slow starts, disappointments and returning to the drawing board. All these build character and experience to help you develop an outstanding brand for success.
Do you have something to add to this list – do so in the comments below.