There are a lot of traits and knowledge that make up a successful entrepreneur. However, when it comes to doing business in Nigeria, general knowledge doesn’t apply.
A lot of people think that Nigeria doesn’t have a system or the system is broke. However, the truth is the system isn’t broken, just twisted.
The trick is to become familiar with this system and move accordingly. If you want to reform the system or change Nigeria, become a politician or an activist.
But if you’re going to build a successful business and make some real profit, then you have to move like jaguar, or in this case, like green white then green again.
Here are a few tips for navigating the Nigerian’ business jungle and become a successful entrepreneur!
The police are your friend
This sounds rather paradoxical because, more often than not, the police can be quite a hassle. The truth is they are human too.
The best way to deal with the police is to employ the ultimate trifecta: obey the law, be polite and, most importantly, always have changed.
In a normal world with a standard system to obey the law should be enough, but in Nigeria, you would need all three.
Firstly, avoid breaking the law or cutting corners.
Secondly, treat them with respect and be polite even when you are right and are law-abiding. It doesn’t matter if you are an upright citizen; they can still make your life miserable and waste your time.
Finally, when all fails, they always have a little gift to thank them for their service. They risk their lives to protect us, and they deserve our thanks in cash and kind. (winks!).
You are not your own boss
One major reason why people go into entrepreneurship is to be their own boss. However, in Nigeria, this is very far from the truth. Generally, in capitalism, the customer is your boss, and that’s that.
However, when it comes to Nigeria, everyone is your boss. From the customer to the industry regulators all the way to big clients, and let’s not forget the local area boys. Everyone is your boss.
The only way to survive in business in Nigeria and become a successful entrepreneur is to satisfy your numerous bosses.
Again, if you want to change Nigeria, become a politician, but if you want to become a millionaire, then you had better not debate with the area boys.
Know the truth
Have you ever done some research on the internet and the available information is far from the truth? Well, welcome to Nigeria, a typical case of what you ordered vs what you got.
In Nigeria, there are facts, then the truth, and then there is reality. The biggest mistake you can make is to think they are the same things.
Before you make any move in Nigeria’s business climate, always engage in on-the-ground research. Browsing online or making a few calls wouldn’t cut it. You have to dig deep, meet different people, and get a wide array of information.
Then sit back and sieve the truth from the lies. Getting the current reality of any industry or venture in Nigeria isn’t an easy task. If you want to make a purchase, reach out to ten or fifteen stores before closing a deal.
If you want to submit a proposal, then you had better do some in-depth research on your target company. Research and know the right channels. This is what determines if the director reads your proposal or your proposal ends up in the dustbin.
Work hard, play Zero
Entrepreneurship is hard. It is a lot of work and stress. The hours aren’t long; they are endless. In Nigeria, the hustle is real and even more strenuous.
While Nigeria has grown in the ease of doing business index, running a business in Nigeria is still very challenging.
Things are constantly changing, and new challenges arise against you and your business every day. From fiscal policies to inflation and let’s not forget the monthly changes in bank charges, Nigeria’s business world is pure chaos.
Furthermore, it isn’t just enough to know the truth, as the truth keeps changing. It would be best if you also were flexible.
What works today won’t work tomorrow. Even in a business as seemingly simple as transportation, things change, from fuel price to fastest and safest routes.
Outsource and Simplify
This final point isn’t peculiar to Nigeria. However, most Nigerian entrepreneurs seem to miss this point.
This is a result of how difficult it is to outsource and the general business culture in Nigeria. Most Nigerian entrepreneurs are perfectionists who like to do everything themselves or be directly involved in the nuts and bolts.
The best way to grow your business is to have a simple model that you can scale. A business with too many moving parts that requires your personal touch every step of the way is bound to fail.
As your business grows, you must learn to outsource, delegate, and simplify the structure of your business. Take the pain to find the right help and bring them onboard.
To become successful as an Entrepreneur in Nigeria, there are three cardinal rules:
- be smart,
- be polite, and always, always,
- have a little change.
- A peculiar and somewhat eccentric character with an affinity for the pen and passion for business. His cynical view of reality makes him excellent at presenting an objective image of the world. He is a writer and entrepreneur with big dreams and wild philosophies.