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Review #NascoMoments: How do young businesses survive in Nigeria?

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The nation is evolving, entrepreneurship is on the rise and with the absence of jobs, it’s imperative that we learn the basics of entrepreneurship. How do young businesses survive in a country like ours where the economy fluctuates as badly as our power supply, and our youths and children are ill prepared for the harsh realities to come? Recently I attended the Valedictory service of LASMOCK Kankon where I asked a few kids about their future ambitions; out of 10 kids, I had 5 doctors, 3 lawyers and 2 engineers – What steps are we taking to enlighten our kids that entrepreneurship is a viable line to take as things might not be as rosy as it seems from their perspective?

The NASCO radio show hosted Gbenga Dada, a jewellery designer, and one who has carved his niche by making pieces that stand out in an already saturated industry (yes I have seen his pieces).  He shared his story and some helpful tips for budding entrepreneurs. It was an insightful discussion that highlighted the different ways a business can survive in Nigeria.

Being a man venturing into a female related business obviously wouldn’t sit well with the average Nigerian parent. Thus with determination, he learnt the business in secret until he could come up with some of his start-up capital; Some of us could be more fortunate as our parents could be ready to help, but what are the things we should know about starting up young businesses?

Ask yourself “would you need a day job?” Because at the beginning of some businesses the returns might not be sufficient enough to meet all your needs but in the absence of a day job (which is mostly the reason young people turn to businesses)  it’s important to determine the long term feasibility, and the profitability of your planned business venture because in realty, it’s not so easy to run a business and work a day job – especially one that’s not so flexible. Also a little marketing skill is very necessary as this would enable you take advantage of change in trends.

There is said to be a 5 year jinx on small businesses and this is a fact; Most young businesses close down within five years. How could we overcome this jinx? Small businesses are agile and flexible- take advantage of this advantage; it’s easier for small business to adjust to market changes unlike big business whose decision making take a longer time frame. Know your market. Understanding your market and staying informed about trends is very important, remain competitive, never get too comfortable, and be able to quickly adapt to changing marketing conditions, because they are going to change, so you should be ready.

We have to also ask, Is entrepreneurship for everyone? Obviously not, but everyone is born with a gift, and someone once said “Monetise your gifts and passion” If you have a talent or you’re passionate about something, even poetry, you could find a way to use that passion to earn your keep; But if you’re more of an office person, and you’re fortunate enough to have a job, then it’s important to make the most of your opportunity.

Small businesses can grow and survive in Nigeria, but you need to be innovative, know your goals, stay current and be open minded; With the right temperament, it will succeed. Passion alone cannot grow a business- reading, research and intensive planning will drive your business in the right direction. Knowledge is power

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