Creating Your Path for Starting a New Business

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In these days of recession and economic slow-downs, many people are running around like headless chickens. And people are seeing their savings lose value daily. Generally speaking there seem to be nothing but sad (I refuse to use the word ‘bad’) news flowing everywhere.

The thing about sad news is that it leaves you drenched of the energy you need, to take positive actions that are required to make the right moves in such an era. Thus most of us find ourselves in the vicious cycle of sad news, leading to low psyche, leading to sub-optimum performance… and it never seems to stop.

Another sad reality is that a good number of us have been conditioned to join the rat race of seeking a job doing something we really don’t find joy in, all in a bid to pay the bills (or but the next ‘must have’ item). And some of us have so accumulated the bills (or bought so much on credit – we don’t have bills in Nigeria) that even when we see an opportunity to take our freedom from the shackles of ‘employment’, the ‘fear of the unknown’ or the magnetic field of the ‘comfort zones’ we have found ourselves doesn’t fire up our zeal to take our destiny in our hands.

Let me tell you my story: I started my career – after eight ASUU-strike-ridden years of trying to obtain a BSc in Oba Awon University (aka Obafemi Awolowo University) – in one of the top banks in Nigeria. I was considered a ‘star’ material from day one. And when you are ‘star’ material, you get given a lot of opportunities to shine (I am grateful to my bosses who gave me those opportunities!). But I was always telling myself that I would do better when the next promotion came (and the generous salary reviews too!). It turned out that it was as if I was always chasing something. And while a lot of people looked up to me and what they thought I had achieved, I too was looking up to a good number of people and what I thought they had achieved. Then I switched jobs, and became a pioneer in the mobile telecommunications industry in Nigeria.

I found a lot of joy in what I was doing. But again, this joy was over-ridden by all sorts of if issues (if only I could get an official car, if only I could get an official driver, if only the official car was a jeep….). Now I have come to the realisation that my happiness is independent of these external factors, a lot of which are outside my control. So I am taking my future into my hands. I am lighting the fire to do what I want to do (and hopefully earn a living along the way too!).

This column has the objectives of lighting the fire in you! Why? Because that is the only way things can get better for you as a whole. While it is convenient for you and I to blame the government for everything that happens (and I am not saying that they are free from blame), it serves no use to stay in the arena of the blame game. A good number of people are moving into the Olympiad of entrepreneurship and self-fulfilment. And there are more medals to be won here.

So why should you strike out on your own?

You are not happy at your current job, and the one before this, and the one before…

Your eyes are open! And you know that no matter how much of a star performer you are, you are is still an employee (I have seen employed managing directors, who wielded so much authority, being fired by the owners of the company in a heartbeat).

As a result of the economic downturns, your employers are looking at cutting back on staff and/or salaries and other benefits (or have already started the process)… and believe me, its not only in America and advanced world that this would happen!

You can think of more reasons than the ones listed above (or maybe rephrase the words herein)

If you are thinking about taking your future into your hands, or you have started that journey, then read on and look out for more articles that would bring insights on how to succeed in whatever endeavour you hope to strike out in.

And what if you are a career person? You may want to stick around. You might pick a thing or two that can contribute to your excelling with growing the business that you are part of.

We shall be looking at concepts that most businesses in Nigeria do not give a lot of thought to. Such concepts as:

Learning (and loving) your customer

Taking your business – no matter how big or small – online (and by this, I am not talking about just having a website!)

Effective low (or zero) cost marketing … yes, this is possible.

Getting the best from your customers (or your boss)

Finding joy and happiness in doing what you do… and passing this joy and happiness on to others.

So, sit back, relax (if the work, traffic or background noise allows you J) and enjoy this and future articles.

P.S. As we go along, I would be glad to get your feedback (mostly constructive please!) on whatever you read in this column. I shall make an effort to reply to as many as are humanly possible.

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