Wikipedia describes an entrepreneur as “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods” or simply as an enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative. For simplicity and the Nigerian situation, I would choose the latter.
It has become paramount in a “specially tottering economy” like Nigeria’s, that her citizens, young and old alike unemployed, under-employed and even the employed take on enterprising and risk-taking characteristics in order to sustain family and self above the poverty line. Like natural traits, the average Nigerian is alert to grabbing as much as he can while he can to stay afloat.
In the last decade more Nigerians have attended entrepreneurial trainings, taken courses in entrepreneurship than ever before. Virtually all young graduates have been tutored or received some form of tutoring on the topic, thanks to the National Youth Service Corps orientation programme.
With all this in place, however, the success rate of small and medium enterprises has been very low, businesses have barely survived, let alone thrived beyond incubation period. Some have down-sized to the barest minimum, others press on in anticipation of a better tomorrow, yet many more have been frustrated to closure.
Government regulations and policies, insecurity and a seemingly irredeemable power sector haven’t made it any easier.
Nonetheless, some businesses have broken through the ice to become successful amidst the apparent national gloom and one thing appears to be common to them all, a pregnant word with definitions flexible enough to accommodate key ingredients of our understanding of entrepreneurship and much more – passion, loosely defined as a strong feeling, intense emotion, compelling feeling, enthusiasm, desire , eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity.
Passion in business goes beyond all these to produce dreams which fuel goals and sustain processes to produce results. Thriving Nigerian entrepreneurs share this trait above all else and are quick to point it out as their magic ingredient.
The major mistake of the average Nigerian entrepreneur is what drives him/her which more often than not is money, prestige and the quest for more of it. Entrepreneurship in Nigeria is based primarily on necessity and concentrated in major cities like Lagos.
There is therefore a rush towards the ‘more lucrative’ fields both in career and business; the oil and gas sector, banking sector, fashion, entertainment, information technology and more recently, human resource management.
Individuals who have been able to look the way of passion in business have weathered the storm even in ‘less lucrative’ areas and have outstanding success; Barristers Omawunmi and “Lagbaja” turned musicians, Dr. Robert (MBBS) now of Orchit Bistro turned caterer. Linda Ikeji, Uche of Bella Naija and Nigeria Future Awards Young Person of the year 2011, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, with his waves in agriculture – to mention a few – are other examples.
To run a successful business in Nigeria, your most determinant step would be to discover your passion and pursue it. I’ll conclude with a few tips:
*Discover yourself: Identify your flair and inclinations.
•Dream: Design solution oriented accomplishments in your mind’s eye; wealth and prestige inadvertently follow a solution provider.
•Develop yourself: Read/listen to/watch educative materials, acquire/improve skills, attend courses and seminars and get mentors/advisers, anything that would aid your navigation to your dreams. Never stop investing intellectually.
•Dive in: Identify your niche and start off; be true to yourself on your current position but be desirous of what more you could be.
•Discipline: Stay focused, make sacrifices and be temporarily uncomfortable if you have to.
•Outdo yourself: You are your major competition, constantly outdo yourself whether you’re leading or aspiring to lead. Believe in what you do and pursue with grim determination.
Havinh done ‘all’, passion is the added touch the Nigerian entrepreneur needs to succeed; find your passion and use it! (by Igborgbor Obiajuru)