Want to be your sister’s keeper? Help their business grow.
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. (i.e. Iz not beans).
You’d have to deal with creating the business plan, sourcing for the capital, identifying your target audience, building a brand.
Starting a business IN Nigeria is not okro and dry fish. You’d have to deal with annoying demons that would only exist in a country with an anti-climatic history of ‘leaders’ (and bad belle people), ranging from 'no light’, absence of potable water, dearth of accessible roads, kick-back requesting public officials… and even to the witches and wizards in your village who do not want you to be great. Just because.
(Ndi Benin… Area!)
But the economy has been horrible for a while. A lot of folks have lost their jobs, and fresh graduates find it more difficult to find first jobs. MMM has complicated things further by fizzling into the air, with individuals’ savings.
(Don’t worry. I will not sing “I told you so” ... yet)
Being innovative is no longer a choice. We are compelled to think outside the box, so that a larger number of the populace are becoming entrepreneurs; demons and all.
In the face of all the challenges associated with doing business in Nigeria, kudos should therefore be given to people who venture into one (legitimate) business or the other, in a bid to survive.
But beyond just giving kudos, has it occurred to us that we all form part of one community or the other, which can be a source of encouragement to and help in boosting each other’s businesses?
Rephrased: How exactly have you contributed to supporting your friend’s business??
You see… people may not voice it. But everybody needs someone in their corner. Their own “hype-person”. You go to bed, snoring a little more soundly in the knowledge that people around you are also interested in the success of your business.
(I go to bed, snoring a little louder, when I remember you want this blog to thrive)
While some can afford the marketing of their brand, most start-ups can hardly do so, simply relying on us – the ‘friends and family’ brethren – to help their businesses thrive, one way or the other.
It is an awesome thing to show we actually care for the success/progress of one another’s businesses, by supporting each other. And it’s not just about money (Not to say giving money is a bad thing shaa). It is also in the little things. Such as:
1. Patronizing your friend’s business: Be the first to buy their product, and be quick to refer their services to others.
If perhaps, the product or services is not up to standard you’d like it to be (considering the resources they have at hand), constructively let them know what issues you have, and suggest modes for improvement. Check back to see if such improvements have been made. If you don’t see any such improvements, it is understandable if you no longer patronize them. At least, you tried.
(You cannot go and kill yourself)
2. Don’t ‘price’ their business into oblivion: Nigerians… we can haggle for United Nations and Olympics joined together.
If your friend has started a business, do not seek to haggle away the little profit they may be making. Even if you know the cost for their products or services is slightly higher than a competitor’s, for the sake of friendship, patronize them.
You can point out to them the difference between theirs and their competitor’s, and see if they can provide any additional incentives to balance out the price different.
And even if they don’t give such incentives, patronize them all the same.
(Who said friendship is cheap??)
3. Be the friendly face in the crowd: Remember the review of “Joy”, and the scene where her friend was the one person who made that call that changed her life?
If your friend starts a call-in show, be the first to make a call. If they have their brands on Social Media, like/follow the brands. Make meaningful contributions to threads where your friend’s business is discussed. Attend their opening-night, and bring others along. Share their posts on their business. Buy their book at their launching.
Be their wing-woman, without them even have to solicit for your input. Don’t make them hop on the back of the proverbial camel squeezing through the eye of the proverbial needle to get you on board their business.
4. Do. Not. Ask. For. “Credit”: Just don’t. Don’t do it.
Do not walk into your friend’s store/office, ready to make a purchase and ‘pay later’. We know ourselves. The sob stories will come trickling in. The “my husband left me, and all the money I have is for school fees” will follow suit. Next will come the “is it because of common N700,000???”
(I whisper: Your Dad)
There is a reason your friend started that business: to make profit. Even if you made payment later as promised, they would have made some loss from the lost time value of money. (Don’t ask me the meaning of this grammar my intelligent eldest brother is always confusing me with. But Google is your bestie.)
In summary, you don’t have to pull out your egg-nest and pour into your friend’s business to support them. There are lots of other ways to provide support. The ‘little’ things we take for granted matter. Trust me, your friend will never forget your small acts of kindness.
And even if they did… you helped any way.
Who knows, it may be you starting your business tomorrow, and then, you will need one, two, maybe three hype-person(s) to help your business move to its ‘permanent site’.
P.s.: Be my hype-person naa. Follow the blog. Share the posts. Like our page on Facebook…. and let’s all move to our permanent site.