The fate of the Nigerian Entrepreneur in this Online Retail generation may be embedded in secret as two to three steps in your favorite bloggers self help Youtube posts, but no matter how many Motivational books or Counselling seminars attended if your intended business is not properly funded, quality and consistency is not guaranteed hence a drop in value which equivocally creates an avenue for competitors to excel.
As a soups sweetness is in the availability of the funds to make it with, Money indeed is the backbone of all great ideas, and cutting long story short SMEs in Nigeria feel most of the harsh reality of low funding as a startup, crashing heavily within the first two years of establishment.
Daily, we are reminded of the power brands.
We see them in the biggest Ad screens rarely giving insight as to how to make daily cash sales work each business day. But now that you have started, registered the business, branded your packages…what next? How does one maintain a steady cashflow to pay staff, internet, power, LGA bills, Tax & Logistics.
1. Staff Power: Your business is as reliable as the staff you employ however if you want to do it alone, it may be too strenuous. In economically developed countries like New Zealand, Canada and the UK the powers behind economic reforms realized that by paying staff hourly rates for minimum wage earners, you create a financial freedom for your employees and also to avoid exploitation of the lower class. Shifts are drafted and pay meted out accordingly,employment rates increased immensely over the years as people have been able to calculate their timing wisely, many keeping two or more jobs.
The high-rollers remain happy as production is continuous, their staff has the right to clock in and get paid for time well spent. Win/Win.
Here’s the catch;The countries mentioned created tailor made reforms FOR their countries’ progression. When the average Nigerian decides to handle supply and Demand for what its worth, Daily Sales…we just might make headway in advancing towards World developed countries in this thing called financial freedom.
2. Problems = Solutions.Instead of running away from the incessant problems we are constantly faced with as Nigerians we should become the change we wish to see. In identifying one problem, you also set your sights on a million ways to solve the issue..this should always be the driving force of any service provider.
3. More Power to Microfinance Banks!Past greedy debtors may have blocked the commercial bank loan channel for this our generation of entrepreneurs, never forget the list of business owners owing banks Billions of Dollars that were published in top newspapers at random all through year 2012-2017, most of the properties accumulated were seized and sold to recover these debts. Gradually, solutions in tow, a CBN directive to initiate a BVN code per customer data (however irrelevant it seems to own one), might also uphold each registered client for future financial credibility.
Do ensure all your banking accounts are synced and ensure active email correspondence with one or two of your account officers to say the least. These days however, the sweet spot for loans and financial assistance lies in your relationship with an entrepreneurial program like Fate Foundation of Mr Fola Adeola, Tony Elumelu Foundation to mention a few. These two NGOs have over a space of 17 years between them, trained and mentored over 100,000 businesses in Nigeria and Africans in the diaspora. Register your businesses with any of them and ensure you patronize their microfinance bank affiliates for easier access to quicken loans and grant opportunities. Microfinance banks like VFD MFB are fueled by the success of their SMEs creating opportunities of funding and investment returns for them over the years.
4. Save daily = Power Funds!!!There are over 50,000 micro cooperatives active in Nigeria, scattered around every community offering door to door joint savings or an even more sophisticated Bank Esusu scheme, the wise ones know that if you saved N100 every day for one year consistently, you would have an extra N36,500 by the end of that year. They just did not tell you that the keyword is consistently. AKA Unfailingly AKA dedicatedly, without thinking twice. Participating in a community cooperative can boost your savings culture if you already do not have one. Of course internet banking has been able to make the flow of funds among vendors easy and somewhat reliable for dispersion of funds for daily production,supply and advertisement.
5. Trademarks and Accreditiations does not mean Quality Service.No matter how beautiful the logo or how lengthy the NAFDAC accreditation, your products true mark of quality is to fill a pending void for the customers queuing daily to patronize it. Keep in mind this is an ever changing world we live in and products are being created every day. In Nigeria many business spend a better part of their operations trying to solidify accreditation and law enforcement organisations that they shift their focus from the quality of their products. Please note, for every product you are selling there is a businessman with a container load full of China imitated products on the high sea.
6. Recommendations ARE Advertisements.These days, a good review might just make you blow! Treat your customers well, tantalize them with reward programs and occasional discounts and freebies, get involved in a customer database organisation and correspondence like Cerveapp to keep track of sales regularities and referrals. Your worst nightmare is a dissatisfied client and the internet does not make it any easier to hide from their angered shaming on all social media networks, and no its not good publicity to be shamed on social media for a business you worked so hard to set up and run in Nigeria. Learn to transcend from constantly putting customers ‘in their place’ to more of “Rewards and discounts’ in exchange for loyalty and consistency.
Do not be afraid to use graphics and the photo manipulating technologies on the internet to package and garnish your direct marketing approach, it will definitely put some spice to a bland brand, then let those loyal customers do the sharing for you.