I remember I promised to share with you the lessons I learnt from the Entrepreneurship Basecamp last week! Okay the opportunity to share came and I decided to share with a set of over 600 entrepreneurs in a Facebook Closed Group called The Breakthrough Academy show first...and you can trust it was phenomenal.
I did learn mostly that my own unconventional business model was a great idea. As I listened to Nigeria's premiere productivity consultant, Sam Ikoku that day, I couldn't help feeling like I have been doing something right. I hope to imbibe all he said though to move my business to a formidable small company. I need to forge ahead and do things better for a better result though.
Here is what I shared last night:
I was on my own ooo when I was invited to a lunch chat. It was one of my mentors Liz Taylor. She was buzzing with an idea for an event, and you can be sure, I obliged her. As we hung out at a fine dining and tried to chat up about old times, the ideas kept flooding in as we enjoyed our meal.
Fast forward weeks later, I was at the event and Sam Ikoku (the consultant) who is a revered consultant began to teach and it seems like he read my business model and decided to make it public. Good thing is, I never thought I even had a business model, I just called them "how I do my small business" until that day. #Amazing!
Do you know that feeling that comes when you are doing certain things in certain ways because you felt you didn't have enough money to do them the conventional way only for someone to come endorsing those same methods? If you have not, come with me:
He started off telling us, that Enthusiasm is not enough for business success! He went on to say that, just because you have a good idea doesn't mean you should be the one to execute it.
And I quickly thought "That's sounds like my resolve for doing business in 2016", package certain ideas for some organisations/persons that won't mind funding it and of course owning it, while I just facilitate it for them.
Trust me dear, It's hard for me to forget the lessons I learnt by continually failing in business.
Running a business that has remained small since 2010 has taught me to never give up but instead, I must:
- Ensure my business is anti-fragile and benefit from the random changes in Technology and the economy. So I allow my business to adapt to changes with ease.
I learnt after running my business for some years that knowing your life purpose and passionately following it in business without making commensurate profit is like suicide, just like he also said.
I started off editing documents as a passion and couldn't put a price on it until I gradually failed before learning the lesson above.
- I learnt that business is not about intelligence, if you ask people what they want and see which you can provide you will be in business. Profit is the bottomline.
- I learnt that before you get an accountant, you must first get a business coach. It will save you some heart ache.
- I usually left my business sometimes to work with some organisations, but learnt that I must reset my psyche and be in tune and oneness with my mind, if I was to succeed. You must, too.
- Because I was not making enough money, I couldn't hire staff, what I did that I thought was smart was to partner with people smarter than me to provide services I need per time. I mean, people who run their own businesses; that way it's cheaper for me to manage, and I won't need to get an office to accommodate them, then plan to pay salaries that I don't have. That also Sam recommended.
- I also never have enough funds but carry out big projects. So I learnt that I must always assume that I can NEVER have enough funds.
- I run my business in a Micro-focus, in a way that I am the staff but also the boss who can travel outside it. He taught me that it's smart to focus on your business like a bird's eye – having the near sight but zooming out to have the far sight too.
- Failure taught me to pay myself first in business, if not I will take it as my hobby. Then learnt he endorsed it and went further to say that "sacrifice is not a business strategy."
He also said "forget ego of owning your business and focus on the ego (money in Igbo)"
- I wrote a business plan before I started my business but never read it or referred to it again. I thought I was failing, until the coach told me that I should work with a business model instead of business plan. Who ever reads it anyway? Not even an investor reads all of it! Hahahaha.
Failure really taught me good!
I run my business 90% by referrals and I thought that was because I was just a small business, but it's the smartest thing you can do. My coach said "turn your business to a referral machine"
I have never been able to afford an office in Abuja of all places, I always felt it won't make sense. And you too, you may not need an office for your business. Tell the truth, do your customers/clients really visit your office?
I learnt that we waste a lot of time looking for money to manufacture a product and then sell. Chai, my dear, you don't have to manufacture what to sell. You can be an aggregator. It even saves you the logistics and manpower. That's what Jumia and the rest are doing.
Blogging my business easily taught me that even though I couldn't afford a radio or TV ad for my business, my neighbours are not my only customers. I get international customers always. That way, I have decided not to trade in only one currency, and Sam also advised this. Can you see what I am seeing?
Because I didn't always have enough money, I taught that I may not always need money to acquire inventory, so I will usually barter my services for some things I want! And yes, Think Barter!
Part 2 and 3 is coming soon! Hit me with those questions now! I know you got them!