Remember those Nollywood movies we watched were an Igbo man hits a jackpot via his spare parts business and then goes to village to pick and train a supposed brother? They had their impacts.
I was discussing recently with an elderly man about how a prominent Nigerian deprived the Igbo’s of their entitlements during the civil war which led to mass hunger and death.
His rather bewildering and startling response was that “hunger is a potent weapon during war”. The paradox and flipside was that this same hunger activated the innate survival mentality amongst the survivors.
In the words of Koffi (A Nigerian Comedian) Hunger begats Talent. Through the pains and punishment valuable skills and talents were found.
The casualties were much even when the Biafran currency lost its intrinsic value. Looking inwards the fittest discovered survival techniques and business ideas for subsistence. This survival techniques would till date be a positive hallmark.
At the mention of ‘business/business man’! “Importer! Exporter! Pure Water! I am sure the picture of a diligent (not dubious) Igbo man comes to mind. The overall impact of this ethnic group in terms of SMEs cannot be overemphasized. Sometimes I wonder why they still see themselves as minority.
Nigeria’s economy is daily experiencing a free fall and downward slide because of negligence to glaring facts. Ameliorating this situations points Nigeria to one way “Diversification into other sectors-Agriculture, Mining, and encouragement of locally produced goods.
As we look inwards in 2016, it is important we take the following lessons from this naturally gifted and business minded individuals who are self-starters. I like to believe that before the word ‘Entrepreneurship’ and “SME” found its way into the Nigerian lexicon, the Igbos had been well established in it.
1. Eye for Business Opportunities: An average Igbo man does not need a professional market survey to have a good understanding of his market and audience. Inherent, is an ability to spot business opportunities anywhere even in unfavorable conditions. An Igbo man would most likely find a business in the desert and still thrive.
Opportunities abound everywhere but it only takes a positive mind and a sharp eye to see and act on them. Nigerians should this year have an eye for that no matter how small it is. START SMALL!
2. The Art of Selling: I also like to believe that an Igbo man can sell you to you. Having a business is one thing knowing how to sell the business or attract customers is another.
If you cannot convincingly sell your idea or business to yourself don’t expect investors, consumer or even your associates to buy it. Master the art of persuasion! Persistent persuasion! (You would understand this better if you have ever patronized any of them in Yaba/Ojuelegba)
To Be Continued!