Today I booked an Uber and was picked up by an elderly Man.
He was friendly and professional, and he was driving a Rav4 Jeep.
As we drove to my destination, I pondered what led him into the transportation business.
He looked well-educated, and from my deduction, he was most likely one of those elderly people who picked up a business later in life to remain active.
This category of people doesn’t work or trade because they need to feed.
They always have wealthy children who can cater to their every need, but they choose to work or trade because it means coming out daily to exercise their bodies.
As he drove, my thoughts veered away from his history to business.
I began to ponder.
What was the differentiating factor between the different forms of career or work that we have?
Now, if I ask why you are involved or want to be involved in a particular business.
You might talk about how lucrative it is.
But one thing that I have come to understand is that there are hundreds of things that you can do to make money.
And any business that brings a return of one naira can make you a million and a billion naira.
It all depends on your knowledge of how to scale a business.
So money is out of the equation.
This does not mean that it is not Important.
But making money is the easiest thing.
The hard things are finding capital, the right idea, and partners.
You also need to work hard; that’s how you generate luck.
There are a lot of directions that this article can go, but I will work hard to keep it focused on these points:
Luck and Hardwork.
You need to deploy these things in the right proportion to build a successful business.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
One of the earliest lessons I learned about ideas is that they are cheap.
Everyone has ideas.
There are 1001 articles online about business ideas.
Like the Bible said: There is nothing new under the Sun.
When it comes to ideas, the most important thing is execution.
You need to focus more on building your idea than telling people about it.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t build in public.
But it pays to actively work on something as you talk about it.
That way, you make it easier for people to help and patronize you.
Also you need to understand that the fact an idea is fully formed in your head doesn’t mean that you can build on it.
You may not have the requisite knowledge or skills to get it off the ground.
Know when to take a break to learn or where a partnership is needed.
I will share more of that in the next point.
Also, people have a particular fear when sharing their ideas with others.
You are well-versed with the concept of stolen ideas
But the truth is that no one can steal your idea.
Even if they try, they can never build it as you would.
The origin of that idea is your mind; if you stick to building it, you will build something remarkable.
I added this part for people who give up on their ideas because someone is building something similar.
Or found out that someone they discussed the idea with took it up and kicked them aside.
They just stole your version one; so many versions will come.
The phone or device you are reading this article on didn’t exist some years ago.
Phones had buttons and very small screen sizes.
Look at where we are today.
I was having a conversation with someone two weeks ago about physical businesses.
And I gave the person a case study on how I can build a successful dry cleaning business that can be scaled nationally with time.
You see, there are a lot of boring businesses that are waiting to be digitized.
Dry cleaning, Restaurants, Car shops, etc.
Businesses like these are ripe for disruption in a world where everyone is jumping into tech and building the next fintech app for online payments.
All that is needed is a partnership between an operator and a techie.
In the case of dry cleaning,
The operator must be very good at washing clothes and understand the dry cleaning business well.
A techie can build/design an app and handle online marketing and business development.
In this form of partnership, the role of everyone is clear, and when both partners excel in their duties, they will build a highly profitable business.
At this point, they are no longer selling dry cleaning; they are selling ease.
With their App, people can place an order and get their clothes picked up for washing and delivered back to them.
One of the partners can choose to handle pickup and delivery (highly recommended in the early days) or choose to delegate that to staff.
Also, if you understand business models deeper, you will understand that this is no longer a dry cleaning business.
Their business model is logistics based because that’s how they can provide and capture the most significant value.
Any average dry cleaner can get your clothes washed adequately.
How many can relieve you of the stress of washing and delivery?
A lack of capital is one of the most significant issues many prospective entrepreneurs face.
But most times, this can be solved with patience if there is no sponsor.
Let me explain.
Continuing with my dry cleaner analogy.
The operator can first choose to work for someone and save the necessary funds to start his own business.
Most people don’t build a saving culture because they have no vision.
That’s why you are finding it hard to save even if it is as little as 5-15% of your income.
When there is no understanding of the future, people cast away self-discipline – Myles Monroe.
In the words of the renowned Nigerian Philosopher Erigga, problem no dey finish.
So learn to pay yourself first for any money you earn before solving other problems.
That money you save (use cowrywise) is the only thing that is yours.
You will distribute the rest to others for different reasons.
If you are among the people who don’t work due to Ego, you are in for the long haul.
In my early years of trying to build a personal income, I worked as a laborer in the market, helping people offload goods from trucks and carrying them into their stalls.
My next gig was working a night shift as a fuel station attendant, and when I got the opportunity, I started washing cars at a Car wash during the day.
These all happened between 2011 and 2015.
I didn’t save much during those years because I invested all my earnings into my personal development.
But those years were what laid the foundation for who I am today.
If you don’t have money, look for opportunities around you and seize them.
Don’t be broke and proud.
And if your focus is what people would think or say, ask yourself this question.
If you have a life-threatening sickness that needs expensive surgery, write down the names of people you are confident will bail you out.
If you realize how quickly dead people are forgotten, you won’t live your life to please anybody.
The same goes for the techie.
The skills that help you build a successful business can help others build one too.
Find out those people, work for them and save.
Luck and Hardwork
These two walk hand in hand.
As a Nigerian, you are most likely familiar with that famous phrase that people say when you ask they the secret to their success.
“Na God o “
It’s an annoying statement, but it is true.
You see, many people are very familiar with the person of Jesus but know very little about his principles.
The person of Jesus brings you peace.
The principles of Jesus bring you prosperity.
Here are some of those principles.
- Whatever you sow, you shall reap.
- Do to others what you would have them do to you.
- He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
Jesus was also a big advocate of serving others.
I have studied a lot of successful businesses globally, and a recurring factor is serving people.
The thing about principles like consistency and hard work is that they have come to look dull.
But you need to understand that they hold the key to success.
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
There are a lot of things that go into starting a business.
But you need to understand that it combines working on the right idea, finding the right people and capital, and then working as hard as possible.
Every single one of these variables is essential and should be taken seriously.
I know that you would have unique questions based on what you are building.
I would love to hear from you in the comment section below; I will answer all questions.
- The Wolf of Franchise writes fantastic case studies on physical businesses. A great way to know winning business models to adopt and even scale with tech. WOF Newsletter.
- These articles on FEAR and EGO would help you a lot. I wrote them some months back.
- Watch this movie about the origins of MacDonalds. (scroll down for the download link)The best business movie I have ever watched.
Thank you for reading
Looking forward to your comment and questions in the comment section below.