Terra Kulture is a leading art, culture, lifestyle, and educational centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. Created to be an environment where both Nigerians and foreigners can learn about Nigerian arts and culture, Terra Kulture has evolved into much more than that. What can entrepreneurs learn from its founder, Bolanle Austen-Peters?
- One way to be successful is to identify a need and create products to meet it. Terra Kulture began as a project designed to teach Nigerian Languages. Bolanle Austen-Peters observed that many Nigerian children were not speaking Nigerian Languages, so she decided to do something about it, later expanding beyond teaching languages to showcasing Nigerian culture, art, music and food.
- A business plan is absolutely important. The first thing Mrs Austen-Peters did was to write a business plan. Even if you’re not seeking investors, your business plan will serve as a roadmap, helping you to set up your business and measure your progress.
- Read, read, read. It is no secret that Bolanle Austen-Peters loves books. Many may not realise that beyond reading for pleasure, books were an investment of time and money for her in the early days, part of her research to ensure success in her chosen enterprise.
- You must find a balance between life and work. The early days of setting up a business are demanding; that’s just the way it is. However, you can’t keep burning the candle at both ends forever. If you attempt to, something will suffer and it’s usually your personal life. In Mrs Austen-Peters’ case, it was her health. Fortunately, she found a balance after two years of running her business. The gestation period will vary from business to business, but you must work out that balance.
- Always keep the social aspect of your business in mind. Money is great, and every business should be profitable. However, inasmuch as you’re not running a charity organisation, ask yourself how your business is making/can make a difference in society. Job creation? Poverty alleviation? Find the social angle and give it your best. It will increase your satisfaction as an entrepreneur.
- Your business should be able to thrive in your absence. It’s important that you train someone and groom them in all the fundamentals and processes of your business, so that if you’re going to be unavailable for a while, the business will not suffer any major loss as a result.
- Leave room for growth. Although Terra Kulture started out as a language teaching centre, it has expanded and now comprises a book shop, food lounge, art gallery, theatre, and so much more.
- Working for a while before you start your business helps. Mrs Austen-Peters worked in a structured environment at the United Nations for years before founding Terra Kulture, and she brought the skills she acquired there into her business. When your business is as structured as any global business, you will be prepared for growth and it won’t throw you off balance.