- Eric Edokpa, Principal Consultant, Fintech, Ventures and Allied Solutions (FVAS), NEXTZON: The lifespan of most SMEs is 3-5 years, so if you don’t look for ways to reinvent yourself, you may not grow. Be open to opportunities for networking and collaborations, have a platform approach to grow your business and let others function on your platforms too.
- Simeon Ononobi, Co-Founder, Thank U: Use Nigeria sense to innovate solutions for Nigerians. Offer free services on platforms that will give you exposure to paying clients. Data (I.e. information) is the new ‘Oil’, get data.
- Toyin Lawani, CEO, Tiana’s Empire: Most of the time, you have to create a market for your audience. Focus on building a business that meets needs not doing what everyone is doing; start small and turn opportunities into businesses.
- Okechukwu Ofili, CEO, Okadabooks.com:Being an entrepreneur is difficult in any country. Don’t give up, see challenges as opportunities. Find people who support you, e.g. mentors, never stop pitching your idea despite multiple rejections, don’t compare yourself to others and pick a strong team.
- Tolu Onyeacholam, Product Manager, eTranzact: Don’t look down on the rural area. There is more money there than in urban areas. Understand the problems they have and meet their needs. People will pay any amount when they need you or your services.
- Tale Alimi, CEO, Tale Alimi Global – Think about your mindset; if you haven’t gotten it right, you will continue to struggle with your business. Too many people think too small. Think big, have a clear business strategy. The strategy is not about being the best but being different. You can only be as big as you think.
- Origoye Doyle, CEO, Nylon Industries – You need to understand your market and how to meet their expectations. Carry your team along, don’t micro-manage them. Encourage them to profer solutions to problems that arise in the course of the business. Educate them on what you want to be done and how it should be done.
- Shade Ladipo, Country Director, WEConnect – When you meet a mentor, show that you have something to offer. If you have value, people will want to you as their mentee. There should be no entitlement when a mentor meets a mentee. Mentorship should be about seeking relationships. Learn how to pitch and sell your business and always be prepared to do so at any time.
And there you have it, a tip of the iceberg from all the speakers. At the end of the Fair, I overheard someone say, ‘if I missed this seminar, I don’t know what I would have done.’ That’s what we, as writers are here for dearie. In the words of Muda Yusuf, “This Connect Nigeria organised Business Fair is a very important developmental thing.”
Ann Esievoadje is a freelance writer who is passionate about encouraging a reading culture and personal development. She has authored two books, The Quilt (fiction) and Being Mummy and Me (non-fiction). She manages Pulchra Publishing which offers a content creation/editing, transcription, different forms of writing (including Ghostwriting) service and her blog, Life Love and Anything Goes at annesievoadje.blogspot.com.ng. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org