As was promised, Connect Nigeria delivered a riveting exposition on Day 1 of the 2019 Connect Nigeria Business Fair, at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners all gathered together at TBS for another iconic edition of Africa’s largest business fair, with great expectations and an eagerness to implement all they would learn into further enhancing the growth of their businesses.
Attendees were given a welcome address by the MD of Connect Nigeria, Emeka Okafor, who spoke on the story so far and stimulated the interests of entrepreneurs present to listen and learn from the business experts who would grace the stage.
Afterwards, guests were given a tour of the Exhibition hall where top business vendors were all lined up in colorful eye catching booths.
What Nobody tells you about starting a business
In the first session of the day tagged, What Nobody Tells You About Starting A Business, an array of business leaders and experts, indulged attendees present in a conversation that was for the most part, very revealing of the trials every business owner must have to face in the quest to starting and growing a business anywhere in the world.
Bernard Oriyomi – Union Bank
One of the speakers, Bernard Oriyomi, Head SME & Business Development Union Bank, expounded on the need for aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs to get back to the drawing board and assert if their business is solving a prevalent need locally or globally, as this is the only way a business can stay relevant and become self sustaining.
Abimbola Balogun – So Fresh
The second speaker, Abimbola Balogun, CEO of So Fresh, took the attendees on a short journey to defining what a business should be and what not.
For Balogun, there is a lot more involved in starting a venture than just having a business idea. If you have a product idea, you must also think of how to sell it.
One important trait of successful businesses is their ability to adapt to the ever changing business ecosystem.
Chibuzo Ike – InfoMall
The next speaker, Chibuzo Ike, InfoMall, counseled entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to be very strategic and pay attention to the growing trends in business.
According to Ike, entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs, and only the very determined and flexible entrepreneurs eventually break even.
Agatha Amata – Rave TV
For Agatha Amata, CEO Rave TV, entrepreneurs do not need to wait till all is well to start up. Starting small can give you a very big edge in a growing market.
Before taking that big leap into entrepreneurship you must count the cost and be willing to hold on even on your worst days.
The struggle to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be a much difficult hurdle, however, surrounding yourself with the right team can make all the difference.
Ndu Anyanwu – Hot FM
The next speaker, Ndu Anyanwu, Hot FM, admonished entrepreneurs to go for innovative ideas and also be very flexible. At the end of the day, a good product markets itself and stands the test of time.
Anyanwu also expounded on the need for business owners to be very proactive about advertising their businesses.
The final speaker of the session, Mabel George, Sigma Pensions, took the part of educating aspiring entrepreneurs on the importance of smart thinking in their quest to becoming entrepreneurs.
According to George, starting a business does not automatically mean quitting a current job or source of income.
An entrepreneur must be smart and willing to make wise decisions which include knowing when to pack up shop if things go south.
George’s Life of an Entrepreneur:
- This is awesome
- This is hard
- This is OK!
- This rocks
- I am awesome
Every entrepreneur will go through the first two stages, however, only the smart flexible and determined entrepreneur eventually pushes through to the other stages.
The Difference Between Building A Business and an empire
In the second session tagged, The Difference Between Building A Business And An Empire, leading business experts discussed the need for business owners to think beyond just making a living, and instead set their focus on building self sustaining brands that would stand the test of ages to come.
Femi Oye – SME Funds
The first speaker, Femi Oye, SME Funds, explained that the world of business is governed by three C’s; overwhelming complexity, overwhelming competition and unending change.
The businesses who eventually remain relevant overtime are those who have an idea that people will pay for.
Afolabi Abiodun – SME Telecoms
For Afolabi Abiodun, SB Telecoms, the difference between a business and an empire is the structure within the entity.
Only a self sufficient business can become an empire in the years to come.
Ayodele Ojosipe – Stanbic IBTC
The next speaker, Ayodele Ojosipe, Head of Enterprise Banking, Stanbic IBTC, described businesses with an analogy of a dance floor and a balcony.
According to Ojosipe, business owners who are on the dance floor are at the helm of things within their business, micromanaging everything. This business owner has little time to brainstorm ideas that will grow his/her company.
Business owners who have a balcony view, however, delegate duties to their team, giving them ample time to innovate around ideas that will fast track the growth of their businesses.
Kanyinsade Ademuson – 7th Space
The last speaker, Kanyinsade Ademuson, stated clear characteristics that every entrepreneur must have;
- Clear and articulated vision
- Documented Business plan
- Ability to receive critics and failure
Ademosun further explained the need for business owners to identify the problem they are solving with their products and develop strategies that will help them compete favorable in a market that is saturated and still growing.
Businesses may run out of customers or the owners may pass away, but a business that is solving a problem will remain, as long as people still seek the solution(s) they provide.