Small Beginnings, Big Dreams

Business, Stories 31/07/2017 by Kwaghdoo Enyi

I have been obsessed with entrepreneurship for the past 2 years for a simple reason; I read a book called ‘The Unfair Advantage‘ by Robert Kiyosaki. He said when someone wants to be a pilot they go to aviation school, a wannabe doctor goes to medical school but when we want to start a business we just look for a building, buy equipment and open shop. 90% of people never learn what entrepreneurship is all about or the rules that govern it.

Could this be why so many businesses fold up?

I have owned a business for over 13 years, my dad is an entrepreneur, my elder brother and husband are contractors and self employed, I’ve never lacked for counsel or examples but this statement in the book made me pause and think. I loved to bake and people were willing to pay for the cakes, before I knew it, I was running a business.

As I read this book, I realised how little I actually knew about entrepreneurship.

I started baking from home with a mudu of flour and sugar. I’d just finished university, served and really didn’t have a choice or the luxury to wait till I found a shop. I’d being raised to be independent and to understand no rich uncle somewhere was going to come and “settle” me. I was not going to sit around and wait to make do with whatever allowance my husband deemed fit to give me either. I had younger ones and obligations as well, not to train them but at least send some extra pocket money now and then; so, I figured if I sold cake for N1000 a day at the end of each month I would have earned N30,000. That was far better than wishing and hoping for a miracle.

kay’s Pastries staff © IamBenue 2017

I have held countless conversations with both sexes, sadly most women feel they should marry and “rest”; not have to worry about bills anymore it is now the man’s responsibility, the guys on the other hand are looking for the next “big” thing. The one that saddens me the most is the scourge of writing proposals!

So many guys with brilliant ideas write a proposal and try their best to sell it to the government for execution but, this is where ideas go to die; in government offices. Some of these ideas are even accepted and launched but they die all the same when the next government comes in or the next person to take over that office has vested interest in something else. I always say if Mark Zuckerberg was a Nigerian, Facebook would be a proposal submitted to a government official never to see the light of day, he’d be broke too running around trying to make ends meet or he’d be waiting for his opportunity to come to siphon government funds instead of making a million times more by just the idea he had.

Do you have an idea that doesn’t let you sleep at night? A solution to an everyday problem you tell people about all the time? To you it may be obvious or mundane but someone thought up a mop, brooms, toothpicks and the likes.

Please stop submitting proposals to the government and start nurturing your ideas. A small spark of flame turns into a raging fire that can burn down a whole town. Please understand that things take time to build just as a child takes time to grow.

A business, like a child, goes from infancy to early childhood to middle childhood to adolescent to a full grown adult.

Nurture your idea and give it time to grow. Warren Buffet says certain things take time, you can’t have a baby in one month by making nine women pregnant. Take some time to write that proposal as if you are pitching it to the president himself then please break it down into your yearly milestones and take it from there, you’ll be surprised where this approach will lead you.

Stop looking for a billion Naira to start a company and start working on building a billion Naira company. Every big name you know started from somewhere; if you only want what they have now and not the struggle that came with it you are on a long thing!

kay’s pastries © IamBenue 2017

This brings me back to where I started:

Do you feel like you’ve passed the stage to start small? How so? What makes you too big? Is it your ego? Pride? Are you worried people will laugh at you? Why does it matter to you so much what they think of you? Do you need higher self esteem? My dad used to tell me; until I’m willing to sell oranges by the road side to ensure my kids don’t go hungry at night, I’m not ready for life yet. And until I meet a guy willing to push wheel barrow to keep a roof over my head I haven’t found a husband yet. Were those rather harsh examples or just a humility check? Are you willing to earn an honest 1000 Naira or would you rather have sex for it, beg for it or steal it?

We are lucky this side of the world no natural disasters like tsunamis or hurricanes to come and tear down your life’s investments but what would you do if you had to start all over again? Double down or let self pity kill you? Go round telling stories about how big you were?

I became a protégé of entrepreneurship and I am amazed at what Business Development actually means, the potential it holds for many businesses, why businesses work or fail at what point they are at. I also accepted that like Walt Disney, I may have to pass the baton of the dream in me to the next generation to continue but as the saying goes if I’m going to walk in the rain I may as well dance!!!!

Write down your dreams, nurture them, it will not be easy but it is well worth it.

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