A country such as Nigeria is ranked among the poor countries according to the Human Poverty Index though we have a large oil production base. Since the wealth is not trickling down to the common man, we have to put measures in place to ensure that other sources of wealth are attained. In addition to this, up to 60% of those who have graduated from institutions of higher education do not get formal employment hence the need for alternative sources of income. There are currently very few institutions that have made it their mission to spread the gospel of entrepreneurship to the populace as a sustainable method of poverty eradication. Our Institutions should be able to educate the populace on issues concerning entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship vs. Self Employment
Our citizens should learn the difference between self employment and entrepreneurship. The two seem to be one and the same thing to many Nigerian entrepreneurs however, they have a distinct difference. An entrepreneur is a business proprietor who carries out business with ease and maintains growth while getting satisfaction of all the business activities. The entrepreneurial mindset is that of a strategist and a visionary. On the other hand a self employed business person is one who simply seeks to tap a financial niche without much regard for objective planning. This type of business person may not necessarily enjoy what they do. While an entrepreneur is focused on growth and expansion, a self employed business owner may be content with the current income levels, thus seeing no need for new strategies. Many Nigerians are self employed but their current state of living does not reflect much prosperity and it is until entrepreneurship is instituted that things can change. Given that the unemployment rate is about 6% according to statistics, it is vital for Nigeria to consider Entrepreneurship as a solution for creating jobs for the unemployed.
The lay person needs to know that being an entrepreneur requires a considerable amount of sales and marketing skills. This may put some people off because they do not consider themselves as business people. However, there is no business that can progress without an aggressive sales strategy. We should also know that entrepreneurship is dynamic and plenty of thought has to be invested in coming up with new innovations to enhance business. It is evident that consumers’ needs change every so often therefore new strategies need to be put in place and old methods reviewed for out entrepreneurship sector to be successful and effectiveness.
Creating the Mindset
Nigerian entrepreneurs should be good strategists not afraid to make calculated risks after making a careful assessment of situations. The moment an entrepreneurial mindset has been instilled, any type of business whether big or small is able to achieve significant growth. Entrepreneurs in most cases have prosperous personal lives as well because they are able to align their business vision with their life objectives. This combination will ensure that all aspects are catered for because it is of no use to have a flourishing enterprise at the expense of a fulfilling personal life. Entrepreneurship can aptly be described as a business lifestyle in contrast to regular business self employment which is merely an activity. The achievement of an entrepreneurial mindset is able to turn around any business towards greater heights.
Role of the Populace
We need to adapt a focused mind and emotional state as entrepreneurs. Self examination is important in helping us to figure out our strengths and weaknesses. To be successful in business, there are several questions that all Nigerian Entrepreneurs should think about in order to make any project successful.
o Am I a self starter? In business it is not possible for things to just happen. As a business owner, you have the responsibility for initiating all the business practices that will stimulate sales. The vision of the owner is the driving force for any business enterprise.
o Do I think positive? Any time a person becomes a business owner, you have an optimistic outlook on your activities which will reflect on the progress made. Any employees or fellow entrepreneurs will notice this optimism and are likely to feed off this energy.
o Do you have discipline? Compared to formal employment that has fixed hours and limited motivation, an entrepreneurship is an on ongoing commitment that requires dedication beyond the standard working hours and there needs to be lots of attention to detail to ensure business is maintained. Our entrepreneurs require the will to resist any distraction and temptations that could keep them from achieving their objectives.
o What are your objectives? The expected goals and target need to be set in advance and our entrepreneurs should always have them in mind when conducting business
Africa is able to learn a lot from the developed nations concerning entrepreneurship activities and their impact on the lives of citizens. The European Union (EU) for instance has put plenty of emphasis on the promotion of small and medium sized enterprises which has resulted in the creation of over 75 million jobs. In fact, many of these jobs in the EU are being done by Africans who have fled their countries to earn a better living elsewhere. With the right economic mechanisms in place, these migrants would not need to go to far flung countries to seek a decent living.
Currently, most sub Saharan countries use less than 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on infrastructure that will help scale up trade. This is considered very little and in order for trade practices to greatly boost the economy of Nigeria, approximately 10 % of our GDP should go into building of investment capacity. Only when this happens can there be a shift in our people’s mind frame leading to a more productive and self sufficient nation.