Wellofexcellence | March 13, 2019 | 1 | Wealth Creation


“There are no limits to opportunities, there is only shortage of the imagination”.

I know we’ve all have a desire to make a little extra cash to meet our unlimited needs and want. But we put out the idea of starting any business due to the fact of previous failures, lack of opportunity, lack of finance, or even the fear of tainting our self-sufficient image.

For this writing, I’ll focus on the above factor. It’ll surprise you that those little factors are what is between you and the potential wealth that awaits you.

I’ve read a lot of business write-ups that I found either useless or even bunch unhelpful stuffs, hopefully I promise you this will not be one.
How does a little girl make N400 daily? That’s like 8000 monthly. There’s nothing special about that except that this little girl makes this money by just selling iced fresh (powdered juice) in nylon during school hours, and what’s better is that she’s just 10 years old. In my home state of Adamawa, most people in my home are into entrepreneurship ventures of some sought. My little cousin decided to start something, I guess people you surround yourself with influence you. The level of success she gets at her level is quite amusing for me and seeing her earn at least 300 naira profit daily makes me realize that making money is quite easier with the right guidance and will.
And I find that her ‘success’ secret is really the same for anyone who desires to start something. And evaluating the process from her story, here’s what we can learn.

Find the right opportunity: Where and who everyone is, is also a pointer to the opportunities available for them. The dividing line between those who struggle and thrive in business is the choice of opportunities they decide to exploit. It’s quite easier to choose the right opportunity than to apply initiative. Not to get too far ahead, let me state two basic factors to finding opportunity, and do not be mistaken, they take a lot of thinking.

First look for a need; this may sound as a cliché. But it’s not as easy at as how people see it to be. What do people need? We need water, food, shelter, clothing, information and many other things. And if you go for those things you’ll never go too wrong. Right?

Looking for a need really means to look for a market gap around you. In fact, don’t go for NEEDS, go for WANTS. People are emotional beings, they always go for what they want before the go for what they need? Right? Yes. Check your expenses, you spend more on miscellaneous and not so important things than what you spend on pressing needs. With exceptions of course, but ultimately most people are the same in habit. And anyways, a lot of people are already crowded in those areas of basic needs. And except by some luck or extraordinary luck, you’ll suffocate in those markets.

While attending a boarding secondary school, all through school, I sold almost everything imaginable. I bought and sold biscuits, noodles, and even pork. I could proudly say I introduce selling fresh and foster Clark. And guess what, some were legal and others were not. When noodles were banned, we used that opportunity to buy and sell at an even more expensive prices and we sold cartoons in no time. I’m not saying you should do something illegal. My point is exploit the market gap.

One way to find a gap is to check what is being sold in another environment that is not being sold in another environment. Do this, and you can never go wrong, all things being equal.

Exploit sentiments of seasons: this is even better for those who don’t want to take the business thing too serious. You can do some things for just a while. Before the presidential election, my cousin usually makes peanuts and supplies to local shops, I advised her to exploit the election season and supply it on the election day to people who will be waiting in the long queues. She supplied peanuts, cupcakes, and even Zobo.

No one needs to tell you that she made clean good money. I even observed when I attended a campaign rally that there were a lot of retailers making money. Well, you may say I can’t stand and sell, no one says it has to be that way. There are so many ways to make money, this is just one. Perhaps in the second part of this writing, I’ll tell you why it doesn’t matter even if you have to stand and retail yourself. Those reasons might be more interesting than you can ever guess.

So what other seasons can you exploit? Try Valentine, Easter, Sallah Celebration, Christmas, New year, School events like dinners, matriculations etc.

Take initiative: Taking initiative in the bigger game to business success. Taking initiative basically means two things: first is to take action. Don’t think just start, ( I’m just kidding, make sure you think, okay, the point is just start).
Secondly, the point I’ll stress on is initiative means to apply imagination and creativity. People conduct business too normal. Shake things up and use your God given brain.

I’m a final year law student in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. It is in our tradition to dress corporate and to be all ‘glorious’. And I love dressing well, as the saying goes, “looking good is good business. I’ve always like the waistcoat (jacket, monkey jacket or whatever you know it as) fashion, and I’ve literarily searched all over every city I’ve thought but it seems people don’t really see it as a market opportunity neither did I.

When one time I travelled from Zaria to the capital of Kaduna on official duty with another friend, while I was passing I saw a shop displaying those waistcoats. So on the journey back I stopped to get a couple or so for myself. I discovered they were cheap and for a fact, I knew they were not in reasonable supply in Zaria. I then negotiated a very good deal for large purchase. And when we struck a deal, I looked for an ATM, withdrew and purchased 10 for sell. As a matter of fact, the first 10 were purchased by just those around me within a week. I made 100% profit on each. A week later I went back for more. For my preceding restock, I made 150% profit on each and many will consider my sale price very fair. What’s interesting is I sold every day from my room, with no advertisement except by word of mouth to friends and with the help my roommates.

I didn’t plan for it, but I saw an opportunity and I took it. Business was moving well, soon I exhausted my immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. That would have been the end of me. I decided to think of another way. I was in school it was not like I had the time to display or do other stuff.
I realize that clothing shops in the school do not really have waistcoats, I approached one of those shops and request that they help me display my product for a certain percentage, she accepted and even decline any compensation but I insisted ( if people will work for you make sure you pay them).

I could say the partnership is successful. I’m yet to even ask other shops because I’ve not really been serious about it, imagine if I ask 15 shops to, perhaps 13 may decline, but with two accepting, I’ll be making above the Nigerian minimum monthly wage without much work. Why? I had the right opportunity and I took initiative.

Look for high return investment: finally the difference between a successful business person and a not so successful business person is known by the return of investment. Keep this in mind, ‘get more and doing little’. Look for investment opportunity that deserves your time. There are some investments in business that isn’t worth your time and effort. I look for investment that at one sell, I make a good day’s wage. And I’m not talking about a primary school profit.

The truth is that there are investment opportunities everywhere, it’s not about luck. During the strike, I realized that things were going tight, so I decided to find some business to do. I used my last money to buy 2 cheap camera online for resale. Thanks to the strike, I couldn’t get buyers. I was hoping school resumes soon. I failed. But it’s okay to fail! I decided to go online again and look for something, finally I settle for buying memory cards and flashes for sale. And I can tell that this venture was really successful. My orders usually came within 15-35 days. During this time I had to wait. I decided to look for a laptop buyer and then look for a seller to buy from. I used my school fees and extra loan to buy a laptop from a desperate seller (don’t try this, every business carries a degree of risk, just go for very low and high return risk,) and then sold to the ready buyer to be paid later. I took the chance and the return was huge. From just one transaction. I can say it was worth the effort.

I tried to be brief, the steps are easy. first find the right opportunity, take initiative and then look for high return investment. I hope this prepares you at least to begin your journey as an entrepreneur, or even if you are already in business, I hope you find this particular piece as a reminder. A second part of starting a business will be out soon, it’ll be about how to make your current business to the next level in growth and finances. Stay tuned. And you can check out my other articles on ‘Commercialise your talent and branding.

Manasseh U Mshelia.

Entrepreneur, writer and speaker. @Facebookpage ‘The African Entrepreneur’

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