“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea”
Too many people, too often, talk about the ‘next big idea’ or ‘a sure multi-million naira idea’ only to do absolutely nothing about it and remain hopelessly broke. This week, The PANEL has sought for and found 3 exceptional young Nigerians who have achieved an enviable measure of success, and they will share their unique perspectives on how to generate a multi-million naira business idea.
CHIKA AZUBUIKE (Manchester, UK)
A million-naira business idea starts with a provocation of a deficiency or service in your immediate environment. There are a lot of services that are rendered so poorly with little or no real concern for the clients. Proffering a solution to this need in the market focuses on the immediate environment concerned, then extends to bigger markets within and outside the nation.
An already existing product can be modified or transformed to meet specific needs in your immediate environment of need. Once this is achieved, the focus of growth seeks to proffer same solution to a wider market. This in turn creates wealth which is further used to fund other ideas while seeking the growth of the already established idea.
It takes vision, discipline and team work to achieve set financial objectives. A lot of sacrifices will have to be made. It may mean heading from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm until the final objective is met.
Azubuike is a strong believer in Nigeria and her potentials and is currently undergoing a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Salford, Manchester.
His first real business was distribution of Achievers Journal in Benue State. He then started a unique mobile car wash in his final year in the university. He has served as sales representative of Guchi Oil and Gas limited and as the marketing manager of John WinA Nigeria Limited. He is a League of extraordinary young people (LEXY) fellow.
KOYE-LADELE MOGBEKELOLUWA (Lagos, Nigeria)
The guy who reached out to me wanted to know what I thought about creating multi-million-naira business ideas. My first thought was to decline. If I knew anything about creating multi-million-naira businesses, I wouldn’t wake up at 6am to go work on selling more diapers; I’d be working on creating one of those.
I am not qualified to talk about creating multi-million-naira businesses. In my opinion, if you haven’t already started one with that kind of valuation or started something that is on the way there – rest and let the real entrepreneurs talk.
But I have a few thoughts about building businesses, and strongly believe in enterprise as a tool for improving people’s lives, so I’ll tell you what I think about that instead.
- Execution eats ideas for lunch. People talk about “million naira” ideas, but often forget ideas are a dime a dozen. I know many people who had the idea to list vacant houses on a website to make searching easier, but today there’s just ToLet and maybe two competitors. We’re seven billion; seven thousand other people have the same “one in a million” idea you have. I’ve been talking with friends about a few ideas forever, but we haven’t done anything – so we’re none the richer for our ideas. Execute. As an aside: execute first, then worry about executing excellently afterwards.
- People are everything. So you have this great idea, and you’re executing. You probably need other people to pitch in: employees, sales people, engineers, mentors, industry connections. It’s nearly impossible to get to millionaire status – and in dollars because nobody understands the naira these days – by going alone. You need to stop hiding behind your idiosyncrasies and start treating people right – or they’ll screw you over. Dangote, Globacom, GTBank – none of these would be household names without the hard work of many people behind the scenes. Oh, and by the way – trust your people, but audit them!
- Persevere. It’s a long, hard road to multiple millions of naira – even if your plan is to run for election and become a State Governor. It’s probably not going to happen in your first week, month, or year even – but if you execute excellently against the right idea and the dozen other variables outside your control align in your favor – then it may happen eventually. There’s a lot of “time and chance” at work on this path you have chosen. You know the story about Edison and the light bulb. Stay the course. You just might get there someday!
- It’s okay not to have a multi-million-naira idea. Really. Not all businesses will be valued in millions. We won’t all be millionaires. Some will find success in teaching children, others in working with the less privileged, and yet others in keeping government agencies running. I think about great wealth as a means to an end, not an end; what matters is getting to the end. You should not let yourself feel like a failure for choosing a life of service or a career that allows you the flexibility to spend afternoons with your children. Success for your life is how you define it.
But then, I am only a young professional.
What do I know?
Mogbekeloluwa, more commonly known as Koye, reads, writes, and thinks. He works in Procurement during the day and chases other dreams at night. He believes in enterprise as a tool for improving the quality of people’s lives.”
PSLOT LOT (Abuja, Nigeria)
The heart of every successful entrepreneur is a sense of purpose, and it may seem like chance that the pursuit of that purpose makes the idea worth millions of naira. A greater percentage of truly brilliant ideas today worth millions were not developed to earn millions or billions but to solve the need or desire of a million people. So what does it take to go from the ground up and build a million naira business?
I’ll say solve a problem, meet a need, or soothe a desire that has a million market size, because we have to admit there are a good number of brilliant ideas out there that are truly remarkable but don’t end up making millions. It’s not just about how great the idea seems, but the size of the market, and potential for rapid growth.
Pslot is an entrepreneur at heart and is currently leading a waste management social enterprise that engages in the reduction, reuse and recycling or converting of non-biodegradable materials such as polythene wastes, used polystyrene foam, plastics, scrap metals, used paper and newspaper prints, electronic wastes, tires, glass into reusable products. He is A Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) fellow and a League of extraordinary young people (LEXY) fellow.
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