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BREAKING MY SILENCE

Terms and conditions of BAILOUT…
Having committed myself to the teaching of entrepreneurship at every level I decided to break my silence and painfully share my private failings with students of entrepreneurship. Since Nigerians like “jist” we might as well learn from the juicy details.

LESSON 1: Hubby’s bailout condition;
Hubby: CLOSE DOWN MOST OF THE BRANCHES! Gbam!
Me: WHAT!!..??
Me: Like seriously?
Hubby: End of discussion!

Are you feeling me now? Remember I said those conditions hurt and still hurt. So there were 11 branches. Two in Abuja, one in Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Benin, Bayelsa, Ibadan, Portharcourt, Kogi and Makurdi. Seven outlets went down first and faithful staff who had been with me since forever were out of a job. Heartbreaking! Some of us were either going to go down or we all go down. I did the needful. Funny enough a senior friend before then, Gary Marsh who was the head of retail banking diamond bank had advised me to reduce my exposure and downsize but for where? Surely Gary didn’t know better. Time proved he did. Now between the devil and the deep blue sea common sense prevailed. Once we reduced our exposure and focused on the goose that was laying the golden egg, we became more profitable, bigger, better and more manageable. We became forced to use technology to our advantage. Where we no longer had a physical presence we sold online and delivered. Dusted!
LEARNING CURVE
• Listen to wise counsel when you should. Don’t wait till you need a bailout.
• Doing business in Nigeria can be tricky. Buying power has always been low put that into consideration when designing your business plan.
• Reduce your exposure, downsize when it becomes necessary. Don’t owe workers for months on end. Apologize and let them go.
• Learn how to look at your figures. A big turnover isn’t equivalent to big profit. Get good accountants and auditors. ( don’t be like me, in my mind their job was just to catch thieves) they should give you a profit and loss statement monthly.
• Don’t take everything too personal. In Nigeria we tend to over spiritualize everything when a good dose of common sense would do. Women also tend to be too sentimental. What was my problem with keeping branches that were not doing well afloat if not sentiment. Get over it! I did!
• Never plan to start your business with a lot of money, don’t rush into your next level, borrow carefully, pay back ASAP, grow your own money and grow your business organically.
ACTION PLAN
• Do the needful now. You know your facts.
www.thevisionaryng.com
Feel free to drop your comments ask questions or best of all share your own failure story and what you learnt from the experience. You just might help someone out. Remember silence isn’t always golden!

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