14th October, 2011
Mrs. Folake Shoga, in her late 60s has been involved in the business of selling native clothings for over 40 years. She spoke on how to run a successful business and sundry issues.
How can one become a successful entrepreneur? Being successful in business lies in the heart of an individual, it should be an in-born thing. As a business woman, I never went to school to study business administration, but I inherited it from my parent.
Talking about being successful in business is determination, that is, having a passion for trading. You canâ€™t just jump into business without having an understanding as to what to do and what not to. In business, you donâ€™t have to be too nice when transacting because some people tend to take you for granted by collecting goods on credit which could lead to the collapse of the business.
Although doing business has to do with manpower a lazy person cannot make a success of business. A business person should be able to attend to customers in such a manner that will make them want to come next time. You shouldnâ€™t be rude to your customer because a customer could determine if your business will be successful or not.
Moreso, donâ€™t start a business without a primary foundation; there are people who establish businesses without even having a knowledge concerning that business. Itâ€™s either you go to learn or inherit business strategy before you can do well in business. Donâ€™t be surprised if you establish a business without any knowledge and it collapses. One should be business-oriented so that you donâ€™t fail in the process of the business. Being successful in business needs patience and you must not be greedy. Donâ€™t finish your investment; you can spend little out of the profit, donâ€™t spend all your profit. Reserve, at least, 60 per cent of your profit to reinvest so that you can have something to fall back upon when problem comes. Calculate your investment well and if you notice that you are already spending the capital, that means the business is not worth doing. So, look for another business that can yield you good profit. Donâ€™t spend your investment before you discover that the business is not yielding.
What could be the cause of failure in business?
The word is cut your coat according to your material. There are some women who own businesses and use the proceeds to cater for their husbands. To make matter worse, the man is always requesting for money without considering the effect it could have on the womanâ€™s business. All you hear is ‘I need money to do this to repair my car’, ‘I need money to do some work’.
Any woman with this kind of husband is bound to fail in her business. Most importantly, donâ€™t be too materialist. As an entrepreneur, buy only what you can afford, donâ€™t be too expensive, you can always attend that party with Ankara and look beautiful. You donâ€™t have to wear lace before you look good, donâ€™t be surprised that the Ankara you wear to that event could be better noticed than another person’s lace. Donâ€™t compare yourself with other people.
How much can one use to start a business?
There is no specific amount one can use to start a business. You can even establish with as low as N50. With proper management, you will be surprised at how the little capital can grow. Most importantly, be very prayerful so that God can guide you as to what business to do, so that it can yield well. Don’t start spending expensively, have faith in your work, donâ€™t compare yourself with people who spend lavishly. You will be amazed at how the little you invested can into something you never imagined.
Every good business starts small. You see so many beggars begging that they want very little to start up something to do. I know a beggar that used to come to Lagos Island to beg for arms, and one day I heard that she has built a house and wrote on the building: Lagosians are fools.
When do you think is the right time to start a business?
My advice, especially to graduates out there who are thinking of investing, is that there is no need to rush into any kind of business. It is good to work for at least for one or two years. Within this period, look for a good job and set aside 10 per cent of your salary every month for future business. Donâ€™t invest all our salary, just 10 per cent. Most importantly, prayer is the key to successful business, so, pray that God would open your eyes to the kind of business in which you could make a good profit. Draw a plan for your future business, try and study it’s likely strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared for challenges and donâ€™t give up on those challenges. With adequate plans, your business will be successful without delay.
What advice do you have for women who intend to start a business of their own?
It is good for a woman to have a business of her own, we shouldnâ€™t put all the responsibility on the man alone. That is why the woman is the man’s helper. Abroad, men and women work hand in hand to make a success of their marriage and home. If you are not mature enough to get married, donâ€™t spend all your capital on unnecessary things. Do your best and leave the rest. Secondly, create time to monitor your business well, do the necessary checks, donâ€™t just abandon your business to anybody. Nobody is to be trusted with a business, and if you are to put someone in charge of your business, let it be a relative you can trust. Study him or her regularly to make sure he or she is a reliable person.
Is it advisable to continue with a business that canâ€™t pay, not to talk of make a profit?
When a business is just starting, donâ€™t expect to much from it; it should be a step by step process and after three to four months, if there is no improvement, then check out your manager or what exactly the problem is.
It could be that the business is not god for that environment; a business that is not yielding profit is not worth wasting resources and time on. If the investor sees that the fault is from the manager, lock up your business till you close from your office. After closing, come to open your business, there are some people who will tell you business is bad but meanwhile, he or she is replacing your goods without your knowledge.
What advice do you have for women out there?
A woman is the pillar of her home, she should make sure that joint prayers sessions are held in her home. Teach your children how to do praises. You see, children of this generation are wiser than you can imagine. Women should bridle their tongues, donâ€™t talk to your husband anyhow, especially in the presence of the children. Teach you children to be appreciative, watch what you do in presence of you children. Learn to apologize to your partner, donâ€™t prolong a quarrel and always pray for your home and partner.