Fidelity in business, the number one requirement for entrepreneurial success

Posted by News Express | 1 February 2016 | 3,407 times

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If there is anything lacking or in dire need to unleash unhindered entrepreneurship practice and enterprise management competencies, innovation, creativity and deep insight in pushing the way businesses are done in this part of the world, it is sincerity, uprightness and authenticity among the various parties in a business setup. In this country, you can hardly find an ally that can stay true to the terms of decency and agreement of your engagement. Nigeria is such a paradox – masked with so much toga of religion but having no semblance of godliness or spirituality. People are so self centred and selfish that their sense of enterprise engagement or any other thing for that matter is self aggrandisement, forgetting that without the advancement of the society and community, that of any of the individual therein, is at the end futile. Reason: A poor or undeveloped community cannot harbour a wealthy person, for it lacks the critical mass to do so; how will it offer the needed amenities that promote good life and safety? What we all forget in Nigeria is that at the end we share a collective destiny: the failure of any one member of the society that goes unconcerned, is the failure of all. When we do-in and malign one another, none of us really comes out standing at the end.

This is why I have always believed in sociological solutions to the societal dysfunction and its manifestations, rather than playing the giraffe and living in self denial while wishing the problems and challenges away, or wanting to root them out with military stampede. There is a saying in my place that if a person holds up what belongs to a child, though the child may not have what it takes to force his hands down in order to get what belongs to him, when the person gets tired, he will bring it down.

What we have generally referred to as criminality in this part of the world may likely be manifestations of the effects of structural, social, economic and political disorders in our society masquerading as acts against the state, when they are in essence acts in reaction or in revolt to the state (in revolt to the neglect of the state to the welfare and security of its citizens – real or apparent). Except this feelings are properly considered, treated and taken care of, peace and tranquility may continue to be elusive, for without justice there will be no peace. And denial of social justice and fairness will always breed restiveness, which in this case is manifesting as militancy, kidnapping, insurgency, armed robbery, electronic fraud; etcetera; which in all is negatively impacting on the entrepreneurial performance of the nation, and on its sustainability and growth.

The challenge of these manifestations sometimes is that they easily get malignant and treatment becomes difficult, challenging and complex, that even external help though farfetched may not help that much. A look at the armed robbery case will buttress this point; since after the civil war in 1970 till date, all the remedies, punitive or otherwise has failed to yield the desired result; just as the cases of kidnapping, internet fraud and other forms restiveness especially among the youths, are also not yielding desired fruits in accordance to all the inputs towards solving them, which in my own opinion are lacking in creativity. In my opinion we have not yet explored creativity in formulating these recipes and therefore their poor results. To my mind welfare economy and entrepreneurship will easily resolve all these issues in a few months or less, though it will cost the greed and primitive acquisition of most people a lot, especially those that have been benefiting from the lopsided system, those that have been gaining so much economic benefits without contributing much to productivity.

Before we go into the suggestions on how to push forward the entrepreneurial drive of the nation and its people, let’s consider this issues; why would dancing, comedy, music and drama be heightened and encouraged to the point of crescendo in our society, while the public schools at all levels are suffering undue neglect and total abandonment. People bandy the axiom that the California economy runs on entertainment, and I ask, isn’t Silicon Valley in California too; why do we always want to take the easy way out, when we very well know that it will not take us to our destination. Where is Jamaica in the scheme of things globally with all its giant strides in entertainment and sports. Don’t get me wrong, the point is not that entertainment and sports are not serious issues or don’t add up critically to the development of the society and the creation of jobs and wealth. Oh very yes, it does, but the business side of these endeavours are what makes the difference, and that is the very area we have left untouched as a people; we practice the acts of entertainment and sports, and leave out the business part of it – which is the engine behind the whole endeavour, and what makes it shine, attractive and sustainable. These endeavours are called show business, because there is a business part of the whole thing which supplies the funding and sustainability. Running it on itinerant levels as we do here won't take us anywhere. My submission is that we lack the innovativeness to turn these acts into real business, like the Americans have done to their movies, music, Super Bowl and wrestling, etcetera, or like some people have turned the Formula One motor race into a mega business, and like the English and the Europeans have turned their football games and fiesta into a mega business.

I believe the reason behind our inability to do this needful is that we lack the innovative ability (like I have mentioned earlier on), but the major reason is the faulty educational base we have got here, which only prepares and allow us to maintain the status quo and never dare to dream, try out our dreams and work to make a difference and realise our dreams and aspirations. And this is where entrepreneurship comes in, it is not about starting a business or even running one - those we have been doing forever (our performance level irrespective), Entrepreneurship is about the application of creativity, innovation, deep insight and ingenuity in the ordinary things we do or love or desire to do, in order to realise steady and upwards trend resources and income, while benefiting the community and the people in things like the provision of jobs, community development and services, and other empowerment forms like the demystification of wealth creation, work ethics and personal development.

But the government has huge role to play here, in that if the encouragement and benefits go to the performers alone, why would any youth go for production, manufacturing, agriculture, education, or engineering and technology? What other societies do is to tailor their education to the needs and aspirations of the society, while using inducements and motivations to draft people to the areas they are most needed.

Football and other sporting activities as well as all forms of entertainment are not for fun; in fact, football is not a game, it is purely business and so are all forms of sports and all aspects of entertainment. The earlier we begin to practice it as such the better for our society and the people especially with regards to wealth creation, employment generation and community development. A look at the game of football and the various clubs in Europe will buttress this point. To these I will advocate intensive and incisive business and entrepreneurship training for the stakeholders and practitioners in these industries for a more robust, productive and result oriented operations.

But the impediments of realising all these lie in the infidelity, insincerity, deception and malicious treachery of our people in business practice and operations. When you take your proposals, designs and demo compact discs to an impending partner or company, or even an already established partner or organisation that you are already doing things with, what happens is that you hardly can vouch to the safety of that document. Where many times the same people you have submitted your creative works to, will take it and cut you off and shamelessly begin to implement your ideas and creative work without taking you into considerations. This has been the daily occurrences and experiences of many entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Where daily they are taken advantage of by the supposedly lucky and privileged ones that have paid employments. These “lucky” ones, most times first degree “handout-acquired graduates” who lack requisite knowledge and depth, would hoodwink these budding entrepreneurs into submitting their creative works, while they cut them off and go behind to use this resource as theirs in the organisations they work for, in order to gain official favour as a high productive and creative worker, while making some pecuniary gains also. At other times they hand it over to a close ally outside their firm who resubmit it for onward use, in such circumstance the two parties shares the booties.

Nothing has killed creativity, innovation and drive like this practice, and if entrepreneurship must work in Nigeria, this dastardly act must be done away with. Otherwise how can you build and develop patents, trademarks, brands, or other intellectual properties that drive the world of modern day business in a place like this; how do one build franchise and franchise business in a place like Nigeria, with this shameless practice of copying, plagiarism and outright stealing of creative works that is going on all over the place, both within the ivory towers and in the industries, whether public or private.

The protection of intellectual property and creative works, and other decorum that go with business practice, like respect for terms of engagement and contracts, are the things we need for effective entrepreneurial practice in Nigeria,. It must come as a culture and not just a fiat, because most business people don’t want to spend all their time and resources going to court to recover what ordinarily shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place. Therefore authenticity, originality and individuality must come to the fore of our business culture as a people and not this jungle lifestyle of carnivorous living, where we feed on another to live.

Job creation and well rounded prosperity thrives in societies where entrepreneurship is imbibed into their culture and embraced for inclusive growth, sustainable living and cohesion. In Nigeria for as long as we keep seeing paid employment as a way out or some kind of a big thing or the in thing, we will go nowhere, because entrepreneurship is a mindset, a culture that thrives where self made is eulogised and not being in or occupying a high echelon of some big establishment, it thrives also where this is collaborated by the government through their appointments and assignments of responsibilities of high repute and importance to entrepreneurs and self-made people rather than corporate executives. This is key for the promotion of inclusive prosperity, job creation and all other virtues of entrepreneurship and more so towards the achievement of a serene, peaceful and environment of tranquility, where the interest and welfare of all will be in consideration.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via (07066375847).

Source: News Express

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