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RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN NIGERIA: MY EXPERIENCE PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 4TH ANNUAL YES INTERNATIONAL! MAGAZINE LECTURE SERIES BY LOLU AKINWUNMI frpa (GROUP CEO, PRIMA GARNET AFRICA)

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Courtesies.

May I start first by thanking the board and management of Honours Communications Limited and the publishers of “YES INTERNATIONAL!” for inviting me to deliver the fourth in the series of your annual lectures. In four years since your debut, Azuh and team have succeeded in sustaining your vision of making the day of your readers with quality stories, interviews, pictures, tips, quotes, ideas and the coverage of events. I especially salute your courage in venturing into the very uncertain and troublesome waters of publishing in Nigeria. Part of what we are therefore celebrating today is your doggedness, resilience and emerging success. My hope and prayer is that we will continue to celebrate with you for many, many years.

So, within the context of what we are discussing today, what is Success? Many people situate success within the ambit of an impressive balance sheet. Most dictionaries describe Success as a noun, and the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. For many, the end accomplishment is measured in currency terms. For others, the objective of the successful project or venture is not about money; sometimes it’s about power, fame, support for others etc.

 

So for Prima Garnet, and for me what are the success factors?

The idea to set up Prima Garnet Communications came to me sometime in 1990 when I was the Client Service and Media Director in Promoserve, now defunct. While I was professionally doing okay at a relatively young age, I had issues with the management on certain aspects of the company’s operations. Coming from a much bigger Lintas, and having been exposed to other big and thriving agencies, I felt Promoserve was not doing certain things correctly, and if we did not, we were not likely to achieve the objective for which I had been brought in as part of a rescue and turn around team. It was often tough trying to get the senior team we met on the ground to yield position on many of these issues, although we did make progress on some critical ones.

So why did I quit the agency after three years, thirty four days after my thirty third birthday, nearly two years after my wedding, and just when I was beginning to enter what you would call a comfort zone? Was it an ambition to run my own agency and be like the late I.S. Moemeke, Biodun Shobanjo, Billy Lawson, Udeme Ufot etc.? Was it to make more money? Was it to enjoy the perceived fame attached to the titles MD and CEO?

It was none of these. All I wanted at that point was to actualise my conviction of running a type of agency built on integrity and professionalism. I had reached a stage in Promoserve where the tension was often thick and senior management did not agree with me if I as an ED insisted we could not do certain things. Indeed it got so bad that at a point, the board quietly hired someone to supplant me. My portfolio was divided and a part given to him; the plan was to eventually exit me if he stayed long enough. Incidentally just before he resumed, I got to know about the coup, as he out of loyalty to our old friendship told me why he was being brought in. And so you can understand why at some point, I grew tired of the shenanigan and decided to opt out.

And so back to my definition of success. My objective in setting up Prima Garnet was not primarily about money, fame etc.; but to actualise the dream of running a professional outfit built on integrity. Of course it was hard to sell this to the potential shareholders, otherwise they would have told me to go set up a church; in fact for a long time, I could not publicly mention this raison d’etre because it didn’t sound like a business proposition.

And so for us at Prima Garnet, while we wanted to be successful professionally, the key motivator was and still remains conducting our business with the utmost integrity and probity adhering to the highest standards of ethics and just conduct.

What did we have to do to ensure we started out correctly and also run successfully? I must be clear in stating that some of the things I will be talking about are general in application; meaning they will work with most other businesses. On the other hand, some other points are local to the marketing and service trades.

 

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Clear Vision and Objective

The first success factor for us was a clear vision and objective. From the very beginning we knew what we wanted to do and why we wanted to do them. What I mean is we were not and have never been solely motivated to start and continue in the running of the agency and its affiliate companies because we saw that others were doing well in the same business.

I had a fairly meritorious rise in Lintas. I joined as a management trainee on the first of September 1982 at age 23, and by the end of February 1988 when I left, I was a senior manager, having received four promotions and citations within the period of five and a half years. Again, moving to Promoserve was not about money; the difference in what they offered and what I earned in Lintas was not enough to make me move; I moved because of the exciting prospect of being a major part of a Turn Around Team.

Our vision in Prima Garnet was specific: run a very professional and successful agency founded and inspired by strong ethical standards. And from the very first day, with the very first staff, and up till today, it remains a cardinal point in all our companies. We are firm believers in the fact that while cutting corners and engaging in sharp and unethical practices will provide their rewards, the commitment to an ethical and professional way of doing business will support us better in the long run. While many deals-making clients will often go to deals-making agencies, we know that those who come to us do so simply because they believe in our professional capability. Of course this has meant a continuous investment in our service delivery capabilities. I will say a little more on this later.

 

A Proper Board & Management Structure Board

This talks about leadership, the commitment and continuity of some individuals to lead and coordinate the enterprise. Within all serious organisations, there is a dominant leader who helps coordinate the enterprise and enables those involved to develop and function through the many stages of development required for success.

Leaders or coordinators need to be able to work among all sectors (or types of partners) from understanding the business aspects to building support at all levels, and managing all issues. They also must need to have a keen understanding of cross-sectoral issues and constant attention to securing patronage for the business.

Being able to deal with various situations is an important part of leadership. The ability to weave through bureaucracy, work with different interest groups to enable the success of the business within all these is a major asset. While a good leader is important, spreading these skills and responsibilities among those involved with the enterprise is important for long-term sustainability, should there be a change in leadership.

From the very first day we had a proper board of directors appointed from our shareholders. These are people of proven integrity and sound professionalism; they were carefully chosen. They are also experienced board players who have been in a position to guide and offer leadership to our young team. Why did I need them, as many start-ups see a board especially of external people as a threat? One, I believed it was the right thing to do, given our vision to run a first class company. I also believed that the Board would offer very useful leadership given the experience of the first set of directors. I didn’t see them as a threat because I knew that for as long as I did what was necessary, then there should not be any serious issues. I must add though that about six years or so into operation, I removed three of the directors from the Board for reasons I cannot mention at this forum.

 

Executive Management Groups

I also rapidly put a strong Executive and Management structures in place. These were needful so I would have the benefit of shared responsibilities. I also needed to prepare our young team for the challenges ahead. The Executive Committee is made up of executive and business directors, the two most senior management categories in the company. They formulate the basic policies and because some of them sit on the company’s board, help implement board decisions. Our Management Committee is made up of departmental heads. The role of the committee is to present a formal forum where issues from departmental and operational perspectives are discussed. The committee presents the company the opportunity for a wider participative forum, and grooms younger managers for more senior responsibilities.

 

Professionalism

Advertisingis a very global business built on best practices. It is also an intensely professional trade. Which is why some of us are often amused when people retire from jobs as journalists, PR practitioners, marketing and brands people on the client side, and simply set up agencies; nine out of ten of such ventures don’t survive. The casualty rate is high because the advertising profession is very demanding, is intensive and very tough.

Our first task was to assemble some of the finest practitioners after a thorough recruitment process. While we started with about fifteen management staff, I recall that each one was a thorough professional. We then invested substantially in hardware. For this I must thank my friend and successor as the APCON Chairman, Udeme Ufot, who opened up his young SO&U to me, as I inspected the tools they had in place. I went to Udeme because I was inspired by the brilliant work the young SO&U was doing.

We also put in place a clear training and development programme on three levels. One is through internal programmes when we invite experienced professionals on a wide range of disciplines to speak to us via a monthly in house programme. Second level is sending our staff for local training programmes and the third is sending them for offshore training programmes. We also installed a well-equipped library.

We put all these in place because the greatest assets of any agency are the people. While manufacturers can depend on their machines, our people are our machines; computers and other tools simply offer support.

Just so we can maintain standards, we have in place a well-structured system that vets all jobs for adherence to briefs and to detect errors. I must say it with some pride that I cannot remember any job that went out with typo, grammar or any type of errors. Our system operates in such a way that someone will pick it up.

I should also add that from our very first year, we ordered for and regularly subscribed to TV ads from the UK. These were often delivered to us quarterly. By viewing them, our people had the opportunity to keep abreast of global creative developments and trends.

Indeed, so integrated have we been in the area of professionalism that some clients use our staff as temporary replacements when their people go on leave or even resign.

 

Finance

We started PG in 1992 with a war chest of N600, 000, from an authorised capital of N2m. While these sums may sound small today, they were substantial in those days. From the paid up of N600, 000, we rented and renovated a good place in Ilupeju, ordered all furniture, acquired all equipment and even leased a brand new 504 vehicle. We didn’t want a situation where our competitiveness would be affected by inadequate capital. I must say though that after we paid the second month’s salary, all we had left before the next payday was a princely N2, 000!

I have seen agencies and businesses started on shoestring budgets; while there is no guarantee that plenty of money translates to success, it certainly helps to be well capitalised as it makes the task easier, reduces stress and generally improves competitiveness.

I had a choice of borrowing to start the business but did not have enough faith to do this in case the business developed hiccups; it would mean being indebted. Plus I didn’t have the kind of collateral that banks wanted; I also didn’t want to borrow from individuals. The other option was to offer shares of the company and fortunately this was well subscribed. God was also gracious to us that we broke even in six months and by the first year paid dividend from our profit.

 

Staff Remuneration and Welfare

When we started and up to this moment, no agency has ever been our benchmark; indeed we targeted the financial institutions by what we paid from the first year. Why did we do this? We wanted to be able to attract some of the finest talents within and especially outside of ad agencies. We also treated this as an investment, assured that it would motivate and drive our people who in turn would work hard to produce great results. We didn’t stop with financial motivations. We introduced other innovations and allowances and it was always a delight the quality of people who were prepared to leave banks, manufacturing companies etc., just to be a part of our modest team. For a long time some of our colleagues used to wonder if we did other things apart from the same advertising.

We treat a category of training programmes as part of our reward system. When we identify high fliers, we put them on a fast track and reward them with specialised and often expensive training programmes. We feel proud to say that many of the staff who started with us in 1992 are still within the group.

Let me add that staff welfare and remuneration need not be expensive. Let me put it better; the fact that you pay a staff so much is not a guarantee that they will stay. I know a gentleman who left high-paying Shell for then Lever Brothers. Staff welfare goes beyond money and other perks. We make it a rule to treat our staff with dignity and respect and so they feel a strong commitment as a part of the family. I know a few agencies that tried so hard to attract people away from us but didn’t succeed; they could not help wondering, to quote one of them, “what ‘Lolu was giving these people”.

In our group, staff share in the reward of their labour. A percentage of our equity is owned by a registered staff trust, which owns equity and shares in the company’s profits. In addition, a certain percentage of overall profits is also shared by the staff individually. At a certain level and to deserving staff, we also offer equity.

 

Marketing

Marketing is critical to the survival of any business, and Advertising is not an exception. In Nigeria, if you are part of the AAAN, you cannot advertise your services except in professional journals or within specific supplements. For this reason, we did not join the AAAN in time. A few weeks after we opened shop, we ran an ad titled, “Well Take Your Briefs to Town”, in which we displayed a line of underwears, aka briefs. It was a pun on the word brief, which is both an underwear and the instructions agencies receive from clients when a new task or assignment is commissioned. It was a very simple proposition. We entered the market when competition was stiff. We had Lintas, OBM, Rosabel, Promoserve, MC&A, Insight, SO&U, Casers, LTC and a few other strong outfits. We knew if we had to wait for gradual acceptance it would take us a long time. We therefore needed to rudely shock our way in.

Did it work? We ran two double spread, center-spread insertions in the Guardian and the Concord, each one on a Sunday; a day we knew readership was high. The response was unbelievable. Some readers felt scandalized that we would show underwears and especially on Sunday, a supposedly holy day. Many others loved the cheeky ad and the pun on briefs. Indeed we had to pull the ad after two insertions because we had achieved our purpose of shocking our way into people’s consciousness and generating a buzz.

From that moment, if Prima Garnet was mentioned, people no longer wondered if we were a garment company. More importantly it attracted the attention of the folks at the then Crystal Bank, who were impressed with the novelty and at that point needed a new agency. We won the account, which would later give us an opportunity in 1993 to be the first agency to run a financial services tvc on CNN.

Every business must have a marketing plan. It must be constructive and strategic. I know companies that don’t advertise but sponsor popular tournaments. Others get their publicity from their CSRs and similar projects. For others they use a lot of media relations. A company must have a plan to continue to communicate with current and prospective targets.

In addition to this, we also publish our in-house magazine called Le Brief. Although we don’t publish as regularly as we used to, it has become a part of our sub culture, a means of expression and a strong marketing tool for the agency.

 

Integrity

Integrity has been revealed as a major aspect of business success. Being honest, open and transparent with employees, consumers, clients and shareholders will gain you respect and help you retain talented workers and loyal customers. On the other hand, dishonesty can undo the trustworthy image of a company.

Talking of morality and integrity in business is incongruous, well almost. The conventional wisdom is that these cannot, or more like should not go together. One or two undiplomatic people would even tell me to go start a church if I was so gung ho on enforcing morality in business.

The Harvard Business School would however later justify our position when it introduced a major business course on Integrity and Morality in Business, underscoring the need for businesses to conduct their businesses with integrity. In addition and significantly, Michael C. Jensen, the Jesse Isidor Strauss Emeritus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School would deliver a major paper as part of a term course on the subject. In an executive summary, the erudite professor said the following:

 

  1. An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honour their word.
  2. Integrity is a state of condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound and in perfect condition. Lack of integrity in an individual, organisation, group and in a nation comes at a huge cost.

 

Some of the key concepts also include the following:

  1. The personal and organisational benefits of honoring one’s word are huge—both for individuals and for organisations.
  2. We can honor our word in one of two ways: by keeping it on time and as promised, or if that becomes impossible, by owning up to the parties counting on us to keep our word in advance and cleaning up the mess our failure to keep our word creates in their lives.
  3. By failing to honor our word to ourselves, we undermine ourselves as persons of integrity, and create “unworkability” in our lives.
  4. Integrity is a necessary even if not sometimes sufficient condition for maximum performance.
  5. There are unrecognized but significant costs to associating with people and organizations that lack integrity.

 

For me it’s a very simple proposition. I cannot and will not make any distinction between my life and conduct at home, work, church or anywhere for that matter. I must endeavour to be seen to be consistently appropriate. This whole issue of presenting our pious selves at church or in the mosque and promptly reversing to debauchery when we get to our places of business is simply improper.            And you can see the gross effect it has had on our country and the society. We have seen men and women known and even celebrated for lofty utterances on morality utterly misbehave in their private lives or in their businesses. We have seen politicians, business people and their ilk jostling for prime positions besides General Overseers and leaders of religious organisations promptly going back to their executive seats to pillage and abuse the people’s trust and treasury.

And this society, has made it very easy, indulgently easy. Someone abuses trust and steals the people’s money and he is celebrated, begged and urged by the same people to please remain for as long as possible. The same family that has shown a track record of wanton disrespect for other people’s money is literally worshipped as the “saviour” of their souls. It is also common to hear defamations like, “after all the man is not an angel”, and of course being supported with the meaningless and vexatious overuse of “achiever”. In Nigeria, everyone who can write his or her name on a piece of toilet paper is an “achiever”. We really are a people to be pitied.

And this is the reason we also experience this dishonourable Nigerian phenomenon in businesses. People who should be thankful to God for the opportunity to manage a job are too busy scheming ways to steal from their companies; they are forever seeking an ally in the agency, so that together they can form an unholy partnership. Everyone sees their work place as an opportunity to access a piece of the “national cake”. Listen to this short story and it will underscore what I am talking about.

A couple of years back I had reasons to send my car in for repairs and refurbishment, and so kept the company’s pool car until mine was returned. I was on my way out when I saw my landlady at the drive-in. She wanted to know if this was a new replacement for my ageing Passat. And so I explained to her it was a courtesy car for a few days. She then went ahead to “advise” me on the need to “do something quickly”, as in her wisdom, and roughly translated, one “ate where one worked”. I was tempted to challenge her, but concluded it would be worthless; she simply spoke the Nigerian mind; in her opinion, she meant well.

And I often scoff at the facile justification that poverty has produced this in us. One, we are not the poorest people in the world, and I know nations poorer than Nigeria but with an uncommon sense of honesty and propriety. Two, what has poverty got to do with highly placed and privileged Nigerians who are engaged in deals and will do anything for the filthy lucre? Is the bank group MD who wants a cut in the ad budget poor? Is the senior telecoms executive who earns millions monthly poor? Is the CEO of the manufacturing company poor? I think it’s just a loss and a major corrosion in our value system, which suddenly has placed a premium on the material worth of an individual, resulting in this mad pursuit of money without any correlating effort at hard work.

There was a time in this same Nigeria when people were satisfied with what they earned and were happy to live within their means. There was a time when if we gave money to performing musicians, it was in appreciation of the good music they played, and not now when people “spray” just to show off. It’s even worse in some areas, where money is simply thrown on the floor and people match and dance on it. See how correct we have become!

And until we experience a revival again in our values, we cannot experience any change. Until each and every one of us is prepared to challenge behaviours like these, until we each are prepared to say “no” to the most tempting contract or account which will compromise us, even at a price; until we are able to stand up and be ready to do things correctly, we will continue to suffer the repercussions individually and collectively.

You think I sound too harsh? If you consider the grief this beautiful country has seen, and is being taken through, then you will agree we cannot say enough on the matter. And I do not leave out the band of foreigners who believe the only way to conduct business in Nigeria or earn a living is through bribery, corruption and a flagrant disobedience of our laws; people who believe anything can be imported without paying the right customs charges, who indeed import the wrong and inferior goods and still dodge tariffs and taxes.

I have a duty to speak about these things; indeed a duty to speak against them. Why? It is central to the reason why I became an entrepreneur and have remained one. I believe some of us should show that we can be in business and service without seeking unholy gain, without mortgaging our conscience, without soiling our fingers. Nigerians are not thieves by nature; neither are we dishonest. We have several millions of very hardworking, very honest compatriots.

Two, in Prima Garnet, we have suffered great and painful consequences for daring to do things differently, indeed for daring to do right. Since when did graft, corruption and sleaze become conditions for running a successful agency and enterprise? This disrespect for doing things right has produced a generation of people who are even more corrupt than their progenitors who brought in the European civil contractors and introduced the regime of 10%. And sadly this practice has stigmatised everyone who dares to carry the Nigerian passport. Only God knows the indignities we have suffered in foreign lands for being identified as Nigerians.

It should no longer be assumed that in Nigeria it is impossible to conduct business without bribing or doing something dishonest. I was media and client service director in 1988, when the CEO of an outdoor agency came to receive orders for a new business. He didn’t think his visit was complete until he had requested to see me and offered me “something” from the business. I was disappointed that he would do this. Didn’t it occur to him that if I wanted a cut I would have sent for him before awarding the contract? I also felt pity for him; he epitomised my people who have come to believe that except you give something back in business or a transaction, it isn’t complete. I simply counseled him not to do this again as no one needed anything from him. Now why can’t we all have the same attitude?

We once worked for a major very well known multinational oil company, and the contact person was a friend and former schoolmate. Now I knew for sure his salary and conditions of service were very good; and yet he would expect us to give him kickback. Of course we didn’t and it soured the relationship. We would eventually lose the premium business. In my discussions with the head of the new agency later, I was informed this thief would calculate the cost and value of a campaign and ask for his cut upfront, and it hardly mattered to him if the agency was paid in a month or twelve months. And if you look at such an agency, they never grow. Why should those placed in positions to make things work for other Nigerians be the same ones who throw spanners in the wheels? What manner of people are we?

I have never understood newspapers and magazines doing supplements and citing some people as men and women of integrity; and I think it’s only in Nigeria that it happens. You would read the entire supplement and not see the reasons why they are being so celebrated. The very idea of a public and noisy celebration of this virtue is in itself an antithesis to integrity. Rather, let Nigerians identify such people. Let us emulate them. Let them tell us how they have been able to do it. But heck, it should not be because they could afford to pay the price of full page supporting ads in those publications. I have been approached a few times with these empty and fake accreditations, and I have never even dignified any of them with any kind of response. Some of the same people they celebrated as “men and women of integrity” in the past have turned out to be common thieves and felons.

I could go on about this odious malady, but enough; discussing it leaves a vile taste in the mouth, and pollutes the air.

 

Diversificationand Corollary Investments

A critical success factor is that an organisation must continue to review its business and reinvent it as often as the need arises. To stubbornly continue in a business that is undergoing serious changes and calling for a review without taking these steps could be very costly. We are often told that the Dodo became extinct because it didn’t learn to fly.

A few agencies saw quite early that the global trend sweeping especially through the West would soon blow into Nigeria. It was clear some fifteen years ago that advertising as a discipline was being redefined; the days of monolithic agencies were going and specialisation was firmly taking root. A few agencies responded and on time, and today they are the champions of the pack. What did they do? They spurn off many of their departments and branded them as new services, turning them also from cost into profit centres. The others failed to respond; and so today competition has gradually taken their businesses away because they became grossly uncompetitive and costly to run.

We caught on very early. We created MediaShare and another agency from our media department; we created 141 Worldwide from our BAT group in Prima Garnet; we created Lampost from our experiential marketing unit; we created Cutler Communications from our PR department and recently created a brand new company to offer measurable digitalised outdoor service because we saw a gap in this area. It has come at a cost but I am happy we took these steps. Certainly we would have been in serious trouble if we did not. We have also insisted in making each company financially independent, so that we would not be tempted to finance unviable ventures from the proceeds of the ones doing well.

Has it worked? Before the recent slow down in business, we recorded a group billing of over N9 billion; for an agency that we started with N600, 000, I daresay it’s not a bad report! We will by the grace of God continue to carefully observe the economy and our operating environment so that we can continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities as the economy opens up.

 

ManagingAdverse Weather

It would amount to professional dishonesty and intellectual ingratitude if I left this podium with the impression that it has all been rosy; indeed it would defeat the purpose for this gathering. We have experienced very tough times and indeed at this present time, one or two of our operations are going through a tough period. Let me tell you some of the reasons.

 

  1. A long drawn disagreement between us and our foreign partners which has culminated in an expensive legal battle since 2011. It has also resulted in the loss of some key businesses.
  2. We have also been susceptible to situations of former trusted staff and associates leaving our services and attacking our flanks, going after our businesses. In one or two situations, the casualty has been high. We have learned new lessons and adjusted to be able to manage such shenanigans in the future.

 

  1. Like most of our colleagues, advertising has suffered reverses as a result of the expensive local operating environment and global calamities. Usually when the business environment is inclement, advertising takes the first hit because many clients see it as a cost and not as a benefit. We have learned a lot and adjusted our strategies. I have explained to you some of the steps we have had to take to remain afloat. Every business must make provisions for these things. There must be vigilance.

 

Some Of Our Other Key Success factors

As I round up, let me leave the following points with you as part of our key success factors:

 

  1. Start With A Business You Know And Love

A successful services business, more than a product business, comes from a skill or insight that you have honed from experience. If you don’t have a high level of commitment and passion, your customers won’t seek you out. Now all you have to do is pass it to the new members as you grow your team.

 

  1. Dont Let Your Service Be Viewed As A Commodity

Low cost and low margin products can be winners, if the volume is high enough. You don’t have enough hours in a day, or trained people, to succeed with lower margins in a services startup. Thus you need to highlight how your service is more innovative and of higher value to your target customers.

 

  1. Recruit Only The Best People, With The Right Base Skills

Customers won’t pay to see your new employees learning on the job, and outsourcing the real work to a cheap labor source is a recipe for disaster. Make sure they bring solid base skills, so your training can focus on the innovative and unique elements that your service brings to the arena.

 

  1. Be A Visible And Available Expert In Your Domain

Be accessible on social media, write a blog or articles for industry publications, and participate in conference panels and speaking engagements. This substantiates your expertise and value, builds peer relationships and gives you access to the people and technology to keep you current.

 

  1. The Customer Experience Is More Than The Service

Product companies sometimes equate customer satisfaction with customer service, but it’s more than that, especially with services. Make sure that every interaction with every customer is positive, the service delivered is exemplary, and always follow up for reference and repeat business. Your service business success totally depends on you, your skills and resources, and your ability to bring customers to the table. You are the ultimate critical success factor for your business. Are you ready to make it happen?

 

  1. Employee Attitudes Drive Growth And Change

Attitudes drive behaviors that result in change. If your employees do not take initiative, make suggestions, happily stay late when necessary and strive to do their best work all the time, your business will certainly stagnate. A key business success factor is a motivated and committed workforce. Without that, no amount of vision and planning will provide the framework for growth and prosperity.

 

  1. Global Footprint

Even if your business is strictly local, the size of your global footprint is important to your future and is a measure of your success. In today’s world of instant communication, you have the ability to share information, develop new products and open new markets more easily than ever before. Examine ways to expand globally and make it a part of your plan that is continually reviewed and graded.

 

  1. Quality

One of the cornerstones of business success is offering a high-quality service or product. If a popular item sells for a very low price, and it is poor quality, you will lose customers. The key is to provide that which has value, as this will increase repeat patronage and word-of-mouth advertising, building a good reputation for your business.

 

  1. Finally, Innovation

According to ThinkExist.co, St. Jerome said, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Till your good is better and your better is best.” This should be the motto of any successful business. Perseverance and dedication to improvement help ensure that your company stays competitive. Doing the same over and over doesn’t garner the best results, but innovation creates new products or changes in service that will attract new customers and income opportunities.

 

The Publisher of Yes International, the distinguished Chairman of today’s event, my senior and egbon, the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, distinguished audience, ladies and gentlemen. I have spent the last few minutes attempting to discuss the topic, “Running A Successful Business in Nigeria” from my personal experience and perspective. The decision by the publisher and management of “Yes International!” to continue to organise and present the series is a great service to our environment. Ours is a great country, and we don’t need any foreign rating agency to tell us. It is my hope that the country will grow into the stature of providing an encouraging environment for entrepreneurs and business people.

I thank you all once again. And God bless you.

 

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