SMEs AND THE NEED FOR BUSINESS IDENTITY
Hi folks, I would like to share with you my insights into modern day business in Nigeria and let’s say Africa at large. As a medical student, now a medical doctor I started something a consulting company of some sort called Kara kata (Yoruba word for buying and selling) and I paid more attention to startups and specifically small and medium scale enterprises. Kara kata recently started a 5yr study on business startup to study their growth and the various factors that are unique to business growth in Nigeria and these factors are specific to smes, because what Kara kata stands for is empowering smes to become businesses of national economic impact.
We have our hypothesis already but surely a research work would be authority. I noticed a sudden mindset change towards entrepreneurship in the past few years and it was pleasant to see a lot of young guys and even now, more people becoming alive to the possibility of owning an enterprise. Now professionals and students who studied who have a fair chance at getting a job still get to do some business. I started studying trends and patterns of these businesses and noticed that most of them didn’t go beyond a particular limit in terms of profitability, market integration and even the length of time the business existed and of course there are reasons, I would go straight and share with you one of my thoughts on why businesses just didn’t go beyond these limits, I call it BUSINESS IDENTITY.
Business identity is simply the way, I have tried to explain that enterprises just don’t start because they have to be started, a lot of factors come to play in starting a business and one of these factors that we miss out at the very foundation of our enterprises is business identity which comprises of both the startup owner identity and the identity of the business itself.
1. Startup owner identity poses this question; can my personality successfully run this business I have chosen to do?! The mere fact that you have a talent or a skill for something doesn’t mean you can do business with it, why is this so? because a thousand people have the same talent within your immediate environment, so what makes you stand out in a tough competitive environment that we have now in Nigeria is first of all knowing what kind of personality can run a business well and also understand the uniqueness of your personality fused with the talent, using all these to your competitive advantage you. I could say more about this I would talk more about this in another article called business psychology.
2. Business itself identity: if you are not a patent meaning the first person to start an idea, you definitely need to go the extra mile to tell your market why you are better and different from your competitors even though you guys produce or provide the same goods and services, and this is where business itself identity comes in, your idea must stand for something that your potential market can relate with and that ultimately forms the core values and tradition of your company as it grows over the years, I have consulted for a few startups and the businesses I am in partnership with, and what I am known for, is the mission and vision statements, we don’t move on until we get those sentences right because that is the drive, the uniqueness, the expectations the potential market has. the business itself identify is the difference between a good business plan/proposal and a bad one, remember globacom, the first appeal was to be Nigerian and create d idea that they are about the average Nigerian and the below average Nigerian who just needs to use the GSM, that was d uniqueness, every advert they did was patterned after that, the fact that you are a small startup means that you need that identity, even more than that of globacom for you to have a good market integration, globacom had a good capitalization they would obviously break even with or without dis concept but they used it because it’s the one of the basics of marketing smes fail to know.
Thank you for your time, for business consultancy and if u would like to be part of this 5yrs studies you can please send your business name and email address to this mail ‘’ firstname.lastname@example.org’’
Written by Tolu JGM.