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Friday, February 25, 2011

Take The Advice Or Not?

I had this idea (bright or not) to occasionally ask a few questions. I’m asking because being the extra smart gal I am, I really can’t figure these out myself, so I would love opinions from as many people as possible.
Do you think Nigerian entrepreneurs should take advice from foreign ‘experts’? I’m sure we can’t even count how many books there are about business and entrepreneurship. They’re legion! It’s like an in thing now; everybody is yapping about it. Gone are the days when your future ambition was to work as a manager in General Motors or something. Now, it’s more glorifying to be an entrepreneur; to go through all the sufferhead of running around looking for capital, clients, and managing your own thing. I bet the early days would seem like you’re running the race in a dark tunnel, looking longingly towards the bright light at the end. Me too I want oh. I want to be a sufferhead, suffering for myself, and running eagerly towards that bright light ahead; that bright light where the grass is green with money, everyone calls me ‘Ma’, and I can say ‘mmmh, I feel like New York’ and the next day I’m there hehe.

But part of that race in the dark tunnel is looking for advice so that we don’t stumble much. We look for advice so we can learn from the people that have fallen before us, and from the people that have learned the what and what-not-to-dos. An extremely large percentage of those advices come from foreigners, mostly taking inspiring examples from America. But can foreign advice translate meaningfully to the Nigerian environment? I don’t know. You know how our darling country is, with its good and bad. What do you think?

In case you didn’t notice, I’m leaving y’all to come up with the answers hehe :D

Photo Credit: Light at the End...


  1. Hummm... good one. first off.... foreign policies/ways/everything can never be translated straight into Africa. we are just too cultured to be molded into the same form. is this a good or a bad thing? well, that is story for another day.

    I think if you are looking at the Finance part of a business ( I am generally talking about international financial reporting standards) and management accounting, then you might find useful tools that can easily translate into the Nigerian settings ( not without fault, of course).
    If you looking at things like Marketing/ Human resource management and product development, you have to switch off the "AMERICAN ways" bulb and put you "Nigerian ways" thinking cap on. our culture, ways of life, economic standard and life outlook needs to be thoroughly considered in every business move/decision.

  2. That is a very good question. I look at it this way. There are certain basic principles of doing business and I believe those apply in any environment. So at that level, I believe yes, Nigerian entrepreneurs can take advice from foreigners. However like 9haFOODie put it, there are elements of the Nigerian landscape that are unique and any smart entrepreneur will fashion their marketing, management and products to suite the tastes and demands of the Nigerian customer. I think we can all learn from other peoples experience and so I open myself as much as possible to advice from outside. Whats important is to be open and constantly listening because that is how you grow and evolve.


  3. You guys make total sense. The part that have to do with people relations should be tailored to Nigerians. But stuff like accounting has the same principles the world over.

    Yeah, it's definitely important to keep learning from others.

  4. That is a very good question. I do not think anything can directly be applied to Nigeria or Africa. But that does not mean you cannot take those advice and tweak them to fit your own personal agenda. Or maybe you could go through the "sufferhead" and then write a book..:D hehe

  5. i think it depends on the situation really but all in all there are capable people in Nigeria that can give good advice, and even when taking advice from foreign experts, we can still seek consultation on the advice from nationals.

    good job on the blog btw!


  6. Wow girl...your young blog has blossomed into this lovely escapade for me...lol

    Great advice from all these ladies...to add my two cents in considering that I know many people and personally have thought about business in Nigeria.

    Right off the back, you definitely would be at loss to receive all that entrepreneurship lectures from abroad and think you can somehow apply it to Nigeria without the Nigerian reality factor. We all know that nothing is straight forward in Nigeria. To have a somewhat good start is to come in with a substantial capital and be ready to fight your way through establishing that goal.

    If you have the right people in place...you might be less screwed along the way.

  7. Thanks for these comments ladies!! You all really make sense! :D

    And thanks so much @ Kodi and Bibi:D LohiO, I like that book idea LOL!

  8. You can take advice from them, but you have to apply it to the nigerian customers. The only way you learn is to listen to other people and filter the one that suits you.

  9. There are basic marketing and finance principles which apply across board. The wise newbiee entrepreneur should heed those. Others, s/he re-designs to suite the environment s/he is working in.