If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary .Two sets of people exist: Masters and servants. The best you can ever be working for someone else is a glorified servant. As hard as this may seem, this is the truth.
There is a great need for the emergence of entrepreneurs, especially in Nigeria. Just after independence in 1960,a lot of our fathers were sent abroad on scholarship. The reason was so that they could fill up the vacancies that were available. More universities were created so that the Nigerian citizenry would be equipped mentally and physically to handle all the vacancies. There was even need for creation of certain jobs. 50 years down the line, our universities are still churning out people even when all the vacancies have been filled up. We now have a vacancy challenge, with the “NO VACANCY” now as the emblem everywhere we turn. It is rather unfortunate that a typical Nigerian graduate is conditioned to look for a job; a job that is non-existent.
AN INTERESTING STATISTICS
Reliable sources have it that every year more than 200,000 university graduates are churned out of our universities. Of these 200,000 less than 25 percent of them will get jobs. That is about 50,000 will have jobs. Of these lot i.e. the 25 percent,15 percent of them will earn between 15,000 Naira to 25,000 Naira per month. I know this to be true because some time ago, I was privileged to interview more than 400 graduates who were seeking new jobs in an organization I was consulting for. Some of the applicants were already working, were graduates, and had 2-1(Upper level),but were earning that range of amount.
Of the remaining 10 percent, 6 percent of them will earn between 25,000 Naira to N200,000 monthly. These 6 percent would have to leave their area of study to work for banks or other organizations outside their fields. The rather unfortunate thing is that they would not last in these companies for up to 15 years. The reason? Retrenchments, mergers, acquisitions and change in corporate or Government policies. We are certainly aware of the Charles Soludo (former Central Bank of Nigeria‘s Governor)show down. He called it Consolidation. All the banks were told to reach the 25 billion Naira mark or merge or fold up. Many banks went under, and who bore the brunt? Of course, the employees! They lost their jobs. As at the time of this writing, Lamido Sanusi, the present Central Bank Governor, also slammed down on CEOs of banks that had given out loans they could not get back. Fin bank let go of 400 staff. Recently, Ecobank also let 400 go. InterContinental bank, UBA, Union Bank, and Skye Bank let go of many staff. Others like First Bank, Zenith, and Diamond Bank slash down their employee’s salary. They accepted that or were shown the way out. So much for job security! These 6 percent have very shaky jobs. In fact, some of them end up becoming Circumstantial Entrepreneurs when they lose their jobs.
THE LUCKY 4 PERCENT
Then there are the lucky 4 percent. They are the ones who get their dream jobs. They earn as much as 600,000 Naira monthly. They are the ones who work in multinationals and mega companies. The interesting thing about them is that these 4 percent have capacity they are unaware of. They can build businesses as big as the companies they are working for, giving time. They are the very best. But their employers know this and keep them tied by raising their pays, giving them more vacations, and promoting them. These 4 percent have everything they need, including the best cars, a good home, a beautiful wife, and of course responsibilities! But they lack deep down satisfaction. Something deep inside them tells them that they are more than this, that they are underutilized. Yet again, the predictability of salary, the addiction of it, the responsibilities of having such money, prevents them from taking initiative. Whenever this dissatisfaction is noticed and the employer knows he can’t do without that fellow, he increases his pay. This 4 percent stay on.
The remaining 75 percent of our graduates are jobless. In fact reliable statistics have it that we have more than 40 million unemployed people in the country today. It is a pathetic situation.
WILL GOVERNMENT SOLVE THE PROBLEM?
Will the Government solve our problem? I don’t think so. Government can’t create wealth but they can create conditions for the private enterprise to flourish. They can create the enabling environment for small businesses to begin.
If we don’t do anything about these unemployed graduates we will end up having very intelligent criminals. So what are the solutions? Well, this book proffers a number of them. It would tell you not just why you should embrace entrepreneurship but how it can be done WITH LITTLE OR NO CAPITAL.I believe that our national development would be inspired by Leadership and Entrepreneurship In fact, the former, Leadership, would be certainly developed in the hot oven of business. I also believe that we can start small and grow big. Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. The solution to unemployment in Nigeria is for you to start your own business. When you do, chances are that you would reduce the labour market. You see, there is a world class business in you! Someone once said, “All people are entrepreneurs but many don’t have the opportunity to find out.”
THE WAY THE ASIANS THINK
We have job creators and we also have job seekers. Our nation is filled with 40 million job seekers. There is an obvious imbalance in our society: we have few employers and more employees and job seekers. That kind of nation would not go far. In nations like Japan and China, entrepreneurship is encouraged all the way. That is why they are first world nations.
I listened to a Dr. Myles Munroe tape recently and he was saying that a certain Chinese met with him after a conference. “You know what I like about the blacks”, the Chinese man said to him.
“What would that be?”Dr. Myles Munroe said he asked.
“Blacks are very wonderful people. They are hard working. Very hard working. But they can achieve more. You see, when a black goes to a country, he looks for a job. But when a Chinese goes to a new country, he looks for businesses, opportunities he can take advantage of”.Dr. Myles said that really got him thinking.
Are you aware that more than 40 percent of the industries in Lagos are owned by the Asians?
We must change our thinking. How can we tell people to look for jobs when there are none? What we should be doing is encouraging them to start creating jobs. We have to begin to show people how. And that is what I am committed to doing. Some years ago I was privileged to speak to a group of outgoing Corp members. The previous speaker had taught them on how they should put together a CV, package themselves for job interviews, and all that. The young man certainly made an impression on them. He was, himself, looking good. He worked in Zenith Bank. However, when it was my time to speak, I told my listeners the very bitter truth: “THERE ARE NO JOBS OUT THERE! After you have been all prepared, what happens when you go and stand under the sun all day with more than 11,000 applicants for aptitude test for the same job? Do you think you will be together when it is time for your interview or test?” The hall grew silent. “There is a clarion call for entrepreneurs. There is a serious need for some people to arise to the occasion. When you see that sight, don’t join them, help them. Nigeria needs you to begin that business no matter how small so that you can help reduce the number of people in line for job interviews and aptitude tests.” Every one of them there became my friends and wanted me to show them how at the end of the seminar.
UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE PROUD PEOPLE
No one should call himself unemployed. If you are not employed, deploy your skills. Most unemployed people are proud people; they are unwilling to start small. Some market women sell oil and build houses and even send their children to the university. You are there saying that you cannot sell oil because you are a graduate! Imagine if you sold oil but this time with style, packaging and intelligence. Let me tell you about Charles(Not his real name).Charles was my neighbor many years ago and so whatever I sharing is first hand and true. When we met he was preparing to go for service. After the usual long wait, he was posted to Abuja. There, he was privileged to work in ECOBANK. This was possible because the personnel manager who was recruiting was from his tribe.
It was a great experience for Charles because that was the first time he was leaving his State. However, before the end of the service year the personnel manager was transferred to Kaduna. He had promised to assist in helping Charles get retained in the bank. But now with the personnel manager transferred, Charles knew his chances were slimmer. He pulled a call to this man who still promised him that he would pull a few strings for Charles. Well, at the end of his service year, Charles had to return back to his State, hoping that he would receive that miracle call. He waited for 3 months! The call never came; and even though he pulled other calls through, all he received were promises and hopes.
Finally, Charles picked up his certificate and began roaming the streets, looking for a job. He was in every Government establishment ,dropping his CV and attending one aptitude test after another. I watched with keen interest how that he went about his endeavors. One day, I called him and said to him, “How about starting something, anything. No matter how small”. Well, after some time, Charles threw his pride away and began a laundry business! And guess what? In 3 months he had his own Lister Generator, his own shop and two people working for him !I saw him a year ago and asked him, “Are you still looking for a job?”.His response were: “Me? A job? Can they really pay me? What would happen to my business?”And now he had more hands working for him.
YOU NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH UNTIL YOU TRY. The moment you throw away your pride, you can start where you are with what you have and get to any where you want to get to. Charles started his laundry business with just N4000! And he got that money from his friend. Next, Charles dressed good and went to the banks in his area. The bankers gave him their clothes because he looked good and spoke good. Charles also created a system that enabled the bankers to pay at the end of the month. With about 20 bankers giving him N10,000 every month to do all their laundry, He was making N200,000 monthly! Now that excluded the other customers that came to him. Recently, Charles has introduced a new system. He comes to your home with a tricycle and picks all your laundry. All of this miraculous transformation happened in just one year! How about that for a success story! Like I said this story is one I am personally involved in. It is completely true.
UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE FEARFUL
Fear of failure hinders all progress. Henry David Thoreau once said “If one advances in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he has imagined ,he would come upon success unexpected in common hours”. That is what happened to Charles and that is what can happen to you too! Like I said earlier Action paralyses fear. What we need in Nigeria are courageous men. We need the courage to start. Let me quote one of my favorite quotes by 15th century German philosopher Johann Von Goethe. He once said: “Until one is committed ,there is hesitancy ,the chance to draw back, always ineffective, concerning all acts of creation and initiative…The moment one definitely commits one self ,the providence moves too. Whatever you can do ,or dream you can do, begin it .Boldness has genius ,power and magic in it. Begin it now! All sort of things occur to help one that would otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events rising in one favor all manner of unforeseen circumstances and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way”
If I were you, I would write out that statement and brood on it for a very long time. Fear has no place when there is action. So arise today. Awaken the entrepreneur within you. Without doubt, you have all it takes to be a mega entrepreneur. You are Nigeria’s hope. It has always been a privilege for me to speak in meetings. There are very few invitations I do not take. Speaking is my passion, especially when it comes to talking entrepreneurship. Well, in the course of one of my speaking engagements, I met Rebecca(Not her real name).She was then in school and was desperately looking for something to do because of the financial conditions of her parents. When we met, I asked her what she could do? She could bake and cook well. “Use that to make money”, I said to her. And she did! All she needed to start was N1500.She produced cakes and went to corporate institutions, especially banks to sell them. They loved the cakes and soon people were asking her to bake their children’s birthday cake, their wedding cakes, and so on. Today, Rebecca drives a car from that business. Believe me it is barely five years from that time we met. It can happen to you too! All you simply have to do is start.