…and he stood there, with both hands on his head, shocked by the fact that his name was not included in the list of candidates selected for employment. Two years after NYSC, 7 interviews, 3 aptitude tests, yet no job. His pain was evident.
He couldn’t enter the house, he just stood there; family will screw him, his fiancée might leave him, and worst of it, this experience might affect his religious beliefs.
This happened four months ago.
But today, this same young man determines how much he earns. As I look at him now, I am forced to share with you why luck is a myth.
When this young man first walked into my office four months ago, he was so devastated and broke that he had to trek from Garrison to Trans Amadi so I can borrow him N2, 000. After hearing his sad experience, I just told him it’s possible to start a business with what you have, irrespective of where you are. He said, “Bros, leave that talk.” I then shared this secret with him.
- What is it that many people use repeatedly/everyday/almost always?
I told him to look around and take note of things that many people do or use repeatedly. This is because, if one person uses that product for N10, fifty people will use it for N500. The second idea is, if these people pay you N500 today, another N500 tomorrow, which means in a month of 30 days you will have N15, 000.
His list looked like this;
People eat 3 times a day = Restaurant, Food business
Guys cut their hair almost weekly = Barbing saloon
People wash their cloths at least weekly = Laundry business
People recharge their phones daily = Recharge card business
People drink water daily = Pure water business
People wear cloths daily = Boutique business
People use confectioneries daily = Supermarket/Store business
He looked at me and said, “I’m a graduate, I can’t do this type of THING”. I was angry, I told him, “Then carry your CV and continue walking towards Artillery junction, you will see companies that need jobless graduates for employment, you…” He looked at me wearingly, as if sensing what I would say next, and said, “Ok, what next?”
2 Select one that you can do on your own/maybe you have the idea/interest.
This young man handles cloths very well. His shirts are neatly washed, appropriately starched and carefully ironed. Interestingly, when I asked him to select one from the list he said laundry. His question came the second time, “but I don’t have money to start.”
- Start with what you have, don’t borrow.
I told him if you look very well, you’ll see that you can start where you are with what you have. For example, to start a laundry business you will need a steam iron, electricity, bucket, water, soap/detergent, hanger, starch, and the washer man. “Do you have a steam iron?” I asked, he said yes. “Bathing bucket?”He said yes. “Washer man?” he smiled. “Electricity, NEPA?” he frowned. The truth is that you have what is needed; the only visible challenge is how to get customers.
- Start with people you know.
He attends one of the big churches in Port Harcourt. I told him to meet some of the members, tell them what you can do, and offer to give them a FREE sample, if they are OK, they can start paying (It’s called Market Entry Strategy). Also, volunteer to wash your Pastor’s cloths FREE (It’s called Spiritual Entry Strategy). This way you will not spend any money on publicity or advert. One day, something will move the Pastor to tell the members about you, if they trust the Pastor, they will trust your service.
- Look for little ways to be different/better/faster/cheaper.
I told him for a start do only male shirts. Concentrate on this, let people come to know you as the best male-shirts-washer-man. Also charge them lower price compared to the normal rate. Always tell them you will return their cloths in five days time, but endeavour to deliver on the fourth day.
- Stop thinking and planning, START!!! Go out and start.
Until you do, nothing will happen, so start! I gave him 5 of my shirts to wash, paid him upfront, and asked him when can I get my cloths, he said, “in five days time.” I said well. I encouraged him to talk to other people, especially friends and family. People will laugh, many will turn you down, but the few that listen, treat them well, if they are satisfied, they will help you grow.
With these few suggestions, he started with no money. In four months he rented a place, bought a generator, and yesterday, he just called me to show his new washing machine. This morning, he called to say I should develop a business plan for him because he’s thinking of expanding his market.
What are you waiting for? If the job does not come, create one. Don’t wait until the opportunity is right, instead you write your opportunity. Yes, not everyone is lucky; in fact there is nothing as luck. Let me tell you the truth, everyone has equal opportunity. And you know what? Luck is actually opportunity utilized.
Etuk Anietie is the CEO of Corehead Business Solutions.