Elombah
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Little thoughts on small scale self-start ups

Every time I am approached by a young person, be it an immediate sibling, close relative, friend or an acquaintance for support in getting a job, I always give what I could afford in the form of advice given that I am handicapped in being able to just wave a magic wand and solve all their unemployment problems. 

The truth is that for those that work in big international organizations, it becomes a dilemma when you explain that your hands are tied, but that is just the honest truth.

Some others may choose the easy part of promising what they cannot deliver or what is not in their hands and run into the trouble of having to explain and eventually make enemies of the supposedly hopefuls.

In times like this, I wish I own and run a big organization where I could employ such folks.

In this particular instance, I was at it again doing the thing I knew best in terms of counselling. 

This guy already had cut out for himself, my normal advice and plan for future job seekers; get going with your masters or second degree while also looking out for a job and possibly start something no matter how small. 

The question surrounding the Masters will center on the funding but the reality is that it starts with one’s plan to go in for it first before the funding can be sorted out. 

The bible says something to the effect that “whatever your mind is set to do, do, for the Lord is with you,” thus it starts with your mind and you will be amazed at how the Good Lord will sort the rest out. 

In my early days after my first degree, not wanting to bother my parents who already had their hands full, I set out to do my masters and made a business plan to accomplish it. 

I started with penciling down my university classmates that had already gotten a job immediately after the National Youth service and calculated how much each needed to contribute to cover my tuition of fifteen thousand naira and they did as the true friends they were. 

Next was the transportation from town where I stayed with an uncle to school. I figured out that all I needed was to find twenty naira to get me to school every day and I believed I will be lucky every day to find a senior colleague in my class whom I can hitch a ride home with. 

My other target was finding some working colleagues I could help out in their assignments for some change to keep the body and soul together or better still, get them to even link me up with some small or big jobs.

In the task of advising my friend at hand, I started with describing the fact that the human brain is so powerful that literature has it that we only make use of a little fraction of this super computer God gave us. 

Just sitting down and thinking, one could churn out a whole lot from this brain that one would be amazed at. 

I talked about Professor Stephen Hawkins and his theory of the curvature of time as an example of how fellow human beings are making use of their God given brains to help humanity explore its environment. 

In his theory of curvature of time, the saying that “history repeats itself” comes alive. 

You can read about the details in my essay titled “Stephen Hawkings, M-theory and the new concept of time” at my website @ www.peterobidike.com or you Google it. 

The point here is to get your brain to think out of the box and not be limited by what you see. 

This discussion emanated from the issue of funding required to “start any business no matter how small.”

To this end, I advised my friend that the starting point does not have to be the source of the funding but rather the ideas you have, building a business case you can sell to a potential investor when the need arises. 

I talked about the fact that the starting of a small business has to be about something one is passionate about which might not even yield immediate returns. 

And I noted that this was very important because some people have often delved into businesses by first calculating the gains others are making from such businesses without asking about the years of tutelage, ups and downs those ones have been through. 

They just go ahead to source for the scarce funds from friends or relatives, delve into the business, only to be attracted by other flashy and mouthwatering new businesses in town and in no distant time, the fund fizzles away.

 I have seen ladies go into cake baking and make it so big that people pay thousands to have their outfits featured in CNN. 

I have seen guys go into dress making and cut out a niche for themselves in the industry. 

All of them started with building on something they were passionate about, making the necessary business plans and ensuring they exhibit the much needed honesty that is required for people to appreciate their product and keep coming back.

And just as I was discussing, it occurred to me that a business idea I had been discussing with a friend was actually attainable even easier than we thought.

It was around the idea that “Event centers” has become the “bum” nowadays in terms of high yielding businesses but like the issue with my young friend, the funding of a real lucrative site for such was to be an issue. 

Somehow, it dawned on me that the event place we were @ was a temporary structure of tarpaulin and this could only mean that the land was rented or leased and not necessarily owned by the person managing the Event center. 

That meant the capital outlay for such a business may not in fact be as expensive as we had thought! 

Such is the power of the mind and the truth is that we all can do something if we put our minds to work, not minding first about the little things around funding. 

That will take care of itself, trust me.

Peter Obidike wrote from www.peterobidike.com and p_obidike@yahoo.com

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