One popular deficiency in Nigeria’s business environment is owning 100% of zero. We will prefer to be called a CEO with a zero figure balance in the bank account than a marketing manager who has teamed up with others to build a business that will generate excellent revenue figures. I must agree our legal environment do not give reliability for trust deficiencies, but it will be a lame idea not to partner on this basis. The risk is almost the same all over the world. Own 100% of nothing in that business when the future expansion of the business depends on combine capabilities. Your scalability is sure if you can partner brilliantly with smart people and not just anybody.
A partnership is not bad, it becomes bad when you team up without clear and ethical responsibilities, modalities, and agreements. Don’t collapse that business in the name of “I am the owner.” You need to map your business strategy to win and one of the ways to do it well is to partner with others. Don’t be like those Nigerian bank owners who, during the Consolidation Program of Prof C. Soludo, collapsed their banks because they refused to merge with other banks in other to beef up their capital requirements. They wanted to be owners of everything in zero and they got nothing at the end of the day when their licenses were withdrawn. They could have accepted a 15% share in a bigger bank for their dying banks but they refused for lame excuses because 100% is on the table in an empty vessel.
From the savanna of Yola to the beautiful forests of Abakaliki; from the hills of Ekiti, through the wonderful rock of Abeokuta to the mangrove of Calabar; from the creative zone of Aba to the excellent hub of Mushin in Lagos, entrepreneurs have strangulated ideas and killed wonderful vision all in the name of “I am the CEO and this company is mine.” Nigerians like to be 100% in charge even when they lack execution capabilities. This is very bad.
Don’t create a partnership in chaos. A partnership is a fantastic thing to do if you do it brilliantly. I advise entrepreneurs to desist from the illusion of titles. In business, titles become ephemeral by default when the reality is faced. It is easier for four fashion designers to make progress when one is a Director, another is focusing on raw materials, the other is a production manager and the last guy in the team is mapping strategies to drive sales and develop the business. As you massacre the ego, wonderful digits will begin to flow into the account.
Indeed, you can make it happen if you join hands with smart people, combine ideas, capabilities, and resources.
In the next piece (Part 2), I will explain how a partnership can help you to map a winning strategy that will cut market complexities and make you a champion in your domain.