Experts Provide Recipe for Business Success

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By Obinna Chima

Operators of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria have been advised to put in place the right structures in order to grow their businesses.

 Speaking on the sidelines of the LEAP Africa’s 12th Annual CEOs forum in Lagos recently, the founder of LEAP Africa,  Ndidi Nwuneli, stressed the importance of governance for any organisation to survive.

According to her, every forward-looking firm must have a strong board of directors.

“You can’t have a one-man business if you want your business to outlive you. The second is strong financial controls and management and the third one is innovation. “You also need to continue challenging yourself to new ideas. And the fourth is management.

“You can’t do everything yourself. You need to find the right persons, empower them, equip them and sustain them,” she added.

According to her, once the right structures have been put in place, it would be easy to attract capital.

“There is no shortage of money in Nigeria. A lot of SMEs are not ready to receive financing. There is money chasing people, but how many SMEs are ready to receive it? How are you keeping your books?

“Are you separating your personal finance from your companies’ finances? Do you have budget? Do you carry out audit? If you do all of that, you won’t look for money, money would be chasing you,” she stressed.

On his part, the Managing Director, UPS Nigeria, Mr. Ralph Ozoude said his firm is particular about encouraging businesses and helping them grow because it started small. UPS is 110 years old and it was started by an 18-year old, who was doing delivery with a bicycle.

“When businesses are small, they need a lot of encouragement to help them grow. Part of the challenges companies have is sustained growth and some of it has to do with corporate governance and compliance.

“Every entrepreneur who is starting needs to have a long-term goal. If the goal and objective of that entrepreneur is to make profit in the short-term, then he may not be creating structures and systems that would be sustainable, replicable and that would enable his business to grow and outlive.

“The dividend may not come immediately, but once you create the name and reputation, then it starts flowing,” he said.

Director of Programmes, LEAP Africa, Mr. Femi Taiwo, said one of the major goals of the conference was knowledge sharing.

The Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Bank, one of the sponsors of the conference, Mr. Henry Bassey, pledged the financial institution’s continued support to the forum.