I can now confidently posit that organization is the biggest challenge in Nigeria. And whoever solves this problem would be the winner come next decades.
In 2019 while working on my graduate thesis, I come across a very interesting stat by International Financial Center which says; Approximately 96% of Nigerian small businesses are SMEs compare to 53% in the USA and 65% in Europe.
And these are the folks that employed the most working people asides those working for government, who are definitely less than 30% of the working populations.
While checking the USA small business administration data today, I realized somethings;
- 58.9m people are employee of SMBs in the USA
- Total working population of the country is 152m
- Currently, there’s a reported 22m job loss (this is grossly underreported due to the capacity of those documenting unemployment benefits).
The most striking detail in this data is that 136k are working in Agriculture and Fishing industry, while the fact remains that America surely have great supply chain that manage food importation, it also meant if the supply chain stop working, only 136k people have to feed 330m people (if their pets have to starve).
While this post is not about America, I just use that data as a reference point (something to pull your curiosity).
In 2018, I was running an idea of job board by a friend, and he specifically told me that “are you also going to help us – small business owners, to recruit the best candidates” which I vehemently told him no.
And as such, I can tell that the biggest problem asides organization, for SMB owners is access to talents.
Growing up, I used to live with my adopted mother who is a business woman, every night, after a long market day, we would have to start counting cash, which usually is nothing less than a million naira on our bad business day.
So, I can tell the hardship that comes with sourcing grains, selling it, and also having to stress to count your money when you should be sleeping or thinking big about your business.
I’m sure you’re getting lost, don’t go yet, everything will soon make sense. After school, a significant amount of youths in Nigeria, mostly female are either selling cloths or starting their fashion business.
If you read my online comments, you’ll know I’ve once joked that Nigeria have the biggest number of CEOs in the world. Yes, those CEOs are those friends of mine who are now acclaimed fashion designers.
Some are great, some are mediocre but that’s not the point, the point is that they are also an indirect employer – so they are great folks.
Remember my posit about organization and the various stories I just posted up there? Yes, that means that my friends are a part of those 96% employers and the economy revolves around them.
On organization, instead of having let’s say 20 soloprenuer who are low key fashion designer, the winner of the next decade would be someone that bring all these people together, organize them, pay them to do what they are already doing and bring the price of fashion down drastically.
Don’t forget that many of these CEOs are actually working as one because they couldn’t secure a job, and I can comfortably tell you that they are not making 5000 naira in a day (which sure they can’t get a startup to pay them from the start – labor is too cheap to pay such an amount as wage).
SMBs need to come together, synergize, have structure, do their books, and get some unused capital from the bank to run their operations.
I’m an avid art lover, and I’ve probably followed more cartoonist than real people, and I’ve paid close attention to the Nigeria art space.
One thing I can say about these guys is; they are very creative guys. On top of my head, as I struggle to find and follow these guys on Instagram, I was wondering what if there’s a platform that actually bring them all together other than Instagram.
This platform would display their work and added more value to it. And yes, this is the work of organization for platform works on information display and categorization.
While the world is moving completely from fragmentation and there’s more buzz about niche, every niche would also need organization. You know what the problem of organization is? Leadership! But then, the other untold part of the problem is electricity which I think could be solve creatively.