In the spirit of reflection and celebration, Bisola Borha shares 30 lessons she learnt in 9 years of doing business in Nigeria.
Being an Entrepreneur in Nigeria for 9 years, I have really pushed so many boundaries, won awards locally and internationally including in 2017 as a past honouree of the LLA 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria, Future awards Entrepreneur of the year in 2017, Hospitality Company of the year by Pyne awards in 2019, and also nominated as the top 3 African planners by DWP Congress amongst many recognitions.
But today I choose to reflect because reflections definitely make you appreciate where you are coming from, sometimes I take my thoughts back. When I started event planning, we were just a small team and nobody really understood what event planning was.
I remembered when I told my dad I wanted to be an event planner and he was not happy at all. My dad said, “ You mean you ‘ll be leaving your full time paying job to be planning events I mean who does that”. Well, I had made up my mind it was my newfound love.
And then TrendyBEEvents was founded.
I did some international training about what it meant to thrive as an event planner, but experience taught me the hardest way. No one truly explained what it would be like being an event planner in Lagos, Nigeria back then.
Now we have so many planners willing to share, social media, and more than ever covid season made everyone open up loads of secrets to their success. I definitely faced a whole lot of emotions in 9 years most alone, some bitter, some very sweet. These experiences have made me wiser and definitely humbling. It makes me want to stay winning through it all for myself, for my mentees, for my amazing clients, for my family, & for everyone that has ever believed in my brand …. for your contribution to humanity.
Below are the 30 things I have learnt during my 9 years of doing business in Nigeria;
- You will make some mistakes and be better, not bitter (what is it teaching you).
- Being a leader means stepping out of your comfort zone.
- It’s okay to cry but those moments are teaching you something.
- Build a brand bigger than yourself. You would not always be strong so you have to make sure others can keep it going while you are down.
- In your downtimes your business must stay up, so have another stream of business, most staff do not understand downtimes, some loyalty expires (even the ones that promise never to leave will go if things are slow).
- Start training and build a strong team early, give them a treat when you can afford to, but know that this is just a part you are playing to the world, no one owes you anything in return really, so be open to anyone leaving .. be open-minded have a backup plan, have signed agreements ( You will be fine).
- Some will but not everyone will say thank you, appreciate your effort or apologize and it’s okay. Just stay focused.
- Be ready for people to copy you, it means you are doing something great. Just stay consistent and keep growing.
- Work on the quality of your results, this attracts quality clients ( bad feedbacks must make you better, not bitter)
- As an Entrepreneur, make sure you save your money and pay yourself a salary. It is possible to be successful and broke.
- Treat your client like gold, you get what you give (treasure and maintain them).
- You will have some amazing team members, but be mindful that some team members will betray you, take jobs behind your back, take some of your clients ( those are not your clients). Don’t lose focus ( karma will handle).
- You will lose some friends and family (pray and ask for guidance, it can be confusing but you will be fine).
- Love yourself then love your neighbour as yourself.
- Not everyone is your client, that’s okay still love everyone, it comes back I promise.
- Remove scarcity from your mind, there is an abundance of everything (say it and be original in all that you do).
- Invest in a product that can serve the world genuinely (still learning this).
- Be a solution to a problem and the universe will repay you.
- Not everyone will treat you the way you treat them, but still be kind (the universe will handle it).
- Make sure you have a professional lawyer & tax manager (very important).
- Some people will learn from you and talk bad about you, while some will love you and be there for you (stay focused, stay true to your brand and principles).
- Some of your colleagues will love you for every reason and some will dislike and even hate you for no reason (stay focused).
- Create time for God, love, & family (or you’ll lose them in a heartbeat).
- Create time to re-evaluate your life and processes. Sometimes, you are the problem.
- Humility opens opportunities.
- Everyone needs a good manager (identify which area you need one).
- Have a plan, have a coach.
- Hire some professionals within the team.
- Develop Your mindset, it can make or break you.
- Promote your brand