As SCHICK Magazine turns 1, I stopped to reflect on my 10 years plus journey to this point and more importantly what I’ve learnt in the past year of doing business. Here are my lessons, I hope they encourage you to start whatever journey you have in your heart and follow your dreams:
No. 1: Be intentional
It’s so important to be very aware of yourself and your environment. Be very intentional about your goals and timelines, track yourself. I remember when I wanted to launch SCHICK Magazine, I set a deadline, it wasn’t easy because I had just become a new mum but I held myself accountable by telling the people closest to me and buried my head in planning for a great magazine.
No. 2: Follow your passion, don’t follow money
When I started SCHICK, I didn’t think about money, of course having a business making money almost immediately is good, but I strongly believe following your passions, will serve you better in the long run. Running a business takes up more than 70% of your life, find something that is worth the time, grit and commitment. Money WILL come. Just remember an “overnight success” story usually has at least 5 years of full commitment, not necessarily chasing money.
No. 3: Make good connections
It’s not always about networking, sometimes it’s about making good connections with like-minded people at. Don’t limit making conversations with people to only when you’re at a work function, it could be a wedding, the salon, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, in a lift. Don’t be shy to strike up a conversation, walk up to the person of interest and talk! And yes, you may have tried it several times and it didn’t work, try again! The more comfortable you are, the more this will come naturally to you.
No. 4: Keep asking questions
When I first started SCHICK, I went around and visited as many industry professionals as I could and asked so many questions. I was curious why the publishing industry in Nigeria, wasn’t doing as well as it could, the information I got was priceless! Today those “random” questions helped shape the way we do business and has helped inform our decisions for our target audience at SCHICK. Nigeria has its peculiarities, engage as many people as you can, ask questions to do your bit at cracking it!
No. 5: Pay close attention to your choice of mentors
I have a ton of mentors! Mentors are not only the people you have access to, it could be someone you admire and watch closely, for example, PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi is my mentor although, she doesn’t even know who I am, don’t be afraid to pick from such leaders. When I started I had a particular mentor, who told me that we can’t get paid adverts in our first of year business, well we did. At least more than 10 businesses have trusted us to push their campaign messages through our platform. So, it’s very important to pick your mentors wisely and sieve out all information you’re given. Find people who have the life you want in 20 years, study them and implement their strategies in your life.
No. 6: It’s a dog-eat-dog world and only the strongest will survive
Yes, you read that right, not everyone is going to be kind or nice to you in business, it’s business! No one will tell you this but you will have enemies, you will have people who want to block you and you will ignore it in your line of work. Whatever you do though, always be kind, nice and courteous but don’t forget the mean side of things, however, remain professional always.
No. 7: Reputation and integrity is everything!
In business and life generally, reputation and integrity are your currency, that’s what can make or break your business. I remember when I had a TV interview and wanted to know who would be on the show with me, so I’m well prepared for the segment, the producer got annoyed with my question and immediately said I wasn’t fit for the show (he thought I was being pompous) Not up to an hour after, a call came in from the same producer, apologising saying he got a call, telling him off and said I came with high recommendations as ‘professional’ and ‘nice’. The moral of the story, what people say about you, goes a long way in business.
No. 8: Keep the vision alive
It’s okay to have bad days, but you must always keep the vision alive. Starting SCHICK, we just wanted to change perception of Africa through creative stories and really invoke that sense of pride in every African, whether you love fashion, culture or not, I just believe the media or should I say the West already had a terrible picture of Africa, we had to change it our own way. In business, there will be hard days, proposals will be rejected, loans will be denied, doors will not open, but keep pushing! I know that it is a tall order, but do not despair.
No. 9: Keep God at the centre of what you do
In my experience, praying on behalf of my business and everyone in it never hurt, it’s very important to keep God at the centre. If you’ve built a close relationship with your team, you could even once in a while pray together. In business, I learnt to not shy away from involving Him. Part of that is giving, a lot of people would say what can you possibly give after just a year in business? Well, it could be your time, it could be provisions, etc. The team and I take time out during Easter or Valentine’s, for instance, to go and see the less privileged. We were all humbled by God’s grace. You don’t have to wait to be a big corporation for you to implant such seeds. Give the little you have.
No. 10: Your team is your work family
And should be treated the same way you’d treat a sister or brother. They say the success of your business is dependent on the quality of your team. How do you get a quality team? Well, start by treating them with kindness, love and respect. Don’t just look out to building a team, look out to build a family, the ones that will lift up the vision when the days get hard (and there will be hard days) and the ones who will be ambassadors of your business.
On that note, thank you to the SCHICK Team, as we celebrate our 1st Anniversary, I can only hope that this is the beginning of great things for us and beyond. To thousands, that have bought, subscribed, liked, posted and give us any feedback, we are so grateful and can’t wait to celebrate with you at our ShopSHICK Live Shopping Event on the 6th of May, 2018. It’s going to be lots of fun, fashion, food and music. See you all soon.