Nigerian’s without a doubt are very hardworking people. A nation of about 194 million people, rising every day, working very hard, trying to make ends meet yet, most of them have little or nothing to show at the end of the day.
The natural excuse and argument is to blame the system, to blame the government, to look at all we lack and all that is not in place to support our effort as hard workers.
No good roads, no power supply, no basic infrastructure and on and on and on goes the stories and excuses. Trust me I’m not saying it’s okay we lack all these, of course it’s not okay, the point is, there is no nation in the world with a perfect system and structure to make every citizen rich or even comfortable. In nations where the infrastructure is in place, policies, systems, discrimination, intense competition, social vices, social unrest, moral decadence and religious extremism also impede the ease of good success. I assure you, every nation in the world today have their own demons they are fighting every day. Success is not a piece of cake anywhere in the world, not now, not in history and I assure you, not even in the future.
If you really want to be successful, you must resolve, decide and take responsibility for your own success.
So, this young man began to share with me some time ago how he is tired of life and how everything isn’t working out despite his very hard work.
He leaves home very early in the morning and returns very late at night every weekday. Sometimes he’s compelled to work on weekends just to get an extra to meet up with his bills and other important financial obligations.
Doing business in Nigeria is very difficult he continued to lament. He actually runs a marketing communications and activation outfit. He recounted and recited all he’s done for many years to win accounts and retain accounts and how all his effort has returned little or nothing despite his hard work. His next decision was to relocate overseas. He planned to shut down his business and run away.
I then began to speak to him and in the process I mentioned many similar businesses to his, doing very well, winning very juicy accounts and growing and expanding day after day. I then asked him how they are doing it differently. I asked why they are making money and he is not? I asked why he’s planning to run overseas and they are not? He went quiet.
Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone says to you, hard work is all you need to succeed in business and you believe them, it will be your loss. If anyone says to you, being smart is all you need to succeed in business and you believe, you may eventually fail and you’ll regret.
Hard work and smart work are important in business but these are definitely not all you need to grow and become established in business.
There is a master key to business success. It’s not hard work, it’s not smart work its productivity.
Productivity is simply the output or outcome from your overall investment of cash, sweat, ideas, intelligence and time.
It is very possible to invest so much in sweat, in energy, in time, in ideas and intelligence and ultimately still remain broke. Definitely when you make input, you expect output, when you put in energy, time, creativity and ideas, you expect an output, an outcome.
The mistake many make is celebrate and focus so much on their input without measuring the power, potential and value of output.
Let me make this very clear. Your customer does not buy your hard work, your customer does not buy your energy, sweat or labour, they’re not interested in when you wake up, how long you spend in traffic and when you eventually get home at night. Your customers don’t pay you because you’re intelligent, your smart work is not their business, the only thing your customer is interested in is your product. Your product could be a good, a service, a talent or whatever – that is what the customer is interested in.
Becoming rich, gathering so much customers and clients has little to do with hard work and intelligence, it has all to do with what they want to buy – your product.
If your product is not exciting, appealing, interesting, attractive, valuable, affordable and competitive, all your sweat and hard labour means nothing.
Ladies and gentlemen, in my mind, productivity is a compound word. It’s a combination of product and activities. Productivity is hence product activities. Productivity is the activities you put in and the effort you make in building your product to make it outstanding, appealing and valuable. A product is nothing if it is not valuable enough to attract a commercial exchange in the market place. If no one wants to pay for your product, your hard work is useless and inconsequential.
Dear friend, where exactly lie your priority? Is it in how hard you work or how well your product comes out at the end of the day? To be honest, if you are to buy the kind of product or service you’re offering in the market place would you buy from yourself?
Objectivity and fairness will help you grow fast in the market. Any product you can’t purchase, you shouldn’t attempt to sell; it’s hypocritical. Don’t sell to people what you wouldn’t buy, business is not about sentiments or emotions and listen, don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for you on the account of your hard work or labour.
Stop complaining and lamenting about low patronage if you’re selling a bad product or a product inferior to competition. Stop making excuses you wouldn’t accept if you were to be your own customer.
Stop blaming other people, institutions, the government and other factors for your poor performance. Up your game and let your sweat count. Hard work is important so make sure your handwork counts through real productivity. Hard work can still keep you broke, only good products makes you really wealthy. Dear friend, respect your sweat.