– The Sun News

Nigeria needs visionary, selfless leaders to grow economy-Olagbenjo

Kehinde John Olagbenjo,  is an award winning entrepreneur and  the Managing Partner at KDW Media Limited. He is  also the president of The Land Is Green Africa foundation.
Kehinde, who is currently embarking on empowering and nurturing youths on how to be successful in the area of SMEs through  TLIGAfrica New Year Empowerment Program tagged: “The Gifted Hands: How to discover and succeed with your gifts in 2018,” said that Nigeria needs visionary and selfless leaders to grow the nation’s economy.
He also x-rays the challenges facing start ups and entrepreneurs to include; fierce competition, unrealistic expectations, hiring suitable candidates, partnership decision making and financial management.
He argues that, government has not done enough to address the challenges facing entrepreneurs, insisting that facilities that would help businesses to grow in Nigeria in order for entrepreneurs to create more jobs for the people are not available. 
Can you tell us what the gifted hand empowerment program is all about? 
We talk about the beauty and wonder of talent all the time. Whether it’s athletics, music, business, speaking, leadership or writing, there are individuals who seem to be born to do a certain thing.
One of the ways to succeed in life is to be talented. If you are talented, it will open doors of opportunities before you thereby making you succeed faster. But you will agree with me that to succeed in life, you need more than talent. If talent is all you need then why have all the talented people not succeeded? We have talented and educated derelicts who have not been able to use their talent and education to better their lot. We have so many talented people roaming the streets and who have not been able to achieve anything for themselves.
Just because you are talented at something doesn’t guarantee that you will have long-term success, and the moment you stop nurturing and developing your talent, someone else with less talent is working day and night to beat you.
We are all talented at something, but if we stop there it will more than likely end a disaster. You need to do something every day, even if a little, to develop and nurture your talent.
It is not what you don’t have that will limit your greatness in 2018 but the gifts, skills, contacts, and relationships you have but you don’t know how to use.
That is why we started  TLIGAfrica New Year Empowerment Program to help people on how to turn their passion into profits in 2018. The program will take place in Lagos on January 28, 2018 and it will feature some speakers like Detoun Ogwo – CEO AGDC Employability & Enterprise Devt Ltd/GTE, Kehinde Olagbenjo- President TLIGAfrica/Host, kocha Nkem Christiana – CEO Mamamoni among others.
You mentor start-ups, what problem do you think has been peculiar amongst them?
Challenges are everywhere. And businesses – in general and startups in particular – are no exception to myriad of challenges that we face today. One of the challenges is fierce competition just as I mentioned earlier. The corporate world is quite fierce. There is always a competition going on between the giants. Competition poses one of the biggest challenges for the survival of startup businesses.  And if you have an online business startup, the competition gets tougher.
The competitive environment keeps the startups on their toes, as there is no margin of error available. Both B2B and B2C organizations always tend to feel the heat of the fierce competition. In order to survive in this competitive business environment that covers both traditional and online businesses, the startups need to play aggressively, and punch above their weight to gain the much needed recognition amongst the clusters of ever challenging and expanding businesses.
Another  one is unrealistic expectations. What I am trying to say is that, success does not come alone. It brings expectations with it. Most of the times, these expectations seem realistic, But in the real sense of the word, are merely unrealistic. This same concept holds true for young startups.
Startups tend to face challenges when they set ‘unrealistic expectations’ following a booming success. Remember, success is short-lived and expectations never end. This is where startups need to translate what the real expectations are? Sustainability is the name of the game. And sustainability requires consistent efforts.
In order to succeed in a competitive business world, startups need to have high but controlled expectations, keeping view of the resources available, the extent of growth potential, and other market factors as well.
How can a young start-ups benefit from your programme who have no start-up capital?
If you have ever wanted to make more money by doing something you really enjoy, doing something you are perfectly wired for?
If there is a passion that you love but have no clue how to monetize it and turn it into a profitable business? or are you already doing something in your regular 9-5 job that you’re really not even being paid for that you KNOW could turn into a business but you have no clue where to begin? Then attend The Gifted Hands Empowerment Program.
At this great program we will teach you how to find your God-given gifts, talents and abilities and then take this knowledge and turn it into a profitable business. we are ready to teach you!
Would you say the government has done enough in addressing the major challenges entrepreneurs in the country face?
No they have not, it is unfortunate that the facilities that will help businesses to grow in Nigeria in order for entrepreneurs to create more jobs for the people are not available. Companies in Nigeria provide their light, security, water and so on. The cost of running businesses in Nigeria is getting too high and this has made some companies to close down, while others have left Nigeria to other nations in order to reduce the cost of production and this definitely affects job creation.
Companies spend millions of naira on petrol and diesel yearly and this would have been used to create jobs for the youths. It will be difficult for a nation to progress when they have bad leaders. For the Nigerian economy to grow we need visionary and selfless leaders.
We need leaders that will come up with programmes and initiatives that will help people to create great businesses and this will go a long way to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
The wealth of a nation depends on the wealth of their entrepreneurs. Most countries don’t build their wealth on natural resources; they build their wealth on taxes, and the more entrepreneurs a country has, the more taxes their people will pay.
A tax is a fraction of the income of a country’s citizens. When the average citizen is encouraged to create wealth, he/she pays tax in return.  The government will remain broke if the citizens are not paying taxes.
Why do most new promising start ups fail after been birthed?
There are many reasons why promising start ups fails. But I am will mention three, which the team doesn’t have what it takes to succeed, the idea is not serving the market need and running out of cash too fast.
On the team doesn’t have what it takes to succeed. You see, a start up’s biggest challenges is getting the team right, according to 37 per cent of the founders surveyed. Having enough diversity for a variety of skills that are needed to succeed from day one is essential. Not less important is trusting your team and giving them control over their responsibility areas.
There’s a reason why all the top investors and incubators place such heavy emphasis on the team. Ideas change, products pivot, markets can take unexpected turns, but people are what hold everything together. A great team is not just about selecting a group of smart people; it’s about complementing each other’s strengths and mitigating each other’s weaknesses.
As a founder, you must attract and retain the right people to build the technology, understand your industry, and scale your company.
Talking about the idea is not serving the market. Sometimes the market simply isn’t there yet. Of the surveyed entrepreneurs, 20 per cent said their startup failed most likely because of the product market fit. The biggest mistakes startups make are not talking to enough prospects before diving in and not understanding the target market, which might result in focusing on multiple ideas rather than one main idea.
Consumers are highly resistant to change and biased against trying a new product. Founders tend to believe their product is great since they’re always the first to try new products themselves. But mainstream consumers might not always understand why or how to use the new products. In this instance, startup entrepreneurs might think the market should change to fit their vision, but this thinking ignores the market realities.

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