When you hear the word ‘Igbo’, the first word that comes to mind is business or money. This is as a result of the reputation they have built over time through successful businesses or ventures.Igbo Business Owners are everywhere, dominating every sphere and positioning themselves strategically in the mind of their customers.
They are like the cactus plant. They can thrive anywhere including the desert. They are always seeking opportunities to make money in exchange for goods and services. It is rare to see an Igbo man that is not business oriented. It’s like a sacred heritage that has been passed down from one generation to the next.
When you think spare parts, electronics, foodstuffs, fashion, phone and accessories, they have it locked down. They are always eager to spread their tentacles across the shores of the land. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to think like an Igbo man if you want to survive and thrive in the business world with excellence and style. There are a zillion lessons you can learn from Igbo business owners but I listed a few that you can work with.
Igbo business owners are risk takers:
show me an Igbo entrepreneur in a foreign land and I will tell you about that person who has defied all odds to make a name and become successful. Igbos do not back down when it comes to business establishment no matter how discouraging the economy may be.
They plunge into the business pool and start the trading irrespective of what the future might hold. Not even the fear of failure or the unknown can stop them from establishing their business presence in an unfamiliar environment.
Igbo business owners are Zealous:
They have a passion for what they do. this makes them outstanding and formidable in the midst of other competitors. They run their business with fervor and do not joke with their source of livelihood. Their high energy level amazes me and they are never tired of doing business. I call them Business titans with high survival instincts.
Igbo business owners have a Ph.D. in getting you to purchase what they sell without running at a loss. Their facial expression, appealing endearments, and strategic pricing will leave you no choice than to buy the product. When you try to convince them to sell below their fixed price, an Igbo man will still convince to “add something on top” the price which you will do without thinking twice. That is the subtle art of emotional negotiation.
Igbo business owners are Shameless:
Igbo business owners are never ashamed of their enterprise no matter how small it is or funny it may look. They never despise humble beginnings.From selling second-hand clothes at a relatively low price in a market to owning a successful boutique in a high brow area, they love what they do as long as it is legal. They are not ashamed of their hustling as they proudly display their products and focus on making sales and a reputable name for themselves.
Creative marketing style:
if there is anything that fascinates me about Igbo entrepreneurs, it is the hilarious yet creative ways that they employ to market their products to the public. Their advertising skill is top notch. Have you seen a group of Igbo men selling ladies clothes at the market? They can distract you with their comic songs, catchy phrases and dramatic gestures that will make you end up buying clothes that you never planned for. By the end of the day, a bale of clothes will be sold out leaving their silent competitors in awe. They are the result driven business noisemakers with a difference.
Sometimes, you wonder how a random “Emeka” who started selling cheap clothes some month back now runs a successful fashion brand that deals in Fashion wear, wristwatches, and cologne. Diversification!
The same is true for an innocent looking “Chibuzor” who started out by selling phone accessories ending up with a big store where phones and laptops are sold alongside accessories. An Igbo business owner is always thinking expansion; how to make more money and reach more customers. This is what differentiates them from that random trader that you have known all your life, selling the same product at the same spot with no remarkable impact or change.
I have lost count of how many times I have promised to revisit a particle store owned by an Igbo person because of the way they relate with their customers and I have always kept my promise. They treat their customers as celebrities that you begin to feel so good about yourself. If you are not careful, you will buy more things than you bargained for.
When you want to buy a shoe, for example, you will be asked to sit comfortably (if it is a shop) and your shoe will be removed as they try each new piece while wearing it for you. They can offer to do anything that will relieve you of stress while purchasing their products. This is how they gain loyal customers that keep coming back every time!
Conclusively, Igbos do not run their businesses with familiarity. They clearly draw boundaries between family and business or friends and business to stay out of debt and keep their businesses booming.
It is beyond reasonable doubts that Igbo business owners are one of the strongest backbones of Nigeria’s economy and they form the core of economic growth. As an aspiring or existing entrepreneur, these lessons can help you reflect on your business strategies and management so that you can make the necessary adjustment to increase your business capacity and double your profits.