In Nigeria, we are not used to partnership. Everyone wants to do his or her own thing. Sure, our legal systems are extremely inadequate to protect people. The implication is that most hate to collaborate and partner with others. That is a mistake.
Many Nigerian banks went under during the consolidation program of Prof C. Soludo (former Central Bank of Nigeria governor) largely because some owners did not want to band together. Some companies in Nigeria could have been saved if the spirits of mergers and acquisition (M&A) are alive in the nation. Take a trip to Aba, Osogbo and Kano, many of those failed businesses could have been saved if the owners had come together to build a better single company. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, that does not happen.
Typically, Nigeria is not good with mergers & acquisitions. We like to be 100% in charge. That is bad. From Aba to Kano, Osogbo to Uyo, you would see guys killing visions purely because they do not want to TEAM up and build something greater.
Sure – I get it. We do not trust one another that much. So, if that is the case, there is no clear basis for partnership. Unfortunately, that is a lame excuse. Nigerian legal system is emerging and if you follow it properly, the risks are as what you have in most parts of the world. The problem is that the partnership was done in a beer parlor with no clear responsibilities, rules and defined modalities. Simply, it was created on chaos because it was not done professionally.
To thrive in business, especially in Africa, where our markets are extremely heterogeneous, requiring huge marginal costs for scaling, across disparate territories, you need to develop a mechanism to partner with others. With partnership, you would reduce the burden of massive operating capital, mitigate new market exposures, reduce operating risks and typically move faster.
For those that frequent my blog Tekedia, the first phase of any product introduction is looking for partners. Most times, we do not even pay a lot of attention to the go-to-market. We believe that if we have a good product, our local partners will help us find the right entry strategy, locally. As we receive feedbacks from them, we share with others, ramping up progress. Partnership is strength; do not run away from it. If you are skeptical about entering one, talk to a trusted attorney to guide you.
Simply, you need to learn to partner to go further.