I read a post on LinkedIn some weeks ago, where Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, the Chairman of Fasmicro Group, advised that every entrepreneur should endeavour to create a mini village that is made up of his customers, followers and fans. That post touched me. I started imagining what it will be like if there is an actual village, where all the inhabitants are connected in one way or the other to an entrepreneur. I don’t think there will be a physical village like this, but I believe there could be a virtual, economic, commercial, mental or psychological one.
I brought up an idea like this last night while discussing with a friend on WhatsApp and he thought that I just dropped from the moon. Don’t blame him because sometimes I also wonder if I’m actually from the moon. But the truth is that this village of a thing is possible.
My interest in this piece is not on the way we can make it possible (that will require further visits to the moon) but on the people that are supposed to be in that village. I want to draw an attention to the fact that being a member of a village isn’t just about being a fan. You can be a fan without contributing to the development of this El Dorado, but you cannot be a village member without contributing your own quota. So, take a stand before you continue reading.
There are several advantages to creating this entrepreneurial village. The first one is that you gather a group of people that will learn from you. This automatically makes you a mentor. And when you mentor young souls, you also mentor yourself.
Next advantage is that you are exposed to fresh ideas. You know that adage that says that no one knows it all? Think about it anytime you are wondering if you should even consider creating this beautiful village.
Then, there is the possibility of creating more markets through your villagers. When so many people know you and look up to you, they will spread news about you and your products faster. Now tell me which other form of loud and effective advertisement that is better than this?
In El Dorado, nobody is poor. This means that your villagers will be employed and will be growing as you grow. Their talents are well harnessed and they have job satisfactions.
Ok, let’s go to the major item for today – who should belong to your village and who should not? I will list out some members that should be searched for as well those that should be avoided. This list isn’t exhaustive, therefore look for more and add to the numbers.
A. Members to Look For
1. The Innovators: Of course you know that today everybody is looking for new ideas. This group of people are the ones that have concrete ideas on how existing problems could be solved. Their ideas are usually ‘closer to earth’ and are easily applicable. So, look for people that can bring up ideas on how old things could be made new.
2. The Analysts: These people like working with data. They like facts and figures. Just team them up with the Innovators and leave them to solve an existing problem.
3. The Zealous: These ones can be enthusiastic if the job appeals to them. It is now left for the Innovators and the Analysts to convince them to put in their excessive energy towards achieving their goal. The only problem with this people is that if they don’t like what was tabled before them, you may have to drag them to work. So, that means that we need another group of people in case they disappoint us.
4. The Go-Getters: When the Zealous don’t show interest in the ideas of the innovators, send in the Go-Getters to get the job done. They don’t think about what they like; theirs is to get the job done and bring home the desired results.
5. The Freelancers: This people don’t want to belong to any village but they still depend on existing villages to make their livings. So, if you see them, allow them in. The good thing about this group is that they usually have something new to add. Besides, their drive is the money they will be paid (they don’t want to lose that at all) which means that the job will definitely be done.
6. The Dreamers: Don’t laugh here, please. The Dreamers are the innovators of tomorrow. What they dreamt of yesterday was what the Innovators refined and redesigned to present today. They may sound like they fall from the moon (just like me) but their dreams do come true if they are harnessed at the right time. So, get their ideas and keep in the library for the innovators. Trust me, a single idea from a dreamer may be redefined by different innovators for several years.
7. The Critics: These people are like pain in the neck that makes sure you do not take a wrong turn. When you remember them, you will want to do it right. Besides, good Critics look at what you did and tell you what is good and what is bad about it. They are not that group of people that treat your sweat like trash.
8. The Teachers: You need someone that will train and retrain your village members. Those new ideas that come up every now and then need to be passed on to others. Someone has to do that. And the only people that can do the job very well are the Teachers.
9. The Cautious: This set of people reminds me of my mother. She will always say things like, “Ozioma, be careful. Ozioma, watch your health. Be careful with who you talk to” and all. These people are important too. They usually draw you back a little to reconsider your actions to make sure they won’t affect you or other people negatively.
10. The Gossips: Yes, you need them too. Just leak what you want them to know and they will add their own and spread it out – like wildfire. I know that what they send out cannot easily be controlled but they are the cheapest form of loud advertisement.
11. The Clergy: You can never be human without someone pointing out the destructive nature of inhumanity. The Clergy will be your conscience. They will be your sanitizers. Just keep them around and thank me later.
12. The Marketers: Here are those that can sell salty water to an Ijaw man. Just give them the go-ahead and your products will be exchanged for bars of gold.
13. The Fun Lovers: Remember the saying about all works and no play? Well these people will make sure you always remember it. They will keep removing your hands off the plough so you can take a break and relax.
B. People to Avoid
1. The Sycophants: You don’t need their insincerity. They should look for another Oga on top. You are building up an empire and you need as much knowledge as you can get, not insincere praise singing.
2. The Slanderers: Who needs the pain that comes from hearing bad things about him? Make sure this people don’t even come a mile close to the village gate, their tongues and pens can cause more havoc than a Californian wildfire.
3. The Perfectionists: These people can drain your energy like a vampire drains a human of his blood. Nobody needs their ‘it-must-be-perfect’ approach to everything. Trust me, with them you will end up achieving nothing.
4. The Grouch: These people are not harmful, so to say. But if complaints irritants you like it does me, please avoid them. Always give them the ‘not-available’ manner anytime they come to you because they are just coming to complain about nothing in particular.
5. The Discouragers: These people will keep finding reasons why you shouldn’t do something. They may do this out of true love, but please, you don’t need this now.
6. The Confused, aka Oh-Yes Members: These people belong nowhere. If you send them right, they will go; send them left, no problem they are there already. They have no bearing. You know why these people are harmful? They can easily be turned against you by your ‘enemies’. So, keep them away until they find their positions.
7. The Greedy: These ones will only scheme on how to take the village away from you and drain it. No matter how innovative they are, please, get rid of them.
8. The Fanatics: These ones are the extremists that compete for positions with the Perfectionists. The only difference is that while the Perfectionists want it perfect according to their own way of thought, the Fanatics want it done according to a law (that they may not even be able to interpret). The bad thing about the Fanatics is that they could harm you believing it is for a due cause. So, keep them away.
9. The Indecisive: These ones don’t know how to make decisions. You can call them slow, or sluggish. But for me, they should wait outside the village gate until they learn the skills of decision making. This people may sound harmless but they can drag back others, or worse be a burden to them. Works assigned to them are always left undone unless they are supervised. Please, let them go, better people will come.
Ok, I have downloaded my message from the moon. In case you haven’t gotten it, my message is not as complicated as it sounds – your village is your network and your villagers are the people in it.
So, you can see that my message is just a simple thing to do. Gather the right people around you. You can get them from anywhere – employers, employees, colleagues, customers, social media contacts, friends, family members, close and distant blood relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, club members, members from the same religious organisations, you just name it. Network properly with these people and you will see yourself moving to the top.
But always do one thing – screen anybody that comes your way to see if he truly fits into your village or not. Remember, you are building your El Dorado.