Dr. Ola Brown is a medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an entrepreneur who founded West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service, the Flying Doctors Nigeria which saves hundreds of lives across the region every year especially in the oil and gas industry, rendering medical evacuation services.
Beyond being an award-winning Medical Doctor, Ola Brown is a young with a strong business acumen. After running her air ambulance business successfully for several years, these are some tips she shared on her Medium page about running a successful business in Nigeria.
1. You need support (a lot of it); We’re sure by now, you know this. You need all the support you can get when running a business in Nigeria. Ola says, “Try to get a mentor who has been where you are before. This person will help you navigate the undulating Nigerian entrepreneurial terrain and help you avoid many costly mistakes. Also hiring the right team to work with is important. As a small business, you need to take hiring more seriously than a large company as your resources are limited and a bad hire is far more costly.”
2. You have to put in the work; Have you noticed the way some people launch a business today and tomorrow, you find them making a lot of noise on social media and acquiring fancy cars before the business hits the ground running? You shouldn’t imitate such people.
We like the way Ola puts it, “Entrepreneurship is extremely hard work. You need to know a little about a very wide range of management disciplines and be laser-focused on self-improvement. Starting your own company will usually take a toll on everything else in your life and whilst you must ensure you have a balance, a great amount of your time will be spent developing your business and you must be prepared for this.”
3. You must pay attention to your finances; Money and positive cash flow are what keeps a business afloat. If there’s no money, that business will crumble in no time. This is Ola’s advice, “Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. You will make mistakes, your business will only continue to run if you have enough money to pay for those mistakes. Therefore you must be financially disciplined. Keep accurate records, know your financial status at any point on time, keep an eye on your margins, understand your cash conversion cycle and most importantly don’t run out of cash…..ever.”