A friend (Eruobodo Eruobodo) asked what business we had failed in… I answered the taxi business. I did learn some entrepreneurial lessons. Let me share my learning.
I was working with UBA then. I just got paid my upfront. It was a significant sum. I had no plans for it. So I made an investment decision on a whim. Lesson one: do not invest without a semblance of a business plan.
Lesson two: Save windfalls till you have clarity in your head.
Then, I decided to do the taxi business. My dad had some taxis and buses growing up; so I figured I had learnt from supporting him. No! I did not.
Lesson three: Always consult those in a business before joining.
There is a learning curve. Then, I bought 5 taxis all at once. My thinking was the economics of scales. Very poor decision.
Lesson four: Always start small and test the waters.
Because I was unable to manage the business, I hired someone to manage it for me. I did not undertake due diligence on the person hired. The consequences were fraud and massive losses.
Lesson five: Hire properly and higher right.
Cutting corners on processes will hurt and haunt you.
At a certain point, I was making losses. But because I had a fairly decent income, I was subsidizing the business. I also did not keep proper books. It was a hole:
Lesson six: Cut your losses early and keep books.
If your business has no accounting records, it’s not business but a hobby.
Final lesson: Be truthful to self
And the final lesson, be truthful to yourself and give up when you should. Yes, some businesses need a little more push, but some need to die for you to survive. Let go when you should.
Extra: I have since learnt that some businesses need you to be hands-on. Some do not. Use your strengths wisely.