By Chidomere Ndubuisi

- September 21, 2022

We learn from our experience every day, we surround and submit ourselves with experts and mentors we learn from, yet mistakes and failures in some businesses are occasionally inevitable. We still count losses while striving to succeed.

I have experienced some mistakes and failures in my apprenticeship journey at Ladipo and it’s quite a big learning process for me. Expanding into the Automobile spare parts industry has been very challenging.

It’s always frustrating when we know what to do to avoid mistakes and still will not do them because we get so busy, and also get caught up in the moment of building more businesses that we do not stop and examine the foundational processes and systems of the new business. By the time we realise it, boom, something has gone wrong and already too late to reverse it.

I didn’t finish my apprenticeship and we started the parts importation business before we were ready for it. Unlike me, we didn’t plan well. We didn’t put great modalities to buying/costing/selling/operations. We didn’t put in place the foundational processes so, we failed to submit ourselves to the processes because there was none. Learn my lessons and ensure you build a strong foundation so you get it right the first time.

Now, I have developed an amazing system, structure, process and marketing strategies for it.

I have learnt to always have contract documentation when it comes to friends and relatives. In fact, no matter the relationship, if you don’t want to ruin it, have contract agreements and a corporate communication system. Proper documentation to show trust and accountability is vital. See, your business can come to a halt when contracts and agreements are not put in place, it breeds misunderstanding, miscommunication, misconception and misconduct.

Putting good money to bad use and trying to be everything to everybody is a sure way to waste valuable ideas/time/energy/money which is the lifeblood of any business. Composition and competence of the team to solve complex problems are very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. I have learnt not to engage a generalist where we need a specialist and not to get a specialist in areas we can get a generalist to handle the task comfortably.

Many things I have learnt that might be too lengthy to share here but certainly, I am not discouraged and, I am still not afraid of failure, instead I learn from my mistakes/failures and pivot new ideas, test new models and tweak some products to exceed customers trust and expectations.

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