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  The entrepreneurship journey is filled with challenges and opportunities. As a Nigerian entrepreneur, the typical challenges entrepreneurs face in any other place around the world are further compounded by the unique challenges of doing business in Nigeria. To stay ahead, there are several things you need, one of which is a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is very crucial if you are going to not just scale through the challenges you face daily as a Nigerian entrepreneur but also harness the immense opportunities that the Nigerian market offers. This article considers what a growth mindset is, the benefits, and practical steps to cultivate it as a Nigerian entrepreneur.
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Understanding Growth Mindset

A growth mindset believes that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and continuous learning. The term was coined and popularized by psychologist Carol Dweck in her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She also introduced what she referred to as a fixed mindset where individuals believe their talents and intelligence are static traits that cannot be significantly developed. So, what this simply means is that, if you believe that your abilities and intelligence can be improved upon or increased, you have a growth mindset. But, when you believe you can’t, you have a fixed mindset. As a Nigerian entrepreneur, you will agree that embracing a growth mindset is necessary if you succeed in the Nigerian market. And developing this mindset is simple – you need to begin seeing every setback as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a sign of failure.

Why You Need a Growth Mindset As A Nigerian Entrepreneur

1. Helps You Overcome Economic Challenges

Nigeria’s economy is known for its volatility. It is common for an entrepreneur to deal with issues like fluctuating exchange rates, high cost of transportation, high cost of power, regulatory changes, and infrastructure deficiencies. A growth mindset helps you view these challenges as surmountable. Instead of being paralyzed by economic uncertainties, you see them as opportunities to innovate and adapt. For instance, during the recession periods, many businesses closed shops owing to the lockdown and some were not able to reopen afterwards, but those with a growth mindset pivoted to digital solutions, thereby keeping their business operations afloat and reaching new markets.

2. Helps With Innovation and Creativity

The Nigerian entrepreneurial space is highly competitive. To stand out, you need to be innovative, in both your product or service development and in your marketing. A growth mindset will help you in this regard as it fosters creativity. This is because it encourages experimentation and learning from failure. When you look at some of the fintech startups like Paystack and Flutterwave, you will see how they have demonstrated this by continuously evolving their services to meet market demands, thereby achieving significant success.

3. It Helps You Stay Resilient in the Face of Adversity

Doing business in Nigeria comes with its unique challenges such as inconsistent power supply, poor infrastructure, and bureaucratic hurdles. A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend who complained about the difficulties she’s having getting her SCUML application approved. I shared mine too and how it was only when I used an agent known to some of the staff that my application was approved.
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In other climes, they may not relate to some of these challenges. This is why as an entrepreneur doing business in Nigeria, you need resilience. And a growth mindset equips you with the resilience to persist through these adversities. It instils a belief that every problem has a solution and that every obstacle is a learning opportunity. This perspective is crucial for long-term success in a challenging environment.

How To Develop a Growth Mindset As An Entrepreneur

1. Embrace Challenges

Challenges will come. Rather than avoiding challenges, see them as opportunities to grow. For instance, if your business faces a sudden drop in sales, use this as a chance to analyze market trends, understand customer needs better, and innovate your product or service offering.

2. Be Open To And Learn from Criticism

Constructive criticism is a powerful tool for growth. As a Nigerian entrepreneur, actively seek feedback from your customers, mentors, and peers. Use this feedback to improve your product or service, business strategies and operations. You need to understand and see criticism as not a reflection of your ability but a stepping stone towards improvement.

3. Celebrate Effort, Not Just Results

As humans, we all want results. We want success. For this reason, we often fail to acknowledge the process and efforts we put in when they don’t culminate in the results we want. A growth mindset values effort over inherent talent and of course over the results obtained. Celebrate the hard work and perseverance you and your team put into the business, regardless of immediate results. This approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement and learning within your organization.

4. Invest in Continuous Learning

One of the ways to ensure you maintain a growth mindset when you’ve developed it is to ensure you continue to invest in learning. Keep abreast of industry trends, new technologies, and best practices. Attend workshops, webinars, and conferences. Read books and articles related to your field. This ongoing learning process is essential for maintaining a growth mindset.

5. Networking and Mentorship

A popular quote from the Bible says, “Iron sharpens Iron”. Building a network of growth-minded entrepreneurs is a vital way to not just cultivate a growth mindset but also maintain it. Also, having a mentor who can provide invaluable insights and support to you is very crucial. So, join local business associations, attend networking events, and participate in entrepreneurial forums. Learning from the experiences of others can provide new perspectives and solutions to your challenges.
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Concluding Thoughts

Adopting a growth mindset as a Nigerian entrepreneur is crucial for navigating the dynamic and often challenging Nigerian business environment. In this post, I have tried to share with you a few strategies that could help you in building a growth mindset. Remember, the key to thriving in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial landscape lies not in avoiding challenges, but in embracing them with a mindset geared towards growth and continuous improvement.
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This article was first published on 20th June 2024


Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.

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