#L2G: Before Applying for that Global Opportunity II

Continued from the last episode

I attended few Trade Fairs and Shows in 2019. In each of the Fairs, I met 3 same startup entrepreneurs (exhibitors) who travelled from North to the East; and West to the North to showcase their goods. I was impressed with their distribution/marketing strategy using the Trade Fairs. I picked particular interest in one of them, Azurfa from Kano State.

Azurfa is into organic food processing. Being an Africanista, naturalista and lover of organic foods, I bought, used and fell in love with Azurfa’s processed organic food spices. Though the packaging was poor, I took time to discuss with her about her business model and operations to see how I can help her improve it. We exchanged contacts and I promised connect her to opportunities.

I got two opportunities that fit in with her agro-based products, where she would be opportuned to pitch her business idea to world class investors and get funding to repackage and expand. But checking well through the eligibility discovered the business must have a website and have something written about the management team. I put a call across to Azurfa to enquire about her management team, website availability, CAC registration status etc. Her business doesn’t have a website, so I suggested she takes professional photos of her products and a write up about her business and email me, so I use that set up a website but she has to pay 20k for the hosting fee and domain name. She lamented she doesn’t have that kind of money, told her no problem, send the photos and the write up, let’s see what can be done.

One month after, no call or email from her. I called again few days to the application deadline, she said it is not a website she needs now rather I should help her market her products in my state. Hmmm! I felt bad as if I was the one losing the opportunity.

It is one thing to work hard and another to work smart. If you don’t stay sharp and up-to-date, you will be left behind. The opportunities will go to others who are working smart and you or your business may be qualified to exist only in your locality.

Before you apply for that opportunity, crosscheck when the timeline to submit is. When we don’t have our priorities right, we waste time. Prioritizing requires discipline to do what needs to be done. If the deadline for submission is next week and from your schedules, you won’t meet up; please don’t bother to start. Someone sent me a long application to review today and informed me to review it fast that the submission deadline was 8pm same day. I never bothered to review it because I already have other work schedules for the day.

When you rush to write anyhow just to submit before the application closes, it may end up in the trash. And if you take time to work on each question in the application and end up not submitting before it closes, it will be a painful effort.

Two years ago, I sent out Yale Young African Scholars program to an educationist who runs a school for her students to partake and apply. I also volunteered to guide them through the application process. The four students sent to me, discovered that none of them was qualified. If I hadn’t volunteered to help, they would have applied and expecting they would be selected to travel to the US.

Do your homework well, save your energy and use it on something that works than working on something that you are not eligible for. Stop trying to apply for every opportunity that comes your way or because someone you know applied and got selected or got the funding; rather discover what you do or want to do and apply for those opportunities that align with that, minding other requirements demanded.

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