The young professional’s guide to networking in Lagos
I recently moved to Lagos from Abuja (go ahead.. It’s okay.. Question my Sanity..) however, Lagos is Nigeria’s business hub- with a Large population of startups and Medium Scale businesses- my niche Market, I had to move..
With Lagos, you have to break into the right crowd! I can’t stress that enough- the right crowd is very important for your business! You did not come to Lagos to count bridges oh! (there is google for that), you came for business! And in the beginning, you get One Chance, to break in big or stay trying (and maybe one day, 7 years of hustling might pay off..) So, after much research and several pre-visits, (and with a lot of goading, fasting and prayers… Hallelu!) I came prepared *winks*
For all of you considering this Lagos move (seriously? Are you very sure about this?) or In Lagos already and seeking ways to break into your market, lucky for you, I documented my Networking tips.. It will guide you in this “crazy business landscape” that is Lagos.
You might want to get your pen and Paper out now and take notes..
1. Know Your Crowd! Research, Research and Research! who are the folks you want to meet? Know and be known on a first name basis? Have their numbers on your phone? What do they do? What businesses do they run? Where do they gather? What do they eat? (Okay, that’s too much info..)
Get info, stay off the gossip blogs please, even then, that will make for good conversation anyways.
2. Use Social Media: say hello, follow, mention, be in their space without seeming desperate, retweet and commend.. Thankfully, Social Media bridges gaps.. Don’t spam. You can ask Genuine questions about what they do. Successful business men like to talk about their businesses.
3. Event apps, download one today, download two for efficiency.. Matter of fact, download it now! Search online for events, what’s happening, where is it happening, who is coming, register for events that suit you.. Please, if you happen to be bus hopping, go early and don’t arrive there sweating like a goat.
4. Look the part: a typical Lagosian will size you up only by how you are dressed before they even say “Hello” and hear what you have to say, these people are aliens! They listen first with their eyes. Dress like where you are headed, not where you are coming from (catch my drift?) No cheap weaves too, Lagosians (male and female!) can smell cheap weaves from a mile away, if you can’t afford real weaves, stick to braids.. (Trust me, as superficial as this sound, this is important, especially in Lagos) dress exactly how you want to be addressed.
5. Do you have your Elevator pitch ready? An Elevator pitch is a 30-45 seconds marketing pitch of your business. Have one ready! When asked what do you do? Know your business and Mind it.. You have 30 seconds to get it right, please, skip the “emm”, “you know”, “you get”, “Err”, each of those has lost you 10 potential networks! Write one now and practice in front of a Mirror, sound like you know what you are doing.. And I beg you, don’t sound like you crammed the speech.
6. Do not drool, tarry, or look lost. After introductions, pitch, exchange cards, promise to call and go your way, like a Bawse! It’s okay to ask for and take a selfie- even Obama is taking selfies.. (There are however small exceptions to this rule- for me oh, I may drool if I eventually get within 2 feet of Ebuka.. no vex)
7. Nice and Professionally done business cards- your cards sell you long after you have left the building, you may want to invest a little money in getting Nicely and Professionally made business cards. One more time for Emphasis- Nice and Professionally made business cards.
8. Be Confident, you own this town! Look the part! Ain’t nobody got time for a slouching, shy business Man or Woman who refuses to make eye contact. Lagosians are very careful who they give business (& money) to- too many swindlers in town.. Be Confident, Talk confident and Leave an Impression (a good one!)
9. Go to Church- yes, really! you heard right, go to church or to the Mosque, Largest, comfortable crowd of EASY potential networks in one place! Talk to right people after service, don’t keep them waiting, say your hellos, do your elevator pitch, drop a card and move on.. People are nicer and pay more attention after worship. *wink*
10. Finally, Be so good, they can’t ignore you! With this rule, you may get a chance to skip several of the above. Offer Excellent services, do your work diligently, make trends… They will come to you..
That’s it folks, 10 moneyback guaranteed Networking tips for Lagos.. And Maybe beyond Lagos.
You are welcome!
Ized is a Digital marketing professional based in Lagos.