Finally We Kickoff In Port Harcourt This Week

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After two years of trying we are finally starting our open classes in Port Harcourt. We should have started in August but Port Harcourt folks are notorious for last minute cancellations.

Today, I'll be heading to Port Harcourt to make sure all is set for the Friday to Saturday class. Only one person has made payment, we are expecting three to four more people. And as usual, many have given us last minute excuses. Factoring the entire cost, we'll be lucky to turn a profit on the training. The real gain will be in that we've started and have a structured class in place for our South-South and South-East prospective clients.

I remember when we started the Lagos monthly class in January 2015. I had been struggling to start it since October 2014. I was doing all the prospecting, calling, following up and logistics while working a two (often three) days a week consulting at client office in Lekki. With special thanks to Hannah who joined in 2014 end as our Business Development Manager I finally got the hugely needed help to start the monthly class. And from January 2015 to now, with special thanks to God, we have not skipped any month in Lagos. Even when it was just one person who showed up and only confirmed a day to the training. I think in total, we have had three or four such months that just one person showed up. We took the loss rather than cancel. It helped us establish in our minds and our customers' minds that cancelling or rescheduling is not an option (except if no one shows up, which hasn't happened yet).

Then in January 2016 I went to Abuja to find training facility providers and hotels to partner with, and March 2016 we started Abuja open class. We made it a quarterly one. Even when the airport was closed for renovation this year, March to April, we still had our class and made a loss. Just three people showed up, some cancelled because they couldn't fly in directly to Abuja. Even the hotel manager pitied us and had to console me with the gist of how business has worryingly gone down for them too that period. Then gave me extra discounts. 

I am very happy that the Port Harcourt open class is finally kicking off and I strongly believe that things will mostly get better from now onward. I had been trying to start in Port Harcourt, in 2015, even before the start in Abuja. We tried partnering with another organisation based in Port Harcourt but the terms didn't make sense to me. Then, the last minute cancellations we get from clients there further discouraged me. Their favourite is an urgent task turned up at work or offshore that will make them unavailable for the class.

I am already slowly setting in motion our expansion to neighbouring countries. It's one of the three main reasons I went to Republique du Benin this week (Tuesday to Wednesday). Nothing concrete might manifest for the next two years but I am not unfamiliar with that reality. My grand plan is to offer very few high very high quality services and cover the whole of West Africa like no other competitor does. I will follow the strategy of the Nigerian banks. There is some competitive advantage to it and I hear than once one breaks into the francophone ECOWAS country markets, competition is very low and ease of doing/getting business is way higher/better than the business war-zone Nigeria.


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