Running a consulting business in Nigeria is nothing like what you read in the books or hear from other consultants in developed countries. I think the only right way to successfully run a consulting business in Nigeria is to use the KPMG/PwC approach.

What is the KPMG/PwC approach?

  1. As the owner/manager, don't get involved at all in the project execution.
  2. Play golf, go clubbing/partying, socialize and do lots of grand impression creation to win big clients/projects
  3. Have a very active and assertive legal team to handle both clients and staff
  4. Have more project managers and supervisors than the number of people doing the actual work
  5. Institute a lot of red tapes and processes to ensure clients do not talk directly to the people doing the real work and every request is checked with a supervising manager to be sure it is within scope
  6. No emotions. If CBN or FGN suddenly issue a policy that makes the project useless, not your headache. Client must pay up.
  7. Ultimately, let your love for money/revenue be way more than your love for the field you are consulting in. In choosing between an exciting project and a higher paying zombie project, there shouldn't be any hesitation in picking the zombie project over the exciting one. It is only for the sake of PR or ethics, that you choose a less paying project over a higher paying project
  8. Have very strong internal policies that prohibit employees from deviating from the documented deliverables. No going an extra mile for the clients.
Is anything wrong with this approach? NO.

They why my negative title to this post? Well, for people like me who went into consulting because of the love for the field (data analysis), it is an almost impossible approach. I find it almost impossible to pick socializing over getting involved in the project execution/implementation. I absolutely will pick low paying highly exciting project over a zombie project. And I hate red tapes, having the client pass through numerous gatekeepers to get any message to the guys doing the actual work. So it is either I let go of the business side of consulting and act as a technical staff in my company while letting someone else manage the business side using the effective approach already mentioned, or I get out completely from the consulting business in Nigeria.

Guess which option I picked? Correct! Only a first time reader of my blog would need help with the answer.

I have done many consulting projects for clients in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, and the experiences have been consistently worlds apart. Even when I was inexperienced and had no skills in managing projects, I still found the foreign projects more enjoyable than even a higher paying local project. 

  1. Somehow, the foreign clients stick more to the project scope. They are usually very honest with admitting upfront that an out of scope need/request has come up and ask if I am willing to take it up as a separate project with separate timeline and additional costs. A Nigerian client usually begs you to add this "small change", often chaining the "small changes" in a long link of spaced out requests; makes no mention of new timeline or additional payment.
  2. Many foreign clients allow a hourly billing setup. I am yet to meet a Nigerian client (company or individual) that allows me do a hourly billing setup for their project.
  3. Nigerians have two buckets for consultants: the artisans bucket and the draconian bucket. If you are not making life difficult for them (red tapes, lengthy processes, many auxiliary staff to deal with, approval processes, lots of request declines), they treat you like their carpenter, mechanic, tailor and hairdresser. They pay no respect for your time, call you at odd hours of the day, have non ending urgent but small requests and just plain remind you of how you treat your mechanic.
  4. Project procurement process in Nigeria has a disproportionately high "messed up" ratio. There are too many projects where the internal staff are using it for their own personal gain and not for any corporate benefits. Either a government ministry or agency is using it to unlock some budgeted money, so they come up with easy to approve but unneeded projects; or a non-profit needs to meet an empowerment KPI and sets up a poorly structured project hurriedly. I don't want to mention the absurdities I have seen in the for-profit companies. 
So what am I rambling about?

Consulting is lucrative in Nigeria but requires an approach that creates unneeded frictions and overheads. Some use the honest approach I laid out in the beginning paragraphs. Sadly, I see some other consultants use the artisans approach (since that's what the clients treat them like): they put bugs in their solutions, create problems that keep the client coming back, be untruthful and manipulative, and just plain remind you of your worst mechanic.

To everyone who called me, messaged me, emailed me and visited me to encourage me to write again: thank you!

I have found not writing daily just as difficult as writing daily. I thought about it daily. I missed the therapy it gave me. I missed the emails I get from you all. I missed taking forever to reply. I missed the mind purge. I missed the ideas bounce. I miss many of you.

Not writing daily has its surprising advantages. It removed the tendency of making conclusions in one day just because I had to write about whatever occupied my mind each day. Writing has a way of making me choose a stance, doing a hurried research so I can have an introduction + body + conclusion. Even when I write to get your ideas, it is after sharing my inclination.

Not writing daily, has also made me feel quite important. Or should I say like a billionaire. Important people do not write about their own lives daily and billionaires try to stay incognito. Imagine I get into a political race or company board tussle, all the armo my opponents need to rubbish me is readily provided by me on my website. 

There were days I wished some of my employees were not subscribed to my blog. And I wondered how far back they read. Luckily, I think I talk and act in harmony with the way I write. But still I didn't feel comfortable with my wife, my family members and my work colleagues knowing more than I tell them directly. My wife hates that she finds out on my blog first (whatever I wrote about). 

One thing I can say for sure is that: I didn't find a balance. The right frequency to write at and the right amount of sharing. I think that balance does not exist for me. So I just have to oscillate between not sharing and over sharing.

And you? How have you been? How have you been daily handling the news? 

I have stopped reading the news. The little amount that sips into my day unsought still manages to fill me with big worries. The kidnappings are no longer just somewhere far away happening to someone unknown. Currently, there is a classmate of mine whose sister was kidnapped on 4 June 2021 and we are all still praying for her safe release. The towns where massacres are happening are no longer ones I have never heard of or many states away. I am worried that it is like a storm and if it is not abating, then the difference between the person being pummeled and the person not experiencing the storm is just time, t. The best self development and preservation strategy is, perhaps, emigrating. And as a close friend says, get out first before overthinking where to go; you will have it easier to move from any saner/better country to your paradise country. 

This month I bought a gamers laptop - A high end Razer Blade pro 17 (2020 edition)

The specs are epic:
  • 10th gen Intel Core i7
  • 8 Cores/ 16 Threads that speeds up to 5.1GHz
  • 16GB RAM that I have upgraded to 40GB and will become 64GB RAM in a few days
  • 4K touchscreen at 120Hz
  • 1TB SSD that I have upgraded to 2TB (using the speediest SSD type that has a RAM shape)
  • 8GB Dedicated Graphics card
  • L3 cache of 16MB, L2 cache of 2MB and L1 cache of 512KB

My high-end Dell XPS 15 is now struggling to handle my data analysis work. It gets hot so quick that the fans go crazy and the CPU starts underperforming (thermal throttling), I just had to get a 4 fan, vapour chamber cooling gamers' laptop that is optimised for performance rather than for sleek looks and battery live.

What do you think about my comeback?