What journalists should know about entrepreneurship
Journalists have been advised to be more entrepreneurial in the practice of the profession.
This advice was offered at the monthly fellowship of the Christian media group, Journalists For Christ (JFC) held in Lagos on August 20.
In his welcome address, President of the organisation, Lekan Otufodunrin, emphasised the importance of maximizing opportunities, including available training where journalists can learn and prepare for opportunities before they arrive.
Otufodunrin, Editor Online at the Nation Newspapers, who quoted Mathew 25:14-30; a parable of Jesus Christ on talents said, “We must know and pay attention to our environment.”
“Sometimes we have different opportunities and we don’t even know. Some of us have a lot of talents and we can do a lot of things but we can’t even see these things we have in us. God has given us different talents, we have to discover them so that at the end He won’t blame us.”
Emphasising on the importance of maximizing opportunities, Otufodunrin, added that, “We need to find out what we can do even with the little God has given us. It is important that we are sensitive to where God is leading us. We must be careful and sensitive about the things He has given to us and be able to explore things around us.”
“We have decided to make this month’s fellowship to centre on the theme; ‘Media entrepreneurship and the know-how,’ we need to do this to empower especially at this time when media houses are going through tough times. Sometime the problem is not that there are no opportunities, but the problem is that sometimes we don’t have the capacity; we pray for opportunities but often don’t prepare for such opportunities,” he noted.
The Guest Speaker at the fellowship, Simbo Olorunfemi, journalist and brand management specialist in his lecture defined an entrepreneur as someone looking for solutions to problems within his immediate environment or the ones he encounters and decides to be innovative in his response to that problem in such a way to benefit and make profit.”
Reading from the book of Numbers 18:32-33, Olorunfemi, who titled his paper, ‘Overcoming grasshoppers’ complex,’ observed that journalists often have inferiority complex.
“We journalists often see ourselves as grasshoppers, we see giants out there. The society makes us see ourselves as grasshoppers and we seem to be going that way. The paramount thing is to break that feeling and refuse to be one.”
While noting that entrepreneurship is a spirit, he said it is not a title or an office ” you want to enter into” adding that it is a thing of the mind and mindset.
Querying why people often complain of absence of opportunities, he noted that opportunities abound even in today’s economy.
“There are myriads of opportunities, so why would someone say there are no opportunities in a myriads of problems around us? He asked.
Olorunfemi, a media entrepreneur and poet asked if those who complain of absence of opportunities are curious and concerned enough to look for solutions to the problems confronting the society.
Stating that time remains an important resource in making money, he narrated his experience, asking journalists to maximize their flexible schedules. “While I was at the bank, I was restless enough and within two years I got a job outside the bank and I had a full time 8am-4pm Masters class at the University of Lagos. If people abroad are having two or three jobs daily, why can’t we?
According to him, the most important thing is the right mindset. “If you don’t change your mindset, no matter what is put in your hand, you may not maximize it. Journalists get to assignments and they don’t mix, that is a grasshopper mentality. Do your job diligently, don’t let anyone intimidate you. Everywhere you find yourself try to understand the place and interrogate the business model, find out if the business has a future for you.”
On the need to identify the right business model, Olurunfemi, publisher of Africa Enterprise magazine said, “Sometime it is easier to identify a gap in the market, but you must find out if there is a market in that gap.”
” You must find out what the customers want. It is the understanding of this that should determine if you should go into that market or not because you have to carve a niche for yourself. You must also design a business model that will keep you afloat. You must be passionate about what you do and understand the difference between an idea and an opportunity.”
Olorunfemi who left broadcasting for banking in 1992 also said, “The capital you need is yourself. You are the tool you need in becoming an entrepreneur. Opportunities for training are many, there are a lot of free trainings, don’t downplay such opportunities.”
According to him, entrepreneurship is not something you learnt specially. “I don’t believe entrepreneurship is really something you learn, you need to have the spirit in you to become one. It is an innate spirit in our mothers. Some of them did a lot of things to send us to school. Some of them didn’t do a business plan but they know how to position themselves.”
He however encouraged journalists to always position themselves rightly for opportunities by self-identification. “Once you can rightly identify and position yourself, the opportunity will come. In branding there is what is called brand differentiation; you must have a personality of your own. The problems that confront us daily are deliberately put there to challenge us, it is the duty of entrepreneurs to respond to such challenges.”