The Nigerian Entrepreneurs' Handbook: Strategy is the first of seven handbooks we were given as a part of the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Program at FATE Foundation. I call it the first (even though they were all given to us at the same time), because it was the first of the seven that we actually treated in class. I also call it the first because I think that in terms of planning and running a business, strategy comes before anything else.
I began reading the book in early September and didn't finish reading it until early October. So it took about a month to read the whole book but probably less because I wasn't reading it throughout the month or regularly. I read the first 2 chapters in one go (because we had an assignment on it), and then I read the rest of the book in 2 or 3 more.
The first thing that struck me about the book, was that FATE had chosen to collaborate with a leading management consulting firm in Nigeria to write it. KPMG is a well-known and recognized brand in Nigeria, so who better to give the book's content its credibility (in addition to FATE of course). I felt an element of Strategy in that move itself.
The second thing that struck me was how quick of a read the book was. By reading those first 2 chapters, I was already 30% or so done with the book. In total, the book has only 6 chapters and some appendices. So that's why it was such a quick read. But in those 6 chapters, the book covers everything from setting a vision and mission for your business to selecting a target market, products, and services, and further still, to planning for your company structure, culture, and risks. Such that in those 6 chapters, you are given enough content to have a concise overview of what business strategy is all about.
Now as you read this, keep in mind that I also work in a company that helps Entrepreneurs with articulating their business visions and missions, core values and so on. So the subject matter in itself was not entirely new to me. That said, I still consider the book of great value because it breaks down Business Strategy into its composite elements and arranges them into a sort of "How To" guide in a way that you can jump to the chapter you need at the time you need it.
There is no doubt in my mind that I will be returning to this book even after my course is over and possibly far into the future. I am currently reading the Financial Management handbook, and I share the same sentiments about it so far. So it is likely that this will be the case for the whole series.
FATE Foundation’s The Nigerian Entrepreneurs' Handbook series is a compelling guide on How to go about starting and running a business in Nigeria.