In the game of money and business, women face an uphill battle. Nigerian women are almost twice as likely as men to be excluded from formal financial services while 98 percent of Nigerian women are left out of formal credit markets.
This lack of access to modern tools and financial systems has a direct impact on their financial status and their ability to build wealth.
Here are 5 key fundamentals necessary to build wealth as a woman.
Understand the principles of money and value
Breaking a cycle of financial hardship is hard work. There are mental, social and financial barriers to overcome. If you grew up in a low-income family or community, it is very likely that you grew up with some wrong ideologies about how money works. This is perhaps the biggest barrier to building wealth. This is why you should embrace learning and unlearning. Sign up for financial literacy programs, read books about how local and international entrepreneurs have built wealth in the past and in the present day.
Join wealth building communities: or build your network. There are three major ways people come into wealth – by inheritance, marriage or business. For those who want to build wealth through business, networking is essential. For career professionals, networking with peers and colleagues in your industry gives you a pipeline of information about new trends, opportunities, and even mentorship. For entrepreneurs, networking and partnerships are the most efficient way of building business relationships that lead to more clients, customers and financial support. Men do it all the time, because they understand the power of community. Women need to embrace this strategy too.
Become known for one thing: This requires consistency. Everyone has that friend who is always starting a new business because the last one didn’t really work out. Wealth building takes time and requires focus and consistency. You have to know what you want and understand your industry enough to see its potential which helps you stay the course. Think about the most successful people you know, you can usually connect them with one major thing: Serena Williams – Tennis; Mo Abudu – Media and Broadcasting; Funke Bucknor-Obruthe – Event Planning.
Patience and long term planning: Building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. People who try to make it all at once usually end up losing everything and end up back at square one. Patience also makes you practice proper risk management which is important for every venture. Because in business, there is no such thing as a sure thing; there’s always a risk.
Long term planning: Wealthy people are visionaries. They can plan 5 – 10 years ahead and can position themselves strategically to take advantage of the opportunities that will come. That’s because it’s not enough to make money or get contracts. You have to think of your business or career as something that needs to evolve over time. Think about it – 10 years ago, the world was very different from what it is now. Technology was different, business was different, even business policies were different. For example, if you were selling airtime out of a kiosk in 2012, you’d probably be out of business now. Always think ahead.
Women are among the most vulnerable groups in Nigeria. With so many odds stacked against them, women must arm themselves with the right knowledge in their journey out of cycles of financial instability.
These fundamentals are good places to start.