The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a report about poverty and inequality from September 2018 to October 2019, stated that about 40% of Nigerians live below Nigeria’s poverty line of ₦137,430 ($381.75) per year based on an exchange rate of NGN360/$1 as at early 2020. It said that represents 82.9 million people. The report also stated that the upper class (the rich) makes up only about 10% of the population (Al Jazeera, 2020).
The more acceptable societal hierarchy comprises the lower class, working class, middle class and the upper class. What separates the working class from the middle class, you may ask. The middle-class population tend to have more educational qualifications, professional jobs, personal properties and a higher income. While the United Nations uses the global measures and outlines a middle class as someone who lives on US$10 – US$100, the African Development Bank (AFDB) which focuses on the African continent, measures the middle class as those who live on US$2 – US$20 a day (Oseghale, 2019).
This article focuses on how one can move from the middle to upper class via Entrepreneurship. Note that only a few people can transition to the upper class as it is a heavily safeguarded zone. While there is no one sure route, most of those who got there via entrepreneurship experienced the following:
Value creation: Businesses are created to provide value for the target population. People say ‘before going to bed, ask yourself what value you have added today’. As an upper-class prospect, you need to go further. Adding value differs from creating new value. You add value at your workplace, your boss is impressed and you obtain promotions. By adding value, you move in the ranks at your workplace which pushes you up from the working to the middle class. However, to move to the upper class, you need to branch out and create new value. Develop an idea, push fund into it and turn it into finished products or services with a target market. Regardless of the amount of value you add at your workplace, there is a limit to what your boss can pay you as the primary objective of your workplace is to maximize the value of the shareholders. Remember that you are an employee, not a shareholder hence, maximizing your value is not the primary objective of your workplace.
Ideas are not that difficult to find when you make it your mission to find one. You need to be in tune with your environment. Engage in conversations with random people. Find out the issues they face and the products/services they wished they had access to. Sieve through these ideas and pinpoint those that seem achievable to you. You may need to try out a couple before finding one that works great.
Many people out there have great ideas in mind but are unable to fund them. On many occasions, it is a race of ‘who can fund this project first?’. Refer to our previous article ‘Funding my Startup’ to learn multiple ways of funding your proposed business.
Skills and market offerings’ improvement: To reach that point of being able to create and market your value, you must have the necessary skills. Undergo the relevant training, attend seminars and continue conversing with the right people to gain insights. To gain and maintain the attention of your target market, you must continuously invest in research and development in a bid to remain technologically relevant and ahead of competitors.
Connecting with others: Your target market is most likely people. You will need to connect with people to push your finished goods/services to their target market. They will not come to you as they are not aware of your existence. One of the easiest ways many small businesses rise is by getting referrals. Satisfied customers tell others about your market offerings then, they patronise you too.
Your connections may also assist you in overcoming many of the roadblocks faced in entrepreneurship. In Nigeria, the environment is not conducive for entrepreneurs, but a few businesses are still thriving here and there. Connect with such business owners and let them ‘show you the way’. They are thriving as they have learnt how to manoeuvre their way through the system. Their skills come from years of experience and they can teach you those skills in a much shorter time. However, you must first be able to convince them to buy into your value.
Asides from Entrepreneurship, there are several other ways of making your way to the upper class. Some of them include:
Earning in a more expensive currency: Finding an income source that pays you in a foreign, more expensive currency such as the USD while you spend in a cheaper currency such as the Nigerian Naira.
In recent times, thanks to the pandemic, remote working has become more popular, especially in the technological industry. Do your research and find remote jobs you can do in other countries whilst living in Nigeria. Obtain the necessary skills and apply for as many jobs as you can find. Ensure that your curriculum vitae is adjusted to suit the standards of the country and role you are applying for to better your chances of getting a remote job.
You may choose to relocate to a foreign country. However, note that if you relocate, you lose the advantage of spending in a cheaper currency than you earn hence, you may still be in the middle class, just in a more developed country.
Forming advantageous alliances: This may be through friendships or business alliances or other forms of alliances. Allying with someone who is in the upper class gives you a very high chance of moving to the upper class yourself as your partner is likely to ‘take you along’. Therefore, ‘connections’ cannot be overemphasized.
To gain the attention of these potential partners, you need to position yourself strategically by making yourself available in areas these people frequent, learning to build rapport and speaking their language. Also, ensure your appearance is top-notch. The upper-class usually prefer to mingle with their fellow upper-class people so you need to look and sound the part to increase your chance of gaining their attention.
After gaining their attention, as mentioned earlier, you must be able to convince them to buy into your value. These people have high net worth does not mean they simply throw their resources around. They are businesspeople and are interested in what you can offer them if they decide to assist you. Convince them.
In conclusion, there are multiple parts to the upper class. You just need to consider all, select the one(s) you would like to try and put in the work. It is an easy class to break into but it is doable.
We hope we have been able to shed some light on the multiple paths to the upper class. Please share with friends and families, drop your comments in the comment box, and engage with us via our social media platforms @ broadstreetfinancialreview on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn; @ broadstreet_fin on Twitter.
Thank you for reading and look out for our next article!
Agada, G. (2021a, April 3). How to move from middle class to upper class (Part 1). Nairametrics. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://nairametrics.com/2021/03/29/how-to-move-from-middle-class-to-upper-class-part-1/
Agada, G. (2021b, April 22). How to move from middle class to upper class (Part 2). Nairametrics. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://nairametrics.com/2021/04/03/how-to-move-from-middle-class-to-upper-class-part-2/
Al Jazeera. (2020, May 4). Forty percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line: Report. Poverty and Development | Al Jazeera. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/5/4/forty-percent-of-nigerians-live-below-the-poverty-line-report#:%7E:text=The%20National%20Bureau%20of%20Statistics%20(NBS)%2C%20in%20a%20report,that%20represents%2082.9%20million%20people. Oseghale, R. (2019, February 15). Nigeria’s middle class crisis!!. . .. Businessday NG. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://businessday.ng/uncategorized/article/nigerias-middle-class-crisis/