I started map making business on my dining table, now I make millions —Ron Oseji, MD, Open Stages Incentives Ltd, Lagos
INABILITY of Ron Oseji, the Managing Director of Open Stages Incentives Limited, Surulere, Lagos to be gainfully employed after his graduation made him leverage on his passion for entrepreneurship and turn the skills he acquired in school into business.
Ron Oseji said: “At a point, when I could not be gainfully employed after my graduation, I told myself that since there were no jobs, I had better create one for myself and hopefully empower many others in the process.”
The graduate of Surveying and Geoinformatics from the University of Lagos, who said that he started the business with the knowledge he had acquired in school, a laptop, N25,000 and on his dining table, revealed that he has made N15 million within two and a half years that he started the business.
Ron, who noted that he has five marketers responsible for bringing in sales added: “The business also gave me a platform to compete and emerge as one of the winners of the YouWin Business Plan competition of the Federal Government.”
“I’m not only making money employing expertise and reliable technology to provide world-class, cost-effective solutions in the areas of custom mapping, route network analysis and location analysis, but I also make cool money teaching others the art of the business.”
Draw maps and draw millions into your account
THE importance of maps in getting geographic information compels its acceptability in government and private organisations, companies, schools and homes, globally. Maps help to understand roads and subways at new places, calculate distance between two places, know whether there are two or more paths to the same place and which is the shortest. It also gives information about mountains, rivers, valleys or any other thing, which may come on the way and how these can be prepared for.
It, as well, provides information like height of the place or ups and downs on the road, boundaries of the land to define ownership, places like houses, farmhouses, miles can be shown on the map. Hence, drawing and produing different types of maps for various purposes become a lucrative business.
Who can do the business?
Anyone who has a knack for creativity and innovation can successfully venture into the business. It is a good business for people with these qualities as it offers the opportunity to model location-based data into graphic format. Imagine the different types of maps that can be created: map of each of the states in the country, map of local government areas, road network maps, water maps and so much more.
You can start the business with just a good laptop. Hence, N100,000 will help you kick-start the business, as you can get a good laptop with good configuration for about N80,000 and spend about N20,000 on getting the needed stationery for the business. Note that, the laptop must be of high configuration, above 1GB RAM, 320GB hard disk video card, and 1.2Hz processor.
You can learn the business from any polytechnic or university. The name of the course differs from one institution to the other; while some have it as Surveying, others have it as either Surveying and Geoinformatics or Geomatics.
The duration of the course is five years in universities and four years in polytechnics (both National Diploma and Higher National Diploma). However, you can get the training from professionals in the business. The training fee and duration are determined by your tutor. Learning it from professionals could cost you as low as N25,000 and as much as N200,000 for between five days and two weeks.
Planning and research
Exploring the application of maps and geographic information: This is the first thing you need to do and you can get the information online and in books. Maps are widely used for various purposes in various parts of the world, while half of its applications, both in hardcopy and softcopy format, are yet to be explored in Nigeria.
Talk to professionals: You also need to consult professionals in the business to have a better insight into the most-patronised maps and how you can explore other aspects.
Explore corporate organisations and companies: There are so many corporate organisations that are in need of maps for their businesses. Some are aware of this fact and are looking for experts who can produce the maps for them, while so many others are unaware and therefore you may need to enlighten them. Make enquiries on the two sets and explore the opportunity.
Explore learning centres: Because of the training potentialities of maps, schools are in need of different types of maps. Seek schools that are in need of these maps and explore the chances. You can as well visit departments where the business is learnt in tertiary institutions to see the applications of maps.
Map out your business plan: You will do market analysis in your business plan. Here you will see which variation of the business is more acceptable. You will also determine whether to offer the services on a small scale to individuals or on a large scale to corporate organisations or government agencies.
Cost and potential earning
Once you have developed map making skills, you can make these maps and print them as hardcopy maps which can be sold either in retail or wholesale. Schools, businesses and individuals buy them for use.
On the average, production cost of one map is N650 and could be sold between N1,000 and N1,500 each, depending on quantity being purchased. You earn more, if you are asked to produce a map in a larger size.
You can make an average of N80,000 monthly selling maps in retail to schools in just a state in the federation, while you can make several millions of naira producing and selling maps to telecoms companies and banks, among other corporate national and multinational companies.
Today, you also find out that many websites use maps to show the location of their services, thus, you can sell the maps you have developed in softcopy to such website owners. Various government agencies, telecommunications companies, engineering and oil and gas firms also request the services of map makers for various purposes.
You can also earn by providing training to other individuals who wish to learn the skill. With hard work and dedicated marketing, maps are very lucrative.
Internet marketing helps a great deal in this business. You will need to make an online catalogue that you can send to your potential clients. You can as well explore social media to market your products.
Personal selling has also proved to be very effective. The large scale jobs usually come through word of mouth and referral. You can as well send out proposals introducing these mapping services to government and corporate organisations. You can also leverage on exhibitions as well to generate awareness for the maps. Another medium to explore is print advertisement, in the form of fliers and newspaper advertisement.