How Small Things Matter A Lot In Big City – Appearance

In big city Lagos, everything is super-sized or expected to be – from roads, to bridges, houses, SUV’s, and even sunglasses.

‘Go big or go home’; ‘Living large in Lagos’; ‘hit the big time’; ‘he’s a big boy now’; big girls in Nollywood – small has almost become a curse. And we haven’t even delved into sexual connotations…, and we won’t.

Yet, God (not the Devil, we Africans don’t do Devil in public) is in the fine detail. The small things can matter a great deal, and in many cases, can be the difference between success and failure.

In other words, it may be a good idea to master the little things so as to make it big in Lagos.

As we should expect with small things, they can be too many to mention, and so we will focus on a small set of little things for the purpose of today’s story.

How do you look as an entrepreneur from Monday to Friday?

Small Things For First Contact

Grooming: Never has a little thing mattered so much! Imagine the man who puts a parting in his hair after combing. Picture the small white or coloured hanky (aka the pocket square) in your jacket pocket. A perfectly picked afro, or a truly clean clean shave. These “small” things tell a lot about you even before you utter a word!

A quick glance at your manicured nails (which needs no more than a set of nail cutters for men) as you reach out to shake hands already tells a story.

These things matter in a man, least of all a businessman or entrepreneur. Small (there’s that word again) investments can make all the difference.

There are very few things worse than a poorly coordinated (dresswise) business person. It says all the wrong things and will definitely close the big door against the perpetrator of such an avoidable sin.

Oga, ha na? I know a young man who came to Lagos from ‘after Ore’, who on promotion to middle management at his bank, went to Unilag to hire an English professor to help with his writing skills and his diction (accent and spoken grammar). He was preparing himself for the BIG time.

He realized as we all should, that his ‘packaging’ was vital to his success and he did something about it.

Go Black…

If unsure, wear black. Black shoes, black socks, black trousers, black suit, black belt. Its a small rule, its an easy rule, it’s a safe rule.

Footwear: On no account should a serious entrepreneur wear patent leather (wet look) shoes to work. It’s a complete no-no. Now we need to pay attention here: there’s a difference between patent leather (glossy look) and faux leather – leather lookalike.

Faux leather (fake leather) shoes are allowed, patent leather is not, regardless of price or designer. And the reason is this – good fake leather will fool anyone into thinking you’re urbane (refined). Patent leather during working hours screams crude. A bush man trying too hard.

Finally, try as much as possible to avoid wearing slippers. Even on Fridays. Restrict your slippers wearing to the weekends. You cannot go wrong wearing shoes, but you can offend by wearing slippers. You never know who you’re likely to meet.

So there we go – a few small things that can make a BIG difference. If a trait is practised often enough it becomes a part of you. It becomes second nature.

Develop habitual style. The big things will follow.


Ifeanyi Maduka

Image courtesy GQ

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