The movie Anikulapo, directed by Kunle Afolayan, is a masterpiece that brilliantly captures the themes of causes and effects, consequences and other deep-rooted concepts that affect individuals when they find themselves in various situations of life.
Anikulapo narrates the story of Saro, played by Kunle Remi, who arrived in Oyo as a traditional textile weaver (Aso-ofi). He later found himself in an illicit romance with the king’s youngest wife, Queen Arolake, played by Bimbo Ademoye who was in an unhappy marriage; she was only sent to be the King’s wife at a very young age. As Saro and Arolake were about to elope, the king got to know about their affair and he sentenced Saro to death. But the mythical Akala bird brought him back to life, an event that provided Arolake with the chance to snatch its power to resurrect the dead. She then passed this power to Saro who became power-drunk because he could raise the dead. This attitude led to his downfall as the plot ended.
Here are five (5) entrepreneurial lessons we can draw from the film Anikulapo:
1.Stay connected to your core values even after attaining success
Saro, after Queen Arolake handed him the power of resurrection, became reckless even going as far as asking that the Princess of Ojumo should be made his wife in order for him to bring her dead brother back to life. This was a clear case of Saro biting off more than he could chew. He thought that he was invincible and could have whatever he wanted including the Princess.
Some people could be approachable when they are still operating on a small scale but quickly change when they are at the top. This set of entrepreneurs believe that they have experienced all there is and that they alone can guide others and not the reverse. They are difficult to interact with.
The lesson here is that as a business owner, you should never forget your values, what you stand for and your customers because without them, your business would not make profit. The way you handle affairs at the top significantly contributes to how you are perceived. A brand that is ruling the market today could drop down if it does not stay original to its purpose and values.
Saro gained popularity in the village of Ojumo and was quickly named Anikulapo, the one who brings the dead back to life. He was given a comfortable life by the king and the villagers but he overstepped his boundaries, lost his powers, possessions and most importantly, his long time partner, Arolake.
2. You are responsible for the decisions you make.
Saro was beaten mercilessly and left to die in the forest after the king learnt of the affair he was having with his youngest wife Arolake. Saro knew fully well that he was dealing with a woman who was married to the most powerful man in the kingdom but he still allowed himself to be lured into a messy situation. Queen Arolake and Saro both shared the same feelings and attraction for each other but the latter could have easily removed himself from such a dangerous relationship and avoided the grave consequences.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs? It can be interpreted to mean that doing business requires one to make many decisions. Even if you are advised on the right steps to take, the ball is in your court whether you want to heed that advice or not. Anything and everything you apply or introduce to your company would either leave you to deal with negative or positive outcomes. If you invested in mass producing a product that is not accepted by your target market, even though you put in so much time and effort, you should learn from it and not blame your customers for misleading you to believe that they were in dire need of that product. In this case, all you have to do is improve how you gather information and assess the market and customer needs so that you do not repeat the same mistakes in future.
3. There is power in networking.
As the saying goes, your network is your net worth. Networking and its benefits cannot be overemphasized in entrepreneurship. In order to scale and meet potential partners, investors, and mentors, one must be willing to allocate time and efforts towards attending events such as conferences, seminars, social gatherings, etc.
In the movie, Anikulapo, Saro was able to secure a contract to make clothes for the royal family after he was referred by Awarun. If he had not met the affluent woman, he would not have gotten such a huge deal.
As a business owner, be open to meeting new people because you never know who might help catapult your business to a level that you never imagined.
4. Consumers could easily still make a brand their favourite even in a saturated market.
The king, Alaafin Ademuyiwa, had several wives but his favourite was his youngest, Queen Arolake. The king did not care about her childlessness rather he cherished her and he showered her with all kinds of gifts.
Buyers can be likened to the king while brands and businesses are to Queen Arolake. Individuals always know what they like, what they want and what they can afford. Take the beauty industry for example. There are so many brands that are competing for the attention of beauty product lovers globally but that does not mean that consumers do not have one particular one that they prefer to all other ones. With this in mind, entrepreneurs should only work towards capturing the hearts of their target customers and work even harder to retain them. This is why choosing a business niche is extremely important since you cannot satisfy everyone, you can only focus on those that you can provide for and make sure you never disappoint them.
5. Observe, Listen and Learn
When Saro newly arrived Oyo as a stranger and textile weaver, he was advised by a local, Akanji, to be wary of certain people in the community. He was specifically told that Awarun attracts men, uses and then dumps them. Of course, Saro did not believe this because he thought that he was closer to her and knew her better than anyone else. But as the story progresses, we get to see how Saro was disappointed to know that he was not the only lover of Awarun. She was also romantically involved with Akano, played by the movie director, Kunle Afolayan.
This illustrates the power of information especially when you are new to an environment. Listen, watch and observe what you notice around you to understand how your niche or industry works. There are people who have delved into furniture making and are doing well in that area whereas some did not excel in that same type of business. Your job as an entrepreneur, looking to start a business in that line or seeking ways to improve your already established furniture business, should be to learn from these two sets of individuals. There is a reason behind every business success or failure that is why your job is to figure out what those reasons are and equip yourself.
To learn from the stories of entrepreneurs in your sector or the industry which you are planning to start your business in, watch the Smartpreneur TV show every week on these stations:
▪︎STV Lagos on Fridays (9:30am to 10:00am)
▪︎ITV Benin on Fridays (4:30pm -5:00pm)
▪︎RSTV Port Harcourt on Saturdays (11:00 am – 11:30am)