Enterprise

Business District in Lagos, Nigeria. Image Credit: (BuzzNigeria

Nigerians shouted and the electorate voted with their feet and ushered in a change in government. This change came in the guise of President Muhammadu Buhari, a former Military Head of State of the country. Amongst much fanfare, President Buhari promised change; which will directly alleviate the suffering of the common Nigerian, as well as improve their lives. The wind of change presently sweeping the nation comes with the hope that business opportunities can improve under this new government. While we await the manifestation of President Buhari’s plans for his country, here are 6 business areas that must be explored:

Oil & Gas: Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. This is the numero uno of investment opportunities, however, investing in this sector is no mean feat. As with economies all over the world, oil and gas is a market dominated by a small number of oligopolists. This means entry into it is minimal to near impossible, but if you have the capital investment to get in, your returns will be astronomical.

Renewable Energy: Even though Nigeria’s economy is now classed as the largest in Africa, unfortunately, electricity supply in the country is at best epileptic. Past governments have tried but failed to solve the problem with power generation fluctuating between 1500mw and 5500mw. If the new dispensation is to be believed, then investors and entrepreneurs must actively look at finding lasting solutions to the power generation problem in the country. Renewable energy is the wisest solution.

Renewable energy is generally known as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. This type of energy replaces conventional fuels in 4 areas and one of which is electricity generation. The abundant supply of sunlight, wind and rain in this west african country, can only mean that with the right innovation and investment, power generation can be very lucrative. Wind turbines and solar panels must surely be considered and business ideas associated with both must not be discounted. This market is open in Nigeria but requires a significant amount of investment to be considered credible.

A few challenges await entrepreneurs or investors looking to go into this kind of business. Obstacles include (1) the cynical nature of Nigerians; this is due to the fact that many Renewable Energy companies have promised but failed to deliver in the past, (2) lack of support by past governments to assist companies who invested in renewable energy. However, there is every reason to be hopeful with the new government. (3) the technology has  not been completely tested for the Nigerian environment. If all this is taken into account, there is no reason investors in renewable energy won’t make a killing and smile to their banks.

Security and public safety: This is a major problem in Nigeria. The bane of armed robbery and street violence in the recent past has now been compounded by the emergence of terrorism and kidnapping. Most foreign countries now advise their citizens “against all but essential travel to” more than 10 states in the country. But in the midst of all that chaos is a business opportunity. The current government is aware of the country’s security lapses and as such business ideas that can improve the general safety of Nigerians must be considered. To make a profit, ideas that are simple, straightforward and non complicated should be pushed forward. It is important to understand that entry into the security and safety industry in Nigeria ranges from low to high investment, and as such returns will mirror the level of investment. I believe very strongly that Nigerians can invest in their own safety by coming up with security and safety innovations and make some money out of it.

Anti graft/ Anti corruption: If you want to make some money by doing business in Nigeria, this is it. The major campaign slogan for President Buhari was “Change” and the promise to significantly reduce corruption in his country by tackling it head on. Some countries have termed Nigeria as ‘the most corrupt nation in the world’ Rightly or wrongly, things need to be done to promote transparency in the country. President Buhari promised a reduction in corruption and was overwhelmingly voted into power based on this promise. With that in mind, there is an astronomical level of expectation placed directly on him (and rightly so). Any entrepreneur or investor worth his salt should seriously consider anti corruption ideas and innovations. With the present level of expectation, this is a ball Mr President cannot afford to drop. Entrepreneurs working in partnership with the government (Federal or State) will no doubt be successful in any business venture related to anti corruption.

Training: From banking to agriculture; from customer service to road safety, training (at all levels) is beneficial to any growing society. Nigeria should not be different. Short, sharp bespoke training combined with appropriate training facilities are lacking in the country. Nigerian entrepreneurs together with foreign investors can look at this area and devise solutions that are profitable but at the same time helpful to Nigerians. Captains of industry, Heads of Departments and even Chief Executives can benefit directly from training packages bespoke to their industries to align with the ever changing face of global business. Training providers can make a significant impact in Nigeria thus making training a major investment opportunity.

Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is ESSENTIAL for the sound and sustained economic development of a country therefore entrepreneurship development is essential too since entrepreneurs contribute to the national income. Entrepreneurs create upward social mobility, change, development and NEW BUSINESSES. It is my opinion (and many others) therefore that these ‘national treasures’ must be protected, promoted, supported and encouraged. As stated earlier, Nigeria is considered the largest economy in Africa, until recently, this was not the case, but the Nigerian GDP now includes previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines and film production. Industries that were single handedly created, nurtured and sustained by entrepreneurs without government support.

Entrepreneurship must be encouraged in Nigeria and in return entrepreneurs must develop themselves. It in encouraging that entrepreneurship come naturally to the common Nigerian who need little or no motivation to start a business. But these guys (and girls) need honest but hefty financial backing in order to sustain and grow their entrepreneurial flair. I have come across business ideas that could quite simply change the way Nigerians live, but the lack of support and finances have stymied the realisation of these ideas. Quite unfortunate really.

If President Buhari keeps his promises to the Nigerian people, this can only mean business opportunities will abound and lead to an improvement in business and investment during his tenure. We are praying and hoping.

Kole Obasa

 

Image credit: Entrepreneur.com | Pixabay

Image credit: Entrepreneur.com | Pixabay

I love giving back and helping others. I recently created a Facebook group that now has more than 4,000 entrepreneurs. We discuss startups and share information. It gives me good insight into some of the different obstacles entrepreneurs face all over the world.

I’ve been able to drill down this list to five specific areas I see entrepreneurs fumbling. This is my advice:

1. Stop talking, start doing.
The wantrepreneur disease runs rampant in different circles. I hear and see it frequently. There’s a reason why the “Just Do It” slogan became so popular. If you want to be an entrepreneur, be one. There are thousands of people who are less talented, less intelligent and less driven living the lives that they’ve envisioned because they figured out how to start. That’s obviously step one.

2. Stop building, start testing.
This is my favorite approach to business. I love testing ideas and figuring out if my assumptions are correct. Even better is when they’re incorrect because I get to learn why. There’s a reason why the lean startup methodology has been so popular and why agile development continues to be the best approach.

It makes no sense wasting time, energy, effort and resources before you’ve determined if there’s even a demand for whatever it is you are building or offering. Testing your ideas saves you time and helps you build or offer something people actually want.

3. Stop looking for funding, start providing value.
I was guilty of this early on in my startup career. I thought that investor funding was the solution to everything, and if I just was able to find the right investor I would be able to build my dream company. That’s hardly the case. In fact, funding is a result of business value (especially now, with traditional seed rounds non-existent), not a means to it.

4. Stop selling, start sharing.
Nobody wants to be sold these days. People want to be engaged with your story, vision and/or value of your product or service. Case studies and testimonials are a great way to share the benefits of your product or service. Learn the art of storytelling and share your excitement about your business, the opportunity and the benefits your company provides, and share that.

5. Stop being busy, start being productive.
There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. I used to catch myself being and feeling “busy” all of the time. Busy is a mental state. Productive is actually accomplishing tasks and objectives that help move your business forward.

We all have a million things that need to be done at any point in time. Figure out how to prioritize, set aside specific time for specific tasks and the times of day when you’re most effective. Use this information to be productive, and lose the mindset of “busy.”

Andrew Medal

 

Pursue your dreams, don't let anybody dissuade you.

Checkmate – Image credit: David|Flickr

Whenever you try to make positive changes in your life, you’ll experience resistance.

Sometimes, the resistance is internal, meaning you vs. yourself.

Waking up earlier to go to the gym sucks. Much easier to press “snooze.” Politely declining that slice of pizza when your coworkers just happen to be throwing another impromptu party….agony.

Same thing with starting a business. Sometimes you put so many obstacles in your own way that you forget why you wanted to start the damn thing to begin with.

That’s all internal resistance to change. Usually, that type of resistance is actually a good sign. It means you’re stretching yourself. But along with internal resistance, you’ll also face a lot of external resistance from people around you.

From parents who tell you to “be realistic”… “I know you like dance…but are you sure you don’t want to major in computer science? Starting salary is $80,000!”

To coworkers who tell you that you should just be happy for even having a job…”OMG in THIS economy??!!”

To friends who mock you, discourage you, or don’t even take the time to listen to you.

This is all external resistance. If you let these people affect your decisions, the results can be disastrous. Here’s the truth: People who criticize you, overlook you or belittle you for doing what you love don’t actually understand your “why.”

Related: To Motivate Yourself to Success, Find Your ‘Why’

They don’t understand why your passions, dreams and desires are so important to you. And that’s OK. It’s perfectly OK to live a life that others don’t understand.

It’s perfectly OK to choose a career that isn’t “normal”.

It’s perfectly OK to stay up all night, working on something that you care about, even if it isn’t even making you money right now.

It’s perfectly OK to be the freak, the misfit, the outcast.

The only thing that isn’t OK is giving up your unique personality or hiding your gifts because someone else shamed you into shrinking from your potential.

So today, go out and live life on your own terms. In due time, all the people who mocked you will go from disparaging you to asking, “Hey…how’d ya do that?”

And all you’ll be able to do is grin.

Daniel Dipiazza

Everybody’s understanding of Entrepreneurship is understandably very different.

Entrepreneurship means a lot of things to a lot of people and it involves constant learning and adaptation. The best learners are entrepreneurs, and so are the best teachers. Since working for yourself involves a lot of critical but constant decision making, it only makes sense if you are open to constant learning.

Read Full Article

Contactelle – A must-have for growing businesses.

Any individual or business seriously thinking about acquiring a Contact Management System or software for their clients/customers or staff must seriously consider Contactelle.

Contactelle simply allows you to securely store, manage and communicate with your contacts via email, SMS and social media (twitter) whether friends, customers, members, clients or even your email.

It does more!!! Simply visit their website and be amazed at this piece of genius.

 

Picture courtesy of Entrepreneur.com

Picture courtesy of Entrepreneur.com

Starting and growing a business feels overwhelming at times. You have a million things on your to-do list, and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished.

There may also be some reading this who aren’t entrepreneurs, yet. You want to be and are working on making the transition. When you are building your business on the side, there is even less time and a longer to-do list.

Despite working hard and staying busy, you are not making the kind of progress you want to make. No matter what you try, it seems like you are hitting roadblocks. You are not getting closer to leaving your day job or taking your business to the next level.

You are busy with home life and everything you need to accomplish. There is something, however, that you do not want to think about or admit. The busy-ness of life helps keep these thoughts buried in the back of your mind.

If you were to slow down and get honest, you would realize the reason you are not making the kind of progress is because you are waiting for permission.

You are waiting for all the stars to align or a pat on the back from someone successful. The waiting has kept you stuck and frustrated. It is taking your most precious resource: your time.

Here are some reasons why you do not need to wait for permission or the right circumstances, and why you have what it takes to build your business and dream lifestyle.

1. You have what you need for success.
Look around you. Amazing technology and the power of the Internet are a part of entrepreneur’s everyday life. These advances have removed the old-school gatekeepers and given us the permission we need to build a business on our own.

We have everything we need to research and create a plan for success. You do not have to wait for the right credentials or validation from an outside source. Life experience, technology, social media and the Internet offer what you need to create a thriving business.

Related: The One Tool You Need for Success? A Mirror.

2. Opportunities abound.
Every day there are 2.5 billion people logging onto the Internet. If you want to start or grow your business, the Internet offers you a wealth of possible leads.

You do not need permission to tell these leads about what you do and how you can help them. You can reach them where they are at and in the way they will respond. You can show them how you can help them with their biggest struggles.

3. Masterminds offer support.
Mastermind groups have gained popularity in recent years and for good reason. They offer you a chance to brainstorm and network with those on a similar journey as yours. You can vent or ask your mastermind group for advice.

These groups have created an invaluable support system for entrepreneurs to share what works and what doesn’t. They have created an environment of success that you can absorb and incorporate into your business. Entrepreneurs can network and grow together without waiting for permission.

Related: Need Some Communal Inspiration? Consider Masterminds or Mentorships.

4. Life is too short.
I realize that phrase has become cliché in our society, but it’s true. Each of us only gets one life to live and time is the one resource we’ll never get back. You could spend your whole life taking the safe route and dying empty.

When you wait for permission, you waste precious time. You miss out on a life and business you love. Life is too short to wait for the right time and circumstances. You should not wait.

Waiting for permission is another form of a self-limiting belief. It is an excuse that keeps you from the amazing life and business you could have. Any successful entrepreneur could tell you that success starts with the right mindset.

You have what you need to beat your doubt, fear, and self-limiting beliefs. You have to ignore the naysayers who tell you to go through some elaborate process. Use what’s available to us today to create real freedom in your life and business.

Some of the greatest business were born when an entrepreneur ignored what is considered “normal” and chased what they believed. Stop waiting for permission and do all the things you want to do in your business and life.

Kimanzi Constable

This is why I choose Apple. To stand out and be successful, every business must have 1 of 2 things: they must be cost leaders or they must be different. The truly successful businesses have both qualities.

The leadership and direction of Apple under Steve Jobs was truly revolutionary and should be the template for many businesses today.

Enjoy the video.

Steve Jobs on Innovation. Click to play the video.

 

 

Business instincts should flag up stop/start signs during startup.

Business instincts should flag up stop/start signs during startup.

Instinct is every entrepreneur’s greatest asset.

Starting up a business as daunting as it is could be ridiculously easier if entrepreneurs learn to trust their instincts.

The rigours of bringing a product or idea to market is enough to dissuade the weak-minded – company formation, idea protection (patenting, trademarking etc) marketing, promotion, finding investors or loans are just some of the processes entrepreneurs have to go through.

There are several books, articles, blogs that will tell you the perfect way to bringing your product to market and while some of them might be right, the average entrepreneur always look to consult with some sort of consultant or the other during startup.

The trouble is that the biggest and the best business consultant reside in us all; that is our instincts. Never discount your instinct in business. Your instincts tell you if your idea is simply an idea, if it will be accepted by consumers, if its viable and if to put an end to it all if it’s haemorrhaging.

Startup success vary from person to person; the most successful startups have a few things in common but the biggest trait of successful entrepreneurs with successful startups is self-belief, which is a form of instincts.

There is nothing wrong with consulting with specialists during the process of starting up, but first and foremost, you must listen to your instincts. That is your greatest asset.

Kole Obasa

Image courtesy of businessgross.com

Image courtesy of businessgross.com

Its not Tourette’s, its just me venting.

It’s impossible not to notice the daylight fraud being perpetuated on entrepreneurs and start-ups these days. On one hand they tell you to run wild with your idea, entrepreneurs rule the world, there’s nothing like working for yourself bla bla bla.

You then decide to allow yourself be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and at that moment in your life, I can tell you that your struggle has only just began. By that, I don’t mean the general cliché you hear from successful entrepreneurs spitting advice from their 50ft yatch moored somewhere in the Bahamas about how tough it is to truly bring a product to market or how to strike the right work-life balance bla bla bla. I’m talking about the real struggle of actually having no damn person believing enough in your idea to want to invest in it.

I’m talking about the struggle of having a brilliant idea, and all you have asides that, is your proverbial manhood in your hand. I’m talking about NO INVESTOR, NO FUNDS, NO FINANCE, NO GRANTS, NO BACKING, NO BACKING, NO DAMN BACKING.

Too many people patronise entrepreneurs these days; nobody is out to help us. We just need to help ourselves. I’ve had a look at every single Startup assistance, Loan Company and broker. None, but none of them really care about your needs; it’s just about the bottom line y’all. Is that not enough to make you want to say F** F*** S***???

Explain to me how all Startup loan companies want you to give your blood in order to get money from them? How investors want you to give your soul to get investment? And how brokers want to have 99.9999 % shares in the company you have not even incorporated because they have done you a favor by connecting you to an ANGEL INVESTOR? Did you say ANGEL??? DEVIL DEVIL DEVIL. F****** H***

You are a startup for a reason, you don’t have any f****** money, but a brilliant idea that could rock the world. Such a shame that most will let your ideas die than to invest in you and your idea. You know why? Because no one f****** cares.

So, are you a budding entrepreneur? Do you have a wicked startup idea? Or are looking to one day work for no one but yourself? You need to get lucky because no one really cares. But guess what, you can do it!!!

Entrepreneurs need to work real damn hard, put themselves out there, network and GET LUCKY, to have a chance of investment or success. A good friend of mine summarises it succinctly: “when I see the word #Investor all I hear is rejection. For me the only option is 2 hustle my way to that million”
 – 29/07/2014. 
I have sacrificed a week of my life to research this. I dare any Angel investor and broker to prove me wrong. No one really cares. I also dare any Startup loan company to prove me wrong. No one really cares about your idea; they all care about their bottom line.

I totally understand that following the recession, most investors need to be careful with their money but they also need to trust Startups. I mean c’mon guys. Most Innovators will die with their ideas and startups, why?? Because no one has 100% trust in it. This is Wrong, so wrong. Makes me wanna scream: THIS IS SO F****** annoying!!
Every Business need to make money but don’t disguise yourself as one trying to help Startups if you are only interested in Numero Uno.

Oh, also, startup and investor jargon is so unnecessary. Do you want to invest in my idea? Simple Yes or No will suffice, Thank you for not wasting my time you F****** W****

Pitching your idea to investors should not be an assessment of your presentation or oral skills. A good idea is a good idea PERIOD. Entrepreneurship is for everyone, entrepreneurial success is only for a lucky few. That needs to change.
I know of a Hungarian dude who designed the Google glasses 2 years ago. Never got to see the light of day because no one believed in him.
Us Entrepreneurs are the most critical bunch known to mankind. We pride ourselves on the help and assistance we render up and coming entrepreneurs, but deep down, we really don’t care.

I wish I could help every Entrepreneur, I wish I’m superman. For once, the British Government is somewhat blameless in this (emphasis on ‘somewhat y’all). There are some good initiatives to kick start entrepreneurship in the country, its just that its been taken over by rogue Venture Capitalists, brokers and F****** investors and investment companies.

There is an initiative called the NEW ENTERPRISE ALLOWANCE. This is supposed to assist anybody willing to start a new business with a grant of £1000. Are you F****** kidding me? £1000???

£1000 to all new entrepreneurs is nothing short of insulting. Tell me, what business can you start and sustain on £1000? in this difficult economic times? The New enterprise allowance should be given on a case-by-case basis. You can’t simply give £1k to everyone with a business idea. Some startups require £500 to begin, while others require close to £100k. Somehow both figures are not the same.

Would love to see entrepreneurs thrive in this country. Kids of school age should be encouraged to be creative by doing business too.
Not everyone can be a Doctor or Scientist. Heck, some people just want to trade. Can that be wrong? I have never used my Aviation degree, not once in my life. But I constantly use my Self-taught Business degree.
Met a graphics designer last night who needed £7k to startup, she ended up getting £1k from the govt. Obviously the startup folded. Surprise F****** Surprise.
I am sick and tired of tips and advice on getting funds for startups. The only thing startups need is practical solutions on getting these damn funds. Everywhere you turn to these days, you’ll find someone giving tips and advice on Starting up, on Funding. All equals = No practical solutions!!

If you are lucky enough to identify a grant provider from the millions available, there’s always a catch… North of England Startups only, age 24-30 only, non-construction only. Oh, F*** OFF!! 
Another pissed off friend said: “The only way is to raise it yourself man, to me start up funding is a myth. Don’t even waste your time paying $$$ to brokers as well”
 Its a vicious cycle with one GOLDEN RULE — The rich will only get richer, the poor will only remain poorer and the rest of us just need to catch a F****** break.

Ok, maybe there are days you wake up angry at the world. Just pissed off with everything and everyone. Today is one of those days, tomorrow might be too.

Kole Obasa