Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When the chips are down

Hello Everyone,

I have my first guest blogger today, his name is Tobi and you can view his blog here http://tobystic.blogspot.com/

Happy Reading.

I know the first thing that comes to mind is ‘He is going to be talking about some entrepreneurial stuff and all’. Yes! Probably, but in more a practical way without anyone’s ego having to suffer for it.

Before working on this piece, with a little practical section, I discovered that a lot of men would have been doing fantastic if there were no female folks in this world, hence the reason I mentioned ‘ego’ in my first paragraph. I m not being chauvinistic but an individual who is down on his or her own chips can easily bounce back in an environment where he/she knows no one than when she chooses to remain in her immediate sphere of influence or social ranking. If you are a Nigerian reading this piece, ask yourself how you survived during youth service in a land where the number of people you know could be counted on one hand and still have a few fingers left. The basic thing I’m saying here is this, “Life is short, and life’s race is individual, choose your own tracks and spikes and do not let anyone do that for you”. I want you to know everything here is borne out of 70% personal experience and the rest from observation and ‘unconscious interviews’ with friends and focus groups. Let’s get into business.

1. Learn to think like an Igbo man: I once had the privilege of reading 2 chapters of a book about 9 years ago at a friend’s. I have not finished it yet because I could not locate where I could purchase it but the 2 chapters I went through within the short time of visitation changed everything about me. Have you ever been to the market where an Igbo man meets you on the way and asks what you are looking for? In fact, if he sells shoes and you are looking for a blackberry, he would tell you to sit down and he will go get it for you. At this stage you need to ask yourself, ‘How do I convert things around me to money’? That’s a polite way of rephrasing the quote made popular by Mafia Dons “What’s in this for me?” You must learn to lobby. Yes! ‘Lobby’, I used the word. You can’t afford to say ‘No’ when people ask you questions. Right now, you are the magnate of your own empire. You must tell that to your mental imagery. You are a business man now. A general consultant and a service provider. You probably spend considerate time on the internet to have had opportunity to be reading this, there are several websites you can sell things. A friend comes to you and tells you he wants to sell a car and you tell him ‘good luck’? No. You ask him, how much does it go for and what’s in it for me should I get you a buyer? Go to sites like nairalist.com and post it there. Put the best conditions of your product and you are on your way there. The first time I did this; I left my phone to charge and went to work for 7 hours. I came back and saw 26 missed calls all asking for the car.

When it comes to the internet options, there is no limit to what you can achieve I tell you. You generate buyers and sellers in an instant. Another wonderful site to get on a lot of activities is eclemo.com Not really sure how functional it is anymore but exchange of goods and services happen here daily. You can find out more. The list becomes inexhaustible with time. There are so many instances I can give about what I’m trying to pass across. I’ve found buyers for even real estate right there online but beyond that, the real work is the mental part. Our approach to the opportunities that abound. I went to fix my phone once somewhere in Victoria Island and the engineer had this big office and only a little portion of it was useful to him. Then I told him, why you don’t generate more income by dividing this office of yours into 2 partitions and get another occupant? This is Victoria Island. Properties are quite expensive. Of course,I got my cut!

Most of the skills I have mentioned so far are not even peculiar to certain people. How much more, if you have special skills like hair braiding, programming, script writing, drawing and so on? Everyone at one time needs to do a list of gifts he has.

2. The Gift and the curse: Don’t bother much about the heading. The good book says, ‘The gifting of a man maketh room for him’. This has been one truth I’ve learnt growing up. When I was in primary school, in a class of 16, excursions were only open to about 5 every term. The 2 most brilliant, the most creative, the narrative writer to keep the details and the person with a leadership attribute. What happens to the rest? My point is this, as young as we were (just tiny past-toddler age kids), this rule has been taking effect. What are the gifts you have? Take a pad and pen down at least 5 gifts be it academic or comedy, whatever region of extremity is welcomed. The famous Rev Run once said this quote, “If you don’t prepare, someone else will, and when you meet for a competition, the person wins. Period!” You don’t have a job and you let this weary you down. 1, you are wasting time, 2, you are wasting energy. I m trying to keep this as short as possible without getting too religious. At the same time, I would like to say this. Once heard the General Overseer of Redeemed church say this. He was praying to God for more money and God told him to get his gifts into action. He was a lecturer in Unilag then but that year, he added 5 secondary schools to his teaching list. No matter how small he was making from that school, you can multiply it by 5. Just get your ego out of the way and be proud of yourself, the next Jelani Aliyu (Head of design unit in General Motors) might just be in your classroom.

A friend of mine whom I attended University with was always doing badly in academics but he was king of freestyle when it came to rap battles. I told him to make more friends with guys that use fruityloops very well. We were all friends and we did things for free for each other as students. By grad time, he did a soundtrack for the whole class; it was so cool we had him perform at our dinner. Imagine a rap performance at a dinner??? .It was just that cool. If I mention his name, you probably know him, he is all over the air-waves now. START SOMEWHERE ON YOUR GIFTS!

At this stage, be a little less concerned about the pay, build more network of good friends and referrals for other jobs. If you do a good job for somebody, he would always call you back and even call you for other related jobs and also refer you to friends and associates.

One question for thought. Will you prefer to have a good job as an average Joe on probably N2Million a year or be like Ingvar Kamprad (CEO of IKEA furniture) who never ceases to admit he was just a ‘fortunate carpenter’? One more question on that note, “Do you know that about 70% of people with the jobs you are envying were only happy for the first 3 weeks of getting the job, afterwards, the only motivation left about the job is Payday.

A friend of mine working in an international telecom firm right now produces world class standard journals and scribble pads and he supplies them to schools and churches. Now, that’s another instance.

To help make it easier for you, what are those things you have ever done that got you applause. What subject had you A’s with no sweat. What do people enjoy about you the most? If people enjoy your gist, have you thought of having your own blog posts and look for online competitions.

3. Drain your friends

By drain-your-friends, I mean, for every friend you come across, there are certain attributes to learn from them. At this stage, it is assumed you have little capital to do anything because you are either fresh from school or you are in-between jobs. At the same time, So many people have 2 – 3 jobs they are doing. One thing I’ve found out is that the more you get busy, the more you are attracted to more jobs or works to do. Have you noticed how some just keep getting busy and you are wondering how they get to keep up with life. Not to get far from the point, this moment is where you cherish good friends. This is because you get free counselling and support from them. Take this thought off your mindset, that one friend or family member would give you some money at any time. If it comes along, fine. But the celestial point here, people only want to pay you for the services you render to them; they don’t care what you are going through and your tales of woe. So be ready to work. Lack of work got you here in the first place. I don’t mean to sound harsh but, hey, remember; you are the ‘Magnate of your own empire, the architect of your destiny. People that do bake cakes and make beads, more often than not, always never meet their demand. So a good point is to ‘help out and learn’, then ‘break out and blend’. If you know a very good tailor, even if you can’t learn the trade, so long as people compliment his clothing on you, next time you are with the tailor, tell him, you are going into partnership with him and you are going to bring him clients. It’s your job to now tell people those clothes you wear, come out of your factory. You can’t get sued for that. Of course, you get your own cut for that.

#crux of the matter: Attach lucrative ability to your thoughts

Thank you and please leave comments behind.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy Mums 4

Hello Y'all

Mum's still busy, and waiting for you to help her out.

She's looking for a lesson teacher.

Most of us used to have them, those teachers that come after school to help us with our home work and explain things we did not understand in class to us.
I love this idea because you already have all you need to start this job. All you need is creativity.

No idea is new, it is just the manner of execution that differentiates us all.

You'll be surprised that parents are not just looking for somebody that will teach their children Maths and English. Most parents just want their children to be productively engaged.

You can offer physical activity services, play outdoor games like the ones we used to play when we were kids. How many children play ten-ten and who is in the garden anymore. DSTV, Play Station, Internet, etc have taken over. The effect is that these children do not burn off the excess energy they have, they just sit down on the couch, building blocks of fat.

You can offer music trainings, if you are so inclined. Do voice training, musical equipments, rap (convince the parents that it's a form of poetry, lol) etc

You can offer craft and fine art trainings. Teach kids how to make diamond bracelets, sew, knit, etc.

You can even offer computer training. Teach kids how to use Photoshop, Corel draw, Powerpoint, Excel, Movie maker, etc.

You can help them start a reading club. They pick a book, and discuss it in gatherings with their friends. This will build their appetite for reading, and presentation skills. They will get articulate and learn how to face a crowd at their tender age.

You can even start a research club. Give them a topic to do research on Encarta Kids, and give a presentation to their friends.

There are so much activities you can do, explore.

Talk to parents in your church, neighbourhood, etc. You can also arrange for a playgroup. You get children in a particular neighbourhood together, and they'll play together.

You can offer your services once or twice a week, so that you can face other clients. Whatever, it's up to you really.

Incase you do not like the role name "lesson teacher", you can call yourself "After-School Care Consultant". It's all about the packaging. Lol.

This is not Rocket Science.

You just need to love kids.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Busy Mums 3

One thing is common with every child; they want to have a party on their birthdays. It’s a feeling that every one of us has had at one point in time in our lives. When we were children, we used all sorts of techniques to make our parents throw parties for us. We entered deals with our parents, such as If you come first to fifth position this term, I’ll throw a big party for you, or we pestered their lives until they finally gave in, or we had specific years that had to be marked like 1yr, 2yrs, 5yrs, 10yrs, 13 yrs, and 16 yrs. Whatever techniques we used, children of yesterday, today and tomorrow still want parties. The only problem is parents of yesterday are not exactly the parents of today and tomorrow. Now we have mums and dads who are full time working class. In other words, “No time”. This is where you come in.

Start a children party planning business.

Let me show you how:

Step 1: Discuss with the parent on what ideas they have for their children’s party. You can also ask the child for what his/her party ideas are. Children have the most amazing imagination. Be careful to listen more than you talk, so that you can take note of your client’s expectations. Also please take note of your client’s budget. This is very important for the planning.

Step 2: Plan the theme, dress code, costumes, d├ęcor, venue, food, caterers, drinks, cake, assorted goodies, party packs, invitations, thank you notes, fun activities, entertainment, party time plan, cleaning services, etc.

Step 3: Present your proposal to their client, and give them options to choose from.

Step 4: At the party, please have your business cards with you. Other busy mums will be there. Ask your clients for referrals, advertise on facebook, Make friends with the kids (they have pester power), Take pictures of your work to create a fun portfolio, etc.

For your charges, I like to recommend you certain percentage of the clients budget, or you can have a fixed rate for the different services you'll be offering.

To pull this off, you need creativity, organizational skills, and an undying love for kids.

After all, This is not Rocket Science.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy Mums 2

Hello, we are still on the Busy Mum Series.

A lot of busy women do not have time to go to the market. They leave the house by 6am, get home by 7/8pm everyday. On weekends, they have a long list of other things they have to do. This is obviously a problem to them, but to you it is a wonderful opportunity.

You can start a convenient shopping service.

This is how it works:

Women send you their market list. This can be done either by a sending a mail or phone call or a text, or by going to their houses/offices or they may even send their drivers to you. It can be in any way that seems convenient for you and your customer.

You go to the market, buy the foodstuff or goods at market prices, clean them according to your customer's specifications, package it neatly and label it, and then deliver, or your customer's driver can come and pick it from your house. It depends on the terms you agree upon.

To charge, I recommend that you charge them a certain percentage of the total amount of their goods as a service fee. You can also charge a fee for delivery for for your cleaning services. In any case, please make it realistic.

If this does not look like a big deal to you, here is your chance.

You have to pay attention to detail, and make customer service your primary concern, and also remember that:

This is not Rocket Science


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Busy Mums 1

Some days ago, I was just thinking of how busy people's lives can get, and it struck me that busy people are a target market.

I am starting this series with target market: Busy Women. The All Time Jugglers.

Before I proceed, I will like to beg your indulgence if you are a very traditional person, and your expectations of women is for them to remain in the home front solely, or perform their home duties the same way your mum did them. Please I really do not want to debate with anybody. We do not have to agree. Thank you.

Now on to business.

Fact: A lot of married women today leave their houses by 5.00AM and get home probably by 7/8 P.M completely famished and they still have to enter the kitchen to prepare meals for their families. Some women travel a lot, and stay out of town for weeks, and they still have to make sure there is food for their families in the kitchen. They cook lots of pots of food and store them in plastic containers in the refrigerator.

We all know women like this. Guess the service you can render them.

If you said "Cook", you are right.

You will be surprised at the number of women who will order pots of soup or stew, because they just don't have the time to do it themselves. They have supportive husbands, and even if their husbands are not supportive, he doesn't have to know.

So if cooking is your passion, please do not say no to yourself.

Start out with family and friends, ask them to refer you. You'll be surprised.

Before you know it,you'll be catering for events, birthday parties, office functions, or even making lunch packs for people in organizations.

Let me talk a little more about these office lunch packs.

A lot of people don't always have the time to make one, they get tired of eating at eateries everyday, sometimes there's an issue of cutting cost. Some people get fed up with their office canteen. Imagine eating the same thing everyday. So if you go to an office and market your lunch packs, they taste good, and there is every appearance that you are neat, you will be surprised.

Do not say I didn't tell you.

This is not Rocket Science.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Great Idea vs Golden Opportunity

I had an opportunity to be in the midst of some venture capitalists, and one of them asked a question that I will not forget in a hurry.

"Do you have an idea or an opportunity"

Tokunbo Ishmael

I reflected on this question for a while, and I strongly feel that it changed one of my thought processes.

I have always believed that ideas change the world, but I have also seen reality play up, and have learnt that ideas are not enough.

In fact, everybody has ideas. Our minds are constantly coming up with things to do. Ideas on what to make for dinner, ideas on what to wear, ideas on what your friend should be doing, ideas on how your party should be, etc.

Now whether you eventually do anything about it or not, is a different ball game, but let's clarify this. Ideas are everywhere, and you think of them all the time.

Now, a lot of people are waiting for "that unique idea" that will make them blow. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but if you have been alive as long as I have, you must have realized long ago, that there is absolutely nothing new under the sun. What is rare however, is the ability to execute the idea and turn it into a profitable business. Without this, your business is heading for the ROCKS.

So what makes an opportunity different from an idea, you may ask.

Opportunities are as a result of a need. Before you go about calling yourself an entrepreneur, ask yourself or do a research on "Who needs my services". Most times people discover opportunities from personal experiences; some others just observe or come across it by chance.

Secondly, you need to find out if people are willing to pay for this service. Are you ever going to make profit from this business or can you generate cash flow in a short time.

Thirdly, does it align with your personal interests and skills set.

Fourthly, do you have the required knowledge and relationships to leverage on to build a competitive advantage?

Finally, Is it the right time?

Do yourself some good, give this a thought.

This is not Rocket Science.

I assure you.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The love business is serious business

I know I promised to give you tips on what businesses to get involved in this valentine season, but I honestly do not know how time flew. I got caught up with loads and loads of things to do. I just had this nagging thought reminding me that I still had a promise to fulfill, and so here it is.

Your top business ideas you can start this vals season:
  1. Jewelry: Please tell me what is a girl's best friend. You can either make them or resell already made jewelry.
  2. Cake, Chocolate or any other sweet food: What is the other name for val? it's chocolate and cake. It can never be complete without it.
  3. Customised Valentine Cards: very crucial, very vital, very important. It does not matter how much he/she has spent buying other gifts, a card is always part of the package.
  4. Events organising: It's already too late to start this now, but you can plan ahead for next year. Plan events for lovers. It could be getaways, a romantic dinner, etc.
  5. Graphic design: Anything is possible with photoshop. You can create personalised artwork for people. Afterall, a girl can dream, if we can't go to Paris, we can create a picture of us in Paris.
  6. Delivery: Surprise somebody by midnight.
  7. Make-up: Prettify somebody, if I may use that word.
  8. Hair do: Make people sazzy and sexy.
  9. Photography: Repeat after me: Lovers photoshoot.
  10. Make customized clothes for the season.
  11. Interior decoration: You can have a special offer for bedsheets or sexy room decorations.
  12. Love CDs: Make a collection of love songs and compile in a CD.
  13. Do a yard sale: Get a collection of red stuff, and create a attractive spread, somewhere in the open.
  14. Plan a singles event: Who says singles should mourn on that day.
You know anymore?
Please drop a line.

This is not Rocket Science.