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Check your anger at the door

Anger and business do not go “hand in glove”. Truth is that there is no room for anger or for you to “blow your top” in business especially when dealing with your clients. It gives a bad name and limits your success as a business person or manager in an organisation.

This fact was buttressed by an experience I had recently with a project I was involved with. As part of a team of consultants working as trainers in a local project, issues came up which got escalated above the point of resolution because of anger management issues. Therefore it is important that in tense situations;

  • Stay calm. When it gets you angry take a breather and start again
  • Do not base your conclusions on hearsay. Remember to give both sides a say
  • Ensure that the people you work with do not have a reason to doubt your kind of leadership
  • Be responsible, do not make the people working with you the fall guy. This leaves a “bad taste in the mouth”.

Someone once told me that anger fosters only in the mind of people without focus, people who cannot see the bigger picture. Anger limits how far we can see and so reduces the success we would otherwise have achieved.

So when you are going into a room for a meeting, or find yourself in a situation that may erupt, remember to “check your anger at the door”!

Delegating – Using the SMART system ~ Sean McPheat

While most managers realise that part of the skills they should possess is delegation, not all know how to do so successfully.

While there are many benefits to good delegation, such as empowering staff and lessening your own workload, poor delegation can create chaos and confusion.

In order to delegate effectively, you can utilise the SMART System, which we will explore in this article.

The SMART System is an acronym; for a delegated task to be properly completed, the benchmarks in this acronym should be followed:

Specific

For your staff to truly comprehend what it is you need them to do, and for you to measure how well they did, you should provide specific tasks instead of general ones.

Instead of asking an employee to provide you with your media coverage, for example, use specifics, such as finding your media coverage from the last quarter, and only about a specific product launch.

Measurable

This part goes right along with being specific; as a manager, you will need to track and measure how well your staff members complete tasks. When you give specific instructions for doing so, you should be able to measure whether the individual is on track to meet the goal.

This information will be essential during employee appraisals, when you will need to provide detailed data about their performance.

Achievable

Before delegating a certain task, you need to consider whether that task is achievable. Does the employee have the knowledge, skills, training, resources and confidence to achieve it?

If the answer is no to any one of these criteria, then you will simply be setting up your staff to fail.

Relevant

Although you may have a lot on your plate, you should carefully think about what you assign to your staff.

While you may need help on a personal task in order to focus on your professional responsibilities, delegating that task to an employee may not be in the best interest of the employee, the team and the organisation.

Make sure that the items delegated are part of the employee’s job description, lest he or she get frustrated that you are constantly asking them to do your personal errands.

Time-Bound

This criterion stresses the importance of providing a time frame on any assigned task.

Otherwise, confusion will ensue if you expected the goal to be completed at the end of the business day, but your team member put it aside in a pile to be done later.

While delegation is necessary to run an organised workplace, managers need to know how to effectively delegate. Using the SMART System provides a benchmark for how to do so successfully.

 

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Why do you need to be creative?

Recently in Nigeria there are 64 million youths between the age of 18 and 35 years, of this overall population 54% of them are unemployed. Statistics also shows that every year the higher institutions of learning in Nigeria graduate over 200,000 students annually of which 90% would become unemployed. (Source: National Bureau of Statistics)

Why do we have so many youths unemployed? A lot of graduates leave the university as unemployable youths with technical but no practical knowledge of workplace requirements and skills. Companies this days do not want to spend part of their annual profit in training rookies on how to get the job done. Everywhere you look customers are asking for quality products and services at competitive prices and the most likely expense for companies to cut to meet this new trend is in the area of HR and number of staff.

So gaining that golden status of the employed is on an employability scale. This scale keeps moving up every graduating year. First the company needs to know that the prospective employee has the expertise to get the job done by identifying the skills, experience and references of the would-be employee.

It is sad that our Universities forgot to instil in us the need for and importance of creativity, a need to hunger for knowledge, a teachable spirit and a mind to be innovative. By the time the 200,000 students graduate from the university with their certificate, they are left with seeking employability through other means. This is where creativity comes to play. What other skills do you have to leverage on or with? Did you take out time to learn and acquire the needed skills for that role you are planning on applying for?

Most youths don’t even have an idea of where they will work or what career path they would want to pursue. Just as it was when seeking admission into the university, they just want something / anything that pays well. This is why a person with a natural talent for speaking and writing would study engineering or biology and would end up not getting a job in her field of study. It also the reason why a pharmacist would work in a bank as a bank Teller staff rather than in his/her field.

It is important that we begin to think of where we want to work after studying for 4 to 7 years in the university or college before we get to the actual time for employment. It is said that time waits for no man; however time will work in our favour if we have creatively planned for time. If we consider time and the fact that it is not a respecter of man, we will realize to best utilize time we must be able to create a balance.

“Creativity and the mind that can create rules the world. A youth that utilizes creativity as a tool of success will always get the great jobs. This is because great jobs requires great creativity and great creativity requires great minds!!”

VICTORY LOVES PREPARATION – SO DOES SUCCESS!!

I so love the Boy Scout for their motto, just two words that keeps us moving forward; be prepared. Just two words but they are deeply packed. Well the topic says it all does it not? Victory, and success, does love preparation. The question however is this – “how prepared are you for victory and or success?”

When the Boy Scouts go on their camping trips they prepare for all eventualities, just in case things don’t work according to plan. They prepare for thirst, hunger, attacks, heat, cold, injury, pain, and any other thing they can think of. The Entrepreneur should not be different; the level of your preparation determines your victory and success. When you start thinking of starting a business what are those things you should be prepared for?

Are you prepared for the fact that customers might not buy your product as much as you projected? Are you prepared for a shortage of supply? Do you have a fall back plan? Have you thought of the time that success and victory would require from you? Do you have enough skills and talents to succeed? Oh! And yes do you have enough money or investment set aside to tide you over until your business actually begins to make a profit? Are you prepared to live below your normal standard of living just to see your business grow? A lot of us even though we develop and write or get a consultant to write a business plan, feasibility report and any other stuff for us we fail to be prepared.

I watched a film (which was the inspiration for this post by the way) and even though it has nothing to do with how you run a business it had so many pointers. First is that we are never to get emotional about our ideas and or businesses. It requires logic or else we would love the business to its ruins! We have to view every aspect of the business with a third eye, the eye of an outsider looking in.

Second, never leave till tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the mother (and father) of all failures, don’t allow it into your business. If it needs getting done, do it now; no point pushing it away. You might live to regret it.

Third, don’t get carried away with the first tidal wave of success! It’s just the beginning of your hurdles because the first tide would bring with it so much pressure to keep going so much so that if you are not prepared you might be swept away.

Fourth, anticipate the challenges before they come calling working on skills, talents, education, past experiences from you and other businesses and knowledge acquired over time. Imagine what could go wrong with your business and find a solution. So that if it does happen, you already have an answer.

Fifth, look challenges in the face and stand your ground. Don’t be shaken or worried you alone have the power to overcome it and the solution is with you; otherwise it won’t be your challenge would it? If possible seek it out before it does you, that way you have the element of surprise.

Sixth, be SMART and one step ahead of the competition. This way you will always be able to continue to succeed even in the ocean of mass failures. On this I will share briefly from a book I am reading “Samurai Strategy”. The book talked about the strategy a particular country made use of to become the leading producers of semi-conductors, a product used by the computer manufacturers and other industries like the arms manufacturers. They copied the original product and how it is built and won over to their side some of the big brains in the industry and started mass production of the 16k semi-conductor, giving it out at a ridiculously lower price and even making a loss. When the competition saw this they decided to play them out of the game by putting in the market the 64k semi-conductor. On hearing this they simply went back to work and ensured that they came out with the 64k before the competition and at a lower price than the competition would have sold it for. This put them at the top of the market and they became the leaders. It pays to be SMART, to gain the larger share of the market.

Finally, have fun and enjoy what you do. The success and survival of your business requires that you are in good health mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Remember a sick Entrepreneur cannot run a business, neither can a dead one.

Be prepared and you will always be able to get ahead not only in business but also in everything you do!

MAKING YOUR IDEA YOUR OWN SERIES TWO – Does your idea work?

A lot of us have ideas that look good while it is still in our heads but if put to the test might not do much as ideas go. It is important to all idea owners that they test if their ideas would actually work and if it does, will people actually be willing to spend their hard earned money to get it?

Another reason why companies don’t buy ideas in Nigeria is because they have not been tested, there is no prototype for that product or first beneficiary of that service. A lot of idea are just dreams that will not work in reality, they belong to the dream world. You don’t need so much money or people to test if what’s in your head is a product or service worth having. All you need is a sample product or prototype and your family and or friend, especially if it does not have any health implications.

I remember when I started my own business. For a long time, I offered my services for free to businesses or people who needed it (I still do that). It was to know if people would like the services I will be offering and if so, would they be willing to pay for it? Now I would not say I am an expert but at least I now know that the services are no longer ideas in my head but ones that the business world likes and can pay to have.

Getting to know if your idea will work will go a long way in building confidence and so you can confidently market it or present it to people who can invest in it or run with it. A lot of things look good on paper but not as much in reality. Making sure to take it out of the paper stage will give you the added edge that your idea needs to survive.

Therefore, find out if your idea will work irrespective of whether it is a product or a service. Develop it and build it to a success level and you stand a better chance. This way you will be making the idea your own.

5 tips of how not to be an entrepreneur!

To wear the cap of entrepreneurship it is important to think like an entrepreneur. The truth is that successful entrepreneurs are human beings, people with flesh and blood like you and I; they are not special beings with special abilities.
Entrepreneurs are people who have recognised their gifts/talents, are comfortable with it and passionate enough to share it with the world. Entrepreneurship is an unselfish act of multiplying talents by sharing it as against the burying of talents in fear of failure or reprimand.
To embark on the entrepreneurial journey, it is important for the entrepreneur to master the act of actually thinking and acting like a successful entrepreneur with a positive outlook to problem solving. Every would-be or successful entrepreneur has certain things in common which could be summarized below:

A. The entrepreneur focus his energy on going after their Passion and not on cash. They unselfishly use their Passion to provide solution to problems and challenges in their community. The entrepreneur’s first concern is how can he best meet the needs of the people and continue to do so. If he becomes wealthy from it, its all well and good.
B. Entrepreneurs build up on people relationship management. They understand that their talent or passion alone will not bring their dreams to reality but that the people matter. Therefore they build and nature relationship with their customers, their suppliers, the employees in the business, the investors and partners as well as the competition. They maintain the relationship using the following skills- communication, negotiation, influencing, and persuading skills.
C. Entrepreneurs understand that been responsible to themselves and the people they have a relationship with is the price to pay for the freedom that entrepreneurship gives them. To be able to run with your dreams and set your own pace requires a price. Responsibility can weigh us down which is why a lot would rather remain employees and allow someone else to shoulder the responsibility. However the thinking of the entrepreneur as regards responsibility is way different from that of an employee.
D. Mistakes will build strength and help convert weaknesses to strength. In entrepreneurship mistakes are rung on the ladder of success, they cannot be avoided or neglected. In fact entrepreneurs expect and embrace mistakes because it provides for them one new way to learn and to understand how not to do things. A responsible entrepreneur accepts his mistakes and learns from it instead of blame shifting.
E. Commitment to actually starting and continuing on the entrepreneurial road to success makes the entrepreneur stand out. He is separated from the lot who fall by the way side for one reason or another. Commitment does not mean rigidity in pursuing dreams, quite the contrary. While the entrepreneur is committed he must also possess the grace of flexibility and the readiness to adjust his plan to meet with the demands placed on him by the people he maintains a relationship with.

Therefore thinking like an entrepreneur does not make entrepreneurship a smooth ride, it’s not a “bed of roses” from start to finish. Anyone going into entrepreneurship in other to have an easy life needs to have a rethink. Even employees in a company do not have an easy life. Entrepreneurship is like a pot on the cooker, it has to get hot first before the content of the pot can begin to cook and be ready for the the people to eat it.

Before you take that giant leap of becoming an entrepreneur it is important to take time out to think about it first. Find out if your passion is hot enough to push you through the hard times that will surely come.

The value of experience!!

Experience is all about sharing what you know and directly or indirectly giving back to the community. What other way to share experience that to share your knowledge during training events either as a facilitator or trainer. It also helps you strengthen what you already have. You do more research and more work just so that you have enough and the right knowledge to share with participants at the training you are facilitating.

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Leadership and the Nigeria we want

On the 19th November 2013 I was at a lecture given by “The Alumni of the Hubert H Humphery Fellowship Program” with the theme “The Democratic Journey in Nigeria: Learning from the American Experience.” Below is a summation of what I got;

Prof. Pat Utomi
Democracy in Nigeria eliminates thinking, speaking and talking by the people.

Nigeria needs to build strong institutions and not strong men which is what we have today.

Strong men believe the people are stupid and can’t think So they must be bought.

Prof. Adigun Agbaje
No two journey are the same but you can learn from both experience

A strong man should be the one who practice restraint, accountability and communal concerns and service

Nigeria needs to institutionalize restraint and encourage accountability

Before people rig election at point of voting but now they rig at point of results. Therefore democracy is moving back instead of forward

Nigeria cannot have any other sustainable power other than the true democratic power

We need to be able to tame the rots of the society and bring them under submission

Prof. Chioma Agomo
Democracy is a journey, it has a beginning, sign posts along the way as well as a destination in sight

Nigeria must respect the rule of law and embrace accountability at all levels

What Nigeria has are people who proffer lip service to rule of law
We must stop encouraging leaders to continue to do wrong

We must refuse the every 4years handouts that enables the bad eggs of the nation to return to power

Every Nigerian must insist on the right to be heard!

There is need to promote grassroots participation and rule of law, if the leaders know the can be questioned they will put a check on their excesses.

A lot of Nigerians mostly youths suffer from a disease called the “Immediate Stomach Satisfaction Deficiency Syndrome ISSDS”

It is important to understand the greatness in others and embrace it

We must believe in something, stand for something, live and work for something. Pat Utomi

Poverty has become a crutch that people use to do wrong and encourage corruption in Nigeria

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Documenting your dream in a business plan!

The key to a successful business plan is not the financial or the product, these two are both essential parts of the business; however what counts the most is the people (clients, customers, buyers, etc whatever name you call them). Knowing your people, who they currently buy from, why they buy from them, how much they buy and why they would buy from someone else is very important to a business and this should be covered fully in your business plan. Then also is the need for strategy; you know to know what to do, how to do it, when to do it and where to do it in other to have those customers come buy from you instead of buying from your competition.

In as much as the whole business plan is important to any business, the owner of the business plan must realize that without people to buy there is no business, and if there are people to buy without knowing how to reach this people and how to reach them it would mean even though the people are there and you have a great product; all you will have will be a disconnect between your product and the people.

In marketing we have been taught all the P’s of marketing and about ROI. Never has it not been emphasized that the customer is king! The reason why any business will grow and remain in business is not because they have great products or because they have the money to start the business, or because they have a great office complex. It’s mainly because the business has been able to identify its people! People in terms of who will buy what you selling and the people who will buy your dream and work with you. These two categories of people makes the “world go round” for any business.

Therefore before you write that plan you need to first of all get into the head of the people you think would buy your product and ask yourself these questions
1. If I was asked to come work in the company I want to start at this starting salary would I take the job?
2. Why would I want to work for such a company when there are others in the same industry offering more pay and other benefits?
3. If I was a customer would I buy from me or my competitor?
4. If I would buy from me; why would I leave the competition who has been in business for a while and one that I know for a new company’s product i don’t know?
5. Would members of my family and friends buy from me?
6. Why would my family and friends buy from me? What reasons do I have to convince them to buy from me?
7. Would my competitors buy from me? Would they see me as a threat or merely just set me aside as a business not to be bothered with?

If you can honestly ask this questions then you should be able to determine whether you should go ahead or not.

The next is the need to know the industry inside out; we still talking about the people. Within that industry who sells more, how do they do it, what are the regulations, what are the ethics, what value do people get from them? Why would a young energized youth with a lot of potential accept to work in my company instead of the competition?

Then work on strategies and don’t stop there also work on how to implement the strategies. How should you reach out to your customers, how should you convince them to buy from you, reasons why they should by from you, what medium must you use to reach out to them, why should you use these medium for reaching out, what will be the cost of reaching out to you and to the people working with you, how many of them must you reach out to first to give your business the initial edge? All these points have to be highlighted. But more important is what do you have? Do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis of your business, industry, competition, even the product.

Business plans is more than just a document; its a documentation of your dream! So remember that the word says “write the vision and make it plain so that He who reads it will be able to run with it!”

This blog post is came to be as a result of a discussion and tweets from a good friend and entrepreneur Chux Onwunali @ChuxOnwunali on tweeter.

3 Things that Sells You (your business) Out Completely by Adesoji Adegbulu

There is this saying that says “Sell or be Sold”. The truth is, in life you need to keep selling yourself if you want to make meaning. ‘Sell’ in this context does not mean that you should receive an exchange of money for selling yourself to someone. It means that when people, clients or customers think of having something, where their mind goes is towards you. This is because you have sold yourself to them.

For example, big names like Google, Facebook, Coca Cola, Microsoft and the likes have completely sold themselves to the world. When you think of having something that relates to what they offer, your mind suggests to you the names. And you end up getting what you want through them. This same instance works for just anyone. You too can sell yourself to the extent that what you have done will keep speaking for you while you are quiet.

Now, you may say that the above mentioned drives themselves into people’s mind because of the adverts they do constantly. Yes, true, but advertising does not last long. By that I mean, adverts can get you noticed by populace, but it is selling that counts. I’m sure you would have come across some adverts that ends up getting no response. In this wise, it is not wrong to say that selling yourself to people is the first thing anyone, any business and any nation should get involved in.

So I’m asking you, Are you selling yourself? If not, please find out below three things that would sell you out completely to whoever comes your way.

For the complete post please visit http://adesojiadegbulu.com/blog/3-things-the-sells-you-out-completely/.

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