Alignment

Alignment

My word for today is #alignment

A few years ago, I was travelling back to school in a commercial vehicle, when suddenly the driver stopped and took permission from the passengers to do what they call “wheels alignments.”

I didn’t know what that meant, because I was in high school then.

I can still recall that experience because it led to a misunderstanding between the driver and one of the passengers, which eventually turned into a minor World War III.

If you are familiar with the Nigerian garage system, you will know what I mean.

But this morning, while I was on my routine meditation, the Spirit of God took my memory back to that experience to teach me on alignment. I did a Google check to find out what wheel alignment means.

It turned out that alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension. This system connects a vehicle to its wheels.

When correctly done, alignment “assures your tires meet the road at the proper angle, your wheels are pointing straight, and your tires are centred in the wheel wells. It adjusts the angles of your vehicle’s wheels to original specs for best gas mileage, proper road contact, a smooth ride, and the longest tire life.”

However, when your car or your tires are out of alignment, among other things, it causes your vehicle to pull to the left or right, or that your steering wheel is off-centre when driving straight. Speed becomes uneasy and driving tedious and unenjoyable in the process.

Just like driving a car, if you must live a happy life, enjoy it to the fullest and keep straight at your purpose, you must learn to align correctly.

Life’s alignment comes in two dimensions – alignment with the source and alignment with your passion.

Show me a man who derives 100% satisfaction from life and I will show you a man in complete alignment with God – the Source of everything you need to make the experience enjoyable. Such a man moves at the frequency of God, who knows the past, understand the presents and what the future holds.

If you find alignment with God, the next thing is to align to His purpose. In that, every part of your life, just like the four wheels of the car, will be perfectly aligned.

Then consistency will begin to pay off. After all, the new speed is consistency.

I welcome you to find alignment today – with God and with your purpose, and I promise you that your life will be nothing short of fulfilment.

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experience 2

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experience 2

When it comes to funding your business, you fall into the category of early startup, growth stage or expansion phase. Those at the initial stage have not gotten paid customers yet, or they have customers below 100. They are mainly looking for money to launch their product. Those at the growth stage, however, are looking to expand their businesses and improve the existing customer base.

They are several ways you can fund your businesses. We have already mentioned them above – Loans, grants, investments, OPM (Friends & Family) and your savings and crowdfunding. It can be a combination of one or two of the sources.

From my experience, there is no right or wrong source of funds. However, I always advise that you should be careful when it comes to taking a loan, especially if you are just starting your business. Credits have a way of putting you under some kind of undue pressure that you need to avoid as a startup. Instead of focusing on building your business, you will be spending your energy and strength on trying to meet up with a loan repayment plan.

However, this does not apply to all the business. If your business is sure of having paying customers, or you have stricken an agreement with your customers already. Such as a contract to supply a product after which you will be paid. A loan can be beneficial.

Every other thing being equal, I advise that loan be your last resolve. Don’t rush into taking one.

Final Words

From my experience, people are more likely to fund the person or group of people behind the business than the business itself. As you work on your business and position it for external funding, don’t forget to work on yourself as well. Every investor or lender knows that poor business owners can ruin a great business idea. So build your capacity and always demonstrate that you can start, develop and grow your idea successfully.

Every business is as successful as its owners.

You can always work with a team to complement your inefficiencies. It makes a whole lot of sense if one or two members of your team have track records of winning funds. The easiest way to get funding for your business is to get the fund first.

Invest in your social and integrity capital. If people know and trust you, they will trust you with their money and when they do. Do not breach the trust.

If you are a man of faith like me, don’t forget to depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which He swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 8:18. And If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127:1 -2.

Do you have any other ways that you raise fund for your business? We will be glad to learn from you; you can share on the comment session.

What topic would you love to read from me? Let me know at the comment session too. You will be glad to write about what you like to read.

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experience 2

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experiences

You might have heard that you don’t need money to start a business. I think the better way to put it is – you don’t require capital to start working on your business idea.

Every business at any stage requires capital – to start, to run or even to expand. No business can out-grow the need for external funding. Let me put it in a better way; no business is too big or too small to ask for more money.

The focus of my thoughts on this matter will be on two things. First, what to do before you ask for (more) money and second, where to look for money. Join me on this ride.

Four things to do before you ask for (more) money

  • Move past the idea stage.
  • Know what you want
  • Use your own money
  • Horn your communication Skills

Let’s take a look at each of them one after the other.

1. Move past the idea stage

One day I was in my business mentors office, and a young man (let’s call him Nemi) came asking for money to fund what I called a very brilliant business idea. That idea was so bright that when I heard it, I was like wow! I will invest in this idea if I have the money. But after listening to Nemi with rapt attention for like 20 minutes, my mentor simply asks, “How much do you need?”

Nemi replied with a very ridiculously low amount?  He smiled and asked again, “What did you need the money for?”

“To start the business”, Nemi responded.

“What precisely”, my mentor propped further.

Nemi man could no longer answer.

He simply asked Nemi to go and bring his business plan.

After Nemi has gone, my mentor turned to me and said, “Nick, you see that young man, he is not returning to me again. The best way to turn down young entrepreneurs who don’t know what they are doing is to ask them to bring a business plan. They will never return.

That was three years ago. Since then, I have learned never to ask anybody for money until I have done real work on my idea. I mean real work.

They are five stages of business growth – the idea, startup, growth, expansion and maturity stages.

The idea stage is the stage of conceptualisation. You just got this excellent business idea that is going to among Fortune 500 in the next five years. You have everything figure out in your head, you want to start tomorrow, and you need the money now.

Well, I will say, calm down. It doesn’t happen that way. Only a few funders fund ideas, but no one who can, will resist investing in a startup that has proven sustainability and scalability. So before you ask for money, do some work about your idea?

Carry out a feasibility study, identify your target customers, validate your users and be sure that they will love to pay to use your solution. Do your financial analysis and have figures at your fingertips. All this information will lead you to write a “killable” business plan or business proposal.

A powerful tool that can simplify this for you is called “The Business Model Canvas (BMC)”. Maybe one these days we will look deep into it.

2. Know What You Want

From our little story above, the significance of knowing what you want, when it comes to getting funding for your business is apparent. Nobody, including your friends and family, will take you seriously if you do not know what you want. Run your figures to understand what you want, how much you need and how much is for what. You can even go-ahead to run the financial projection of your profit.

Find out your break-even points, break-even revenue or even break-even unit. You can learn this calculation online. Seek for an assistant if you need to. If you can memorise your figures and have them handy, it will be super awesome. It shows you know what you are doing.

3. Use your own money

You are the first investor in your business. If you can’t put your money into your idea, don’t expect others to do so. No matter how little it is, put your money in your business. It also helps to show others that you are serious-minded.

4. Horn your business Communication Skills

When you have done your underground work, ran your figures and even invested your money in your business idea, there is still a high possibility that you will not get the fund if you don’t know how to pitch your business idea correctly.

When pitching your idea, the first thing you should take note of is your target audience. Different things attract different sets of funders.

The investors are more concern with the scalability and sustainability of your idea, especially in the long term. Thus net profit (bottom line) and break-even analysis ( how long it takes you to generate them)  is fundamental to them.

The bank is interested in your cash flow and ability to pay to pack the principal and the interest. They are less concern with your bottom line (net profit), unlike the investors.

Most grant donors are more interested in the social impact of your business. They gave out money for a course and achieving that course is very important to them. If it is to create more jobs, they will be interested in your number of employees.  They always are concern with your environmental sustainability and social impact on the community or the less privilege and venerable.

Your friends and family will want to know if you will be able to pay back them their money back. Or that you will use the funds appropriately and expand your business. Some of your uncles will think you should not be asking them for money any longer because he has empowered you.

The summary is, you should know what your funder wants and design your pitch to amplify it.

A business pitch can be writing or oral. Whatever means you are using or you are required to use, always try to be clear, concise and straightforward. You wouldn’t want to bore your audience with unnecessary jargons or unfamiliar business terminology.

Now, where can you source your business funds?

 

Building A Strong Personal Brand – How

Building A Strong Personal Brand – How

How to build a strong personal brand?

I will give you five points

1. Find your message

A brand is all about communication. It’s simply telling people who you are and helping them to define you by that. Until you have found what to say to people about you, you cannot build a personal brand. So the first question you should ask yourself is “What is my message? What do I want to communicate?

For example, you wouldn’t stay with me too long to discover that I am passionate about God, food and Agriculture and entrepreneurship. Now, these are my messages. You can hear and see them loud and clear in everything I do, on my social media platforms, on my websites and even in my day-to-day conversions.

That is your message.

2. Be your message

A personal brand is more of who you are than it is of what people think of you. Many people focus on trying to convince people of their identity and spend less time on actually building the identity. That’s a wrong way to go.

Once you have discovered the message, the best way to communicate it, is to be that message. It will become easier for people to identify you and know you.

That is where the capacity building becomes critical. Is your message entrepreneurship? Then learn everything you need to learn about it. Is it fashion? You can’t afford to be left behind.

Do you want to be known as a leadership expert, a Human resource authority or a tech guru? Then build your capacity to become the best of it.

I totally agree with the founder of CoinState, Justine Wu, when he said “Be a master of your craft, skillset or industry before starting a personal brand. Then your content will help amplify who you are.”

3. Send one message at a time

The emphasizes on “at a time.”

One of the greatest enemies of building a strong personal brand is trying to be everything to everybody to be everywhere at all times.

It is both frustrating and futile. It shows a lack of focus and sends a confusing message of your personality to your audience. A brand is about identity, and secure identity is built on consistency.

To build an identity that makes you stand out of the crowd, you will need to be distinctive from the crowd and send out one strong message at a time.

Note, the keyword is “one at a time”. In as much as you can be many things in life, you can’t be too many things at a time. As I will always say, no one gets to the top of the two maintains at a time. A single (or few), clear and consistent message can help to strengthen your personal brand anywhere, anytime.

One of the best advice I have heard about brand was by Adams Smiley “Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific” he said. The narrower and more focused your brand is, the easier it is for people to remember who you are.

4. Be Real

Nothing kills your brand faster than claiming to be what you are not. Is like giving people hope that you have food in your house only to come and realize that you are also as foodless and as hungry as they are. They will not only be disappointed but will be angry with you for raising their hopes and dash it.

Why saying you are an expert when you know you are still learning? I have seen a lot of experts on social media. Don’t join them for the sake of it. Earn it before your claim.

Earn it before you claim it. Building your life around your message protects you from the temptation of claiming to be what you are not.

Branding is not a deception. It is ‘packaging’ in the sense of it. Don’t get me wrong, the packaging is not bad, especially when you are not packaging empty container and not labelling water as Kerosene in the name of packaging. Do not package an empty box.

Do not package an empty container – it courses more harm than good. Nobody buys a terrible product twice.

I hope I am not speaking in parables?

5. Communicate your Message

Nobody can know who you are until you let them know. Go out there and tell your story. Create contents around your brand. Make sure is Consistent, Original and Genuine.

Don’t forget, Consistent, Original and Genuine.

Until you have horned your writing skills, you may find it challenging to build a strong personal brand. Show me a strong brand, and I will show you a skilful writer. That is why I will always say that everybody should be a writer. If you don’t start your story, nobody will tell it. You have to be the one to start your story.

It is your responsibility, not any other. Note that, the power of your brand lies in your ability to own your values, beliefs and principles and communicate them authoritatively.

Do not just go about agreeing with everybody’s opinion. Develop a mindset of your own and stick to it. They are people I respect, and I look up to, that does not mean I agree with everything they say. If it is not in line with what I believe, and there is no convincing evidence to back it up. I may never agree with you. Disagreement is not always a sign of disrespect; every real leader understands.

 

 

Building A Strong Personal Brand

Building A Strong Personal Brand

When you hear the word brand, what was the first thing that came to your mind? Apple? Facebook? Ajaoko? I wouldn’t be surprised, because these are great names in the business world. But a brand is more than just a name. It is not even a logo; neither is it only an exclusive of the business world. Then what is a brand? Follow me.

What is Personal Brand?

Your brand is the unique combination of skills, experience, values, principles and personality that you want the world to see. It is the image that people create about you. It is what people say about you when you are not in the room.

Everybody has a brand. Yes, everyone has a brand.  It could be visible or invisible, real or fake, good or bad. In the 21st century, your brand can express itself in two different forms, the offline brand and the online brand. Both of them can open or close doors of opportunity for you. Get you hired or fired, can win a grant for you, or you can be disqualified because of them.

Now that we know what personal brand is, let’s take a look at your online brand. Try searching your name on google and answer these questions. Sincerely.

  • Did anything appear on the first page that’s connected to you?
  • If yes, is it what you want to appear on google when you type your name?
  • Does it reflect the sum of your skills, experience, values, principles and personality?
  • Do you think when an employer or a selection panel run a google search on your name they will be glad to hire or select, based on what they see on google?

If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you have a powerful ‘online’ personal brand. But if no, welcome. This article is for you.

You can either ignore your personal brand or let it develop on its own, possibly indiscriminately, outside your control. Or you can help massage your personal brand to portray you as the person you want to be and be known Read that again.

In the 21st century, what people think about you matters? Yes, it matters a lot. Most of the time is not the skills that distinguish people, but what perception? I think we have done enough justice to this, let’s move the thing.

Why do you need a personal brand?

From our discussion so far, you might have already picked one or two importance of a strong personal brand. But In case you have not. Let me spell it out.

1. It helps you to stand out from everybody: The truth is that they are always thousands of people who have the same or better qualification that you have and maybe qualified for the same job you are eligible. But if you have a more reliable personal brand online, there is every possibility that you will be considered.

2. Through your brand, you can demonstrate your knowledge, skills and area of expertise.  If people do not know the skills and experiences you have, it will not benefit them or you.

3. As a job seeker, your brand enables your employer to build trust in you. As an entrepreneur, it can be a game-changer for gaining more clients and even customers.

I saw one striking revelation that 84% of millennials trust neither the advertisements nor the brands that create them. Yet, they are prepared to believe people they feel they “know”– even the business people behind the brands they detest so much. Ellon Musk of Tesla, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway are good examples of this fact.

4. A strong personal brand earns you respects from the people you have not even met. And you know what comes with that.

Do you desire a strong personal brand? Learn how here