Tips from The 33000

Thursday, 3 July 2008

"What" and "Who" you know.

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Hello people, it’s been a minute and for that I apologise. Work and hustle often distract the mind and take us away from the things that feed the mind. So here’s hoping you enjoy this one and do have a great weekend ahead.

Great ideas vs. great contacts; One of the best things that can happen to anyone is a great idea... I say happen because that’s exactly how it feels. Be it personal or professional you just feel like someone opened your mind and shoved it there. It can also mean absolutely nothing. A great idea is no different from a bad idea. The only idea that counts is the one that makes it. That gets out of your head and into real life. One of the common errors in work and life is that we think that a great idea is all we need to get through the door. ‘Oh once they hear this idea and I finish my presentation; they will love me and I’ll be rich!!’ WRONG!!! For every great idea you need a great contact and sometimes a great contact at work or where you want your idea to go into is better than the idea itself. So… Got a great idea? Fantastic. Now go get a great contact to make that idea work!

Simplicity; Like we know; every thing that is around us is based on an idea. Very often what works against us is the complication of that idea. Don’t get me wrong it’s a simple enough thing to turn on your television and watch satellite television from the other side of the world or get a fax and wonder how on earth the fax machine works because the technology behind both are far from simple. What is simple is the end product. The mobile phone giant Nokia had one simple mission in mind when they switched from a plastic manufacturing company to mobile phones…A Nokia should be incredibly easy to use. No matter what functions are contained inside, it should be easy to use. As SIMPLE AS THAT! If its good enough for NOKIA its good enough for you.

Face to face; Technology is great and saves time, money and makes life easier and easier to live. That’s the plus side. Sometimes it works against us. Ever had a business contact that you have never actually met but have spoken with extensively? Find one day, somehow, someway and meet them. We are more likely to do something for someone we know in person; even a chance meeting will put you in better stead that simply being a phone number/ email address... Because in the end that is all you are until you actually meet in person.

Saving Phone Numbers; the mobile phone in the 2oth century is essential for living (think when last you received or made a call on your landline???) One of the common dilemmas we are faced with is finding a particular number on your mobile phone. With phone contacts so easy to store as soon as you meet someone this can be a complete nightmare. TRICK? Save the name of the company or office where that person works before the person’s name. So it could be ‘GTB Kunle’. You are more likely to remember that the person works in that bank than the person’s actual name. Plus every time you type out GTB; everyone you know that works there will pop up.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Success is the child of audacity…. Benjamin Disreali

CHEAP TIP OF THE WEEK; this one is for the guys. Have a pair of shoes that are just a bit loose? Too embarrassed to stuff the front of those shoes with socks or worse still newspaper!!(Damn growing up in the 80’s!!). This week’s cheap tip is to wear TWO pairs of socks. Preferably the one on the inside should be the type they give you international flights. The shoes will feel like the right size immediately.


The Ant and the Elephant

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An ant and an elephant are standing at the foot of a long bridge and they both want to get across. The ant looks at the length of the bridge and realises just how long it’s going to take to get to the other side. He politely asks the elephant if he can get a ride on its back. The elephant figures the ant doesn’t weigh a lot and says ‘sure, get on’. They get across the bridge in a very short time and successfully end up on the other side. The ant gets off the elephants back and proudly declares ‘WE SURE SHOOK THAT BRIDGE EH!’ The elephant smiles at the irony of the statement but has to agree and says ‘Yes we did’. POINT? In many instances at work and at play we are often ants…We want to cross the bridge but going it alone is a long and painful journey that may break us. Every business has an elephant. Every idea has a shorter, faster and better way to get of the ground and stand on its feet. SO ??? Go find your elephant!!!!

DELIVERY BUSINESS; the delivery business is unique in the sense that it grew from being an additional service for a lot of businesses to a business on its own. My idea for a delivery service would be one that had nothing to deliver itself but delivers for other people. Example? A delivery service that attaches itself to restaurants that have no delivery schedule of their own. The Motorbike/vehicle is stationed at the restaurant, cutting down waiting time and charges a flat delivery fee regardless of what the restaurant adds on to that. The advantage here is a built in customer base and the restaurant enjoys a value added service at no additional cost to themselves. If you delivered 10 times a day at N500 per delivery…The math begins to add up!

BAKER TO THE BANKS; everyone loves cake!!! Okay maybe not everyone but most people love cake and that’s the basis of this alliance. Most banks have a particular set of customers called HNI’s (HIGH NETWORTH INDIVIDUALS). The pitch here is simple. Every one of these HNI’s has a birthday and every birthday deserves a cake. So if you can pitch the banks to allow you bake and deliver cakes to these customers all year round then your bakery has a head start. Most banks have at least 100 HNI’s and this is certainly a great place to start as you build your client base and ultimately market share.

THE 100 SALE; One of the trickiest things to do is market a new product. Matter of fact it’s hard enough to market anything which is why it makes sense to start with the people that you know. Take 100 people off your phone and look at them as your first clients. If you can pitch and sell to 100 people on your phone then you have a great start. The world of buying and selling is hard and rough so it’s always better to start with customers who have an obligation to you. THINK ABOUT IT!

This weeks post is a little more practical than most but that’s cause at the end of the day success isn’t always pretty or exciting; sometimes it’s about knuckling down and doing the math.

PLUG OF THE WEEK; do check out the opening of the new APPLE CENTRE at Ceddi plaza in Abuja this Saturday 24/05/08

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at him…David Brinkley

Concept Business

Adegbe Ogbeh sent a message to the members of The 33000.

Subject: TIP OF THE WEEK!!!

In February 2005, three friends named Steven Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim started a small video sharing site called You tube. In October 2006 they sold the site to internet giant Google for 1.65 BILLION DOLLARS (YES I HAD TO HIGHLIGHT THAT!!) In less than two years they went from nothing to everything. Could this happen in Nigeria? Not likely. Apart from banks recently acquiring smaller banks and Visafone’s acquisition of existing smaller networks you WILL hardly hear of stories like this. The point here is these three guys took a CONCEPT BUSINESS and ran with it. They took a great idea and made it work. So can you

CONCEPT BUSINESS; More than any other time in our history, people are choosing to go it alone. Either by adding a Nigerian twist to ideas that have worked in other countries or providing a service and learning how to charge for it. The real question here is whether or not a concept business can pay your bills and keep you afloat or take you under and leave you wishing you’d taken a job!

CHOOSING; one of the most difficult choices the entrepreneur is faced with is a ‘good idea’. The idea becomes a problem because you are left with the tough decision to stay at your job and work your idea from inside or quit your job and face it head on. The honest truth is that either decision will hurt; the only question is ‘how long will it hurt?’ My advice? Keep your job and deploy your idea until the pull is so strong that you have to choose. It may sound strange but the daily bread that comes in each month will often act as a safety net to allow your CONCEPT BUSINESS grow until it can stand on its own two feet.

CUT AND PASTE; everything can work everywhere…. Or so it seems, so why don’t Americans like soccer that much? Would you able to build and manage a drive through restaurant in Nigeria? Could you launch playboy magazine in Ghana and not have problems? Understanding that when we cut and past concepts we must have a firm grasp of the intricacies of that particular environment is crucial to deploying a concept business. Take for instance my idea of a television that can help you find its remote control when it goes missing.. Just press a button and the remote starts beeping. Sounds simple right? So how come no one’s done it!!!!!

PRESSURE; Concept businesses are very likely to fail. Why? Cause if they were so obvious then everyone else would be into it. The rewards are great if you break through but the likelihood of failure is great. Should that scare you? ABSOLUTELY. But more that it should tell you that every concept business must be supported by a regular one. In our economy, new ideas take a long time and that time may often be too long for your you. So don’t give up. Instead think of a way to do both and lets see if your concept doesn’t become our reality. Don’t cave in to the pressure, Understand and face it.

DO CHECK OUT Http:// for some pretty good stock market information

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; The Concept is well formed and interesting but in order to earn better than a C, the idea must be feasible….Yale University professor on Fred Smiths Idea for FED EX delivery service.

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text THE COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000.

Success is a Journey, not a Destination

About 20 odd years ago the comedian Jim Carrey wrote a cheque to himself for $20 Million Dollars. Strange? Absolutely. He was out of work and living in his car! Crazy? Definitely! His style of comedy was quirky and odd and he received very little work except for one small thing….. He knew he was funny. Convinced beyond belief of his own humour he wrote that cheques and kept it in his wallet until he cashed it. He went on to become the first comedian to receive $20 Million dollars for a film. Are there still other crazy comedians out there with cheques in their pockets? Thousands I’m sure…but the truth is …that’s good for them. We’re concerned about the one who made it.

DOUBT; while tip of the week leans towards the entrepreneur I like to believe that there are lessons here for anyone looking to succeed. There is nothing wrong with doubt. It’s absolutely human. The problem lies with letting it take root. Then you’re dead. Examine your doubt; buy it a drink if you like but NEVER EVER let it in. Success is mostly based on the illusion that you have already succeeded and that’s all you can see. We succeed first in our minds and then we make it real.

THE PATH; we have no idea what we’ll be doing this time next year. Make no mistake; all the fancy plans and great ideas can never predict the future. Steve Jobs of Apple said in an interview that he could ‘ONLY CONNECT THE DOTS LOOKING BACKWARD’. We do our ABSOLUTE BEST and we try it all because we have no idea where it will lead. Take this post for instance…Free advertising I thought but more than that it is now a forum for the quick short exchange of ideas and a ten minute read on Fridays. Where will it lead? I HAVE NO IDEA!!!!

LOOK AROUND; speaking to a member of this group once, he proudly told me how he never reads bulk text messages. ‘I just delete them’ he said. How can we hope to dominate our environment when we are bereft of information? Read EVERY stupid bulk message you get because it takes less than 60 seconds and that information can’t kill you but who knows when it’ll be important to you. Read the papers and . Check out ONE new website a week. Be aware and use it too your advantage.

STICK OUT; when I need to get things done I always go to my phone. If I need a lawyer, architect, information…whatever. The thing is I know exactly who to call. The question here is what anyone will call you for. Do you deliver? Are you good at what you do? Can they trust you to deliver if they assign the task to you? Let every one know who you are and what you do. I have a good friend who is an architect and I already know that he will build my house someday, WHY? Cause he’s good at what he does and he STICKS OUT!!!! If you have a business or product you want us to plug on 33000 then send the information to me and consider it done.

PLUG OF THE WEEK; please check out and also look up . Also look out for the FACE OF SELARA SHOW in Abuja on Wednesday the 19th of March. Promises to be HOT!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby…Ruth Renkel

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text THE COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000

Dream and Believe

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Sometime in 1916 a former engineering student called James Wilkins proposed a bridge that would span the Golden gate strait. With opposition from workers unions, the army, railroad companies and even the city of San Francisco and a proposed budget of $100 million dollars it was deemed incredibly expensive and therefore could NOT work. Mr Joseph Strauss and Charles Ellis (working for literarily no pay) eventually designed and built the bridge for $26 million dollars. Construction started in January 1933 and finished in April 1937. It was completed under budget of $1.3 Million dollars. POINT? It took 21 YEARS and the deaths of 11 men from inception to the first feet to cross the bridge that day in May when it was officially opened (120,000 people crossed that day!) .The bridge is an internationally recognised architectural structure and has impacted on commerce and living and suddenly people don’t remember a time when the bridge wasn’t there. Al because one person thought about it…

Time; One of the biggest barriers to any dream or desire is time ( think of a little child who wants ice cream and cant wait long enough for the cone to be filled and handed to him or her!!) As adults we understand that the ice cream is second’s away but as children it’s too many seconds too long. The time between concept and delivery of our ambitions and dreams never quite pan’s out the way we planned. It’s either much sooner or much later. Inevitably it’s much later. So? Avoid putting timelines on your dreams. We must put timelines and schedules for the implementation of our dreams and activities that will propel them but we cannot put them on the dream itself. There is no greater death to a dream that running out of time

Patience; The very essence of living. People borne with a natural patience have an unfair advantage over every one else (not be mixed with a lazy attitude or inactivity). Genuine patience that combines the confidence that what we are doing is correct and like the bamboo tree may not show growth immediately but its time is coming. If you lack patience then find it. Alongside giving action to your plans patience is the vital ingredient that will give those plans time to bear fruit.

Failure; A lot of our plans will fail. I have personally done everything from shoot and sell pictures during inter house sports days (circa 1990 at kings college Lagos) to opening a ‘light’ laundry service. All of which made a little profit at the time and the people with whom I still do business. POINT? These projects failed at some point but until you understand failure then you cannot understand success… It’s okay to fail. What’s not okay is to let the failure continue. Delays and setback and impediments and a lack of finance are not failures…They are simply speed bumps. They may slow you down but they SHOULD NOT STOP you from getting to the BANK! Fail as much as you like but never stop trying to succeed.

Action; Most married people stared off saying a simple HELLO to each other. As simple as that….HELLO. Twenty years later and a lifetime of children, work, successes and failures all started with a simple word. Translated to our competitive business world… Stop planning and thinking and strategising and waiting…ACT!!! Pick up your phone and get the ball rolling. This generation will out spend the one before it and our children’s fees will far outstrip whatever Corona was charging at the time! The future will only be as bright as you make it. ACT and tell yourself that I will be the very best at this thing that I am doing. The greatest fortunes in Nigeria have not yet been made. Keep that in mind and everything else will follow.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; How you spend your time is more important that how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected but time is gone forever… David Norris

What is Necessary.

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At around 2.30 pm on March 30th 1981 John Hinckley JR fired six shots at President of the United states; Ronald Reagan. One bullet hit the president and punctured his lung. He did not know at the time that he had been shot and the wound was only discovered when one of his bodyguards checked him for injuries. 30 minutes later the president arrived at George Washington Hospital, wiped the blood from his face and WALKED in unaided. He was admitted for immediate surgery. On April 11th he was discharged and went on to win a second term in office and become one of America’s most popular presidents. POINT? Great difficulties will arise unexpectedly and often push us to the edge but we have to wipe the blood off our faces and walk tall! The problems we face in life, work and play will continue to challenge us, push us and sometimes damn near kill us. We can’t change these problems but we can certainly face up to them and put on our bravest face whilst we do so

FITNESS; Professional athletes will often tell you that true fitness is not just the ability to run long distances or stay physically active for long period of times. True fitness is also about the speed of recovery (you know the feeling after you’ve been up a long flight of stairs and you are still panting 5 minutes later!!) We know that the more we exercise then the more physically fit we become. The question is how ‘LIFE FIT’ are we? How well have we trained our minds to recover from setbacks, bad news and serious difficulties that often leave us in utter despair wondering if it’s ever worth it? Success requires LIFE FITNESS. The ‘fittest’ amongst us are those who take the knocks and NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

GOOD NEWS/BAD BEWS; Sometimes we are required to be the bearers of bad news. That’s life and you deal with it. The challenge here is that the bearer of bad news often gets blamed for it. Your partners, co workers and clients will simply blame it all on you. The trick here is to always deliver bad news with good news. Always. Find something that the other party wants to hear and just as you deliver the bad news then you deliver the good. Will bad things happen to challenge our faith in what we do for a living? Absolutely. The thing is so will good things. People remember the things most recently heard and this goes a long way in managing any crisis and making sure that every one concerned can get through it. So always save the good news for last.

CONVINCE THE ENEMY; they are called pessimists and naysayer’s. Never able to see more than what is clearly obvious and always looking to knock down any idea or energy that comes out of you (you know who I’m taking about!!!). Unable to accept anyone else creativity they simply tell you that whatever it is you are talking about won’t work. It can’t work and if it would work then someone else would have done it by now! Conventional wisdom holds that we ignore these ‘negative elements’. I say we convince them. Imagine them to be investors or customers or clients and convince them of what it is you are saying (it will be very hard I can assure you). If you can convince these people then you can convince anyone. The pursuit of our dreams often requires the investment and resources of other people. Sometime it takes more than just a power point presentation and a slide show. Sometimes you have to dig deep. Convince the pessimist and you can convince anyone!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved ….Helen Keller

Where you need to be...

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Chief MKO Abiola, Donald Trump, Lyndon Baine Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ray Charles, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. What do they have in common? If you answered greatness and wealth your answer would only be half correct. More importantly and less known is that they rose from poverty and achieved greatness. Why? Because they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The tenacity and incredible ambition of those who have known the wretchedness of need and the pain of hunger carry something in them that if we could buy would cost the earth. DESIRE. Unfortunately for most of we all live in a city called comfort. For the most part we have been borne in different parts of this town and for the most part we may die there. Comfortable. Having needed only a little more and by extension worked only a little harder.

TOMMOROW; if History is anything to go by then we are assured that tomorrow will cost more than today. Guaranteed. As we grow older and the world turns we will need more and more resources to stay afloat. In one generation we have gone from One television families to plasma TV watching, Ipod listening, cable owning, frequently travelled nation. Like it or not it costs much more to live in our world today. We must stir the pots and see every opportunity before others do. Look to those who constantly succeed and learn. Be not afraid of today for it is already here, its tomorrow that is truly scary.

A PLACE CALLED COMFORT; there is no greater comfort than comfort and once you take that away from most people they freak out and panic. We are dependent on instruction until we have to give those instructions ourselves. You will often hear the phrase ‘comfort zone’. In truth it’s not such a bad place if we don’t want much. However I live in a generation that wants to retire at age forty and sail around the world for the rest of the time….Only problem is there is no clear cut plan on how we’re going to get there. The COMFORT ZONE is the worst place to sit and ponder on what can be. Look outside of yourself and expand your talent. The world is ours to have but the price is heavy and work is hard. We are what we do. So get doing.

LIKE MINDS; writing this post has exposed me to the creativity and desire that exists in this generation. It may sound very Hollywood to say that there has never been a greater time to succeed but I say so. Why? Because this is our time. I recently received a call from a group member who said he is inspired by what we write and talk about every Friday. I was inspired that he picked up the phone to call. I seek minds that want much more than we are being offered or have been given. Speaking with Olaoton (Publisher of Whats New Magazine) yesterday we worried out loud about our dreams and our work. In the end we agreed on one thing. WE CANNOT GIVE UP. I seek out those who want it because those are the only people who can share my burdens and in the end my success. Find your true peers and share your burdens for the work is hard but we must NEVER give up.
IN TRUTH; we probably all suffer some degree of laziness and hesitance because once we have access to some of life’s goodness we worry very little about what else we can get. We already have so much given to us that we must use it always to our advantage. The comfort of our past must not become a burden to our future. Wake up and smell the coffee… or should I say the INDOMIE!
Have a great weekend

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; you win some, you lose some, and some get rained out but you have to suit up for them all……..J ASKENBERG.

Home Grown!

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In 2000 I attended the Nigerian Law School with a certain Funke Buknor Obruthe. At the time there was only on law school so every one came in from their various universities and converged in one place for one year. We met early on and had a fairly fateful conversation one a fairly ordinary day. Chatting about exams, the law and the future she stated, rather shyly that she would like to design and manage events someday, preferably weddings. Many weddings later and at the end of most Saturday’s I’m often left wondering just how much money Funke has made today!

In 2003 I was introduced to a certain Abu Balewa, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University and had just moved to Abuja. Extremely fashion conscious he bought and sold exclusive items of clothing to all of us and had a great customer base in Abuja. As these things go he mentioned to me that he would love to start a magazine someday taking his love for fashion and style to the biggest stage possible. MODE MEN Magazine was born in 2006 and seven editions later in addition to opening his own store (no more selling from the trunk of his car!), Abu is well on his way to achieving his dreams.

Suburban Telecoms. 3 friends who came together in early 2000 to deliver world class support services when mobile telephony first came to Nigeria. My personal admiration for this company cannot be overstated and the achievements and challenges overcome will always remain a shining example in my mind. When Bruce, Ahmed and Sule started their journey, not many new how far they would go. Million of dollars in revenue for a home grown company essentially following their dreams will always be applauded. While the rest of us rushed out to buy our Sim cards and make our first phone calls. They saw opportunity and for that I will always admire suburban.

In the mid Nineties a fast food company called TERRIS BURGERS started out in Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex. With a small stand and the tastiest burgers, Shawarmas and finger foods available; Terris burger created a niche for itself and people would come all the way from Victoria island just to get a bite of that burger!( I still remember the BIG ET burger!!) Terri’s opened another branch in 1004 and then the standards started to fall and the dream died. Fast forward to the empire that is Tastee Fried Chicken. We celebrate both dreams understanding that dreams must remain no matter how far we think we have come.

These stories celebrate the visions and dreams that are right here amongst us. While America remains the bastion of success and incredible achievement, there are those amongst us who are tomorrow’s brands. This is only a glimpse of determined business men and women that we will celebrate over the next year and they represent something inside of all of us. Success is not a destination but a journey and we all want to succeed. All of us who have chosen to walk the walk are faced with a need to follow something so intangible that we often doubt the sanity of our work.
History is not written in one day and as we write the list of the new entrepreneurs, the dreamers who dared, we must borrow one single thing from them; BELIEF.
Is this generation ready? I say yes. One by one we will pick out and celebrate those who are succeeding every single day.
Some say the real fortunes have not yet been made. I say… I agree.

From Scratch

Do you know who Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith are? Probably not. Okay so do you know Hotmail? Probably do. Hotmail started as a an idea between the two of them and after raising seed capital of $300,000 they started in 1996 and 18 months later (20 million customers strong) they sold the company and service to Microsoft for 440 MILLION DOLLARS.
When we started 33000 we set out to create a service that would be used nationwide on the only platform that would was available to fulfil the potential for revenue generation and excellence in service deployment. The challenge? Marketing and a lack of curiosity. Would the service have been an instant hit outside of Nigeria? Probably. Do more people use our service now? Yes they do. The real lesson here is to take the stories like Hotmail and place them in the context of our emerging economy.

ADVERTISING SUCKS; the phrase ‘word of mouth’ marketing is self explanatory. If I like something then I tell someone else about it and the chain goes on. The real challenge is that in Nigeria we are almost dormant in our response. When last did YOU see a Nigerian website advertised and actually check it out? If you wrote a list of ten websites that you regularly check, how many of them are Nigerian? When last did you see an advert for a Nigerian product and on the strength of the ad alone you actually looked for that service/product? Exactly!

SMALLER AUDIENCES; Want to start something new? Start small. In every sense of the word you are better off targeting 100 people aggressively and coaxing 10 of them into becoming regular customers. The Nigerian consumer is peculiar in the sense that you literarily have to beat us over the head to respond to new services even when they are free!! So seek out a smaller audience and work them over. That audience will grow..

SERVICE PROVISION; probably the fastest growing start up business in Nigeria. Why? The initial investment is minimal and you don’t need an office. You use all your clients’ cash to lay out the event and best of all you run almost no costs when you have no work. The question to ask though is if we would have paid for event planners or life coaches 15 years ago? Probably not. The truth is that as consumers we are finally keying in to paying for SERVICES along side goods. This is an emerging aspect of business in Nigeria that we should not overlook.

BUSINESS MODELS; Certain businesses work in Nigeria. They have worked for 20 years and continue to work. Study their business models and apply to your business. Do not mock the person who sells recharge cards on the street. It is an effective business model that generates revenue and makes a profit. Study and learn what makes the Nigerian consumer tick. These lessons are hard but invaluable when it comes time to turn a profit.

PLUG OF THE WEEK; please check out and

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Success is the child of audacity …. Benjamin Disreali


I confess to a new found respect for columnists who put in daily articles because this experience is humbling!! This week I’m looking to keep it a little short and I hope that we are still able to share and debate the issues of life, living and work.
Have you ever noticed how business in Nigeria follows certain trends? Almost like fashion there tend to be certain predominant businesses at any given time. Remember business centres? Miracle banks? Clothing boutiques in Ikeja? Exactly. So here is a list of businesses that we think will get their time in the sun in 2008/2009.

BUY TO LET; while this sounds distinctly British in origin and use, the emergence of mortgage facilities in Nigeria with the decent profits to be reaped in redoing homes and putting them on the market will certainly put a new twist on the property business in Nigeria. A definite investment option.

DRIVE THROUGHS; again a very American concept (simply because everyone drives). There will be an emergence of purely takeout restaurants which save costs on interior designs and waiters. They will essentially serve you in your car and the entire process will be faster and possibly cheaper, putting pressure on the traditional ‘sit in’ fast food houses. A definite investment option.

BOUTIQUE HOTELS; Smaller more intimate styled hotels with 8 to 10 rooms. These are a direct result of the pressure on traditional hotels who are often booked to the hilt. The market will also boom because savvy homeowners are discovering the profit margins on converting a home into a small hotel can generate tremendous profits far in excess of annual rent.

SHARES; the market will continue to produce overnight millionaires and doesn’t look to cool anytime soon. The trick as we have now learnt is to buy in the secondary market and trade from there as IPO’s can turn into an investor’s nightmare. Look out for smaller companies who look set to be bought out and always ask the pros.

DELIVERY SERVICES; I recently read about a company in the states that offers ‘dog walkers’. So if you are too tired, lazy or busy to walk your dog; for a small fee they will come to your house, get your dog and walk it! Incredible! While we are still some way from that, there will be a definite increase in services that are purely designed to take the stress of you. From 24 Hour taxi services to companies that offer personal assistant services. There is already a private investigation agency in Lagos (Enquiries and Verifications Nigeria Limited) and a whole plethora of other seemingly foreign services will hit the market.

PLUG OF THE WEEK; Check out and do look at the unique PAMPER ME CAKES by FLO (08023209491)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to lies within us…Samuel Taylor Coleridge

More Business Basics

Happy Friday! (Unless of course you’re still wondering how you could possibly have spent so much money over Christmas!) Never mind because by March you should be back in the groove. Is it me or is 08 starting to feel like 07 already! I’ve been self employed for about 4 years and it’s a rough rough road I tell you. So here are a few tips that I picked up along the way to at least ease your way into that brand new business that you’re looking to start.

FLIERS: Absolutely no point printing fliers. No point at all. (No offense to printers out there!) Put it this way; when last did YOU pick up a flier and say AH! I must rush to ‘fabulous fashion’ and buy these suits that are on sale! Try branded text messaging instead (08034513857, )Cost efficient and target specific.

OFFICE SPACE; getting your work address is vital in creating the work environment that you want. Most first time businesses tend to spend far too much on office space. Whatever your budget to start your business use this formula RENT-30%, RECURRENT EXPENDITURE -30%, MARKETING/PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT -30% . COTINGENCY -10%. Ultimately, start at home and earn your way out of the house.

PARTNERS; like a marriage you have to carefully select who you are going to work with. CAREFULLY. Each partner must bring something to the business. There MUST BE a leader; the heart of the organisation. You partners must be strong in one aspect or the other of your business and if not then they might as well just be customers!

LEARN; Expertise in what you do is vital, if you want to sell bed sheets then you must know what forty thread count cotton is. Research your service/product to death and keep up to date about any new developments in your business. A hands on approach is vital in building your business so roll up your sleeves and LEARN!

COPY; Check out the competition and see where they do better than you. Once you find out, COPY. Flattery is the greatest compliment and if its bringing more customers through the door then you’d better flatter away!

PAY FOR PREMIUM; ever bought something really cheap and had to buy the same cheap thing 3 times over? Added up the total and you could have bought the quality version in the first place. From website designers to consultants, always get the very best you can afford. It may pinch now but in the end it will be worth it

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm- Ralph Wado Emmerson

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text THE COMPANY name to 33000.E,g BRITISH AIRWAYS to 33000,

The Solution

Friday 25th
It seems like forever to get to the end of January but then again maybe it’s just me.
We often feel like we don’t have enough tools for the task ahead of us. Be it a personal or professional task. The truth is we have everything we need to get everything we want. Assets that we don’t acknowledge but are there to be fully exploited. We just need to refocus!

YOUR MOBILE PHONE; More that a source of horrible phone bills and the need to keep upgrading models. Take a closer look at the contacts on your phone. These are assets. If your phone is full of numbers that cannot increase your level of pleasure or decrease your level of pain; then you need a rethink. The contacts we make everyday are all capable of helping to accomplish our goals and advance our career. Your contacts are the most vital asset you have. USE THEM!

SPEAK LAST; in negotiation there is a maxim.... ‘He who speaks first; loses’. So whether in life or at work…. Learn to speak last. The ability to negotiate may even include agreeing to the other parties point even if it makes absolutely no sense to you at all. Learn to focus on what you want before you get there and remember to make that point last.

FACEBOOK; More than a place to tell others how many countries you’ve been too or your current mood. FACEBOOK is a real time marketplace allowing you to push your products/services/self, because in the end..Who we are will hardy be determined by what we know but rather who we know. So look beyond the obvious and ask yourself how FACEBOOK can work for you.

LOOK BEFORE YOU PAY. The internet, friends, newspapers and every source of FREE information are all there for you to exploit. NEVER pay for anything that’s even slightly expensive unless you are certain of the true cost. There is no bigger ‘DUH’ moment than 2 weeks later finding out that you paid 25k for something that really costs 8!! A real kick in the teeth!!!

SOLUTIONS NOT PROBLEMS; A friends dad once told me that he never says the word ‘PROBLEM’. Instead he says ‘CHALLENGE’ and whenever there is a challenge… he only sees the ‘SOLUTION’. The challenge already exists and you cannot change that. SO FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; when you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of actions you should take…choose the bolder
Author; William Joseph Slim

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text THE COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text BRITISH AIRWAYS to 33000.

Some Basics of Business

I have to say that posting every Friday is not quite the easy task it started out to be! Imagine writing a daily blog! SHEEESH! Anyhow we got quite response from the last post about a common sense approach to starting out a business in Nigeria and I’m looking to round that off this week. The 33000 post is now available in YOU TRADE magazine from the 18th of January. .

BUSINESS NAMES; Choose carefully because putting together AMINU, BIMPE and EMEKA to form AMBIEM might seem like a great idea at the time but you have to see your business in twenty years time. Your name should not only be a reflection of your values but also a great way to advertise what you do. (Although AMBIEM would be great name for a company selling lights!)

YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER; Just because YOU like your product and you’ve sold to your aunty, cousin , better half and your mom DOES NOT validate your product. Survey the market outside of your comfort zone. Create a simple questionnaire asking relevant questions of potential customers (100 copies to start).Opinions cost nothing and will easily help with strategy and customer awareness for you service/product.

WEBSITES; THINK GLOBAL. Microsoft, KFC, Krispy Kreme, Google and so many others are companies that started small. Look online and find a site you like. Show your web designer and make sure your website reflects your service/products clearly. Your website is how the world will first see your company.

BUSINESS CARDS; most clients will NEVER see your office. Your website and business cards must be of the highest standards. The client is looking for every reason to walk away so you must give him every reason to stay.

MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS; your business MUST make money in more than one way. It Must. Think THISDAY NEWSPAPER. From a simple daily paper to a nationwide brand; award shows, scholarships, music events, events centre. Look deep into your business and find every way to increase your income.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets …Henry Ford

P.S. Big thanks to everyone that takes time out to read this stuff and even better for replying.

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text THE COMPANY name to 33000.E,g BRITISH AIRWAYS to 33000.

The Fleeting Nature of Ideas

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text the COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text BRITISH AIRWAYS to 33000.

Sometime in 1997 Reed Hastings tried to return movies he had rented from blockbusters video club and was told they were late. Infuriated he went home and wrote out the business plan for NETFLIX. Along with Marc Randolph they launched the online movie rental website with absolutely NO late fees and no physical address to return movies to. You simply went online, rented your movies and they arrived in the post the next day. ONE BILLION deliveries later with blockbuster itself having copied the model as well as Odeon (the European cinema chain), he had successfully turned an inconvenience into an extremely profitable business. NETFLIX finally turned a profit in 2003 and expects $675 MILLION dollars in revenue for 2008.

The electricity situation in Nigeria needs no one to tell its story. Many parts of the country go weeks without a sign of light and the generator industry is doing a roaring trade. A savvy business man in Enugu, Nigeria took this lack of electricity one step further. With the arrival of GSM companies in Nigeria we also got mobile phones. Mobile phones need to be charged. So this clever fellow set up a charge centre. He purchased a small used generator and created a 30 piece adaptor capable of charging 30 phones at the same time at N100.00 per phone. Charging about 100 phones a day, you have to agree that this man has turned a bad situation into a profitable one.

THINK; the power of thought is unstoppable. Too often we chance upon a great idea and either of two things happen. We ask ourselves how come no one else has done it or we say to ourselves it’ll be too stressful and I don’t have the time. Either way, we avoid taking that idea one step further. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur but everyone must work for a living and in every situation there are inconveniences and challenges waiting to be solved….Every solution comes at a price , the only difference is that this time you’ll be the one charging that price instead of paying for it.

LOOK; The idea that you get out of bed, go to work, pass through the gym ( if at all!) and then return home 5 days a week is simply not acceptable. Look around you and see what needs to get done. What do you think can be done better? If you open your eyes then you will start to see loopholes in the way things work. The more you immerse yourself in the concept of turning a profit the more likely you are to see opportunities. LOOK around your home, office and in your personal business and ask yourself what could I do better and in so doing improve my bottom line.

WRITE IT DOWN; in one of the early posts we spoke about writing your ideas down. The energy around an idea is hard to capture the second time around so write it down as soon as it crosses your mind. Don’t worry about specifics or a financial plan just yet. Just write the idea down, anywhere ( a good place is on your phone or even better on your computer and when you come back again to look at it you’ll be amazed at how you could have written all that) So think of something you’ve always wanted to do and write it down. Give it a week and come back to it. You’ll see exactly what I mean

YOUTH; relatively speaking we are all ‘young’ people. The creative energy of our youth plus the mental and physical strength we have now will one day be gone. There will be no greater regret that NOT having tried. The world economy is getting larger with more things to buy and more places to see. We cannot wait for some magic spell to give us financial independence. The difference between you and the financial successes you read about are courage…. AND ACTION

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; it is better to light one candle that curse the darkness…Eleanor Roosevelt.

Income and Expenditure

In the mid 2000’s the management of British airways decided to remove one olive from each meal and each drink served across their entire fleet. A single olive doesn’t sound like a lot except when you learn that the decision saved them £600,000.00 pounds the year the change was implemented. I have been motivated by British Airways for as long as I can remember. While the recent troubles at Terminal 5 may not do much for their public relations I choose to look at their history. A history of innovation and change, always looking forward and never ever satisfied, knowing that their business and service can always be better.

FRIDAY NIGHTS; Due to a lack of statistics we have no idea how much money will be spent between 9pm tonight and 6am on Saturday morning. While this is great news for the owners and proprietors of night spots, do you have any idea how much you spend a month? Probably not. Friday nights are great. Don’t get me wrong. The question is what’s your return on investment? Think about Saturday as the new Friday. We spend less, don’t stay out as along and generally have a more controlled time. In business as in life we must get a return every time we spend money so why not take a closer look at where you spend yours and what exactly you get out of it.

EXERCISE; the importance of exercise simply cannot be over emphasized. It cannot. Most members of this group are in 28-35 demographic and living a sedentary lifestyle where we go from bed to car to desk to car to bed!!! As silly as this sounds it’s absolutely true. Not everyone has the gumption or time for the gym. Then start with eating right. Don’t eat after 7pm. Take one week off all fizzy drinks and see how you feel. Don’t smoke until its dark. Little decisions can have the biggest impact in our lives. Try walking for 30 min around your neighbourhood when you get home. Whatever you choose, make a decision to do something about your health. Trust me; you’ll need it all your life!

OUTSIDE INCOME; whatever we do and however much we already earn, we should ideally have more than one source of income. The growth of our stock market (4 billion Naira to 13 TRILLION Naira) in a few short years provides the immediate option and many have made the market a place to go and earn some much needed external cash. There are however other options and more than the amount of money you make it’s the practice of making money that counts. Repetition as with anything else makes us better at what we do, the more we practice making (and losing!) money the better we get at it. Look around you and get involved with a hobby that makes you money. Large or small
,it sharpens the mind and adds to the bottom-line.

SAVINGS; speaking with a friend of mine recently I realised that I don’t actually save money. As crazy as that sounds I’ve always believed so fervently in carpe diem that I worry little about the future. The theory being that money in the bank is not money at all but money invested will shape the future .ABSOLUTELY WRONG! We must save some portion of what we earn, the argument that you cannot save if you have needs is entirely false. You trim those needs and you save some money. Try N1500 a week (the cost of an MTN recharge card) and at the end of the year you’ll have N78, 000. It’s that simple.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing…that’s why we recommend it daily. Zig Ziglar

*Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text the COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000

Buy Low!

The cardinal rule of the stock market is to buy low and sell high. SIMPLE. Or is it? If everyone knows how to do that then we should all be wealthy…Right? The truth is investing in stocks, bonds and other instruments remains a fine art that we continue to learn as we go along. There is however an untapped market which has superb returns…..PEOPLE! There is no greater investment than in another person’s life. The returns are unpredictable at best but when you hit a great person then that stock will have value for LIFE!

BUY LOW; there is no better time to invest in another person than when there is clearly nothing to gain. When you make a call, give a loan (the golden rule of loans is only loan what you are willing to forget!), check in on and generally take an interest in someone who has nothing and it appears has nothing to offer you in return

BEYOND THE OBVIOUS; it remains the easiest thing to be friends with those that are clearly and apparently successful. It takes nothing to call them or to buy a drink or send a gift. We delight in the company of success believing it will rub off on us. What we ultimately have to do is see beyond the obvious. See those in and around us with real potential. See them for the possibility and not the present reality.

ROLE REVERSAL; Do you ever put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Literarily. Have you ever gone for a job interview or a loan at the bank and been treated badly? You probably have. The trick here is to ask yourself when you are on the giving side of a transaction... How would I like to be treated? If I was a waiter and serving myself, how would I want to be spoken too, ALWAYS put your self in the other person’s shoes.( By the way, NEVER insult waiters/waitresses, at least until the meal is over because its a long road from kitchen to table and they are carrying your food!)

SAYING THANK YOU; there are two types of thanks. The verbal passive one that we use very easily. We just say ‘thank you’ and that’s it, we’re done. However there is no greater thank you than a long memory. To actively give your time, attention, resources and anything else you can give in memory of what someone else has done for you. No matter how big or small.

DON’T WAIT TO BE ASKED; we all have challenges and predicaments in our lives and even if we dedicate all of our time and energy to solving them we would still be left with certain burdens. We don’t have to wait for someone in our lives to cry out for help. We should look to act BEFORE we are asked. It allows the receiving party to retain their dignity and for the entire transaction to be as painless as possible. Just imagine if it was you that received something you didn’t have to ask for.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK; Everything without tells the individual that he is nothing, everything within persuades him that he is everything…. X Doudan

PLUG OF THE WEEK; please check out for Nigeria’s premiere Pan African University
Also check out ESSENSCE OF STYLE group on FaceBook for a stylish collection of clothes and accessories.

*Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text the COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000

Passion to Profit

As we get older the desire to succeed in our careers, in love and in life become the focal point for us all. The true measure of success is no longer how successful (or not) your parents were or how physically attractive you are. True success is measured in physical acquisition of the so called finer things. Our standing amongst peers, family and even the competition (Note everyone that bullied you in school and drove a much nicer car while you stared in envy from a cab!) is paramount to defining your success.

Success is a journey not a destination and as soon as you grasp that then you grasp everything. No one has ever succeeded in a single day and the true entrepreneur has to learn this. We cannot be taught. Can success be defined? The goals that we set for ourselves come and go and we are always looking for something else. Are we not? True success starts in your mind. It begins as with all things as an idea…

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS; The most successful companies in the world started in someone’s mind (not to speak of the family kitchen!). From Kentucky fried chicken to Microsoft and Boeing to Tesco. They all started from one place and in one mind. The truth be told, its owners could not possibly have envisioned the ultimate success of their companies but they did see one thing. They saw the possibility of it all. No matter how small we have to start. That first sale, meeting or introduction. The first satisfied client is potentially one of many more to come.

PASSION; The difference between what we do for fun and what we do for business is very thin. We are often told of how a friend that used to make everyone up for parties has started a make up store and is now doing very good business or another friend who always loved baking cakes is now a successful baker with a lot of clients. Bottom-line? They took their passion and made it profitable. The real question is …What is your passion? The most successful business are founded on passion and run on sense. If you love to do something without prompting and you are able to do it well (Note to all aspiring singers who sing only in the bath!) then find out if other people will pay for it. The rest is up to management and common business sense with a dash of luck. Then you would have turned your passion to profit

DEEP INSIDE; No Pun intended here! We will often hear the most successful business people in the world tell you that they could not imagine doing anything else. They simply had to do what they are doing because they were drawn to it. If you are not compelled then you will not be propelled. All business is hard work. We ignore the hard work because we love what we do. The feeling from inside to provide that product or service is a compunction that we cannot avoid. If you have to search for what you want to do then your job is made doubly hard. It must come from deep inside.

IGNORE THE PAIN; bodybuilders will tell you that ‘pain is weakness leaving the body’ or better yet’ no pain no gain’. This all sounds like abstract stuff reserved for people who have veins the size of small snakes and look like they will never be able to put their hands down! However they are completely right about pain. 80% of all businesses will fail in the first 24 months. A harsh statistic and one that is widely touted in the western world, it is no less relevant to anyone who wants to turn their passion into profit. When you ask a client to pay you for a product or a service that you provide; they will look for every reason NOT to pay you. You are in the right business when you convince them to say yes. If your passion is your business then you will be hurt. Frequently. You will measure your self worth with your business and it will bring you pain. This is however only one side of the coin because if you get over your hurdles and get past those 24 months there is great reward, Great reward indeed. As Jafar says in Alladin ‘You will get your just reward!’

We must seek success in all things because the only other option is failure. If you have a talent or a skill that you want to share with the world and get paid doing it? Then there is no other time like today! Get out your pen and paper and think of what you would like to call your company. Then write down how you would like to go to the market. Decide if you want partners. Write down every conceivable thing that you want to do with your company and start right there! The only way to fail or SUCCEED is to start.

*Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text the COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000