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Financial Literacy

How to use someone’s business idea and make it better

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How to borrow creative business ideas

Creativity is great for any business but sometimes we get stuck in our heads and need a little push or even a hard shove to get going. Borrowing ideas in this regard is in no way encouraging you to steal other people’s ideas but giving you a little push in the right direction. You know like when someone gives you a math formula rather than solving the math problem. It is then entirely up to you whether that formula leads you to the right answer or not. You’ll agree with me that not everyone with the right formula will arrive at the same answer; some will make a detour on the way by missing one figure or an entire step in a whole. This is why some fail and some pass despite having been taught the same thing.

Don’t copy or plagiarize. Simply borrow ideas, infuse your own creativity, and reproduce the now new and (at least slightly) different idea. How do you do this?

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  • Take one part of the idea, brood over it and build on it to get your own distinct idea. Let that piece you ‘borrowed’ inspire you into productivity. Facebook and Whatsapp saw what Skype was doing, brooded over it and now we have both Facebook and Whatsapp video calls which has made the apps so much more entertaining. They didn’t just borrow the idea but built on it and made it work for them.
  • Explore other angles. The idea must have sparked up something in you and suddenly you can see bigger or different options. Take a different angle. Ayoola foods, took this option and while exploring other angles came up with the idea of making yam flour for easy preparation of pounded yam.
  • Break it down. Try to bring the idea down to tiny bits and pieces like construction blocks (the toy ones of course), and build back, this time from your own creative point of view. Wattpad after seeing how much people love reading and writing all genres of novels, took the idea from e-book reader, broke it down and came up with a platform that enables both reading and writing along with viable prizes to be won overtime.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Look beyond the immediate result of the idea because nothing is ever what it seems. When you get the bigger picture you’ll have a broader perspective and your own creativity will flow. Remember ‘ice-water’, those days when people would pour water in a white nylon bag and sell at N5, someone saw the bigger picture and started packaging in better sachets as ‘pure-water’. Someone else saw an even bigger opportunity and started bottling water hence the table water “bottle water’. Today different brands are coming up with different packaging but still selling the same idea.

Be as original as you can with a ‘borrowed idea’ to void breaking any copyright laws. The whole point of borrowing an idea is to build inspiration for your own ideas; just like stated earlier, a push in the right direction.

Patricia

Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience. Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

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Personal Finance

Emergency Fund: Can you raise N50,000 cash tomorrow?

Focus on building up your emergency funds before building a portfolio of assets.

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Emergency Fund

Can you raise N50,000 cash tomorrow? Yes cash, without selling any asset of yours; Can you? This is a very important question you need to ask yourself. One generally accepted lesson from the 2020 economic downturn for both corporations and individuals is to always have an emergency fund (EF). So, what is an Emergency Fund? How is it set up? How is it used? Let us explore.

What is Emergency Fund

An EF is a savings account set up to pool and hold a minimum of three months of calculated Non-Discretionary Income (NDI). The EF is advised as the first activity any investors should undertake. Specifically, before even investing a cent, set up and maintain an EF because this fund acts as an “insurance” or stop-gap for your income or investment portfolio.

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How is an Emergency Fund set up?

An EF captures a minimum of three months of Non-Discretionary Income (NDI). What is NDI? These are expenses incurred that must be settled irrespective of income. For instance, rent must be paid, groceries must be paid, we cannot simply stop paying utility bills because we lost our job and thus income.

Once we decide on an investment plan, the first thing to do is to list out all expenses we will incur and attach a cost to them per month or annual basis but corresponding to the period of payment. We do this to identify the necessary expenses which we refer to as the NDE.

List of expenses

  • Rent N1,500
  • School fees N500
  • Camping/Holiday N300
  • Go to Movies N100
  • Groceries N400
  • Cable TV N200
  • Gas for cars N200
  • Phone Bill N300
  • Eating out Dinner N200

Total expenses for the month are 3,500

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Next, decide which of the expenses listed above are Non-Discretionary. In other words, which of these expenses must be settled irrespective of income? Let us assume our client chooses the following as NDE:

  • Rent N1,500
  • School fees N500
  • Groceries N400
  • Gas for car N200
  • Phone bills N300

These expenses above come to a monthly NDE of 2,900, with a three months minimum of 8,700. This minimum sum means that should the client lose his job or suffer any other income interruption, these necessary expenses will be paid from the emergency fund, without the need to sell down investment assets at fire-sale prices just to raise income.

How is it used?

The Emergency Fund is simply a piggy bank. Once it is set up, you can increase the minimum saving from 3 to 4 and as high as you want to go. What is does is insulate your investment portfolio from losing any compounding or dissipation in principal because you must sell.  So, if there is income interruption due to job loss or you simply want to take a long holiday and write a book, you can do so and still meet your expenses from these savings.

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An EF is not only for downturns, as it is also good for opportunities. A friend of mine bought an almost brand new car from a work colleague that was emigrating abroad because he could pay cash immediately in short notice. Cash is always king when you are in a tight negotiation with a seller.

Your Emergency Fund should be kept in cash or near cash investments. Return on investment for the EF is secondary to access to those savings. Also, you want your EF in an investment class with fixed income with no variation in returns. this means in practical terms do not invest your EF portfolio in equities that pay a variable return or even any asset which may need documentation and visits before you can access your funds. I am also wary of a commodity like gold, which does hold value, but cannot easily be converted to cash. The recommended asset classes to invest your EF are:

  1. Call or Fixed Deposit in Banks
  2. Sovereign Treasury bills, they are easily discounted and converted to cash
  3. Certificates of Deposit with bank

If the asset call cannot be converted to cash in one activity should be avoided. Also, ask the institution if they charge fees for early withdrawal and what those fees are.

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What can I do tomorrow?

  1. Start an emergency fund immediately. Do the expense exercise, determine your Non-Distortionary Expenses, start to build up a savings pot.
  2. Focus on building up your emergency funds before building a portfolio of assets.

Patricia
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Investment Tips

What bad stocks have in common with bitter relationships 

The feeling you get from marrying the wrong partner is similar to that felt after buying the wrong stocks.

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I have always argued that stocks cannot be summarised into one statement for a newbie, until recently when a friend told me that it could.  

“Simply put, buying stocks can be likened to relationships, he said.  

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did not immediately agreebut over the next few minutes, he explained to me what he meant, and drew several analogies to back his claims.  

While he is no expert, I understand that he has drawn his conclusion from his experience buying stocks for himself over the past 5 years, so I took his points seriously. These points have been summarised in this article. 

READ MORE: Cocoa prices melt lower as COVID-19 weakens demand 

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When it crashes, there is no telling how far it can go  

My friend mentioned of some company’s stock he bought in 2016 in the hope of selling short-term. At the time he bought, there was a dip and he expected things to pick up within some months so he could sell-off.  

Two years later, the stock price had plummeted 50% down from the price at which he bought. Without saying, he became a long-term investor because he was not ready to sell off at a loss.  

 

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How does this liken to being in a bad relationship?

As the value plummets, you keep hoping it will rise again and then before you know it you are stuck for the long haul. Same thing can happen with a wrong partner. You remain there hoping things will be better but it gets worse. 

It could happen sometimes that a company’s stock market price comes crashing and it never goes back to where it was againThe factors which triggered its fall, may not even be able to return it to its starting price.  

 

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The stock price is not indicative of the company’s profitability 

For some reason, there are company stocks market prices that remain low year after year despite the billions declared in profits, and the dividends paid out to shareholders.  

Sometimes, the stock market price could still slump even when the company has positive records in its financials. Market experts are not always able to explain this, but it remains true. Some of the most profitable stocks are undervalued.  

 

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You can never take stocks at face value

That a stock has been on an upward trend in the last few months does not mean it will remain so. One must always consider several other factors before purchasing a stock.  

While it is important to look at past performance, there are other things that could point to the likely future of such stocks. 

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Say, for instance, the company has just announced a new board chairman who was implicated in some fraud cases in the past. It doesn’t matter how well the stocks have performed in the last 365 days, or the chairman’s competence, the stock prices are most likely to slump due to loss of investor confidence.  

There was a recent case where the CEO of an internet service provider company was alleged to have been involved in sexual harassment, and was eventually pressured by shareholders to resign. The pressure came not necessarily because they thought he was guilty, but because of the implications on the company.  

You have to probe to discover the real qualities.  

 

The most expensive stocks are not necessarily the best. 

If you ever heard a stock described as under-priced or over-valued, then you should understand that the price you pay is not necessarily suggestive of the value.  

Some great stocks, with good potentials, high liquidity, good company profile and adherence to corporate governance ethics, are not as expensive as they should be. While some other stocks are ridiculously overpriced, even when they do not have as much promise. Some of these overpriced stocks could still be basking in past glory or just positive media hype.  

This explains why investors must conduct due diligence before putting in their hard-earned money. Sometimes the media hype around a company’s stock might not be giving you all the information you need to make a decision, so you necessarily have to go the extra mile.  

Subscribe to newsletters from financial news websites if you need to, take courses if you have to, but ensure to learn all you can.  

Remember price is what you pay for the stock, but value is what it is really worth, and there is no law stating that one must justify the other.  

READ MORE: Global stocks records astronomical gains in Q2 2020

When you get the wrong stocks, you get stuck! 

You know that feeling when you are sure that you have made the wrong choice, but also know that there is no way out? That’s the feeling you get when you marry the wrong partner, as my friend said. And that’s the same feeling you get when you get the wrong stocks.  

You simply get stuck.  

No returns. No dividends. Probably, no way to sell either because no one else is interested in buying from you. And if you do succeed in selling off at this point, you would most likely be doing so at a loss.  

If you study trends in the stock market, you will see some dormant stocks that have remained stagnant for long periods of time. No rise in share price, no fall in share price, and no share is being traded either.  

READ ALSO: Best time to make money trading BTCs

It is not a nice position to be in, and that is why you want to be sure of the company, its management, and board members who take the decisions before you decide to buy or not, even more so when you are a long-term investor.  

And even then, with the wrong stocks, you could suddenly find that your proposed short term investment of 6 months will run into years because you keep waiting for things to pick up before you sell.  

Patricia
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MSME

130 farmers to receive seed funding of N100,000 each

The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country.

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The National Information Technology Development Agency has kick-started a job and wealth creation programme where 130 farmers will each receiv, e seed funding of N100,000Border Closure: Nigerian rice farmers are struggling to feed a rice-hungry nation. CBN to give Niger Delta rice farmers single-digit loan 

The National Information Technology Development Agency has kick-started a job and wealth creation programme where 130 farmers will each receive seed funding of N100,000. The programme will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

According to a statement from the agency, the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) programme is in line with the government’s drive to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, and it will start with 130 farmers in Jigawa state.

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The target of the programme is to adopt farmers in 774 LGAs across the country, open the platform to all agriculture ecosystem players with access to information, facilitate and improve productivity, reduce the cost of production, and facilitate access to local and international markets.

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READ MORE: President Buhari directs Ministries of Power, Finance, BPE to seal Siemens deal

With all of this in place, it is expected that the farmers will be able to build sustainable business models and digital business opportunities that will create not less than 6 million well-paying jobs in the next 10 years.

“NAVSA Platform is aimed at digitalising agriculture to drive Digital Economy, as part of President Buhari’s agenda to leverage on technology and innovation to revolutionise the agriculture value chain,” the statement read.

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Among other things, the farmers will be empowered with a digital platform, smart devices (tablets), connectivity for data and calls, Digital agripreneurship skills, and enrolment with telecom operators and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for identification.

All of these will be given to them at the end of the programme, which will last from July 1 to July 13, 2020.

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Patricia
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