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Career tips

14 ways to turn your small business into an asset of value

As an entrepreneur, there’s only one goal you should be aiming at – “To turn your business into a wealth-creating asset of value.’’ This perspective is according to renowned Venture Capitalist and Business Growth Accelerator, Pavlo Phitidis. 

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As an entrepreneur, there’s only one goal you should be aiming at – “To turn your business into a wealth-creating asset of value.’’ This perspective is according to renowned Venture Capitalist and Business Growth Accelerator, Pavlo Phitidis.

A business is an asset of value if:

  • It is sellable.
  • It is fundable.
  • It has continuity (i.e., it can keep on going even after you have left).

Here are a few tips to help you get on your way:

  • Build something special. This means creating a business that solves a particular problem in a particular way.
  • Make sure your business is not solely dependent on you. Build a business based on systems that can run without you.
  • Be passionate about your business and purpose-driven. “Purpose is the antidote to being overcome by passion. In any entrepreneurial endeavor, the purpose should leave the legacy of the effort in play when you move on.
  • Diversify your revenue streams.

[Read Also: Should Uber customers be called out for their bad behaviours?]

Now let’s go in-depth: Owning a business and running it well is not for the weak. It requires bold-minded individuals who have good organizational skills. Additionally, to succeed in business, you must be ready to face challenges and severe risks.

Today, every business owner wants to make more profits than his or her competitors. However, as an entrepreneur, it is not possible to increase profits in your company without coming up with an effective strategy that will beat the competition. You need to understand that there are variables that determine the level of profitability of every business. Therefore, in order to increase your profits, you must work hard to improve these variables. Some essential tips are as follows:

  1. Innovate: Innovation is the key to success for any small business. Super Jam, started by a Scottish teenager who went on to become a teenage millionaire, is a great example. Schoolboy, Fraser Doherty, made jams using traditional recipes from his grandma that he sold at community halls and small stores. Doherty began innovation of his products by maximizing fruit content of the jams. Customers are always looking for higher quality products at the right price, which is what led to him improving his jams.Depending on the nature of business and expertise you possess, continue innovating and improving the quality of your merchandise or services. This attracts more customers and eases the marketing process. Armed with superior quality and reasonably priced products and services, you can make your small business more profitable. Innovations and improvements can help your small business compete at par with giant players in the market.
  2. Hire the Right People: You should not focus only on basic qualifications when hiring employees to work in your organization. If you want to improve your profits, you must employ staff who are driven by passion and motivation. Your workers should be creative and determined to achieve the goals of the company.
  3. Focus on Finding and Retaining New Customers Daily: You should attend networking events regularly to attract new customers to your company. As a businessperson, you need to spend most of your time interacting with your customers and informing them about your goods and services. After winning customers, you need to treat them respectfully. Once you treat them well, they will become loyal to your brand and play a significant role in making your business profitable.
  4. Eliminate tasks and activities that don’t add value: Every naira you save by eliminating the cost of things that don’t add value to your company or to your customer drops directly to your bottom line.
    [Read Also:Zenith Bank Unveils Easy Online Dubai Visa Application]
  5. Increase pricing: If you bill hourly, review your billing rates and push them higher.  If you charge per product, look for ways you can command a higher price.  Could you add more value into a package?  Improve your marketing and sales scripting to effectively sell at a higher price?  Or could you just boldly increase your pricing?
    Most businesses set their prices when their business was first launched, and since they were so hungry for business, they set pricing levels low. Over time, the business likely only made nominal increases to pricing every few years, but rarely did the owner ever sit down and fundamentally rethink his or her pricing model. Well, take a close look at your pricing now.
  6. Consistently look for ways to lower your fixed overhead: Scrutinize your base expenses to eliminate non-strategic expenses that just don’t add value to the company or to the customer.
    Set optimal inventory levels and stick to them.  Constantly be on the lookout for ways to safely reduce your inventory levels.  If you have inventory, you’re unlikely to sell, scrap or donate it so that you can free up space and write off the inventory.
  7. Sort out your proposition or offer: What makes you different from the rest? Why should people buy from you rather than the competition? Be able to articulate the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of your business in a way that is truly effective. You should be able to do it in ten words or less.
  8. Get customers to buy at least 3% more often: Encourage your customers to come back more often, start sending out a newsletter or social media campaign to get them to visit more often. Check out tools like Typeform or SurveyMonkey for surveys, Google AdWords can be an incredible tool to target sales at specific customers through re-targeting too.
  9. Advertise Your Brand Wisely: You should hire experienced marketers to create awareness for your brand to your customers and prospects. Additionally, if you want to achieve more in your business, you must be ready to use unique techniques to reach your target audience. For instance, you should use social media platforms to create brand awareness. Also, you can start sending cold pitches, setting up sales calls, and sending customized commercial emails to your customers and prospects. If you get a good customers base, your profits will increase.
  10. Use Resources Well and Cut Costs: One of the perfect strategies to become profitable is by cutting costs in your business. You should get your raw materials at a lower price. Additionally, you need to work smart to minimize production costs. When marketing, you can start by using free resources like social media sites to avoid overspending. When you start getting good money, you can now start investing heavily in marketing and other operations.
    [Read Also: Is it a smart business move for parents to employ their children?
  11. Motivate and Empower Your Employees: Your employees require an excellent environment to perform their daily activities. A clean and favorable environment will motivate them and increase productivity and profits for your business. Moreover, your employees require training and inspiring messages regularly. Therefore, you should hire an expert every year to train and inspire them.
    It is advisable to keep the records of your employees accurately. You can use a human resources database to track everything in your organization. The database will enable you to monitor the performance of each employee and work on their weaknesses to improve productivity.
  12. Analyze Your Competition and Be Creative: If you want your business to remain relevant in the market, you need to learn many things from your competitors. After learning from them, you can complement the best strategies that they use and apply them to improve your operations. However, to make your business stand out from the competition, you must be creative. It is advisable to come up with innovative ideas that will bring more profits.
  13. Provide Great Customer Service and be consistent: Your customers deserve excellent services whenever they come to buy goods and services. Therefore, it is advisable to make them feel valued by offering them customized services. Providing an excellent service will make them loyal to your company. They will always buy your services or goods instead of going to your competitors. However, you must be consistent in-service delivery to maintain a good reputation.
  14. Position Your Business to Where the Demand Is: You know what makes a business or product valuable? Demand. The more people want your product or service, the more you can charge, and the more volume you can sell. If you’re in a dying industry, it can be hard to create demand. You need to reposition your business. You can try expanding through marketing campaigns; however, they can be inefficient and ineffective long-term if you don’t have a clear strategy.

[Read Also: How to standout in a saturated market]

The key to demand is to remember your new customers and clients probably look a lot like your existing customers and clients. Where can you find more of them? The demand for your product or service probably already exists. You don’t need to create demand, you need to position your business where the demand is! If you can find demand for your products and services, you will gain repeat customers who buy more and buy more frequently. Demand creates sales, sales create cash-flow, and every business needs cash-flow to be valuable.

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In conclusion, you should keep detailed records to help you in understanding where your company stands financially. Proper record keeping will enable you to face challenges confidently and keep your business on the right track.

 

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    Career tips

    7 key ways women can effectively build a professional career while running a family

    Juggling between work and family life has been one challenge faced by many women.

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    7 key ways women can effectively build a professional career while running a family

    According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources, women make up 44.94% of labour force in Nigeria as at 2019. It can be estimated that more than half of this number of working women are wives and mothers. This is quite impressive and shows an appreciable increase in the number of working women and working mothers to compared to what was seen two decades ago.  However. The rise in the number of working women and mothers also increased some of the problems working wives/mothers faced both at home and at work. In fact, some of these problems remain largely unattended to in the Nigerian society.

    In our world today, especially in the corporate world, where competitive nature is prevalent, a lot of women have risen career-wise and have carved a niche for themselves. Some of the career choices they made has put so many of them in a state of dilemma. i.e. juggling between their work as well as their family life, thereby making it difficult for them to strike a balance.

    READ: 10 side businesses to sustain your professional career

    In addition, many husbands, especially in Nigeria where patriarchy is strong do not support the idea of their wives working. A few who buy the idea, do so grudgingly, thereby, not offering their full support and cooperation to their wives.  This, however, has made a lot of relationships suffer.

    Contrary to the above, many men give their wives full consent to work, pursue their dreams and professions. In Nigeria, there is an indication that most working mothers/wives are working not just for self-fulfilment but also to supplement their husband’s income in the face of persistent inflation and to assist their spouse financially.

    A lot of people find it difficult balancing the strike i.e. their career and family, leading to some having to quit their jobs. Nevertheless, there are some women who, over the years were able to balance their professional careers with that of their family, and these women have become source of inspiration to so many women finding it difficult to strike the balance. And they are the likes of Oby Ezekwesili, Folorunso Alakija, Aisha Ahmed, Ibukun Awosika, Toyin Sanni, Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu and so many other women striving in their area of specialization.

    READ: President Buhari approves N13.3 billion for Community Policing in Nigeria

    According to Mrs. Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu (MD/CEO, NSIA Insurance Company Limited) in an exclusive interview with the Amazons Watch Magazine editorial team, she said that “balancing work with family life is quiet challenging to achieve but is very achievable. I think women more than men need to realize that it is essential to start early to focus on a desired career and we need to stay the course when marriage and children come. We do not have time to play around or to waste, and we must stay motivated and not burn out. Women, by starting early would already have set a pace, before family life comes in. Even when you don’t start early; women must realize that many times, we need to do more. We must stay the course”

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    According to Ibukun Awosika (Chairman Firstbank Nigeria) “In life, you decide on those things that are important to you, because as a woman I have all my visions and dreams and I want to achieve them. I want to also be a successful mother to my children and I want to be a successful wife to my husband; once I am able to balance it up, it will make a successful home. All we need is understanding. And we need a balanced home to have the right atmosphere. I also apply wisdom most of the time because the day my children matter most to me, I create time for them. The day it is my husband that matters, I create the time. The same goes for my work. If not, everything will crumble and that is why I need to measure the percentage of attention I give to them and that is why I can’t advise another woman on how to run her family because it is your circumstances that determine your kind of action; my home is different from any other home. I am happy to be married to the best man.”

    READ: Women and unemployment in Nigeria: How government and stakeholders can bridge the gap

    Here are the 7 ways to help make sure both your career and your family flourish:

    Having a supportive spouse is key to balance

    Having a supportive spouse is key to balancing your career and family because he will assist in the responsibilities of taking care of the family. Having a supportive spouse will enable you reach your career height. They go as far as being supportive of their pursuits to seek higher education thereby supporting them financially, morally, emotionally and otherwise.

    Though at times some when overwhelmed might grumble about a woman’s dedication to her job, however, as a woman the best way to resolve this concern is by being diplomatic. Nevertheless, when your spouse is being supportive, it is still imperative to give them top priority and also tend to their needs.

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    Planning and time management is crucial

    Good planning and time management are crucial to balancing career and family. A lot of people are faced with the challenges of taking care of their young children/ pursuing their careers. Some will plan it in a way that they will pursue postgraduate degrees or career advancement when their children are older.

    Also, when planning and managing time, figure out your family’s priorities. Have a calendar that includes dates when bills are due, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more. It is always recommended to use a Google calendar, which can be easily shared and synced on smartphones. Set aside 15 minutes each Sunday to review and prepare for the upcoming week’s schedule. This helps eliminate surprises during the week. Also, have a time put in place to take care of yourself by going to a spa and exercising (like a yoga class). Remember to eat well and get enough rest. These are simple things a lot of working mothers/wives’ neglect.

    Be focus and work hard

    This is specifically true for women who want to compete for leadership positions and elevate higher in their careers. For you to get to that position you have to be focused and work so hard to avoid your gender being a hindrance to your success. There is often pressure from employers on women to convince them that their loyalties lie at work and not at home, since working mothers might not be able to afford to spend extra hours doing overtime or other work-related activities which can jeopardize their family. The best way to meet up with all the expectations is to be focused and work super hard. Multitasking will aid you to achieve your goals. Avoid time-wasting, casual internet browsing, gossiping, and long lunches. All these things cause distractions and make you less productive.

    Hire a good house help/nanny  

    When trying to balance a professional career with family, it is advisable to hire someone that will take care of your children. You may decide to employ a house help/nanny or even invite a family member, like your mother/mother-in-law to come around and take care of your kid(s).

    When hiring a help/nanny it is always imperative to do a background check of the person you are bringing inside your home so you wouldn’t end up creating a problem for yourself and for your family. Go for someone that has excellent experience and is adaptable to kids of various age range; caring for newborns and older children who need homework help.

    The house help could cover the necessary functions, such as cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the children while both parents are at work. It is imperative to show your house help love so they can reciprocate and take good care of your children when you are at work.

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    Find quality creche for you kids

    Using a Creche (for toddlers) is a good way of balancing your work and family for those that do not want to hire a nanny/house-help. There are some inexpensive schools you can enroll your kids, where they will receive proper care. Having them enroll in Creche will give you ample time to focus on your job and grow your career. You and your spouse can reshuffle on how you both can go for school runs. Choosing a Creche is not something you carelessly pick out and move on, the reason being that leaving your child in the care of others is a major act and needs your utmost attention. Before choosing a Creche it is important to take note of their services and leave room for evaluation to be sure they are in good hands.

    Go for online courses

    Getting an education is very important to a lot of women as it enables them to achieve higher leadership positions. Having a successful career has to do with furthering your education, whether through degrees or certifications.

    For this to be feasible, since you are trying to balance your career and that of your family, it is advisable to venture into online professional courses/online Master/PHD courses. Going into online courses will give you sufficient time to take care of your family and also aid in self-development which is a good ladder to enable you climb faster in your career.

    Create a family time

    Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. Always create family time, like having a family breakfast and family weekend. The family weekend covers going to the movies/amusement parks.  When you are having family time, avoid talking about work or checking your phone. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests by asking questions about their friends, classes, and hobbies. With older children, ask for their activity suggestions and try to meet their needs.

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    In conclusion, being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to be focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood.

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    Career tips

    Great tips for landing a job during this lockdown

    The coronavirus pandemic has had its impact on job opportunities, but here are some tips for landing jobs.

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    Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

    The economic lockdown and movement restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on job opportunities. Some of them could be in the form of job losses, getting new jobs, or even changing the way we work.

    Given the unemployment numbers especially in these challenging times, it might be hard not to be apprehensive.

    According to a report from Bloomberg, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for personal finance website Bankrate.com, said, “It’s important to remember that there is hiring happening. There’s always attrition and individuals leaving for other jobs.”

    Robin Ryan, a career counsellor, said that just a few unemployed people are job hunting at the moment. Most believe that there are no jobs, they can’t be hired, or that only lower-level jobs are available.

    Here are some tips for landing jobs during this lockdown.

    Beat the system: Make a list of your recent jobs and your top accomplishments at each of them. Those are the items that should be on your résumé. To get past automated applicant vetting systems, enter your work tasks—budgeting, project management, graphic design, team leadership, etc.—in the first bullet point under each job. Don’t include extraneous formatting, such as text boxes, tables, footers, or headers, because application software can’t recognize it.

    (READ MORE:Skills Africa needs for sustainable development)

    Assess your prospects: You have to find out if the opportunities in your industry are shrinking. According to Hamrick, “many people fail to see that their skills might apply to a variety of settings.” Consider some of the sectors that have stayed open in the lockdown—finance, real estate, food and other consumer goods, technology, and retail, plus suppliers and distributors for each. If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. “There’s a need for people to help facilitate digital transformation,” Hamrick says.

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    Some tips for landing a job during this lockdown

    Hit up recruiters (Recruiting agency firms): Let them help you with your resume and offer suggestions about things you might do to stand out.

    Use your resources: Companies are filling positions needed to support virtual workers as part of their pandemic strategies. Many company websites might not yet reflect these changes, so try popular online job search websites, type in a company and your city, and you’ll get a better sense of what kind of hiring is going on.

    Network: That friend-of-a-friend who previously ignored you. He’s home now and might be up for a quick Zoom coffee date. Connect with everyone you know in your field. (LinkedIn is good for this.). Those connections build on each other. You can ask mutual acquaintances to introduce you to people who can help and once that happens, you can fix a virtual coffee date. If that goes well, ask for an introduction to a hiring manager or supervisor. You’ve got nothing to lose.

     

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