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New tech opportunities amid COVID-19 crisis

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses struggle to stay afloat, but some tech companies are seeing boosts in revenues.

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New tech opportunities amid COVID-19 crisis

These days, it seems all anyone can talk about is the epidemic that has taken over the world — Coronavirus. Fortunately, there has not been an alarming number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, in comparison with the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, the two recorded cases from the past weeks are now confirmed to be cleared of the virus, which I think is great news.

New tech opportunities amid COVID-19 crisis

The pandemic has resulted in economic fallouts globally, as many businesses are experiencing downturns. Apple, for example, one of the worlds’ biggest tech companies, warned its investors recently that it would miss its revenue targets for March because of supply chain disruption and fewer sales in China.

However, as businesses and stock markets struggle to stay afloat, some tech companies are seeing boosts in revenues. It has been said that in every crisis, there is an opportunity.

People in isolation around the world have turned to digital means to continue with their daily lives which means that now, more than ever, digital tools are proving to be vital, so tech companies are bound to benefit greatly from leveraging these opportunities:

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Internet connectivity

Bandwidth and data consumption will definitely increase as, for many in isolation, the only means of communicating may wind up being solely digital. There will be an expected and urgent need for broadband internet access that is functioning and secure. Also, if this persists long-term, there will be a need for a better built out fiber-optic connectivity, especially to low-income citizens and rural areas.

(READ MORE: Coronavirus: Airline Operators of Nigeria demand restrictions on travellers)

Remote collaboration tools

People still need to get work done; businesses as well will begin to employ remote collaboration tools like Zoom, a video conferencing software, in order to eliminate the limitations that may arise due to the lockdown. With these tools, your team can still hold brainstorming sessions or even have simple check-ins. International tech companies like Microsoft and Google have taken the first leap by giving free access to live document collaboration to facilitate business activities.

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Educational tools

A shift to homeschooling is becoming a reality for many around the world. To keep student learning afloat, educational apps will be maximized.

COVID-19: How the tables turned on Europe

Entertainment

Streaming websites like YouTube and Netflix that monetize their content will no doubt see an increase in advert revenue, as more people use their platforms for entertainment. Businesses can also leverage visual content or video marketing to drive traffic via YouTube or any video streaming website to boost revenue.

Delivery services

The precept about social distancing has been encouraged; with that, many US consumers have been stocking groceries for long weeks to be spent at home. A significant number of these consumers have done their shopping online. This trend, due to the crisis, is expected to keep increasing with each day.

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Guinness Nigeria Plc jostles to improve from its insipid 2020 financial year

In the 2021 financial year, the task before the company is to drive its strategic objectives to bring the company back to profitability.

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Baker Magunda, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Baileys, Why Guinness is a stock to pick - RenCap 

Guinness Nigeria Plc has started its 2021 financial year with a loss, just like the company did in 2020. However, this time, the value of the loss adds up to N841 million for the opening quarter. In 2020, it was N370 million, which set the tone for what eventually degenerated into a truly horrible and uninspiring financial year. A year that saw loss position in the aggregate 12 months period peak at N12.6billion.

READ: Brewery sector: A quarter to forget

READ: Guinness’ parent company expects alcohol sales to improve as restaurants and bars gradually reopen

Apparently, all that could possibly go wrong with Guinness, did go wrong. From what in retrospect, turned out to be an over-ambitious outlook at the start of the year, to the effects of not giving immense attention to controllable costs, rise in inflation with its resultant pressure in decreased consumer spending, and the crippling effects of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic; no company could have asked for worse.

However, the horrendous performance was not peculiar to Guinness Nigeria alone. The results from its competitors, such as the International Breweries Plc, and Nigerian Breweries Plc, amid appalling industry figures recorded, proved that 2020 has been a tumultuous year indeed for all companies operating in the brewery manufacturing sector.

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READ: No trophy for International Breweries after bland Q2 results

The analysis of FY 2020

How poor was the 2020 FY performance of Guinness Nigeria and what can be inferred from its Q1 2021 reports? For a company in the habit of declaring dividends especially after the N5.5billion profit in 2019, how did the company move from that profit margin to a loss of N12.6billion just 12months after?

  • Profit declined by 129.1% from N5.5billion Profit after Tax in 2019 to N12.6billion Loss after Tax in 2020. This Steep decline was evident in all arrears from top-line to bottom.
  • Gross profit down by 16.9% to N33.33billion in 2020 as against N40.13billion reported in 2019
  • Revenue plunged 21% to N104.41billion in 2020, from N131.5billion generated in 2019.
  • Cost of sales did show some improvement, moving from the N91.4billion expended in 2019 to N71.1billion in 2020 – a 22% decrease.
  • Administrative cost continued the rising trajectory to N14.3billion in 2020 from N9.9billion in 2019.
  • Finance cost rose to N4.5billion from N2.6billion in 2019, while finance income declined from N750.9million to N301million in 2020.

READ: PZ incurs N1 billion in exchange rate loss 

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Speaking on 2020 results, Mr. Baker Magunda, Managing Director/CEO, Guinness Nigeria Plc said,

“The last quarter performance of fiscal 2020 was significantly impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19, exacerbating the already challenging economic environment. Closures of on-trade premises (bars, lounges, clubs, and dine-in restaurants), which represents the major part of the consumption occasion for our products and bans on celebratory occasions, impacted sales.

“Demand was also impacted by reduced consumer income, unemployment concerns due to the shutdown of a large number of businesses, and increases of VAT and excise throughout the year.”

READ: R.T. Briscoe declares N618.9 million loss in H1 2020, as sales of vehicles fall 

Magunda further explained that, “Distribution was impacted by the ban of inter-state, and in some cases intra-state travel. Although, Management worked diligently with regulatory authorities to minimize the impact, this hampered our distributors’ ability to restock and have our brands available for purchase.”

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The analysis of Q1 2021

In the 2021 financial year, the task before the company is to drive its strategic objectives to bring the company back to profitability. The Chairman, Mr Babatunde Abayomi Savage, recognizes that this would be no stroll in the park, as he affirmed that despite predictions that the coming year will be challenging globally due to the new normal, “we believe we have experienced our full share of the impact and are now geared to go back to profitability.”

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READ: MTN, Airtel, Glo, other Telcos’ operating costs drop to N1.756 trillion in 2019

The opening quarter for 2021 (July-September) saw improvements in sales volumes on the back of eased restrictions from the COVID-19 necessitated lockdown.

  • Revenue posted is N30.02billion, 11.64% increase from the N26.89billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
  • However, Cost of sales worsened by 21.1%, increasing from N18.9billion in Q1 2020 to N23.01billion in Q1 2021.
  • Marketing and distribution expenses, as well as administration expenses, showed marginal reduction, depicting management interest in controlling these variables.

READ: Q1’20: Okomu Oil’s result is more proof that essentials always win

Bottomline

Generally speaking, results for the opening quarter show signs of improvement, but the tax component was the primary factor responsible for masking the progress obtained in Q1 and eroding promising signs.

With the gradual re-opening of its previously closed company buildings in Benin City, and the shift in focus from the largely underwhelming lager segment to investing more in spirits, it will be interesting to see how this impacts volumes and revenue in subsequent quarters, despite the apparent economic conditions.

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Columnists

Theory of Motivation: Solving immunization and child education challenges

Nigeria should experiment with opening up the RSA and Health Savings to all Nigerians irrespective of age or occupation as a policy to reduce infant mortality.

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Mother and child

Every CEO knows that when you want to improve performance, you track and reward. Every mother knows this as well, you have kids and you want them to wash their dishes, you could threaten them with “no TV until plates are washed”, and they will reluctantly do it. However, if you offer them N10 for every plate they wash – that can be used to buy sweets, they will be motivated to go beyond washing only their own plates, but yours as well.

This simple concept that humans are driven by rewards is the basis for incentive programs in the workplace and marketplace. Airlines offer miles program, where you earn a reward for spending your money to fly with them. Some employers will offer you club membership if you stay with the company for a length of time; thus, rewarding your length of service and taking advantage of your experience. Businesses are happy to invest in these “reward” programs because they create brand loyalty, retain customers, and even create referrals.

The incentive theory is a major theory of motivation. The theory of motivation essentially states that “human behavior is motivated by a desire for reinforcements or incentives.” The incentive theory states that “The greater the perceived rewards, the more strongly people are motivated to pursue those reinforcements.”

Governments have recognized the positive benefits of reward programs, and have sought to reward their citizens for performing certain actions. For example, in Brazil, there is a social welfare program called the Bolsa Familia, which provides aid to poor Brazilian families, but what is unique is that the scheme only pays benefits if the children attend school and are vaccinated.

In this case, the Brazilian Government is seeking to track educational attainment and reward it. If kids from poor families do not attend school, the direct cash payments stop, if they attend and get vaccinated, then each family gets $34 per month. The Government is offering a reward of 17% of the minimum wage as an incentive to motivate and reward poor Brazilians to get children vaccinated and educated.

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In Nigeria’s Kebbi State, The World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conducted a study on cash transfers. It found that “cash transfers offered to women from ultra-poor households in Northwest Nigeria have an immediate positive impact on household consumption, as well as female employment and well-being”

Nigeria should experiment with opening up the RSA and Health Savings to all Nigerians irrespective of age or occupation as a policy to reduce infant mortality, promote a saving culture, and create a pool of long term savings in Nigeria.

Imagine if every child born in Nigeria received a one-time deposit of N100,000 into his Retirement Savings Account from the Federation, provided that by the 5th year, the child has been enrolled into a primary school and has taken all immunizations; and the one time Federation contribution cannot be accessed until the child retires or reached the age of 65 -whichever is later.

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This account balance can be transferred to a Nigerian Housing Fund where it can also be accessed if the owner seeks to make a one-time payment for a first-time home purchase. Funds can also go to an education fund and the account owner can continue to make contributions during his working life – tax-deferred.

Clearly, this scheme would incentivize primary enrollment and immunization, and we know there is a direct correlation with education, maternal health, and family income – especially for the girl child. Most importantly, this will create a savings culture for the parents, the children; and in the long term, reduces the societal burden of paying pensions. The tax-exempt status will also allow savings to grow uninterrupted for 18 years minimum – compounding those returns.

The maths is good. If the Federation invested only N100,000 per child and contributed nothing for 65 years, at a very low rate of 2% per year – the return in 65 years (using compound interest) will be N262,252.32. However, if the parents invested just N100 a month (N1200/year) to this same account at the same rate, the payout in 65 years will be a total of N265,399.35.

Remember this is at a 2% annualized rate, what happens if parents contribute N500 a month at say 5%? It is definitely worth considering.

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Personal Finance

How to own your first home debt-free in Lagos

If owning your own home debt-free in one of the most expensive cities in Nigeria is what you seek, then these tips will really help.

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One of the natural desire for every human being is to advance their lives to the level where they can fund their own dream home. Yet only a few people ever achieve this goal. The majority of people do not achieve this goal. Not because they don’t want to. But because they lack a clear path to follow. So if owning your own home is your desire. And if owning this home debt-free in one of the most expensive cities in Nigeria is what you seek. Let me show you how it can be done.

There are two key factors to consider before owning your first home. These factors will determine how fast you own your home and whether you own it debt-free. The first factor is the purpose of your first home and the second factor is your mindset and approach.

READ: GroupFarma acquires 1000 hectares of land for cultivation and processing of premium rice

1. The Purpose of a First Home

The purpose of a first home will to a great extent affect how fast the goal of a first home is achieved. Different people attach different purposes to their first home. But if you want to achieve this goal debt free you must focus on achieving one goal at a time. The reason for this is simple. Your budget is limited at this point and you are most effective focusing on one goal at a time. Second, it is your first time and you are likely to make mistakes. Third the lesser the goal you try to achieve the sooner you ascend the homeownership ladder and own other homes. There are three kinds of homes to own if you approach your first home the right way. The first is the Starter Home also known as the First Home. The second is the Dream home also known as an aspirational Home. And the Third is the Income Producing real estate. Which can be commercial, residential, or mixed-use. While it is possible to try to achieve all three homes in your first home. It is a mistake to do so on a limited budget and when your experience is low. You will do a poor job at it and never truly achieve all three goals. The most effective purpose for a first home is to help you gain freedom from rent. Eliminating rental cost is a worthy goal to attach to your first home especially if you want to do it quickly. And move on to owning other more desirable homes.

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So now that you know the three kinds of home and the purpose to attach to your first home. Let look at the second factor that can affect your home ownership goals.

READ: Official: Y Combinator accepts CowryWise into its summer 2018 batch

2. The Home Owner Mindset

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There are two kinds of mindset and approaches to homeownership. The first is the last destination mindset and the second is the Progressive mindset. Recognizing where you belong is critical for success.

The Last destination mindset is the mindset that approaches their First home as if it is their last. They try to build all three homes in one usually on a limited budget. And they do a poor job at it. They do this because they are driven by emotion to impress. They set unrealistic targets, overbuild their homes, drain their finances, and sacrifice their financial security. The worse of all is that they build these houses in faraway neighborhoods with low-quality tenants, low rent-ability, and the ability to command premium price. The result is financial stress, buyer’s remorse, a strain on their health, and a depreciated lifestyle in retirement.  It is hard to make a good decision when the experience is low and emotion is high. The key to building a first home is to keep it simple. Focus on gaining freedom from rent, learn the lessons, and build other homes.

The Progressive Mindset approaches home ownership in a different way. They recognize that their first home is not their last home. And that their appetite and budget will change. They set realistic targets, build homes that meet immediate needs, and fund their homes from their hard work and discipline. The end result is financial peace of mind and the ability to move faster to other types of homes.

So whether you have the last destination mindset or the progressive mindset one thing is common to both parties. They struggle to fund their first homes out of pocket.

READ: FG to provide solar energy to 5 million Nigerians within 12 months

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How to Fund your First Home Out of Pocket

The major challenge facing those trying to own a home is how to fund their first home out of pocket. There are expensive and non-expensive options to choose from. One of the least expensive options is to fund the building of your own home from your own hard work and discipline. Taking a loan for a first home is not advisable as it limits your chances of ascending the homeownership ladder. The second reason is that anything you are doing for the first time will be first done poorly before it is done well. Doing trial and error on other people’s money increases your financial risk. Third funding your own home out of pocket keeps your budget within the limit. The temptation is to increase the budget when you have access to a loan. So if you are ready to fund your first home out of pocket let me show you exactly how you can achieve it.

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There are six things you need to do to fund your first home out of pocket successfully. The First is to move from a single income to multiple streams of income. The second is to build a solid cash Reserve for liquidity. The third is to protect yourself from emergencies. The fourth is to invest in the Right Land and Neighborhood. The fifth is to share the cost of construction. And the sixth is to use innovation to build easily rentable, and sellable homes. Below I explain each of these concepts in detail.

READ: NCDMB launches LPG Composite Cylinder Manufacturing plant in Bayelsa

1. Move from One Income to Multiple Streams of Income

A single Income is too weak to fund your homeownership dreams. Having multiple sources of income is the fastest way to achieve your goals. To create multiple streams of income there are three steps to follow. The first step is to combine a part-time income with your full-time income. The second step is to add a solid passive investment income and earn money in your sleep. The third is to have other human beings work for you. Moving from one income to multiple incomes takes deliberate actions. It also takes access to income-earning opportunities and the strategic effort to combine sources of income that can work together easily. To fund your dream home you must move from a single income to multiple incomes. If you need help achieving this migration send an email to [email protected]

2. Build a Solid Cash Reserve

Homeownership is a cash draining activity. Thus you must maintain liquidity throughout the process. The only way to do this is to build a solid cash reserve that can handle basic needs. Building a solid cash reserve entails two things. The first is earning more income and the second is managing the financial demands from your past life and present lifestyle. To own your own home out of pocket you must produce new income streams and keep a low maintenance lifestyle. You must also run an economically efficient household if you are married and bring everyone on board. Without this, it is hard to achieve success.

3. Protect yourself from Emergencies

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The majority of the things we call emergencies are created and not bestowed. There are created from our lack of timely decision and planning. So if you want to live an emergency free life you must plan ahead for likely emergencies. There are three things to do to an emergency that is likely to occur. The first thing is to prevent it. The second thing is to make provisions for it. And the third is to transfer it to a third party.

 

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So what types of emergencies are the most likely to occur?

There are six emergencies to plan for if you must achieve your homeownership goal disruption-free. The first is the loss of Income. You can protect yourself from this emergency by building a solid cash reserve. The second is the Health Crises. No sick person can build a house. So maintaining positive health habits that keeping your health resilient and strong is critical. You must also make provisions for medical bills. The third is Car emergency. A major car breaks down will affect your productivity and concentration.  You must thus plan ahead for car emergencies and protect yourself with the right insurance vehicle. The Fourth is school Fees. School fees like rent is a major cost element that can interrupt your housing project. You must ensure that you keep your school appetite and budget within reasonable limits. Putting your children in schools that massage your ego but deprive you of your goals is not wise. It is the main reason why people end up becoming a burden in retirement. The fifth is rent. You must keep the cost of rent down and within reasonable limits. High rent and homeownership do not go well together. The sixth is Parental care. Parental care can be a major disruption if not planned for. They include parent’s upkeep, health care cost, and burial expenses. You must plan ahead for these costs and use the right insurance vehicle to transfer them.

Funding your first home with little or No emergencies is the key to quickly achieving your goals.

4. Choose the Right Land and Neighborhood

Buying an already built home or building and buying land at the same time is a difficult goal to achieve for most people. So the less difficult way to acquire the land first. And this is where acquiring the right land comes in. Acquiring the right land is all about investing in the right neighborhood. And there are certain factors that determine the kind of land you should buy. These factors are what I call the end goal factors and there are four of them.

The first is the Build and Live end goal. This is where you build your first home and live in it. If this is your goal buy land where you can live and be happy. The second is the Build, Live, and Rent end goal. This is where you build a multi-family home and live in one and rent the others out. If this is your goal you must buy land where you want to live and where other high-quality tenants also want to live. The third end goal is Build and Rent. This is where you build a house and rent it all out with the hopes that the rental income will pay for the rent where you live. If this is your end goal you must invest in neighborhoods that can attract high-quality tenants. The fourth end goal is to Build and Sell. This is where you build a house and sell it with the hopes of reinvesting the proceeds in a better location. If this is your goal you must invest in neighborhoods that can command premium sales price.

Your end goal and exit strategy are what determines the type of land you should buy.

But what if you cannot afford to buy the land where you want to live?

There are three things you can do. The first is to take the land banking Route. This is where you buy pieces of land in hopes that in time, it will go up in value. Perhaps because it is in a strategic location. Land banking may be appropriate for you if homeownership is not an immediate need.

The disadvantage of land banking though is that it is risky. It is risky because you are guessing that an event in the future will increase the value of the land. It is also risky because you cannot control the speed of appreciation of your property which may take 10-20years. Lands in developing areas are also the most difficult to sell. Land banking thus works if you are willing to tie up money for a long time. It works especially well when an area is in transition or carries a huge potential for future profit. Land banking and homeownership are thus are two separate paths.

The second option is to make more money fast and accumulate what you need to fund your own land investment. You can also leverage the installment payment offered by most land companies to make the investment easy for you. The third option is to combine resources with friends or people of like-minds and co-invest in a neighborhood you all want to live in.

Breaking down the homeownership goal into a land investment first before construction is the best way to own a home without breaking your back. You must also ensure to invest in neighborhoods that are desirable, livable, and rentable.

5. Share and Reduce the Cost of Construction

By default, everyone builds their own home with their own resources. But it is possible to share the burden with other people if you choose the land correctly.  Sharing the cost of construction can happen in two ways. First, it can be through a Joint venture between you and a developer. Where you contribute the land and the developer build the houses. Bringing in a developer as an investor and partner to build the house for an agreed reward is one of the most effective ways to build your first home. It brings in the capital you need plus the developer lends you his or her expertise.

The Second way to reduce or share the cost of construction is by partnering with friends or people of like minds. If your land is in a desirable location you create massive opportunities for partnerships both from ordinary people, developers, and investors. The key to success here is to answer this question. What kind of land do I need to buy that will attract investors or my friends to co-invest with me? And then focus on getting that land.

6. Build easily rentable and sellable homes

Building a home is more than just creating a box where people live. It is about using creativity to design eye-catching, and conversation-starting architecture that stands out. When you build a home that makes people stop and notice you get automatic referrals. And selling or renting that home becomes easy.  If your end goal is to sell or rent your home, you must use innovation to create something likable and distinctive. This is not to say you should spend a fortune on your first home. You can be creative without being foolishly expensive. The key to success here is to know what your target tenants and buyers want. And to know what they will pay a high price for. Unless you are sure a feature will add value to the sales price, there is no need for it. Building homes just for beauty and ego is a waste of money. Tenants and buyers will only invest in your home because they like them and not because you built what you like. Ask yourself the question. “What design elements could I innovate into my property that would make it more desirable and command premium than competing properties? With some concentrated effort, you can find the answer.

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Funding your first home out of pocket is simple but not easy. To succeed you must combine the elements of earning more income, investing in the right neighborhood, reducing the cost, and approaching it with the right mindset. If you need help achieving any of the steps highlighted in this article or need a homeownership mentor to guide you, we can help you. Send an email to [email protected]

 

Remembers it is better to be rent-free and loan free at the same time and not transfer your rent from a landlord to a Bank-lord.

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