What do you know about money?

Again, this is a question many people would assume or claim they can answer but which in fact only a few can. The reason is simple: Nobody can teach you how to make money; you have to desire to make money, discover the ways to make money and compel yourself to learn how to do it. There is no other way; even those involved in illegal ways to make money learn the hard way unless they go this process. Many people desire to make money but a handful go through the process. So their desire remains wishful.

For most people the much we now about money is what we learned from our parents and those around us who themselves know little about money. So we are a product of all the traditional beliefs and misconceptions about money passed from generation to another. But since history the principle had remained unchanged. For instance, there used to be a time when Christians frowned at any discussion about money and some even openly detested it because it is supposedly the tool of the devil. It took the knowledge of the scripture to change this belief.

Studying Economics or finance or Accounting in school does not substitute for it; none of these subjects teaches you to make money. There are many people with degrees in these fields roaming the street or working for those who studied other courses or even did not study anything at all. Academic education does not equip you to make money; you have to attend of money to know how to make it.

At best what academic education does in those areas is to teach us how to manage money; but you have to make it first before you can manage it. Otherwise, your teachers in schools, such as professors would the richest people around; but are they and why are they not? Again the reason is simple: They know and understand the theories and general principles of money, but not the basic elements of making money. Those who want to make money must learn how to do so perhaps from others who have it or are making it or through personal experience – but there must be some learning to do about money for you to make it. This is the reason behind apprenticeship or mentorship.

Everything in life is governed by some principles, rules or laws – secrets. Unless you know or understand the rules of a particular area or aspect of life, such as marriage or relationship, health, success etc, your chances of succeeding in that area is quite remote. This explains why many ordinarily intelligent and educated people having all sorts of life issues in life. Some of the issues are simply knowledge-issues because we have been wired to see things in a particular way based on our family background, upbringing and socialization.

This is more the case with money. Most people make the mistake of believing they can delegate or hire some people to do it for them; well, you can try if you have the money but the outcome cannot be guaranteed. This is usually the case in investment and we will address it subsequently. But suffice it to state here that it is your responsibility and power to make wealth. If you delegate this responsibility you lose the power and control that go with it. The risk is huge.

Having money to start is not the issue; what matters is what do you do to ensure that the money grows and continues to grow perpetually. Having money is not the problem; the challenge is what you do with the money. Most people who lost money in the stock market during the mania of the 2009 depended on the experts – brokers – to whom they delegated the power to make wealth; see what happened to them. The brokers also have their own interest different from yours.

It is therefore your responsibility to know what to do to make money. Without this element of your active involvement, wealth may be a elusive. There is no great wealth without a person of great knowledge about money in the area of engagement behind it. Otherwise, the wealth would not be sustainable, because it has to grow and only knowledge can do that.

In fact the initial wealth or money may even disappear due o misfortune or crisis; it is only knowledge that can restore it. Making money is an art and only those who know the art succeed. The surprise is that most people spend good money learning one art or the other but believe that you can make money without learning anything about it.

However, some say that when you do something – anything – you are automatically guaranteed money and success. Well, this may not be entirely true. Success may be yes; you may be popular doing something and yet unable to become rich through it. Such was the experience of most sports people and musicians before. But to make wealth, no! Why?

The reason is that you must learn and know to make money by channeling what you do to make and have the ability to manage and grow the money you make from it. And to do that you must understand how to make money in the first place. Otherwise what you would be doing is just a mere hobby or a vocation of some sort. Studies have shown that more than 75 percent of people in any society have financial problems or needs (in our case it could be more or higher).

But the challenge is that many people depend on earned income to meet their financial needs. The truth is that you can’t earn your way to financial freedom. You may begin with earning money, but more importantly, you have to find some way to multiply the money – what you earn – making money while you sleep. However, the truth is that most of us would prefer to keep working, because that is the way we are cultured; we could do that from a place of joy and abundance but without the rat race.

The secret to wealth is simple: Find a way to do more for others than anyone else. Become more valuable; do more; be more, serve more. And you will have the opportunity to earn more.

Keep It Simple (KIS)

Most people live a complicated lifestyle. They clog their lives with all sorts of things and activities that they hardly find room for a time of mental tranquility and meditation. This is a prerequisite for creativity. But that requires a bit of discipline and self-sacrifice. Until you begin to deny yourself some attractions and activities, you will not have the time for greater goals and exploits in life.

All things are lawful, but not all are expedient or desirable. What it means therefore, is that the more habitual things you have to deal with in your life, the less time you will have to develop the capacity you will need to tackle the challenges that will confront you on the way to fame and fortune.

Success has a price, but most people are not prepared to pay it. The reason is that it requires self-denial and sacrifice, but man by nature is selfish and abhors discipline and sacrifice, preferring instead self-gratification and indulgence. Without self-denial and simplicity of lifestyle, you will not have the energy, time and focus and concentration to achieve greatness.

Make a habit of having no habit; our habits should be so unconscious that our interest and relationship are completely simple. Most people are slaves to their own habits that they become so rigid about them even for their own good. The more of those rigid and unbreakable habits we have the more difficult and complicated our lives would be and the less likely we are going to succeed.

Our habits should be very few and unconscious, so that we can easily adjust them when the need arises without any sense of guilt and embarrassment. Any habit that we are quick to remind ourselves of not breaking has not been internalized and is still at the level of routine that we have imposed on ourselves, most likely to reassure ourselves and impress others.

The only unbreakable habit you should have must be one that will lead you to your destiny based on the vision you have developed for your life. Such habits cannot be many; in fact the fewer the better, because it will allow you to focus and concentrate on them. Indeed, any habit that you cultivate that is not directly linked to the vision is a distraction and should be abandoned; otherwise that habit will suffocate the main and positive habit that should take you to your destiny.

The truth is that you are better off with just one positive well-mastered habit than a whole lot of time consuming and energy sapping habits that constantly demand for your attention, as it will reduce the time required for you to succeed. But regrettably, most people lack focus and concentration by being jack of all trade, master of none. The simple reason for that is most people either lack the vision of what they want or the conviction of what they are doing that they are ready to try anything.

Any anybody who can go for anything will eventually settle for nothing. To succeed you must settle for only one thing: that which will take you to your ultimate objective in life; any other thing is a distraction and a gamble. Unfortunately, most of us are natural gamblers, who would want success without earning their stripes. It doesn’t work out that way at all. Remember success has a price; so don’t seek success without first counting the cost; otherwise, you will abdicate midway.

The most important habit you should have is the mental one, because the most critical element of success is creativity. Most people want to find fame and fortune outside mental creation; some do, most don’t. As we have said in previous editions, success begins in the mind and is impossible while the mind is clogged and the mental attitude hostile to it.

It is fatal to work for one thing and expect something else, because everything has to be created mentally first, and is bound to manifest its mental patterns. Therefore, focus your mental attention on the things you desire, not on those you don’t want.

The key to mental development and creativity is to always ask what next? Determine to know more than others, and to do that you have to concentrate your time and energy. It is like a promissory note, which you can call up at the appropriate time to serve your success purpose.

When you know you should do a thing and you do it, immediately you know more. But when you don’t do what you know you should do, you realize you have no perception, no discernment of it when you need it, and what you don’t know is not likely to benefit you even if you have it. It is very dangerous to refuse to go on knowing because that is the only way you rediscover yourself, find your destiny or vision, and create whatever that will take you to fame and fortune.

Ready to set-up and run a business

It is the desire of everyone to own a flourishing business venture especially when we see successful business moguls doing well in their business endeavours but as much as we admire them and wished that their businesses were ours, how many of us are really prepared to do business even when we have personal resources and supports from kin, kith and well-wishers? The fact is that not everyone who has financial resources and desires to own a business is prepared to run a business. We easily observe successful and flourishing businesses but hardly do we notice all the preparatory and sacrificial efforts with building blocks that got sunk into their foundation through their gradual metamorphosis. Just as Rome was not built in a day, a successful business too takes avalanche of resources and time to build but the foundation must be well laid if any business is occupy its rightful position in the industry and market where it competes.

What then is a business and what does it mean to lay a solid foundation for a business?

The word business is perhaps the most commonly used term by everybody on daily basis but it means different thing to different people. James Stephenson defines business as, “the regular production or purchase and sale of goods undertaken with an objective of earning profit and acquiring wealth through the satisfaction of human wants.”

According to Dicksee, “business refers to a form of activity conducted with an objective of earning profits for the benefit of those on whose behalf the activity is conducted.” Lewis Henry defines business as, “human activity directed towards producing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.” William Pride, et al say business is ‘the organized effort of individuals to produce and sell, for a profit, the goods and services that satisfy society’s needs.’

Succinctly put, a business, therefore, is an organization which seeks to make a profit through the deployment of resources working toward common goals. The goals and objectives of a business will vary depending on the nature of business and the business strategy being adopted. Thus, the term business means continuous production and distribution of goods and services with the aim of realizing profits under prevailing market conditions. Irrespective of the preferred modus operandi being adopted, businesses must offer a service, product, or good that satisfies a need of customers in some way.

For a business to operate smoothly devoid of disturbances, it must be birthed on a solid foundation without which nothing meaningful can be achieved as indicated in a quote by Jack Scalia: “Because if you have a strong foundation like we have, then you can build or rebuild anything on it. But if you’ve got a weak foundation you can’t build anything”.

Laying solid foundation for a business take-off includes making spirited efforts at refining your idea and initiative; writing a business plan; assessing your finances, strength and weaknesses; determining and defining your legal business structure; registering with all relevant government agencies and tax authorities; developing risk management strategy; recruiting and building your team; researching and defining your target market; engaging in self branding and business publicity; and developing strategy for business growth.

Refine your idea and initiative – when thinking of starting a business, you mostly likely already have an idea of what you wish to offer, or at least the target market you intend to explore. It is important that you conduct a quick search for existing players in your identified industry. Study what current industry leaders are doing and work out how you surpass them.

Should you think your business can offer something other companies do not have (or deliver the same thing more efficiently in terms of speed at cheaper cost), it means you have a solid idea and are in position to draw up a business plan.
Simon Sinek suggests that “always start with why,” while Glenn Gutek, the Chief of Executive Office of Awake Consulting and Coaching”, said that “it is good to know why you are launching your business and in this process, it may be necessary to distinguish between whether the business serves a personal why or a marketplace why.

When a why is focused on satisfying a need in the marketplace, the scope of the business will always be broader than a business that is structured to serve a personal need.” An alternative way out is to acquire a franchise of an established flourishing company in which the concept, strong brand following and business model are already well grounded and all that are required are a good location and the financial resources to fund the operation. Irrespective of which option is chosen, it is important to appreciate the rationale behind the idea.

The Director of Operations and Women’s Business Programs at Covation Center, Stephanie Desaulniers, admonishes entrepreneurs avoid rushing to write a business plan or worry about a business name before nailing down the value of a business idea proposition. According to Stephanie Desaulniers, many people feel they have a great idea and jump into launching their business without clearly thinking through who their target customers will be, or why these people should want to procure from or hire them”. “Second, there is need to clarify why you want to work with these customers. In other words, do you have a passion for making people’s lives easier? Or enjoy creating art to bring colour to their world? Identifying these answers helps clarify your mission.

Third, it is necessary to clearly define how you will provide this value to your customer and how to communicate that value in a way that they are willing to pay.” During the ideation phase, there is need to sort out the major details. If the idea is not something you are passionate about or if there isn’t a market for the idea or innovation, it might be time to consider and brainstorm other ideas.

Writing a business plan – As soon as the idea is in place, the following fundamental questions should asked: What is the purpose of the business? Who are your target customers? What are your end goals? How do you intend to finance your startup costs? All these questions should be answered in a well-written business plan. New business ventures make lots of mistakes by rushing into actions without deeply evaluating these aspects of the business. It is necessary that target customer base is established.

Who are going to purchase the product or service? If it is difficult to establish evidence of demand for an idea, then what would be the point going ahead? Comprehensive conducting thorough market research on the field and demographics of potential clientele base is an important and inevitable component of crafting a business plan. It entails conducting surveys, holding focus groups and researching search engine optimizer (SEO) with public data.

It is also a good idea to proactively consider an exit strategy as the business plan is compiled. Thinking ahead of some ideas of how to ultimately exit the business makes forward looking compelling. The CEO of both Tribal Holdings and Kavanarum, Josh Tolley, observes that “too often, new entrepreneurs are so sanguine about their business and highly optimistic that all and sundry will be a customer that they hardly make provision for erosion of potential patronage”. Josh Tolley, further cites some illustrations such as “when you board an airplane, what is the first thing they show you? How to get off of it.

When you go to a movie, what do they point out before the feature begins to play? Where the exits are. Your first week of kindergarten, they line up all the kids and teach them fire drills to exit the building. Too many times I have witnessed business leaders that don’t have three or four pre-determined exit routes. This has led to lower company value and even destroyed family relationships.” Crafting a business plan helps to chart where a company is heading, how it intends to surmount potential challenges and what is required to sustain it.

Assessing Financing Needs & Sources – For reason that birthing any business venture has its price, hence, there is need to ascertain how to cover the costs of investment. Do you have the financial resources to fund the start-up, or would you require to borrow? In the event that an employee is contemplating exiting current employment to venture into business, does the employee have sufficient funds set aside to support him/her before the venture starts making profit? It is necessary to estimate with a fair degree of objectivity how much would be sufficiently required.

It is a common knowledge start-up businesses usually suffer premature failure due to early cashflow deficiency before making profit. Overestimation of required start-up capital may be necessary since it can take an extended time lag before the business starts to generate sustainable revenue. However, overspending when birthing a start-up is not advisable.

Endeavour to understand the nature of purchases that are ideal sense for a business and desist from unnecessarily overspending on unnecessary new fad equipment that contributes nothing to the attainment of the business’ goals. According to the founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media, Jean Paldan, “a lot of start-ups tend to spend money on unnecessary things,” Paldan cites example of a start-up that had two employees but spent a huge amount on office space that would fit 20 people and also leased a professional high-end printer that was more suited for a team of 100 (it had keycards to track who was printing what and when).

It is makes better management sense to spend as little as possible at start and only on essential and necessary expenditures for the business to grow and be a success. Luxuries may be considered later when the business well grounded”. Start-ups requiring significant funding upfront may consider an equity investor or joint venture funding. Investors can provide several million naira or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business. Alternatively, an equity crowdfunding campaign could be launched to raise smaller amounts of money from multiple backers. Though, this is alien to the Nigerian financial market, crowdfunding has lifted numerous companies in recent years, and there are scores of reliable crowdfunding schemes structured for different types of business ventures.

By Uche Chris. carinze06@gmail.com

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