Categories
Entrepreneurship

Business Idea Development

Before you start a business, you need to have an idea that can birth the business. Generating a business idea is not an easy task; sometimes, you may experience an “idea block.”

According to Wikipedia, a Business Idea is “A concept that can be used for financial gain that is usually centered on a product or service which can be offered for money.

When thinking of ideas for a business (old or new), it is very important to carry out research, pay attention to details and follow a rigorous development and review process. Follow me…

MARKET NEEDS 

Before an idea is generated, it is wise to carry out research to identify the needs of your target customers. 

CREATION 

Brainstorming is the key to Concept Creation. You must also keep track of all ideas (as no idea is a bad idea), evaluate them and determine which is most valuable and profitable. 

ASSESSMENT 

This involves market research where data about your idea is collected and analyzed. You must assess all aspects of an idea before moving to the next stage. 

PLANNING 

A well-defined business plan will steer your business in the right direction and increase the chances of having a successful product launch. 

DEVELOPMENT 

At this stage, your ideas will be developed. You should create manufacturing and operations processes and market testing plans. 

TESTING 

This stage involves a test market that is as close as practicable to a real market. Here, your prototype will be released to the public. The prototype will be tracked and your test market results will determine whether your idea is valid enough to become a product. 

LAUNCH 

A successful product launch should address whether you have:

  1. A sufficient number of products in existence.
  2. Correct planning and marketing strategies.
  3. Appropriate documentation for your product. 

Business Idea Development can be high-risk, time-consuming and money-consuming, especially if the wrong steps are taken. This is why we go beyond offering courses on Business Enterprise Training at LEAD Resources. We incubate your ideas and give you all the necessary support for a successful product launch. 

Need some help? Contact us for organizational support here.

AUTHOR

Adetoyese Oyedunmade is an Associate Solutions Architect at Lead Resources. She is an Agriculturist by profession and is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship.

Categories
Nation-Building and Active Citizenship

#EndSARS Protests: A Call for Nigeria Police Reform

THE BEGINNING OF SARS

SARS, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was a sub-unit of Nigeria Police Force under the State Criminal and Anti-Robbery Squad. The purpose of this squad was to investigate, apprehend and detain criminals who bore illegal firearms, robbed the masses, and kidnapped children and adults in the nation. For a fluid operation, they were allowed to serve as undercover agents.

However, over the years, various individuals and groups accused SARS operatives of violation of human rights, illegal arrests and detentions, manhandling of Nigerian youths, sexual harassment and rape, and extra-judicial killings. So far, Amnesty International has documented 82 cases of police brutality between 2017 and 2020. Yet, the bad eggs within the squad seemed to be beyond control.

CITIZEN’S OUTCRY

In 2017, the government responded to the public as regards SARS by stating that the unit would be reformed however the killings continued. On 8th October 2020, Nigerian celebrities such as Falz and Runtown took to the streets to protest against police brutality in solidarity with victims of the same. Following this, organized protests began all over the nation for the disbandment of SARS. The protests were called #EndSARS (End Special Anti-Robbery Squad) protests; this name was culled from the online protests which began in 2017 on Twitter to end the squad.

According to Wikipedia, about 28 million #EndSARS tweets were made on Twitter. For about two weeks, Nigerian youths protested against police brutality with no pronounced leadership. They marched in every state in the nation chanting, “Enough is Enough! Sorosoke! (Speak out!)”

On 11th October 2020, SARS was dissolved! DCP Frank Mba, Force PRO, stated 5 things for the general public to know about the dissolution of SARS:

  1. The Inspector-General of Police has dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across all the 36 state commands and the FCT with immediate effect.
  2. All officers and men serving in the unit will be redeployed to other police commands, formations and units.
  3. A new policing arrangement for tackling the offences of armed robbery and other violent crimes will be unveiled to the public soon.
  4. A Citizens’ and Strategic Shareholders’ Forum will be launched to provide an avenue for citizens to regularly interface and advise the Police Authority on issues touching on the general public.
  5. To deal with the report of crimes committed against citizens, an Investigative Team will be constituted which will include Civil Society Organisations and culprits will be punished.

In response to the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Youths made 5 demands – #5for5. They are as follows:

  1. Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
  2. Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
  3. Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days).
  4. In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed.
  5. Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

On 13th October 2020, the Presidential Panel on Police Reforms met and okayed the 5 demands made by the Nigerian Youths. The protests did not stop as the Nigerian Youths determined not to give in until their demands were implemented.

Later, the protests were not just about #EndSARS or #EndPoliceBrutality; they were about something bigger – #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria.

LEKKI MASSACRE

I raised my hand, clenched my fist and started walking back shortly. They were shooting at me.

Aisha Yesufu
#EndSARS
Aisha Yesufu

Unfortunately, the #EndSARS protests degenerated into a bloodbath on October 20th 2020 at Lekki tollgate as the Nigeria Army allegedly shot at unarmed protesters. In an Instagram live video of the shooting by a Nigerian celebrity, DJ Switch, protesters sat on the floor and lifted their flags in a bid to call for peace. The protesters sang the Nigerian National Anthem in agony and solidarity. The picture of a man who was shot during the massacre went viral as he was being helped by DJ Switch. His wounded legs were wrapped with the Nigerian flag.

According to Amnesty International, before the massacre, cameras at the scene – Lekki tollgate – were removed and billboards were switched off. Till date, the one who gave the order to massacre the unarmed protesters has not been apprehended. However, human rights activists like Femi Falana have set up private investigative panels to look into the killings of the protesters.

GOVERNMENT REACTION

After several days, the Nigerian President delivered a 10-minute speech to the nation. However, the speech did not address the matter of the Lekki massacre, rather, it focused on youth empowerment and the termination of the #EndSARS protests. The speech was widely condemned due to its apparent lack of empathy.

Initially, the Lagos State Governor denied that casualties were recorded at the Lekki massacre while the Army denied their presence at Lekki toll gate on October 20th 2020 and stated that the live videos were “photoshopped”.

DJ Switch openly testified that the Nigeria Army arrived the scene of the massacre without any warning and shot at unarmed protesters. Thereafter, a CNN journalist held an interview with the Lagos State Governor where he exposed the Nigeria Army and admitted that casualties were recorded. This sparked an outcry for the exposure of the one who ordered the shooting. The Army reacted by saying that they were at the venue of the incident to ensure that the curfew placed by the Lagos State Governor a few hours earlier that day was obeyed.

INTERNATIONAL REACTION

Joe Biden (The US President-Elect), Hilary Clinton (The former US Secretary of State), Africa Union Commission, etc. all condemned the killings, called for an end to violence and urged the Nigeria Government to negotiate with the protesters. Many international celebrities voiced their displeasure about the turn of events.

Although the protests were halted abruptly and the hearts of Nigerians were broken, there is still hope for the nation. The #EndSARS protests can be seen as a stepping stone towards the liberation of the nation from bad governance. Now, people must be educated on becoming and choosing leaders that can effect positive changes in the nation. Lead Resources trains people with hearts and track records of leadership for a national takeover in a programme called Mainstream Successor Generation. At no other point in history has this solution been more useful to the nation. Those interested may simply contact Lead Resources here.

2023 is near. In a jiffy, your vote will either be a life-jacket or a bullet. Vote wisely!  

AUTHOR

Osatohanmwen Osadiaye Osabuohien is the Executive Director of Nerve Empowerment Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Benin, Faculty of Arts, Department of Religion. He is a research analyst by profession and he has a strong interest in analyzing societal challenges.

Categories
Finance and Accounting

An Introduction to Financial Literacy

According to Wikipedia, financial literacy is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allow an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources.

Most of us believe that having more money or getting a bigger pay at work will reduce our financial stress and solve half of our problems. However, we fail to realize that one’s financial wellbeing is considerably more determined by how they manage and spend their money rather than how much money they make. Your beliefs about money and your spending patterns greatly influence your potential to create wealth. 

Financial literacy covers topics such as budgeting, expense tracking, investing, debt, taxes, emergency funds, retirement savings and estate planning.

WHY IS FINANCIAL LITERACY NECESSARY?

Financial literacy is necessary because it equips people with the knowledge and skills needed to manage money effectively. What do I mean? Financial literacy ensures that every financial decision you make is backed by a rationale that empowers you to be confident and secure in your choice. 

Statistics from a study in 2019 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in America showed that lack of financial literacy cost Americans a total of $295 billion in 2018. Some of the households which participated in the study reported annual losses of up to $2500 due to poor financial decisions. Furthermore, it was stated that 63% of Americans could be categorized as “financially illiterate.” This buttresses the fact that financial literates make better money decisions than those who are not. Imagine how much you will be able to do if you can track your expenses, seal the loopholes in your purse and save more money?

Also, we must intentionally seek financial literacy because it is a subject that is rarely taught in our conventional education system even when much of what happens outside the four walls of school revolves around money management. Without financial literacy, even a well-educated and gainfully employed graduate can slide into bad debt and poverty. 

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE AS A PRODUCT OF FINANCIAL LITERACY

In my words, financial intelligence (FINTEL) is the basic knowledge of how money works and the application of this knowledge in making financial decisions that make life better. It is the knowledge and skills gained from understanding finance and accounting principles in the business world. This understanding, financial intelligence, can only be gained through financial literacy. 

There are three types of education: academic, professional and financial education. The primary school system places much emphasis on basic literacy skills such as reading, writing, speaking and solving arithmetic. Students are graded based on their ability to develop these skills and apply them in solving real-life problems. Very little or nothing is taught about financial education and money management in higher institutions. Hence, you must be deliberate about educating yourself on money. As you strive to build your intelligence quotient, also work on your financial intelligence. 
 
Interestingly, the skills gained in FINTEL are NOT innate; rather, they are learned and can be developed at all levels. So, you don’t have to worry about having a low grade in this. You can improve no matter the level you are. Contrary to popular beliefs, financial intelligence is NOT the state of having a lot of money. It is neither a goal nor a course that you are graded for. Rather, it is the means to the goal of financial freedom!

QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU GAUGE YOUR FINANCIAL LITERACY

It is easy to assume that you are financially literate because you “know yourself.” However, your personal finances need extra attention if you want to live well. The only way to get a better handle on your personal finances is by identifying what you don’t know and putting in the effort to get educated.  

Here are a few questions identified by Bayportsa to help you identify your financial literacy gaps: 

  1. Budget: Do you have a monthly budget that includes all of your basic expenses, debts and savings?  
  2. Expenditures: Are you tracking your expenses and do you know about how much money you spend to cover living expenses over a period of three to six months? 
  3. Debt: Are you in debt? Are you taking active steps to reduce your debts? 
  4. Emergency Funds: Do you have emergency funds that can help you to get through an event like losing your job or crashing your car without having to borrow money? 
  5. Savings: Do you pay yourself first? What percentage of your income goes into savings? How do you manage your savings? 
  6. Investing: Are you investing and growing your money? Do you understand how compound interest grows invested money? 
  7. Insurance: Do you understand the importance of insurance? Do you have insurance to protect you in the event of a major life emergency? 

If you answer “No” to two or more questions, you have some learning to do. 

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR FINANCIAL LITERACY

  1. Read self-help books on financial education. Follow authors like Robert Kiyosaki, Dave Ramsey, T. Harv Eker, Brian Tracy, etc. 
  2. Read blog posts and articles on personal finance in newspapers and magazines. Some popular blogs include investopedia.com, entrepreneur.com, forbes.com, Business Insider, Bloomberg and fintelcoach.com. For a steady supply of information, you may subscribe to their email newsletters. 
  3. Watch YouTube videos on money management.
  4. Attend financial literacy seminars online and/or offline and take notes. 
  5. Take an online course on any aspect of financial literacy that you want to master.
  6.  Listen to podcasts and radio programmes on financial management. 
  7. Get a competent financial intelligence coach or personal finance expert to give you financial advice. 
  8. Join a community of people who learn about financial intelligence. This allows you to ask questions and learn faster from other people. 
  9. Practice and share your knowledge. Put your newfound literacy into practice. Draw up and stick to a budget. Save. Invest. Don’t just learn and keep the knowledge you acquire to yourself. Teach others whenever you have the chance. This is the best way to consolidate your knowledge. 

BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL LITERACY

In an article by Georgiasown.org, it was stated that financial literacy is important because it helps people become self-sufficient and achieve financial stability. Financial literacy enables people to save money, distinguish between wants and needs, manage a budget, pay bills, buy homes, pay for college and plan for retirement. In a nutshell, it helps you create a realistic roadmap for making financial decisions all through your life.

Financial literacy empowers people. Although I am not trying to imply that you need to become a financial guru or accounting expert, however, knowing how interest rates work, the difference between stocks and bonds and the factors that impact your financial wellbeing will give you a sense of financial security and control over your life. 

Need I say that financial literacy decreases your stress level? When you lack financial education, anything that resembles credit, interest rates or investments seems intimidating and leaves you feeling at a disadvantage. When people are well versed in the state of their finances, they have the information needed to take action, modify their investment portfolio or continue with their current strategy. 

Furthermore, understanding your finances helps reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud. Some tactics are easy to believe especially when they come from someone who seems to be knowledgeable and well-intended. A basic level of financial education will help you recognize red flags and, at the very least, talk with a trusted advisor before making financial commitments. 

In conclusion, financial literacy is an essential life skill that every person, whether employee or entrepreneur, should deliberately learn and hone. If you stay committed to personal development and investment in financial intelligence, you are on the pathway to achieving financial freedom. 

If you would like to take an in-depth course on financial literacy and how to manage your personal finance, I recommend that you enrol for LEAD Resources’ Digital Economy Emerging Managers’ (DEEM) programme as more practical measures of attaining financial freedom in the digital economy have been distilled therein.

Obot Essiet Jr.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Obot Essiet Jr. is an Associate Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, a Financial Intelligence (FINTEL) Coach and a Co-founder/COO of Naiyuan Mart, a Chinese-Nigerian procurement and manufacturing company. He runs a blog and a community on financial intelligence. He is passionate about helping people journey towards financial freedom through practical financial literacy solutions. Obot Jr. loves writing, gardening, watching adventurous movies, cycling and playing chess. 

Categories
Technology and Innovation

LEAD Resources Creates “Hamora,” Ogun State’s Premiere Online Socio-cultural Platform

LEAD Resources was awarded a contract to design and develop the premiere online, socio-cultural platform for Ogun state by the Digital Economy Advisory Group (DEAG). This platform would serve as the “Wikipedia for everything Ogun.”

Between October and December 2019, all hands were on deck as regards this project. All Associates of LEAD Resources actively contributed their quota to the development of this platform as coordinated by the Technology and Innovation team of LEAD Resources, Marcellus Nwankwo and Ayo Lala.

This platform was named, “Hamora.” This name is a derivative of the Yoruba word, “Amǫrawa,” meaning, “We know who we are.” This depicts that via this platform, the people of Ogun state can contribute and harness relevant information about their past in order to create a better future.

Hamora is a crowdsourcing platform which allows for the indigenes of the state to share their own content about history, artifacts, commerce, business, projects, festivals and related socio-cultural topics. This will enhance the participation of all classes of indigenes of Ogun state and ensure the promotion of the core values of Ogun state. Of course, other states may subscribe to this development too!

In a nutshell, the aim of Hamora platform is identifying, creating, managing, proposing and promoting a single and harmonized platform for exhibiting interphase between social and cultural activities that affect the daily lives of individuals in the state.

The objectives for developing the Hamora platform include:

  • Acquiring data on the history, heritage and other socio-cultural aspects of Ogun state from certified and trusted sources.
  • Identifying the fundamental, cultural practices and heritage of Ogun state so as to create an ecosystem to facilitate the growth of the people’s identity.
  • Aggregating, structuring and facilitating the growth of Ogun state’s heritage for effective value communication and exchange.
  • Harnessing previous, current and upcoming tools, techniques and technology for promoting social and cultural practices in the state.

The Hamora platform is ready and will be launched soon. Stay tuned!