Is Your Business Losing Money? Here Are 5 Possible Causes And Solutions

As a small business owner, after attaining the point of profitability, the next aim, for having a hand, in every aspect of the business, especially, by keeping a close eye, on certain departments of your organisation, so, as to save money.

Easy it might sound, but keeping up with such a task, can be weary, as things you have no knowledge of, eats into your profit.

It might start, at the speed of a snail, but, gradually, it gathers momentum, snowballing into a conflagration and you might, eventually, find yourself at the receiving end, with your business, losing money.

The critical question to ask here is, why is your business losing money? You need to, establish the cause of this financial leakage and how to block them off.

Let us take a look at some of the reasons, why businesses to lose money and how to get over them:

Poor Communication Management
Credit: securitytoday

No doubt that effective communication, goes a long way, in bridging gaps in the relationship.

The relationship between the management and the team of employees, must, also, be effective to foster a better relationship.

Poor communication costs small businesses some level of financial implications.

Debra Hamilton identified that miscommunication, often, costs small businesses, an average of $420,000, annually.

What is the possible solution to poor communication?

A Stable communication process must be put in place, to ensure that, no communication gap exists, between the employer and the employee.

Active listening, writing precisely and embracing feedback, also, improves effective communication.

Poor Customer Service
Credit: synthx

No matter the size of your business, your customers are always, as important, as your products and services.

Bad business reviews, come from poor customer service and it leads to an eventual loss of revenue when your business gets poor ratings.

Studies have shown that 90% of potential customers, base their decisions to initiate a purchase from you, on online reviews and more than, 80% trust online reviews.

Your business can experience poor customer service, due to any of the following reasons:

  • Customers meeting uncaring employees
  • Customers not getting appreciated for their patronage
  • Customers not getting the right answers, to their queries

How do you solve these? Engage and encourage happy customers, to share the experience online.

Get on your team, well-trained staff, who would offer your customers, the best of services.

Poor Accounting
Credit: binary-deluxe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You cannot expect to have clarity with your numbers, when your accounting system is, highly disorganised.

You would, rather, engage in guesswork, when it comes to accounting for the revenues and expenditures of your company.

Something, as simple as, not noting down the transactions you made on supply, could cause you negative cash flow, as your cash book would appear as if you had more money.

It is necessary that you keep good records of the transactions, as minor mistakes on your numbers, can adversely affect your business.

To avoid this, make sure that you carry out your account reconciliation.

Get to do some internal audit and employ the services of an Accountant.

Poor Online Presence
Credit: financialtribune

Everything has gone digital and your business should not be left out.

Many customers want to get products and services at their convenience, by login online, to find your business.

Having an online presence, goes a long way, in getting your numbers balanced, having a physical presence, alongside, getting online is, a great way, to reach your customers.

Not just getting yourself a website, but adding up some social media handles, to boost your online presence.

Make sure that, you are, also, engaged with your customers.

Understanding, why your small business is losing money, you can fish out the problems and fix them up, at an early stage, to prevent an eventual collapse of your business.

Overcoming Depression, As An Entrepreneur

There is a dark side to entrepreneurship. Not all successful businesses we see now had smooth journeys on their paths to success. At some point, the owners or founders of those enterprises have felt like giving up on the dreams they believed in.

Entrepreneurs are faced with a lot of negative issues in the course of building their businesses and one of these negative issues is depression.

If not well handled, depression is capable of derailing the dream that an entrepreneur has for his business, as well as deteriorate his/her personal health. Below, are some of the things that you can do, to overcome depression, as an entrepreneur:

Never stop believing in yourself

Look back at your previous achievements, whether big, or, small and celebrate yourself for the journey, thus, far. Believe in those achievements.

Think of why you started the journey and what your aim is at the end. When you get started by motivating yourself like this, as an entrepreneur, then, you are sure on your way to overcoming depression.

You are different

Stop comparing yourself with your friends or colleagues, especially, in terms of achievements. See yourself as a unique person, with your own unique path to success.

Your friends and colleagues might have attained a level of success that you have not achieved, but that does not mean that they are better than you. It does not also mean that you cannot achieve such successes too, with time.

You go on social media and you see posts about their successes and how they get celebrated on social media. This makes you feel intimated and might lead to stress and depression.

One thing you can do in this instance is to give yourself a break from social media, so that, you can stay focused on carrying out the steps that will lead to your own success too. Always remember that you are the best version of you.

Improve your skills

Look into your business and find areas where you have lagged behind. Carry out proper research on, how you can get better in your business.

It could be working on your marketing department, designing a better way of advertising your products and services, or, it could be an improvement on the approach that your customer service department personnel responds to inquiries, etc.

Be deliberate about getting better at what you do, on a daily basis.

Get yourself a mentor

Being an entrepreneur is a lot of work and all that it entails, cannot be handled alone, especially, as a Startup.

Getting a mentor, who has travelled this road before, will expose you to certain truths that you need to know about your business and it also helps you to avoid making very costly mistakes along the line.

Having a mentor enables you to discuss issues that you are not clear about and with directions on what to do, to arrive at the right results, based on their experience.

Network

Avoid limiting yourself. Meet with other entrepreneurs, especially, with those in your line of business and be willing to learn from their success and failure stories. Go for meetings that can build up your capacity.

Do not overstretch yourself

Avoid getting engaged in risks that you are not ready to bear, when things turn sour, especially, risks that involve a lot of money.

Do not engage in deals that will bounce back as debt, which you might prove difficult in paying back. It always leads to more stress, anxiety, and depression. Ensure that you work at your own pace.

Overcoming depression, as an entrepreneur, is a lot easier than you think and can also be avoided, if you are willing to commit yourself to take the necessary steps, as stated above. If followed strictly, you are likely to find yourself building a successful business without fear of failure.

It’s not about you…… Take the First Step!

Its been a remarkable year so far! Remarkable does not mean it’s not been without its own bit of challenges – in fact this has been one of the most challenging year for me especially when it comes to finance but yet again it’s been one that I have made the most strides professionally which makes finance secondary because I have come to the conclusion that it’s not about me………!

While going through my mail this morning, I saw this life changing mail from Bible Gateway (signup to receive their daily emails) titled “Kill the Messenger” – I intend to share the details of that mail below but before then let me just add my line of thoughts.

  • Firstly, you are not living for yourself. God has a purpose for your life and it is not dependent on any man or situation. Good luck to all those who do not believe there is a God somewhere, without apologies I do believe that He is the Author & Finisher of my faith.
  • Secondly, when God gives you a vision he has already given you all that is required to start and complete move. The case of Moses shared below proves that fact.
  • Finally, we most of the time tend to think that we need all the necessary skills required to start a project, well maybe sometimes we do but certainly not all the time. The case of Moses again proves that you can embark on a project without acquiring all the skills a 100% and by the time you take the first step, the abilities and skills you never thought you had will sprout up. By the way, practice makes perfect so by the time you start, you’ll get better along the way.

its not about you but about God’s mercy on you.

Read & Share “Kill the Messenger”

Exodus 6:1–13

Recommended Reading: John 15:1–4; Acts 2:1–47; 1 Corinthians 15:10

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three of the most dangerous occupations in the United States are those of a logger, an airline pilot and a fisherman.

Of course, a logger deals with the tremendous weight and unpredictable nature of falling trees. A pilot faces the danger of working tens of thousands of feet above the ground. And a commercial fisherman constantly runs the risk of drowning.

In the ancient world the job of messenger might have topped this list. Like most people, ancient rulers hated getting bad news. However, unlike most other people, they had the power to do something about it, and they did—by executing the person who delivered the news! When the Roman emperor Tiberius received an astrological prediction he didn’t like, he hurled the messenger off a cliff.

So who can blame Moses for being reluctant to deliver the news to Pharaoh that the Israelites, his slave laborers, were hitting the road? God gave Moses an assignment no one would envy. And like most unenthusiastic recruits, Moses tried to talk his way out of the job. He pointed out that Pharaoh probably wouldn’t listen to him. And Moses reminded God that public speaking wasn’t his forte.

Moses didn’t realize that the success of his mission didn’t depend on his skills; it depended on his faithfulness. God could have sent anyone to deliver the message to Pharaoh—even one of Moses’ sheep. But God picked Moses instead. And he gave Moses the strength and skills he needed to complete the assignment. (Emphasis mine just to encourage to take the first step.)

That’s important to remember when it comes to the things God calls us to do. Just as it was for Moses, it’s easy for us to reason and argue with God. “But God, I don’t have the skills to be a leader at church.” Or, “God, why don’t you send someone else? No one will listen to what I have to say.”

Yet what we see as our own weaknesses shouldn’t stop us from carrying out our God-given assignments, because with our marching orders come God’s strength and assistance. Remember, the success of our mission doesn’t depend on our skills. It depends on our faithfulness.

To Take Away

  • What can you do to increase your trust in God’s strength?
  • When have you stepped out in faith even though you didn’t feel prepared for an assignment from God?
  • Do you feel God leading you to do something for which you feel you’re not qualified? Pray about it today and ask for God’s empowerment and courage in your life.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King Jnr.

Organise your life and business with Mind Maps

We live in a highly distracting world, so it is your responsibility to look out for tools and strategies that will help you stay sane and productive otherwise you might suffer from information overload and indecision.

Let me introduce one tool that has helped me tremendously despite the fact that I do not use it as often as I ought to but each time I use it, I get the results I expect. A mind map is simply a brain tool that helps you in any sort of brainstorming activities – here is the link to the post I wrote on mind mapping a while ago.

I suggest you watch this video by Tony Buzan, a man known as the Father of Mind Maps

So let me share with you a tiny part of the CFA mind map, that connects the dots of all my activities both online and offline:

CFA mind maps....

You would not believe how huge and elaborate this map is, I could write a 100 page book on it. As you may have noticed, I did cut out some stuff because it is not yet time for them to be revealed but what I want you to get is the concept and not the content of my goals. I have clearly shared my brand into 2 main parts and that forms the choice of activities I get involved with going forward. As shown above my ultimate goal or end point is to be a positive influencer and partnerships is at the core of CFA.

The beauty about this is that I have a 10 year plan of my life on a single piece of paper. What sort of goal setting would you still recommend that I do? I hope you get the point on what can be achieved through the effective use of mind maps?

So CFA, what mind mapping tool should I use?

There are a number of mind mapping tools out there, most of them are paid but there are a few free ones that I have found to be useful. But, if you can afford it, then go for a premium version that is the online way we can keep the innovation on the Internet growing. Below are some you can try:

Go give mind mapping a trial and do come back to share the experience. It looks complex but trust me its a fun exercise!

sale

Three Steps to a Profitable Sale

Salesmen are amongst the worlds most rewarded and at the same time one of the most challenging professions. I love to sell but I must confess that it is a bit of a challenge initiating and completing the sales process but somehow I have mastered it and would like to cheer some of the steps that might be of help.

Have you heard of my laptop offer? It has been quite successful because I have sold only through this blog as well as partners who get a margin on each unit of laptop. Read more about it here.

Making a sale will not always imply that you make a good profit, especially if you fail to manage your sale right. Does this sound familiar? Then let’s look at what mistakes businesses often make and how to affect a great sale.sale

When many businesses attempt to take their first steps in retail sales, it is by design assumed that making quick sales means a substantial reduction in the price and promotion of your sales effort. Though outwardly that sounds a simple proposition, it’s sadly never the right approach to what is popularly known as ‘good business practices’. Besides, it’s certainly not the procedure for savvy businesses to make their money.

To cut the bitter part out and make your traverse smooth, pleasurable and above all naturally also profitable, CFAgbata takes the pleasure to show you some easy-to-follow steps that are designed to help you in making a good profit from your very first sales effort.

Your First Step in Striking a Profitable Sale

It is a common belief that the first thing you must do as a startup business is travel light. In other words, dispose of the stock that you believe should be gotten rid of instantly. In true essence, that could in certain cases be recommendable for a few sales. And yet, it is seldom advisable to start your business by proceeding in this manner.

Your first step involves making a decision as to when the time is right to start running the sale. It is always critical for you to get that timing right. If you are the last one trying to make a sale, you will always find customers with empty pockets. If you are the first, that’s not altogether a wrong move. Yet, being counted among the group that comes first is a lot better; as being the very first seldom allows you the privilege of attracting enough attention or making the right kind of noise to achieve the desired sale. The best time to strike is when customers reach the ‘sale mode’ peak and are now prepared to spend their money. This is normally the scenario when several sales are being run simultaneously.

Your Second Step in Striking a Profitable Sale

After deciding when your sale should be run, you will next need to know what product can be best put up for a quick sale. As this is likely to have a considerable affect on your profit margin, the decision is obviously going to be of equally great significance.

What needs to be given a serious thought at this juncture generally includes:

· If your business promotes a product or products that are of a somewhat seasonal nature, your concerns should least be about exhausting your stock to the last piece, in order to eliminate the need for carrying it over.

· If your business does not promote a product or products that are of seasonal nature, you will need to work out ways to reduce your end price.

A more sensible way of dealing with products of a seasonal nature is not overstocking in the first place. Maybe, you could carry just a small bit of excess stock, particularly if that is considered absolutely necessary. Secondly, weeks in advance of your scheduled sale date, have a word with your suppliers to dig out the stock that you can probably purchase at a dumping price, as this is usual a practice where seasonal stock is concerned. What you need to watch for is reaching them ahead of the sale period, ensuring that your move is well timed for picking up good bargains. By picking up good quality items, purchased at rock-bottom sale prices, gives you the advantage of mixing them up with your personal stock in-hand and making it look far more freshen up. Mark up the new stock hence prepared, by maybe even up to 150% of the cost, to counter your reduced stock price, thereby making an overall profit from each sale you run.

To reduce the price of non-seasonal products, you will need to concentrate more on bulk buying. Nevertheless, if your products involve some in-house manufacturing process, you could go for a bulk making process for the range that is more popular. Though you would naturally not wish to put your business in jeopardy by adaptation of this simple system, it would be more rational to try it out only on items you are certain will sell well, rather than of involving your entire range of popular products, all in a single go. As products that you consider among the most popular range you have to offer need to be kept a little more exclusive, you would definitely not opt to bulk make them. These will be the ones that mainly attract your customers and make them repeatedly come back to you for ever more.

Your Third Step in Striking a Profitable Sale

Now, having come to a workable decision regarding the right time and the right product, your next task is making a decision as to the procedure you may best adopt in promoting your product and how to ensure that you run a profitable sale at the end of the day. This area needs working out items that have the highest probability of drawing maximum exposure to your business and who will be your precise buyers or target audience, as we professionally call them.

Your target audience will need to include:

· People who are able to easily afford your regular full price

· People who are normally ready to pay you the full regular price, yet would not stop at getting the same product on the cheap if possible

· People who would rather be called holiday makers, in proper sense of the word

After you have managed to figure that out quite effectively to your own satisfaction, prepare and target your marketing drive to commence at the right time. This should commonly occur either well in advance or as an alternate, in an extreme case, by the very first day on which your sale is planned.

Follow these three steps, and you will still live to thank CFAgbata for making your sale a truly profitable reality. Good Luck and we wish you an enjoyable business experience. Bon voyage!

I love to hear your opinion on this issue. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Creative Commons: jjay69

Online brand

5 Rules to Keep You Brand Reputation Intact Online

In this era of globalization where the internet is commonly used by every single entity, it’s indeed a scary place for brands. Organizations take a huge risk to promote and advertise their products online and at times they put their reputation at stake to achieve this purpose. Many up-comers become brands while many established brands lost their existence completely.

Here are some of the basic rules to keep your brand’s as well as organization’s image intact through the use of the internet.

1. Know all about your target audience

Knowing your target market and consumer’s psyche is first and foremost rule to maintaining your brand’s image. You should have a crystal clear image of the target audience to whom you want to cater through your marketing campaign. If you have a clear idea of your audience, you will know how best to reach them online. Do a refined research of your target audience to learn about their needs and try to cater to their needs through your brand.

2. Don’t use multiple media simultaneously at first

Every brand needs proper attention and care. Use slow and steady methods to win the race. The more you use far too many sites and social media campaigns to promote your brand, the more it will be left unattended and this will dilute the brand’s reputation. Use one or two media sources to promote your brand at first and give these your full attention and care. Only after you get the best reaction of your actions, should you increase your media sources and promote your brand to the masses.
Online brand

3. Use social networks professionally

Social media is known to give voice to people. Many people raise their voices for support or stand against something on various platforms. Have you done your brand research on social media? If not, then start doing social media research on your brand. This will give you a clear picture of your brand’s image. You can build your brand’s reputation through social media by interacting with people, getting feedback, through different social media contests, or simply by observing how much your brand is being discussed on that platform.

4. Re-target carefully

It is the most crucial rule you should follow in order to maintain your brand’s image online. Don’t run the same message again and again to the same consumers. This will not only create poor brand image but will also affect your organization’s image in a most negative manner. If your target consumer isn’t getting influenced with your ads, recreate the message.

5. Play with words

Words can kill. Play nicely with them. Don’t let your consumers get angry at your harsh or unwittingly used words. Use them wisely.

Tim has been promoting brands for over 4 years using various medium including social media, clothing and print ads. Tim is also a keen blogger, who has published numerous articles on various marketing blogs.

When Tomorrow Comes

Years back, not long after a graduated from college I proceeded to apply to be considered for a master’s degree placement. Soon enough, the university to made me an offer, but there was one problem: I was going to need funding and that real quick knowing full well what happens to students who were unable to complete their tuition. I knew how they were locked out of school facilities and how often they were eventually bundled home and labeled hoodlums and I was not going to experiment with that option. It was lucky some scholarship opportunities were handy, out of which I went for the one that could offset both tuition and living expenses. I was sure I was going to study and get ready for the interview I had waited all my life for but only when tomorrow comes. A few months down the line, I got some notification from the scholarship board informing me of the schedule for the scholarship interview and the documents I would need. It was still a few months and besides I had my job to concentrate on so I didn’t bother besides I was sure I was going to read and prepare for it. The flight of time made sure I was soon facing a panel of five professors trying to convince them why the government should shoulder the financial responsibility of my program unprepared.

After a working tirelessly in vain for over fifteen minutes to convince them that the money would not be wasted if it were invested in my future, I was asked leave that I would be notified of the outcome in due time. That was it: I had lost the single chance I had dreamt of for year only when I came face to face with it not because the professors were biased but simply because I could not take out a meager 24 hours out of three months to prepare in a scholarship program that is relatively fair and just a few other people to compete with.

That loss cost me $30,000 a year of my life. Years afterwards, I had only wished I had studied.

Out there in all walks of life are men who have their opportunity had met unprepared and have spent the rest of their lives wishing they did prepare ahead. If there was any trick that the mind plays on humans is the trick of tomorrow. We are prone to wanting to put everything off for tomorrow. Do you want to go to school? Apply now. Do you want to start a business? Start now. Do you want to carry out a project? Begin now. Not moment is perfect take the moment and make it perfect. If you wait for everything to be perfect before you will start out, then you will have to wait forever. There is an opportunity that when missed in any man’s life, may make the rest of that man’s life colorless and tasteless.

Joe Stoker, rear brakeman on the-accommodation train, was exceedingly popular with all the railroad men. The passengers liked him, too, for he was eager to please and always ready to answer questions. But he did not realize the full responsibility of his position. He took the world easy, and occasionally tippled; and if any one remonstrated, he would give one of his brightest smiles, and reply, in such a good natured way that the friend would think he had overestimated the danger: “Thank you. I’m all right, don’t you worry.”

One evening, there was a heavy snowstorm, and his train was delayed. Joe complained of extra duties because of the storm, and slyly sipped occasional draughts from a flat bottle. Soon he became quite jolly; but the conductor and engineer of the train were both vigilant and anxious.

Between two stations the train came to a quick halt. The engine had blown out its cylinder head, and an express was due in a few minutes upon the same track. The conductor hurried to the rear car, and ordered Joe back with a red light. The brakeman laughed and said: “There’s no hurry. Wait till I get my overcoat.” The conductor answered gravely, “Don’t stop a minute, Joe. The express is due.” “All right,” said Joe, smilingly. The conductor then hurried forward to the engine. But the brakeman did not go at once. He stopped to put on his overcoat. Then he took another sip from the flat bottle to keep the cold out. Then he slowly grasped the lantern and, whistling, moved leisurely down the track.
He had not gone ten paces before he heard the puffing of the express. Then he ran for the curve, but it was too late. In a horrible minute the engine of the express had telescoped the standing train, and the shrieks of the mangled passengers mingled with the hissing escape of steam.
Later on, when they asked for Joe, he had disappeared; but the next day he was found in a barn, delirious, swinging an empty lantern in front of an imaginary train, and crying, ” I wish I had! ” He was taken home, and afterwards to an asylum, and there is no sadder sound in that sad place than the unceasing moan, “I wish I had! I wish I had!” of the unfortunate brakeman, whose criminal indulgence brought disaster to many lives. — Oswald

Edwin Drake was one man I loved and admired his passion. He was an industrious young man. At age nineteen, he had left home to work and fend for himself. He found a job working on railways and soon became a train conductor. It was during the days nobody knew what to do with crude oil. Everybody used lamps but the lamps only used whale oil. All of a sudden someone came up with a refinery and crude oil demand suddenly hit the skies but there was a problem: how to drill the oil. Having been caught in an accident that resulted in his dismissal from the railway, Drake went to work for Seneca Oil. After he had successfully convinced them that he could drill for oil for them Seneca sent him to the field. When he was not delivering the expected result soon enough, Seneca pulled the plug on funding they had provided for the project, leaving drake to his devices. These were the days when people prospected and drilled for oil using shovels, pick axes and all, so when Drake went to buy a steam engine, everyone laughed him to scorn. What was he going to do with that? Could it be he has run nuts in his quest for black gold?

But Drake continued and his idea was working although not as fast as he anticipated and with much trouble. He drilled without hassles until his holes began caving in, but he found a way of cementing it and continued. After a wearing day’s work in which drake had reached a depth of 21 meters, had hit oil. Excitement had hit the roof, too happy and carried away with the worth of the treasure he had discovered for he had become instantly rich, Drake forgot to patent his invention for by the next day, a thousand other drillers who were watching replicated him method by daybreak the next day. After a series of investment in wrong places and mismanagement, Drake who discovered that one apparatus and process that made thousands of Americans instant millionaires died a wretched man after he had come so close to being a multi-billionaire and had he taken the one last step to register his patent but somehow he didn’t.

No time is better that now. No time can be more perfect than now. If there is something that needs to be done, now is the time for it now is left unused, tomorrow shall come but not without much regrets.

About the Author

feanyi J. Igbokwe is a life coach, writer and motivational speaker with a focus on corporate and personal growth.

Twitter: @igbokwe_ifeanyi

E: Ifeanyi.igbokwe@gmail.com

Photo Credit: jakebouma

How Big is your Excuse?

This is a Guest Post by Igbokwe Ifeanyichukwu. Enjoy! 🙂

how big is your excuseUntil 1875, a thousand and one swimmers had cast their wide-reaching gazes on the seemingly endless stretch of the English Channel and wished that they would be the first to swim across it. Everybody else used boats to travel across this massive water body. There was record to be set and but everybody seemed to look only at the often challenging tides and other creatures that lurked dangerously beneath the water body until Mathew Webb approached it with the kind of boldness with which a lion approaches a prey – with carefulness, boldness and determination and became the first man to swim across the English channel without any external support even in the scary face of so much difficulties.

It wasn’t until he swam across it that everybody began to realize that they could have done it, had they tried. Today even twenty years olds take swimming across this channel as a regular exercise.

Here are some questions to help you move ahead:

  • Do you hate your status quo?
  • Do you hate the condition life has presented before you?
  • But you are still busy dishing out excuses?
  • Do you only see all the problems and not the springboard to your success?
  • Again, How Big is your Excuse?

Hamilton Naki was offered a job to be a gardener in the University of Cape Town.  He had come from the humblest of backgrounds with little or no education to Cape Town. This was apartheid South Africa where the educated black people had not even got a voice not to mention a black male with no education at all. But nothing was going to stop this determined young man with a most amazing self-image and esteem. Soon this illiterate gardener had acquired enough mastery of the happenings around his surroundings that he could assist with the meanest of roles in the laboratory, from cleaning the cages where the animals are kept to anaesthetizing them. He kept observing and learning until he could help and operate on the animals dissecting them with most expertly dexterity of a brilliant surgeon.

Soon he rose to become the principal surgical assistant in the very laboratory where he had previously been employed as a gardener without any certificate, brilliantly undertaking research work that greatly enlarged the frontiers of medical knowledge in the aspect heart surgery and transplant and liver implantation until he could pass his knowledge on to younger doctors. This uneducated man who was employed as a casual gardener in a society that had no place for black people eventually worked so hard that he earned himself an Honorary Master’s degree from the University of Cape Town, a feat that previously near impossible and a great reputation.

Scarcely would any man read these lines that does not have better and greater opportunities and privilege than Hamilton Naki. The question is:

  • What have we done with them.
  • What have we done about them?

I have come across some people for want of a better phrase I refer to as excuse professionals. O! I may not be able to go to the gym, today is no so good a day. We just can’t bear any comparison with that brand, they are far too ahead. The reason why I am not performing well at my job is ’cause of my boss. I can never get good grades, my teacher is the cause. I can never be that rich no matter how much I tried. I am broke simply because of my husband… Spend just five minutes with some people and you’d be sure to get a hundred excuses why they can’t do this or that.

But then some of the people making these excuses may just be sincerely ignorant. Truth is no matter how good or interesting your excuse may be, it won’t pay the bills, no matter how sincere or ignorant you may be, people pay for results, and until you produce the desired results, you may as well decide not to wake up that day.

Oh!, you could have an ocean of excuses why you would never be successful, why you may never be rich, why you may not be able to bear any comparison with the man or woman you are competing with but the truth as someone rightly put it is that if we fail to dream, then we would spend our entire lifetime helping other people to build their dreams.

Get up take responsibility, go to work and challenge your status. See if things would not change.

Time is gone and is no more existent when the African child will sit idle bemoaning his fate, blaming it on the inability of his government to provide good quality education when he has the world to compete with in a jet age. Past and gone is the time when a graduate from Pakistan would heap a load of regret on his Alma Mata for competition with an American or British over a job in Dubai and losing it, just because he didn’t do enough to clinch it. Until anyone strives consistently for mastery and pays the price, nothing may change.

If you don’t like where you are, then move you are not a stone. You have the right to be angry. But make sure you are angry enough to challenge your situation. Then stand up and do something constructive. Continue doing it until something changes. Pay the price for the change and see if things will not change.

About the Author

Igbokwe Ifeanyichukwu is an action coach, a motivational speaker, a writer and a consultant. He is the brain behind Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary People which will début on this blog shortly.

My 2013 Goals – Personal and Professional.

Do you love to set goals?

Goal setting is good for you and I am a little old school, therefore I am of the school of thought that says; you should clearly write your goals rather have it in your head. I totally agree!

Ever come across this?

….Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. – Hab. 2:2

Now my intention here is to help someone get into the habit of setting goals. Tell you the truth goal setting is not fun especially when you are just getting started but as soon as you get used to it, you will always flow…..

Last year, I published my 7 Commitments for 2012 and asked readers here to please hold me accountable – a few (notably Joe Oye) made it a point of duty to always ask about the progress and this put me on my toe.

Key Personal Goals for 2013.

1. Devote more time for God Almighty – the Creator of All.

Tell you the truth my view of life changed totally after the shocker of December 2011 (which you can read here), that taught me that life is too short and transient for most of the things we bother about.

Just like 2012, my top priority this year is to get to know God the more and ultimately prepare for the 2nd coming of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Do you feel me? God is more than enough friend!

2. More time for my Family

Would you expect anything less from a father of 3? 🙂 Seriously speaking now, I would be devoting a minimum of 1 hr a day for family when I am in town. The nature of my job makes me present but absent because it requires my full concentration. It will a brief period of switching off all gadgets and just focusing on them. So help me God!

3. Volunteer more time to NGOs

In my capacity as a public speaker and trainer, I volunteer my time freely to a number organisations such as:

  • FATE Foundation.
  • Sam Ohuabunwa Foundation for Economic Empowerment (SOFEE).
  • Prof. Pat Utomi’s Center for Values and Leadership (CVL).

Notwithstanding my busy schedule, I intend to remain committed to these organizations. In future, I might write a book on how “Volunteering is guaranteed way to success” especially if you are genuinely passionate about it.

It has worked for me. So my advice to you is to volunteer your time (or give your resources) to someone or an organisation in need.

4. Improve on my Time Management skills.

If you think your life is not where it should be, then you need to consider certain actions or activities such as your goals and how you manage your time?

  • Do you spend all day facebooking or tweeting and expect to be financial free?
  • Would you rather sleep when you should be reading?
  • Is your confession “God will provide all my needs” while you are busy eating your seed?
  • How long do you spend watching movies?

All these and many related factors will have a fatal outcome, if you keep at it and look closely they all have a link with poor time management.

I am also guilty of poor time management, so I have set a goal to simply move around on a daily basis with a planner (or us evernote on my device), so that I can note and monitor my daily activities with an intention to make the best out of each day.

I would love to say more but I am unable to because the other goals are much more private.

Key Professional Goals for 2013

1. Publish a book related to Digital media, Internet marketing and Social Media in the 1st 90 days of 2013. Watch out for this!

2. Start writing another book Mobile Marketing and have it ready for publishing in the next 365 days.

3. Start off a membership site focused on my niche for my subscribers and audience in the next 90 days.

4. Seek more partnerships in new industries. Last year, I talked a lot about why small business owners are better off partnering with others. Feel free to read one of the posts here.

5. Keep up with my current pace of personal development by attending seminars and short courses.

Add a Little Bit of Fun to Goal Setting…..

I came up with what I call – 365 days 100 Goals summit 🙂 A combination of personal and professional goals broken down to make the whole process fun for me. Here they are:

  1. 100 souls for the Lord (directly or indirectly through physical & e-evangelism).
  2. 100 blog posts/articles here.
  3. 100 guest posts/articles outside i.e. EzineArticles where I am already a Platinum Author.
  4. 100 speaking engagements (Paid and Free).
  5. 100 Videos to be created (shot 1 already)
  6. 100 Books to read (both ebooks and physical)
  7. 100 hours of physical exercise (behind in this area)
  8. 100 powerpoint presentations to be shared on slideshare
  9. 100 days to become Google Adwords Qualified.

This is just to make it fun for me, so you should add fun to your goal setting process. Remember, it is not Jamb or Waec (local examinations here in Nigeria), it is yours and has to be fun. I intend to print this and carry this along with me as well as put it in places where I would see them constantly because when I accomplish them then you can be sure that my life would have changed for the better.

Let me state that depending on where you are now; it is extremely to set goals in key areas of your life such as Finance, Spirituality, Values, Cause/Passion, Emotion etc. and they should be smart.

Although mine is grouped into 2; it still has elements of some of the key areas mentioned above.

Finally, don’t keep all your goals to yourself. Tell someone who can hold you accountable and have him or her review it as often as possible.

Go out there and set accomplish great goals, stretch yourself, be the best you can be and have fun.

As always thank you for your love and support. I’d love to know what your goals and plans for 2013, maybe we can start by holding ourselves accountable 🙂

4 Reasons Why You Should Always Add Value

Do you always add value you first or what is in it for you comes to mind first all the time? What is your value proposition in life and business? Are you like the majority that would gladly journey through life aimlessly.

We all can add Positive Values to the World!

Values are extremely important. Each time there is a negative event what you hear is that; our value system has been destroyed. This is because value is a word that is intricately tied to purpose, commitment, faith, success and other good attributes.

If for example, you hope to become successful then you must imbibe certain values that successful people have. If you want to become more like God Almighty which by the way is possible according to Psalm 82:6

Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

It simply means you have to imbibe certain values like unconditional love, kindness, long-suffering, mercy, etc.

Therefore, I ask you today;

  • What are your values in life?
  • Are you living to make all the money and then what?
  • Do you make it a commitment to add value everyday of your life?

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting great goals and making all the money you can but in my opinion if you think value in the money-making process then you being fair to both God and humanity.

Here are a few reasons why you should always add value:

1. That is what God expects

You will agree with me that God expects you and I to add value at all times. That is the reason he said to us;

I have said, And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth – Genesis 1:28a

You should aim to replenish the earth on a daily basis. Learn to add flavour to the lives of people around you every single day.

2. Value simply means Money

By now, you probably know that money is nothing but paper. What makes it have value is the belief that it is backed by gold or the authority of the state – which in this case is just a perceived value. Greece is a perfect example of the reality that money is nothing but paper.

That said, when someone buys a product or service from you, they do that because you have promised to give them some sort of value or satisfaction when they part with their money. They are not doing that because you are indispensable or the most beautiful or owner of the best product. They are likely giving you the money because of the perceived value you would add to their lives or businesses by virtue of your value proposition.

I wrote “GIVING is the New Philosophy of Business” simply because I believe businesses should understand that the Internet will push you into giving value first because your competition is within reach.

3. It gives you an opportunity to Grow

Yes! The more you add value in a particular area the more experienced and better exposed you will become in that field. Growth does not just happen, it takes a process.

You are who you are today because of the series of value that you have received overtime from your parents, relatives, teachers etc. If you deal with your customers or employees from a stand point of value addition then you are more likely to grow faster in terms of experience and monetary gains.

4. It simply wins you more loyal friends

A friend called me up to ask me the size of my shoes, he said he simply wants to sow into my life and ministry. In his words; you have been of great help, your words of wisdom have helped me so much and this is my own little way of saying thank you;

It is $300+ Calvin Klein shoes but that is besides the point, it could have been a car or even a house. I am humbled knowing that people are being blessed through my rants.

People call me up and ask me to handle projects I did not bid for, not because I am the smartest digital marketing consultant or SEO expert out there but because of the perceived value they have of me. Read 4 Simple Ways to Build your Personal Brand Online

In a future post, I would share my thoughts on some of the very simple ways I add value to people around me and how it is helping me become better at helping people become Conditioned for Accomplishments.

I would love to hear your ideas on why adding value is or is not important, it does not matter what your opinion is, just share and let us learn from you. Simply leave your comments or questions below.