Feats Of Anger

It started with a minor arguement over bus fare. Then caution was thrown to the winds. In anger, the passenger slaps the bus conductor on the chest. In a twinkle of an eye, the conducter loses consciousness. He staggers. Slums and and became motionless. He dies before help could reach him. At that point, no one cared what the bus conductor did wrong. The new issue was that the passenger had assumed a new status in life – a murderer.

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In another instance, an arguement ensued between fans of two English clubs. The arguement became to mouths to handle. Braking and fighting with bottles was the next. At the end a fan was stabbed to death. He was picked up and charged for murder. You can rightly guess the rest of the story.

In yet another touching instance, a boy offends the dad and in anger, the dad smashes his head against the wall. He becomes unconcious. He dies before getting to the hospital. Imagine a father murdering his own son!

In another mind-blowing instance, a girl is angered by the alleged “bullying” by her mother. She she runs to the balcony of their third floor apartment and jumps down. She did not die but broke her neck, legs, one arm….and her spinal cord.

There are so many other instances of anger turned fatal. It happens everywhere – homes, schools, markets, offices and even places of worship.

In every case of anger, there is an option not to act or speak. But the “voice” that makes us act or speak usually sound louder. And this is voice we often listen to. One thing anger does successfully each time it “takes over” an individual is to blind him and his mind from seeing the consequencies of his actions. It strikes in less than two seconds – too fast to allow the individual time to think deep. And then in 9 out of 10 cases, it disappears as soon as there is trouble. Usually, the consequencies are often serious than the cause of the anger. The victim then becomes sober. But its often too late.

Anger management is really tough. It takes the grace of God and a strong resolve to be able to put it in check.

Below I share with you my own mehods of managing anger. Please read on…

It is very necessary to know each other’s characters – your kids, friends, colleaques,students,neighbours and the like. There are some people that take things so simple and are thus not easily angered. Some make mountains out of mole hills. For such people, thread with caution.

Secondly, I walk away from the scene. This is very good as it reduces tension both ways. I don’t have anything to lose by doing this.

Another thing I do always is maintaining an unusual calm. Even as I write this post, my 4 year+ son provoked me and I just acted as if nothing happened. Its really hard but with time it becomes easier to do. Its really working for me. I just started doing it recently and now I do it unconsciously. It seems to have become a part of me.

The mehod I use is dependent on the circumstance and the person involved. For instance, I cannot walk out on my boss or and elderly person.

angerLastly, irrespective of the circumstance and person involved, it is very good and necessary to be prayerful. Prayers helps a lot in guiding our words, thoughts and actions. Some feats of anger end up in very serious fatalities which may include death, like in the cases above. So, we have to constantly ask God to guide all our actions. An I know He will.

I wish you good luck. We all need loads of it.

Thanks for your time

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Relegating God To Insignificance

Isn’t it strange how N500 (about $3)seem like such a large amount when we give it as offering, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange how 2hrs seem so long when you’re at place of worship, and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie?

Jesus loves hearing from usIsn’t it strange that you can’t find a word to say when you’re to make supplication to God, but you have no trouble thinking of what to gist about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Scriptures in the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel or magazine?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, film house or games, but they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in the holy gathering?

Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a place in Paradise, but they don’t want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?

Isn’t it strange how we send jokes in e-mail, BBM or whatsapp and they are forwarded right away; but when we are going to send messages about God, we think about it twice before we share it with others?

IT’S STRANGE ISN’T IT?

Lets beef up our spiritual life because it’s very necessary. A life without God is like a little baby crawling on a busy road ! Picture this in your mind.

God bless us all.

Thanks for your time.

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The Malaise Called Delayed Marriage

At 46, she is a very successful business woman. She lives in her own house and an eye-popping one at that. She shuttles the globe like the President of a country. She is everything that can pass for a beauty queen. She wines and dines with very cute looking guys and very successful ones at that. She moves like a model doing the winning moves.

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is this other guy who is a very successful banker. He has a fleet of eye-popping cars and lives in one of the posh neighborhoods of Lagos, Nigeria. He is always being seen with very pretty ladies. Like the lucky lady above, he is well connected. He is 51 years old.

The story of these two ‘’lucky’’ people reminds me of the popular soap ’the rich also cry.’’ In the midst of their splendor lies pain and sadness which can only be felt and appreciated when you get so close to them and start discussing about life outside glamour and affluence. Then they make you realize what they go through in theie quiet moments.

Sadly, both of them have not been able to find a man and woman, respectively, that they can call their own. The case of the lady is worse, as she has hit menopause – the much dreaded part of a woman’s life when she still wants her own babies, but cannot get pregnant anymore, as a result of the cessation of ovulation.

Delayed marriages or unending singlehood is common place globally. No doubt, some people prefer being single parents. That too will not have been the case if the single parent had found someone he or she can live with as wife and husband, respectively.

Of all the problems associated with delayed marriages or unending singlehood, the most embarrassing is societal view of an ’aged’’ single man or woman. He or she is seen as a no-good man or woman who cannot be accepted either way. In some settings, he or she is seen as probably having spiritual problem that needs to be cleansed before all can be well with such a person.

At the family front, the parents are seriously agitated. In African settings, the desire for grandchildren is usually a source of worry for the parents.

The greatest pain actually dwells in the heart of those who are actually directly involved with this problem, especially the women who are usually ”racing against time.”

What could make these two ‘’lucky’’ people and millions of other men and ladies with varied ‘’qualifications,’’ find it so hard to get someone to get married to.

Overtime, I have been able to gather a few likely reasons which may actually be the case with someone you may know out there. Read on:-

REPELLING CHARACTERS. Some men and women have characters which tend to send people away. People actually come close only to discover that they have characters that are hard to cope with. Such repelling characters include pride, arrogance and strong penchant for rudeness. I can never marry a lady that has these characters as her talentsIt will be a tension-soaked marriageA woman with pride cannot possess the golden attribute of submissiveness. It would be very hard to cope with a proud and arrogant wife. The characters are so irritating. Such a lady sees herself as superior or on the same level with a man. Such a lady will find it very difficult to do house chores and take good care of the kids when they eventually come. She will be the type of lady that will talk back at the man and will be very rude at the slightest provocation. Such a lady will find it very difficult to keep a long relationship. Men will come, but they will not stay as they will not want a life-time of marital squabble.

Pride in a man can also be an impediment against having a life time relationship. Even though submissiveness is required of the woman, usurpation of power by the man is an enemy of a long-lasting relationship. Some men are known to be naturally proud and arrogant. They carry themselves as the boss-man. These kind of man could be very troublesome and very difficult to cope and live with for a life time.

LACK OF CONTENTMENT.  This is peculiar to both sexes. A man or woman who keeps on changing partners each time he or she sees a ‘’better’’ person, will find it very hard to settle down. One fact is indisputable about human beings – you will always find someone ‘’better’’ than your partner either in terms of beauty, education, family background, character and what have you. A man or lady who really wants to get married must be able to resist the temptation of running after the better person and abandon the existing partner. Where this resistance is impossible, such an individual will definitely find it difficult to settle down.

BEING TOO SELECTIVE. This is another enemy of early marriage. I know some single ladies and men alike, who are too selective. They find fault(s) in every man or woman (as the case might be) that come their way and give reasons why he or she is not the ideal man or woman. They give excuses like colour of eye balls, complexion, height, intonation, countenance, education, religion, poor dress sense, family background, and state of origin or region, among others.  These selective tendencies have made a lot of single to unknowingly by-pass their Mr. Right or Miss Right.

ATTAINMENT OF COMFORT. I know ladies and guys alike who want to achieve some level of comfort before they settle down. This applies to the men more. Men usually want to achieve some level of economic comfort before they settle down. Sadly, these expected comfort sometime take years to achieve. Invariably, marriage is delayed until the desired level of comfort is achieved. Some ladies do  the same. Their argument is usually that they do not want to be too reliant on their husbands when they eventually get married. This search for economic freedom deprives these ladies of so many years they would have spent as married women.

EDUCATION. Some men and women resolve not to get married until they have attained a desired level of

education. For the ladies, the argument is usually that once they get married, schooling might be difficult and slowed down.

PENCHANT FOR PROMISCUITY. When a man or woman has a knack for promiscuity, settling down early might be one of the last things on his or her agenda. The freedom which single hood provide would not allow such a man or woman to be in a hurry to get married. Even when they get married, adultery could eventually lead to a collapse of the marriage.

FEAR OF FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES. Marriage confers huge responsibilities on both the man and the woman. Some guys and ladies are certainly not ready to take up any of such responsibilities. For the man or woman who has been used to spending all his or her income on himself or herself, adjusting to a new status would require some determination.

UNATTRACTIVE LOOKS.  Naturally, sadly, some guys and ladies have the problem of unattractive looks. This is natural and beyond the control of neither the man nor the woman.

The list above is not exhaustive.

LACK OF FUNDS. Some men have the difficulty in raising funds for the the marriage. This problem is  more pronounced in some African settings where traditional marriages are very expensive. This has forced some men to remain single for so long, against their wishes.

A read through of these issues will show that they are controllable, i.e., surmountable if the persons involved are really willing. It simply requires the persons involved to trace and discover the ”problem.” It simply involves identifying the impediment and attacking it head on. This requires a very strong resolve to settle down against all odds.

If you ask me, it is good to marry early.

 Thanks for your time.

Customer Loyalty : A Condition For Business Survival

As the Manager, Administration/Accounts, of a medium sized technical services company in Lagos, Nigeria, I had had to contend with one of the most challenging functions of a manager, namely ensuring customer loyalty. One fact is indisputable – customer loyalty is the key to business survival, irrespective of the size.

As easy as the task appears, it requires a lot on the part of any business-minded organisation. Ensuring customer loyalty involves doing everything to ensure that the customer ‘’sticks’’ to your business i.e., that there is repeat purchases. It involves creating a devotion or attachment to the business by your business.

In a world where no single firm engages in a line of business, this can really be a demanding task. It therefore requires that businesses have to do everything possible to edge out one another in a bid to retain their customers.

So many businesses have had to be eased out of the market simply because of constant loss of customers to competitors. One big mistake businesses normally make is to assume that the loss of a customer ends at that single loss. But often times, the loss of a customer might lead to the loss of other customers/potential customers connected to the lost customer. Thus, customer loyalty is a task that must be achieved if a business must survive. Once your customers are loyal to your business, repeat-purchase/patronage can be assured. It will not be wrong to say therefore that in the world of business the consumer is king.

Here are some simple and cheap tips which I applied, which yielded excellent results :-

*Regular phone calls – The popular saying that ‘’out of sight is out mind’’ is very true and also applies     in the business world. A simple courtesy phone call to a/the manager or an owner of a business goes a long way in both showing you care and indirectly saying ‘’ please do not forget us/me.’’

*Branded gifts – Branded gifts is also a good way of attracting customer loyalty. These are gifts with stickers showing your business details on it. Everyone likes and appreciates freebies. It is also a form of advertisement for the business. Branded gifts usually travel far, thus creating more awareness and a has a reminder effect.

*A warm welcome and treatment – this is one of the no-costs things you can do to ensure customer loyalty. A simple smile can have a very powerful effect on a customer.  Everyone feels good when warmly received and treated. It makes the customer want to come back again and again, and even recommend your business to other people.

*After sales courtesy –this involves showing concern over the satisfaction of the customer after purchase or after rendering the service. This gives the buyer the impression that you are not only concerned about the money, but also their satisfaction.

*Courtesy visits – do not wait until your customers come to you before you see them. Do not practice sit-tight business. Pay regular visits. You could pick up deals in on some of those courtesy visits.

*Attend customers’ functions – find time to attend functions organized by your customers. It makes the bond between two of you to be stronger. You can even strike new deals there or even make new customers.

*Organize customers’ fora – here you and interact, receive complaints, suggestions, and you generally feel their pulse at such gatherings.  It gives your customers a sense of belonging in the business. Thus, you make them feel that your relationship goes beyond just buying and selling.

*Have branded work tools and materials – having branded materials like stationery, packing materials, delivery vehicles, receipts, invoices amongst others, has an effect of constantly ‘’announcing’’ your presence in the market place.

*Give bonuses and discounts – bonuses and discounts are powerful tools in business. Every customer wants cheap but good quality goods and services. Once in a while, grant discounts – cash, quantity or trade discounts. Quantity discounts have been known to attract customers more than the other forms of customers since it impacts directly on the quantity bought. Bonuses also encourage repeat purchases. A buy-one-get-one-free sale will certainly attract more customers and bring them back again. Festive occasions should not be the only time for granting discounts or bonuses.

*Give urgent attention to customers’ complaints – many businesses have lost customers because of their inability to handle complains. In some cases attend to the problem personally (for small businesses) rather than send your staff or junior officer (big businesses).

*Always say thank you and I am sorry – it costs nothing to say thank you to a customer who has patronised you. It costs nothing too to say ‘’I am sorry” where a customer deserves it.

*Never allow a customer to leave with annoyance. You may never have his patronage again. He could even discourage other potential customers from coming to you.

No doubt, no matter how good a business may be in terms of staff competence, high quality products, good location, best connections, highly skilled management team or strong financial back up, it takes purchases and patronage for businesses to survive. Customers determine whether the business stays or collapses. Their patronage determines whether a business is small, medium or large. No business opens its doors for employees to buy its products. they look forward to the patronage of customers.

In business, the consumer is king. So we have to do everything to get their LOYALTY.

Thanks a lot for your time.

Small businesses’ practices and the issues of stagnation and collapse

Image courtesy jscreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy jscreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have been very fortunate to have worked in all sorts of businesses: small ones, medium sized ones, blue chips, collapsing ones, and very solid ones. As a University of Cambridge Advanced Business studies lecturer, I have had to carry out series of studies on business failures and successes. The combination of these experiences is basis of this blog post.

There is no generally acceptable definition of a small business. It is safe to say that this very important element in every economy can best be defined by their peculiar features.

Small businesses are known for the following features:-

*Small startup capital requirement

*Operates without a staff or one or two staffers

*Small office space

*Small stock up – for those businesses involved in buying and selling

*One-shop set up – no branches

*Very small assets value, including bank account

*Uses less of modern equipment and tools, especially the internet

*Inconsistencies in business practices

*Low turnover

*Low profits

The list above is inexhaustible. No doubt, there are many small businesses today which have become global players. Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Apple Computers (and a host of other global names), did not start from the top; they all started from the scratch.

If these businesses can be this successful, why is that many small businesses never leave their starting point, or worse still, later collapse. The following are my findings (it is important to note that for some businesses, a combination of these factors could be their problem; for some, a single factor could be their their problem):-

Inability to raise good capital:- Capital is the life blood of the any business. Where it cannot be sourced, or where enough cannot be sourced, then there is a serious attack on growth. This is because, every additional investment that is made in a business is a potential for future growth.

Modernization has made the issue of business financing less stressful and diverse. Here are some finance options open to small businesses:-

*Loans from friends and associates or micro finance banks.

*Thrift and credit societies for soft loans.

*Credit purchases.

*Equipment leasing from firms that are friendly to small businesses.

*Debt factoring.This involves selling of debts to finance firms like banks

*Ploughed back profit or earnings.

*Selling of disposable properties.

*Soft hire purchase arrangements. This is also an alternative to buying properties.

 An analysis of these options will have to be done before a decision is made. The terms of each option are usually a major guide.

One of Mark Zukerberg’s secret of success was getting good capital to push his dreams further. In 2005, Accel Partners, a venture capital firm invested $ 12.7 million into Facebook, which at the time was only open to Ivy league students. This led to a huge expansion of the network.

Giving priority to huge profits as against growth:-  I am one of the very strong followers of the late Apple boss, Steve Jobs. I have read many articles on him and I love listening to him because his words always contain strong meanings and implications. He once said that ‘’being the richest man in the cemetery does not matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful ‘’ is ‘’what matters to me.’’- (Craig Biddle -theobjectivestandard.com) Doing something wonderful would certainly require you to do something, not because of the money, but because that is what you really want to do. It also means you are not following the crowd to do what they are doing. This helps you to stay focused and always wearing your thinking cap. When this happens, all your efforts tend towards success and growth, dwarfing the motive of money-making.
Not having a Sellable product:-  Not every product is sellable. Surprised to read this. Every product has its time and location. A wrong time and location will surely jeopardise growth and may eventually snuff life out of a business.  Wrong timing of product release and location of small business has been a major setback for so many of them.  It slows down growth and if the situation becomes severe, it may lead to a collapse of the business.

Closely related to this is the issue of quality. It is a matter of time when even the less privileged ones in the society will turn their backs on sub-standard products. They do not last long. Food items might lead to health issues. This causes a drift to another product, no matter how cheap. The cycle continues. Growth will be a miracle in this situation. And when stagnation persists for so long, collapse cannot be ruled out. High quality is a major reason for the huge successes recorded by the small businesses started by Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Page, Filo, Yang and several other blue chip companies worldwide that started from the scratch.

Not surpassing your competitor in what you are selling :- The world of business is premised on the principle which recognizes the fact that for every business you want to go into other people are either doing it or will join you in that line of business later. So, survival is the order of the day. Surpassing your competitors is like a game of football where you have to get the ball pass all the players and goal keeper and then score. That means you have to very outstanding in your business practices. A great achiever, Steve Jobs, has this to say in this respect: ‘’ the only way to do a great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking….And like great relationship, it gets better as the years roll on.’’ – (Craig Biddle –www.theobjectivestandard.com). For small businesses, this could be, and has been an uphill task.

Very poor record keeping, especially financial records: – I liken the very poor record keeping habit of small businesses to the AIDS virus!!! Why? On the face of it it looks as if all is well with the business. But unknown to the business, a problem exist which is unknowingly affecting many aspects of the business. Poor record keeping is the major reason why :-

*A fraud can occur and the entrepreneur may not  know on time or may never know

*There might be a stock out and it is not known on time

*The entrepreneur may not be able to take sound investment decisions

*The entrepreneur may not be able to control expenses

* He may constantly have reconciliation problems with creditors and banks

*The entrepreneur may never be able to state his financial at any  time

* He may never be  able to know whether he is  running at a profit or loss

*The entrepreneur may never be able to tell how much his turnover in a year is

*The list goes on and on

Meanwhile all seems well with the business. A close examination of the practices above will show that each of them are clogs in the wheel of progress of any business for that matter, worse still , if the business is a small one.

Having incompetent or inexperienced assistants/partners/workers:- Human capital is the most crucial of the resources an organization can put together. No matter the kind of sophistication in your business machines, very high quality goods and services, fantastic business ideas, wonderful location, and the like, it takes human beings to transform all of these into business growth and success. The success stories of   Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zukerberg (Facebook), David Filo and Jerry Yang (Yahoo!), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) and Steve Jobs (Apple Computers), cannot be complete without the mention of some names of some very brilliant people and reputable organisations. Thus, slow progress or imminent collapse may definitely creep in where a business is made up of people or organisations that cannot drive the business towards growth.

Lack of foresight:-One key business skill is the ability to predict the market. Inability to do this creates constant shock-effects on the business. This is similar to the same effect a shocking situation has on a human being.  Too much of this shock-effect can be every inimical to a business. Having foresight enables the entrepreneur to plan and prepare ahead. It reduces too many stop-go situations. This is a situation where an unforeseen event creates a serious problem in the business which requires a complete change in the business, and starting a new line of practices becomes inevitable. If this happens often, progress will be deterred and imminent collapse cannot be ruled out.

One of the strongest points of Microsoft was that Bill Gates’ career has been marked by his incredible vision. Microsoft beat out the competition largely because they were always looking one step ahead, to the next revolutionary idea. The lesson is: if you want to get ahead in business, think ahead.

Inability to move with the times/changing global events: – Global events are changing at a very fast pace. Business techniques, methods and practices are fast changing at a per-second-basis. Information on better ways of doing business is being updated on a per-second-basis. The internet has made things even more difficult for small businesses that cannot have adequate access.  The result is that businesses that cannot meet up are put at a disadvantage, with the resultant consequence on growth and overall business success.

Poor marketing skills:- The whole essence of marketing is to bring about a sale. Marketing activities are very wide. Poor marketing skills slows down growth to a very large extent. Some of the marketing activities/practices expected of businesses includes :-

*Product issues – proper packaging, right colour, right size, right quality

*Pricing  issues – setting the right prices

*Distribution issues – excellent distribution plans

*Promotion issues-choosing the right type and mix of

promotional tools.

*Excellent customer relations.

Poor staff relations:- Lastly, where the business can employ a staff, the staff MUST be well taken care of. The entrepreneur must have a good relationship with the staff. Staff welfare must be a priority. A happy worker is more dedicated to his job, loyal, and less prone to criminal tendencies. Where the reverse is the case, the business suffers for it. The staff sees himself as a salary-worker who only works for his salary, with nothing at stake. He is less dedicated and more prone to criminal tendencies. All these and much more adversely affects the business.

A careful study of the above research findings will not only be very useful to small businesses, but the following businesses:-

*Failing business, i.e., businesses going through difficult times

*Medium scale businesses that want to grow

*Big businesses that have been facing challenges.

*New businesses or those coming on board

Good luck to us all and thanks for your time.