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Business

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is seeking partnership with the Chinese Government and businesses in key sectors like infrastructure development, industry, energy, information, and communication technology, and transportation, in efforts to drive development in the State.

The Governor, who is on a working visit to China, is expected to execute meaningful partnerships that will support the State’s aspiration of becoming a 21st-century economy, will visit the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC), and China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), for project appraisal.

On this visit, Sanwo-Olu seeks to explore his presentation to China-Africa Business Council, to put Lagos before the Chinese investment community and declare the State’s openness to investors.

Likewise, the Governor’s economic ambassadorial role will take him to Zhuhai Changiong Ocean Park, Huawei, GAC Motor Factory and GREE Electrical Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai for possible collaboration in the areas of industry, tourism, and facility development.

Specifically, Lagos State is seeking investments in infrastructure development, industry, energy, information, and communication technology, and transportation; and Sanwo-Olu’s administration has been unequivocal about its quest for both local and foreign investors to actively participate in the economic and infrastructural development of the State.

While presenting the proposed Lagos State budget of N1.1trillion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly last week, the Governor had noted that, “the State has revised some of its approval procedures and operating laws to enable business thrive.”

Interestingly, these efforts were corroborated in the acknowledgment of Lagos State by the World Bank for its significant contribution to Nigeria’s impressive performance in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index published last month, in which the country moved 15 places higher in the global ranking of countries.

“Our recorded fifteen places upward-movement in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business has impressively positioned Nigeria as one of the most improved economies globally for business operation. However, it is important we identify and consciously leverage the feat to attract opportunities and investments into the country,” noted Sanwo-Olu, while commenting on the significance of Nigeria’s achievements on Ease of Doing Business to its economic development.

Recently, the Governor had witnessed the signing of four agreements with China Development Bank (CDB), including a $629 million financing facility, to accelerate completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, which started in 2011, and will be completed in 30 months.

The loan was secured from the Chinese bank after China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which owns majority shares in the project, signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLTZ), to complete the Phase 1 of Nigeria’s first deep seaport project in Lekki – a coastal community in the nation’s commercial nerve-center – Lagos.

After completion, the deep seaport would have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth. It will also have the capacity to be berthed by fifth-generation container ships, which has a capacity of 18,000 TEU ship.

Sanwo-Olu described the development as “another milestone” for the State in infrastructural development and commerce, saying the signing of agreements ended period of uncertainty that had trailed the delivery of the project. He noted that the project completion will invigorate the Lagos economy, and push it up in the index of largest economy in the world.

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Nigerian Business News

Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Oct. 7, 2019 (NAN) In line with global requirements of communications, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications, said Nigeria was ready to deploy 5G network across the country to ease network flow.

Pantami said this on Monday at the ongoing 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

 

GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, IT experts, countries, Information Communication Technology startups from over 145 countries of the world, to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.

Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which is spearheaded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a week long programme holding from Oct. 6  to Oct. 10.

5G mobile network is the next-generation standard for wireless communication, set to start taking over the mobile network environment in 2019. 5G delivers vastly increased capacity, lower latency and faster speed.

 

The minster said “ Nigeria is ready for 5G network but preparation is key. We are ready but need deployment and before that we need pre-deployment and post-deployment.


“We are working to handle the challenges of pre-deployment but the approval has been given for the trial.


“Nigeria is not yet into the 5G network deliberately. Some of the telecom operators are ready to deploy the 5G network but the proposal was put on hold, so we can be productive and proactive.


“There could be potential challenges that could obstruct 5G network, which include regulations. You cannot just rush into it without preparing your ground,’’ he said.

He said that the Federal Government is engaging some security agencies like the National Intelligence Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police, among others to ensure a seamless process, while establishing regulations on deploying the 5G network.

 

The minister also said that 5G network cannot be deployed across the country yet due to some gaps in citizens being unable to access 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

“At the pace we are moving, some places do not even have 2G, there are over 200 cluster areas in the country and with this you cannot say we can move to 5G when some people are yet to access 2G, 3G.

“The gaps are already there, it is not a new one but you cannot delay advancement because other people are not benefiting, what we should do is to bridge the gap.’’

 

He added that Nigeria was not doing badly in technology, however, patriotism and confidence in indigenous products and services was lacking.


Pantami recalled that a Nigerian in the UK was the first person globally to develop, build and design first real time 5G network dedicated to self-organised networks in the UK , using general purpose processors.


According to him, we usually fail to deploy what we produce, we are so much addicted to foreign products and whenever we hear anything local it appears to us as inferior.


“That perception of undermining our effort is what we need to change.’’


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Postal Service, Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Exchange Commission, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board are some agencies representing the country at GITEX. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Africa’s largest economy, is looking for co-investors to develop two gas industrialisation projects worth more than $1 billion (Dh3.67bn), as it continues to broaden its portfolio of investments.


NSIA plans to develop a basic chemicals platform with a project value in excess of $1bn that will produce ammonia and fertilisers in Nigeria. The second one, a project to convert flare gas into LPG, could cost more than $100 million, Uche Orji, the chief executive of NSIA, who is in Abu Dhabi attending a two-day Africa Investment Summit hosted by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, told The National.


“We will be looking hopefully to develop [the projects] with sovereign wealth funds and other co-investors,” he said. The talks are at early stages, he said and did not name any potential partners.


Nigeria, Opec’s biggest crude producer in Africa, relies heavily on the oil and gas sector, which accounts for about 20 per cent of its gross domestic product, and 85 per cent of total exports, according to Opec data. The country expects investments worth $48bn between 2018 and 2025 in the sector, Maikanti Baru, former managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said in July.


Mele Kyari, who has replaced Mr Baru as the head of NNPC, said that state-owned energy companies Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company are also considering investing in Nigeria’s energy sector.


“We are open to all partners, all like-minded partners. We have no restrictions, we have ongoing discussions with so many people,” Mr Orji said of the potential deals with long-term investors across sectors of Nigerian economy. “We have health care, we have infrastructure [projects], it really depends on what the interest of our partner is”


Additional equity from the government, Mr Orji said, will help NSIA to broaden its investment base. The fund’s current focus remains on achieving growth through joint investments.


“I’m expecting more from the government but a lot of it would depend on the oil price movement,” he said. “We are very hopeful that we will get some funds,” he said. The current price level of $62 per barrel for Brent crude is still above “our benchmark rate”, which is $57 per barrel, he saoi.


NSIA invests through its three main funds: the Stabilisation Fund, Future Generations Fund and Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, which account for 20, 30 and 50 per cent of its investments, respectively.


NSIA not only manages its own funds, but it also those on behalf of the Nigerian government and its total assets under management are between $2.5bn to $3bn.


Over the years, NSIA has increased its focus on domestic infrastructure projects and it is investing in three major transport infrastructure schemes – the Abuja-Kano highway, Second Niger bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan road projects.


“These projects are quite significant altogether. When they are done, they would be around roughly $2bn [in value]”, he said.


The projects are being financed through the funds provided by the government and NSIA’s own equity and it will look to raise $500m in external funding from the market next year, Mr Orji said.


“We are appointing advisers next year to commence the capital raising process,” he said without specifying the timing of the deal.


Development of power, agriculture and the healthcare sectors is among the top priorities for NSIA, and the authority is looking to join hands with sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and beyond for co-investments in these sectors.


“Less than 20 per cent of the Nigeria’s arable land is cultivated for agriculture so that’s an opportunity right there. We are talking about a large quantum of land here,” he said.


Within the healthcare sector, it has already finished two projects this year and is on track to finish another in the first quarter of 2020. The country is looking to launch another two next year out of the active pipeline of 12 projects, he said.

The National


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Business

First Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to promote sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development.


Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

 

He said that the bank would hold its 2019 FirstBank Agric Expo themed; “Agricultural Value Chain – Spotlighting Opportunities and Managing Risks, would hold on Aug. 30, with Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of AFREXIM Bank as the Keynote Speaker.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FirstBank Agric Expo, launched in 2017, provides platform for national discourse on sustainable agriculture value-chain as a substantial source of Nigeria’s economic development, improved contribution to her balance of trade as well as foreign exchange.


Adeduntan said: ”In the last 125 years, more than any other financial institution, we have played a key role in financing different sectors of not just the Nigerian economy but other economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

“As Nigeria expands opportunities in its non-oil sector – especially Agriculture – we remain committed to the growth of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.”


Adeduntan said that the bank’s consistency in convening the FirstBank Agric Expo is a demonstration of its commitment to building the agribusiness economy.


He said that agribusiness was capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating exports, supporting sustainable income and creating employment opportunities.


Adeduntan said that the expo would host over 600 delegates and over 60 exhibitors to display the latest technology in farm equipment, tools and machinery as well as packaged finished agricultural produce, logistics and supply.


He said that it would also keep the participants and sundry agribusiness practitioners abreast with new opportunities in the Agricultural industry. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

The Federal Government of Nigeria at the ongoing 39th Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) has invited investors to leverage on the potential of Nigeria to do businesses for the boosting of its digital economy.


Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications, made the call at the African Investment Forum (AIF), a platform designed to showcase the opportunities in Nigerian, African ICT sector.


GITEX is the biggest annual technology gathering of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia with over 200,000 technology interests and over 145 countries in participation.


Pantami, who emphasised on the opportunities in Nigeria, said that investors could leverage on the demography, youthful population, skills and readiness of Nigerians to come and do businesses.


According to him, Nigeria has the right policies for businesses.


“Africa’s population is growing at an average rate of 2.57 per cent which is almost 220 per cent, the average global growth rate of 1.17 per cent per annum.


“The  United Nations also estimates that half of global population growth, projected to  occur  between  now  and  2050,  is  expected  to  occur in Africa.


“These statistics show that even though we already have a large market of about 1.2 billion people in Africa, investors should expect an even larger market in the upcoming years.


“Nigeria’s geographic and financial position on the continent make it a very strategic  country  and  good  starting  point  for  investors  interested  in  the African continent.


“Nigeria is located between the Central and Western parts of Africa and offers investors, immediate access to over half of the African continent represented by those that reside in Western and Central Africa,“ he said


He said Nigeria could also boost of approximately 200 million people living in the country.


Pantami further said that with an average age of over 18 years, Nigeria had a potential and critical mass of ‘digital natives’ that could transform the country into a regional and global ICT power house.


Citing World Bank, the minister said Nigeria had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP), valued at 397 billion USD and being the largest economy in Africa with 10 th largest oil reserve in the world.


He said Nigeria was making huge efforts in increasing broadband penetration, digital literacy, developmental regulation, local content development, among other strategies, to build digital economy.


He also said that digitisation of services was not restricted to the public sector alone, adding that Nigerian government was encouraging educational institutions and the private sector to digitise their service delivery.


Pantami reiterated that Nigeria accounted for about 31per cent of the digital platforms deployed by the private sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.


According to him, government is mitigating challenges posed by cyber criminals.


“One of our strategies is to ensure that there is a proper digital identity for all those that transact in the digital economy.


“We have addressed the issue of about 9.4 million improperly registered SIM cards by either blocking them or doing proper registration.


“This is to secure our cyber space. We went to this great extent to give Nigerians and our potential investors’ confidence in the sector,” he said.


He also said that investors could acquire visa on arrival, register businesses online up to 95 per cent of the business which could be done electronically.


Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA),said that  government was ensuring that there was ease of doing business.


Inuwa recalled that the World Bank recently included Nigeria among top 20 countries of the world with a seamless process of the ease of doing business.


‘’The government just set up Industry Policy Competitive Advisory Council which is mandated to work with the private sector to accelerate the industralisation of Nigeria.


“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is also there with objective of economic recovery, building global economy and accelerate inclusive growth by developing human capital,’’ he said.


The 39th GITEX is a week long programme from Oct. 6 to 10. (NAN)

NAN

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Nigerian Business News

Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on Monday urged companies operating in the country to file in their annual returns as provided by the law or risk being de-listed from its register.

Mr Moses Adaguusu, Head Public Affairs, CAC, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary in view of the need to keep the commission abreast of such companies that were still in operation or otherwise.

An annual return is a mandatory requirement every enterprise or incorporated trustees must file annually by delivering to CAC a return in the prescribed form containing specified matters related to the organisation in accordance with Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

“A very vital importance is that filing of the annual return by a company helps to simply keep the commission abreast that such company is still actively in operation and still engaging in business activities or otherwise,’’ Adaguusi said.

While emphasising that the Enforcement and Monitoring Department of the Commission would intensify efforts to ensure compliance, Adaguusi, however, urged companies to embrace voluntary compliance.

 

According to him, although, we go out on enforcement, we are not going like task force because the economy is difficult.

“We want companies to embrace voluntary compliance so that there won’t be penalties.

“Penalties run into millions of naira and that is enough to close a company,’’ he said.

Adaguusu expressed concern that rather than comply with filing annual returns to the CAC, some companies seek for waiver on penalties.

According to him, in extreme cases, the commission considers waivers on penalty.

He also pointed out that companies need to be up to date with CAC to enable them get registered with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

Adaguusu said, “companies that execute contracts would have difficulties being paid if they are not registered with the BPP.

“Companies that want to do business must be on the Bureau of Public Procurement and before you are registered with BPP you must be up to date with CAC.

“This is another window that is encouraging companies to come and update with CAC,’’ Adaguusu said.

He, however, pointed out that the process of delisting companies from CAC’s register for failure to file annual returns is an ongoing process.

“It takes a process and it is ongoing.

“In 2008, 10 companies were deregistered and in 2016, 38 companies were also deregistered; so, it is a continuous process and there will be no need to leave companies that are not complying on the register,’’ Adaguusi said.

He emphasised that the task before the Monitoring and Enforcement Department was to ensure that companies do not only file their annual returns but stay away from sharp practices.

” For instance we will go from door to door to ensure that companies maintain the original names they used for registration.

“Also, the department will ensure that companies display their registration numbers in all their correspondence as well as indicate the list of directors.

“A company with a reputation will give people who want to do business with them a breath.

“On the contrary, where the directors are not know, people will be skeptical to do business with them,’’ Adaguusi said.

He further said that CAC would sustain efforts aimed at ensuring that the process of registering companies was devoid of hitches.

Adaguusu said that the upgrade of the Company Registration Portal (CRP) is to enhance the incorporation process.

The Company Registration Portal is the software that drives the operations of the commission.

The commission’s spokesman added that the move to upgrade the software was geared toward ensuring improved efficiency, provision of greater customer experience and ease of doing business.

Credit: (NAN)

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Private Limited Companies are the third most popular type of business structure after the sole proprietorship and partnership. Private companies even seem to be more pronounced than simple partnership. A Private Limited Liability Company (publicly known as “Limited” or “Ltd”), is a more formal business structure than the Business name. This type of business structure can be formed by at least 2 to a maximum of 50 members (called shareholders and subscribers) who subscribe to the company by way of ownership in the company’s shares.

Members of a limited company have liability only up to the extent of their individual investment in the company so formed.

WHY A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY?
Private Limited Companies are by far different from Business Names in composition, formation procedures, legal implications and company life span. A limited company can continue to trade despite changing its directors and shareholders unlike a Business Name which usually dissolves after the death of the sole proprietor or partner. As earlier noted, private limited companies have indeed become more pronounced and have become the toast of prospective business owners and investors for a myriad of reasons.

First, is the “limited liability” clause. A shareholder in a private limited liability company can share the loss of the company so formed only up to the extent of his direct investment in the company. But, a sole proprietor may lose all (including his personal estate and direct contribution to his business) in the event of loss, liquidation, court injunction and debt. The personal assets of the sole proprietor, even if unconnected with the business, can be applied in meeting the obligations of the business. However, the directors of a private limited company are only liable if they continue to trade and incur liabilities after it becomes apparent the limited company is insolvent. Hence, in forming a private limited company, you may need to separate your personal assets from your company assets, making each one assume a separate legal entity. This is ideal if your landed property which is also your business location is your registered business address.

Secondly, a private limited company enjoys some level of reputation from buyers, suppliers, financial institutions and investors over and above the sole trader by reason of a more formal approach in the limited company’s administration and management. A sole trader basically pleases themselves with regard to the administration and management of the business. A company director is responsible for adhering to company administration according to statutory regulations in regard to both the limited company accounts, statutory books and management as stated in the articles of association. The duties of a director are more formal than a sole trader. By law, can offer its company shares for sale by way of private placement in order to raise more funds to grow and expand the company. However, one of the major disadvantages of this type of structure is that the tax burden on individual members is higher since the company is subjected to corporate tax while the individuals still suffer tax on their share of earnings by way of dividend.

STATUTORY REQUIREMENT
Statutorily, the Companies and Allied Matter Act (2004) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides requirement for people wishing to come together to form a company. “An individual shall not be capable of becoming a member of a company if he is of unsound mind and has been so found by a court in Nigeria or elsewhere; or he is an undischarged bankrupt. A person under the age of eighteen years shall not be counted for the purpose of determining a legal minimum number of members.”

REGISTRATION PROCESS
The question now is, “How can a private limited company formed or incorporated in Nigeria?” Having been directly involved in business registration matters for more than a decade now, this author can adequately say that company formation procedures begins with engaging the services of an accredited specialist – lawyers, chartered accountants or chartered secretaries accredited by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Also important is: deciding on a suitable name, and submitting such a name, for approval and reservation at the CAC. Once your proposed name has been approved and reserved, then more important aspects of the company formation process can continue. The bureaucratic hurdles involved in such registration process include: Preparation of the requisite incorporation documents and payment of the stamp duty. Registration requirements are more complex and the cost of registration much higher than for sole proprietorship or partnership. The duration for completing incorporation for a private company may be 10 working days or less.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING & ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION
A certified copy of the Memorandum of Understanding & Articles of Association is some of the documents that accompany your certificate when your company is finally duly incorporated. This document, among other matters, shows the name of the company so formed, amount of share capital, objects of the company, and the names of the subscribers and number of shares allotted to each of them.

SHARE CAPITAL
One of the questions usually on the lips of people who want to incorporate a company is, “what does ‘Share Capital’ mean, and why a 1 million share capital is common.” The issue of Share Capital raises the question of how strong the company is and the worth of the company in monetary terms. Shares mean the amount of rights you own in a company. The minimum share capital popular is 1 million Nairas. But for Nigerian companies owned by foreigners, the minimum share capital is 10 million Nairas. Besides, a 1 million share capital is only nominal, and you don’t need to have 1 million naira in the bank before you incorporate a 1 million share capital company although, statutorily, it is expected that 25% is invested in cash or equipment.

If you own 500,000 worth of shares in a 1 million share capital company, it means you own 50% of the company. There are some companies that the CAC statutorily specifies for a higher minimum share capital when registering them – Banks, Insurance Companies, Travel Agencies, Broking firms, Security Agencies, Registrars, Bureau de’ Change, Forex Companies, etc. Authorized share capital is also referred to, at times, as registered capital. It is the total of the share capital which a limited company is allowed (authorized) to issue. It presents the upper boundary for the actually issued share capital.

FILING OF RETURNS
The law requires every company (including a company granted exemption from incorporation) to, at least once in every year without notice or demand, make and deliver to the Board a return in the forms of: (i) The audited accounts, tax and capital allowances computations and a true and correct statement in writing containing the amounts of its profits from each and every source; (ii) A declaration which shall be signed by a director or secretary of the company that the returns contain a true and correct statement of the amount of its profits computed in respect of all sources and that the particulars in such returns are true and complete.
• For newly incorporated companies, the submission shall be within eighteen months from the date of its incorporation or not later than six months after the end of its first accounting period, whichever is earlier.
• For Existing Companies – companies that have been in business for more than 18 months – the submission shall be not more than six months after the close of the company’s accounting year. Filing early returns is profitable.

COMPANY SECRETARY
One of the neglected issues in company formation is the area of the Company Secretary in the private (or public) company – either during or after incorporating a company. A Company Secretary is a senior position in a private or public sector company, normally in the form of a managerial position or above. Sections 293 (1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 2004 expressly states that “every company shall have a secretary.” Despite the name, the role is not a clerical or secretarial one in the usual sense. The company secretary ensures that an organisation complies with relevant legislation and registration, and keeps board members informed of their legal responsibilities. Company secretaries are the company’s named representative on legal documents, and it is their responsibilities to ensure that the company operate within the law. It is also their responsibility to register and communicate with shareholders, to ensure dividends are paid and maintain company records, such as list of directors and shareholders, and annual accounts. As stated by Section 295 of the Company’s Act, it is the duty of the directors to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Secretary is a person who possess requisite knowledge and experience to function in such capacity. This means there are no specific qualifications required of a Secretary of a private company. Section 295 of CAMA provides that the Secretary of a public company must have one of the specified qualifications. Under the aforesaid section, the Secretary of a public company must be any of the following: (a) A member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators; or (b) A Legal Practitioner within the meaning of the Legal Practitioners Act 1975; or (c) A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria or of such other bodies of Chartered Accountants as are approved from time to time by an Act or Decree; or (d) Any person who has held the office of a Secretary of a public company for at least three years of the five years immediately preceding his appointment; or (e) A body corporate or firm consisting qualified persons under paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d).

CONCLUSION
In conclusively, there are myriads of issues that relate to this type of business structure. It’s best you consult an accredited professional to advise you appropriately.
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Business, Marketing
One of the craziest challenge as a business owner is being confronted with the responsibility of making your business well-known in the marketplace.

If you find this assertion to be true, please know that you are not alone in this. The large businesses you know of today, at a point, encountered this – while many others are still battling with corporate obscurity!

In this piece, I want to highlight some 7 ways by which you can use the power of expression if your business is struggling to be well-known or heard among its contemporaries.

Businesses and individuals that command the attention of their world are those that have been heard of; are those that have an understanding of the power of expression and used same to their advantage. These businesses and individuals have expressed their uniqueness, their edge over competitors, their comparative advantage and all they’ve got!

In a business world with so much noise, competition, chaos and commercial clutter, you can only be heard by expressing your uniqueness with such veracity, courage, perseverance and determination.

Being too silent has been the harbinger of most failed businesses! They are silent about what they know and their new operations. They are silent about their unique differences. They are silent about their new acquisitions. They are silent about their company’s special events. They are lukewarm whether to participate in corporate sponsorships and just about anything and everything! Little wonder, new businesses after theirs keep taking the lead.

If you want an on-going business relationship or want to earn the confidence of your customers/clients, or you want an increase in turn-over, then you must continually and consistently be heard by your industry and target market. These set of audience need to hear from you always to be able to earn their trust. Until you are able to retain your business in the mindshare of your target audience, you may not be able to command the marketshare, which will ultimately affect your company’s pocketshare!

Are you finding it difficult to be known in the marketplace? How can you use the power of expression to your business advantage? How can you win the battle over corporate obscurity with your small budget? How can you lend a voice to your business?

HOW #1: PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD ON FIRST MEETING A POTENTIAL PROSPECT.

What you say on meeting a potential client/customer, and how you say it is critical to your success. I dare you to always put your best foot forward. You need not only be a strategic thinker, you must be strategic in your choice of words. You must be pro-active as well in answering inquiries that may arise from your discussions.

In using the power of expression effectively, you must understand that the first impression you leave with a potential customer, client or investor will, in most cases, determine the fate or outcome of that meeting. As such, express your thoughts in a concise, precise and logical manner.

Please note that your expression is not limited to your choice of words, your comportment, confidence, dress sense, and general outlook all give power to your expression.

HOW #2: PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD ON SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES.

Today, social networking on the internet means different things to people all over the globe. To the author, it means business-networking!

If you must use the power of expression positively and to your advantage, then you must understand the power of the internet and how your can effectively use it to express your thoughts, ideas, and operations.

As a business person or a career-minded individual, why will you wake in the morning, and your first post is “wasup guys?” when people are thinking of how to better the lots of others, meeting new and positive friends, building quality relationships and ultimately, making more money?

Social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter are a cheap way to express who you are (or who you want people to think you are!). By regularly sharing your thoughts, business operations, contributing to constructive post and write-ups, you are on your way to being recognised. You will agree with me that some of your friends on Facebook you have never seen all your life, but their regular posts on the social media says a lot about their personality.

Also, connect your social media accounts with your company’s website so that your friends and followers can get updates about whatsoever happens in your corporate world.

HOW #3: PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD ON TV & RADIO PROGRAMMES.

If your kind of business activity or profession permits that you go on air, then you must put your best foot forward in order to win the war against corporate obscurity.

In a bid to be heard, more and more corporate executives are talking to their media specialists about the possibility of appearing on TV. While this may be a brilliant idea for you, ensure you maximize such opportunity by using the power of expression.

How can your business or personality be expressed on TV and Radio? By your advertisements; programmes you or your company sponsor; comments you make about issues affecting your company, customers, industry or government; and participating in talk-shows.

HOW #4: PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD AT CORPORATE EVENTS.

Put your best foot forward at corporate dinners, product launch, facility tours, investor meetings, AGMs, and press conferences. From start to finish, ensure that your event expresses the kind of perception you want from your audience.

Corporate events are a good avenue to strategically express your company to your audience and participants. Events of this nature are also a good networking atmosphere for individuals and corporate executives willing to strike new deals or partnerships.

If given an opportunity, do not shy away from telling the whole world what you do, how you do it and why you do it better than others.

Do not close your mouth. A closed mouth is a closed destiny! Also, never you attend corporate events without, at least, your business card.

HOW #5: PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD IN PUBLICATIONS.

Printed materials are also a good avenue to positively express your company or expertise. Publications of this nature are not limited to: professional books authored by you, your company’s house journal, opinion editorials (op-eds), letters to the editors and articles for publication.

If you have not been exploring this option, begin now by expressing your organisation on paper. The content of each type of publication will depend on its objective and house style of the publisher. If you are a veterinary doctor, for example, you can begin by writing and submitting articles to magazine editors on how to treat certain kind of animal diseases that can be harmful to pets.

HOW #6: PUT YOUR COMPANY’S BEST FOOT FORWARD WHEN WRITING ITS PROFILE.

Company profiles are sure a good avenue to also tell the world who you are, what you do, how you do it, with whom you do it with, what you have gotten for doing what you do, et cetera. Company profiles, at their best, summarize the identity of a company or service. In essence, they answer the question, “What does ABC Company do?”

The growing need for an effective company profile can be seen in the increasing need for doing business with sound companies and individuals. The exponential use of the internet to do business also demands that potential clients, customers and investors do a background check on a company by either requesting their company profile by email or visiting the company’s website to see their profile. In writing your company profile, put your best foot forward. Ensure that only important and relevant details feature in your profile. Hire the services of copy-writers if you must!

HOW #7: BE CONTROVERSIAL BUT MAKE SENSE.

If after you have tried “putting your best foot forward” with the first 6 points highlighted above and you seem the need to accelerate some more, then try being controversial but make sense. Some companies and professionals have enjoyed a share of attention by just being controversial but with a measure of sense.

Do you want a powerful strategy? Take a controversial position. You will offend some people and strongly attract those who may like your position. Creating controversy to sell is strategic – and it comes with a cost. You must be bold enough to withstand critics. Have you ever tried to be controversial on Facebook? What has been the response from your folks?

These days, some Nigerian lawyers and human right activists engage the use of controversy to express themselves and make themselves known in the society. At any given opportunity, they criticize the government in power so hard that the news is usually incomplete without a mention of their names. The entertainment industry has lots of vivid controversy lessons for marketers.
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Branding, Business
In this rapidly growing economy, it is commonplace to see businesses in every nooks and crannies of the world. Sole proprietorship is having the highest number of registration. From the home-based entrepreneur to the shop owner, and then the small office consultant, people are taking advantage of the freedom enjoyed in becoming their own boss.

Billions of corporate monies are invested yearly in starting new businesses. A visit to the Lagos office of the nation’s registrar of business names buttresses this fact.

While it is true that anybody can start up a business of their own, many entrepreneurs have fallen short of the leveraging that accrues from this experience. This, to a large extent, has to do with the disadvantaged names worn by these businesses.

A business does not actually begin by formulating a business plan or opening a bank account. It starts from choosing a name. There’s more to business names than just identity. The right name is an advertising tool. If the name doesn’t describe the nature of your business, potential clients may not realize that you offer something they need.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 mistakes to avoid when choosing a business name:

1. NOT KNOWING WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS YOU ARE IN. It is surprising that some entrepreneurs choose a name with little or no indication of what type of work the organization actually does. Including a descriptive word in your business name can be useful when marketing your products or company. This may be made possible if you have identified what differentiates you from competitors. Take the following examples:

Adenix and Sons
One Love Enterprises
Just You Shop

Can you tell me what any of these companies do? No! They’re relying on customers already knowing who they are (a tricky proposition for new businesses).

2. USING A NAME THAT IS TOO LONG, DIFFICULT TO REMEMBER, SPELL OR PRONOUNCE. A good name is something that can be mentioned on radio or over the phone without explanation. People will make a quick decision based on their first impression of your business name. Put the name through a spelling test and ask others to spell it. So, choosing a name such as “Lolitoesy” is not a good one.

3. NOT SPENDING QUALITY TIME BRAINSTORMING. Business names are not “spur of the moment” creations. It is the result of possibly long days and nights of brainstorming, digging the Thesaurus for synonyms and antonyms, interrelated words and words that have some kind of relationship with the proposed business activity. The big companies even hire expensive consultants to help them choose the right name for their businesses or products.

4. PROMOTING A NAME WITHOUT TESTING AND CHECKING ITS AVAILABILITY. Once you have chosen a few names, test them out on friends and family, potential clients and everyone you know. Ask them what kind of service they feel you provide and feeling they get about the name. You’ll be surprised at how honestly they give you suggestions. Then you can proceed to check availability at the name registry nearest to you after being convinced it’s best. Don’t waste money on letter heads and complimentary cards trying out a business name already chosen by someone else.

5. CHOOSING WORDS WITH NEGATIVE OR NEUTRAL CONNOTATION. A word’s connotation can be positive, negative or neutral, depending on the emotional associations that people generally make. If you are starting a transport business for instance, you don’t want it to have a weak sounding or negative name, such as “Willow Twig Trucking” or “Kitten Transport”. You want a business name that conveys strength and reliability. A choice such as “Stone Creek Transport” would be much better. Remember: Words are powerful.

6. NAMING A BUSINESS AFTER THE FOUNDER OR ANY OTHER PERSON. It is a common tendency for a business to be named after the original founder. This approach can make customers expect the personal attention and care of the owner. Using your name, followed by the type of service works well if you have an already established reputation in your specialty. But, if you are planning to one day sell your company, a company-owner named business is less attractive.

7. NOT CONSIDERING THE FUTURE. Robert Dilenschneider wrote about a public relations person who broadened her services from just writing to media relations and had to change the name of her business from Miller’s Writing Services to Miller’s Communications. Aside brainstorming for ideas, you need foresight in choosing a name. Even if you are operating a highly-niched product, select names that would represent a broader category of your product line.

8. FAILURE TO GET THE RIGHT DOMAIN NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS. If your business activity is almost 100% online or will do better having an online presence, you may need to consider starting your search by getting a suitable domain name for your website first. In the modern world of the internet, where people automatically turn to the web for information, it pays to have a domain name that reflects your site or business.

9. NOT AVOIDING LAWSUIT. Be unique. The best you can be trying to be someone else is second best. Avoid being a copycat. Using a name similar or identical to that of another business can get you into problems including legal issues. If you call your line of equestrian apparel “Polo Sporting Designs”, the holder of the trademark “Polo” – the giant Ralph Lauren – may slap you with a lawsuit.

10. NOT CONSULTING A BUSINESS NAMING EXPERT. While the services of lawyers, chartered accountants and chartered secretaries can be invaluable in the registration of a business name and company, these categories of professionals might not understand the selling and marketing principles that copywriters can use to your advantage. A good copywriter is always looking for ways to help you communicate more effectively to more people.
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