In our world today, there is an endless demand on everyone venturing into business to build as much capacity as they can in order to remain relevant. That invariably means, the more capacity an individual or a company has, the more relevant and sought after they become.
In a seminar session tagged “#DoItYourself”, sometime ago, the Facilitator, Mr Tosin Yusuff shared an illustration that emphasized the levels and effects of capacity. He said [paraphrased];
“You can touch a wrist watch battery as you like and it won’t hurt you because it is low in voltage.
You can touch finger batteries as you like and they won’t hurt you because they are low in voltage.
You cannot touch a car battery same way because, it is higher in voltage and can hurt you.
You won’t even dare a high tension cable because, it will ‘kill you dead’ (as an insecticide advert once said).”
From the illustration above, it can be deduced that the more capacity something possesses, the more powerful it becomes. This too can be said for human beings and businesses that aim at making global or national impact.
Another key take away from the illustration is that one should always be conscious of the level of their capacity. In most cases, business owners overrate themselves; while their capacity could be likened to that of a finger battery but they continue to think of themselves as high tension cables. They simply live in denial and that obviously hinders their growth.
A company or an individual could have well defined goals, clear vision and mission statements and the most striking strategic plan but still struggle if there is no capacity for execution. This implies that for an organization to achieve their goals, it must have built capacity over a period of time. The same way an athlete continues to train in order to win, that should be the same way a company should strive to build capacity.
Building capacity involves retaining and improving skills that are relevant, gaining broader knowledge, utilizing available tools and resources needed for effectiveness as an individual or establishment. The major idea behind capacity building is to maximize all the learning materials that improves and builds the company and its employees. Every aspect of an organization should be put into consideration. This ensures that the different areas from technical competence, to financial management, to social intelligence are all polished.
If you seek to build a brand that would stand the test of time, then capacity building is a compulsory task you should be willing to inculcate and remain intentional about. It is imperative to bear in mind that increasing your company’s capacity is not a day’s job but a continuous journey. Are you ready to begin?
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Lastly, we would love to read your thoughts and perspectives. Please leave a comment.
Throughout the history of the world, one gift man has never lacked is land; to walk, farm and build on. But with the passing of time, this originally free gift has become scarce and expensive, reducing the chances of one comfortably owning land these days. Still, man continues to strive to gather as much pieces of land as can be acquired.
Awakened by the harsh realities of land acquisition in Nigeria, Bamboo Real Estate emerged to solve it and increase the opportunities for more aspiring land owners with the target client being young people. After being exposed to the idea of land acquisition and going ahead to acquire his first plots of land in 2012, the founder, Oseyomon Ighodaloh, would later conceive the idea to start the Bamboo real estate arm in 2014. Amazed by the opportunities that exist in real estate investment, he continued to nurse the idea until March 2018 when an opportunity presented itself for him to begin his entrepreneurial journey as a realtor.
However, within that period, Oseyomon focused on the energy and construction aspect of the Bamboo brand. In his word, “The Bamboo Company doesn’t focus on real estate alone; we are also players in the energy and construction sectors too.”
THE BAMBOO VISION
Bamboo Real Estate sees itself becoming Africa’s leading Real Estate and Service Company. The brand prides itself first as an African company, starting from Africa to the rest of the world, and would not just want to be seen as a global company.
A layman will assume that the brand name Bamboo was coined from their sense of Africanism but they are quick to mention that that the plant bamboo isn’t just African but could be found in virtually every continent. However the name Bamboo was chosen based on a deep conviction which connects all that they stand for.
THE BAMBOO MISSION
Though still growing into their mission, it is clear that their target is to give the youth market the opportunity of owning their first plot of land. To make them realise that investment in real estate is the best form of investment. They intend to achieve their mission by offering their clients convenient payment plans based on their income. They look forward to bringing development to underdeveloped locations and by so doing expanding the city.
THE BRAND VALUES
Like most unique companies, the Bamboo brand has its foundation laid on these core values;
I- Integrity in all their dealings.
I- Innovation in all their ideas and services offered.
E- Empathy towards their clients and business people.
A- Africaness in the strength of their brand.
THE BAMBOO CULTURE
They are a contemporary company that tends to strike a balance between playfulness and seriousness. They believe in the spirit of community, one that unites them and creates an attitude of oneness born out of a deep love for what they do.
With a team size of six persons and some outsourced departments, the Bamboo brand keeps waxing stronger, deepening their impact in the city of Port Harcourt. They also highlighted that they have a team of over a hundred marketers which they continue to train in order to add value to lives.
Even though the CEO currently doubles the Marketing Manager, the Bamboo group indicated that they will be hiring a qualified candidate to serve in that position soon. They said the idea is to develop a system and structure that can stand the test of time.
With just a small down payment, a client is one step away from acquiring land in a conducive environment with professional estate management. Clients are advised not to focus on the location but instead dwell on the future returns that come along with land investment.
They hope to bring back the green environment with lots of trees and flowers beautifully and strategically planted to aid more oxygen for respiration in the residential areas.
Bamboo Real Estate has gone the extra mile to ensure all registrations and documentations have been cleared with the communities and the Rivers State Government. Clients can be rest assured that there will be no misunderstandings and cases of fraud.
The Bamboo Brand believes that as development spreads, man moves with it and that has informed their catchphrase, “don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait.”
The marketing drive of Bamboo caught our attention. From the recruitment of a robust sales force to the setting up of various billboards across the City of Port Harcourt, the Bamboo brand demonstrated an understanding of the importance of brand visibility. It isn’t enough to have lofty ideas and dreams, business owners and visionaries must learn to push their brand out there by all legit means possible.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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A couple of months ago, we conducted a market research for a client that manufactures and distributes a product which falls within the category of Fast Moving Consumer Goods [FMCGs]. Their target was to push their product into same league as global brands with a strong national presence in Nigeria.
The research was focused on Port Harcourt and the drag net captured three LGAs in Rivers State; Obio-Akpor, Phalga and Eleme. That means every neighbourhood in Port Harcourt was captured. Now, this is the interesting part!
Our client is chasing the bigger players and what that means is that they have been slicing off the market share of the big players just by penetrating the south-south market deeply. However, within the smaller neighbourhoods, especially in Abuloma, we noticed that a much smaller company was slicing off our client’s own market share by penetrating deeply into the Abuloma market and other neighborhoods.
So what’s the point?
Most small businesses and startups lack the financial muscle and operational capacity to give the big players a run for their money. Instead of just dreaming of the day you will square up with the big players and possibly beat them, you can actually focus your limited resources and energy on carving a niche for yourself.
What’s your lowest hanging fruit?
One neighbourhood after another, Habib Yoghurt now has a strong presence in most Nigerian cities including Port Harcourt. If it is one store you can get, give a razor sharp focus to it and penetrate the immediate market deeply, it generates revenue to keep you afloat and also gives you the much needed traction with which you can eventually lure investors and even expand. Before you get your 1000 subscribers, focus on the first 100 and before that, focus on the first 10. Scale down your operations to the barest minimum that your resources can carry. It’s called a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
By all means, find that one street, neighborhood, company, demographic, etc and penetrate it DEEPLY. Be an underdog, and if you don’t have the privilege of a bird’s eye view, capitalize on the privilege of a worm’s eye view. It’s luring to want to flesh out your full vision at once, but building up in milestones is more sustainable than trying to do it all at once.
Think about it. What has been the most rewarding source of revenue for you? Focus on it and penetrate that market deeply. You don’t have plenty seeds to scatter, why cut your only seed into several pieces?
Written by Maple Dappa
If you need help in any area, we are here to provide custom solutions. Let’s hear from you, send an email to email@example.com and you could get a Free Brand Audit!
The story was told of a man who was completely unconscious and hospitalized at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital [UPTH]. His Wife didn’t have a penny on her, but she had her husband’s ATM Card with her; that would have been helpful, right? Wrong! She could not use it because she did not know the PIN. So the man’s own money couldn’t rescue him when he needed it most. His Wife had to ask other people for money or possibly borrow.
Another story was told of a Carpenter who lived somewhere in Port Harcourt. The Carpenter lived in a compound with his wife and children. The compound had two plots of land with an uncompleted building inside it, but the man built a makeshift home with wood by the fence where he lived with his family. As time went by, it was gathered that the man was once a laborer in the said property which his “Oga” was developing before he died. The story had it that the original owner of the property was building a house as a surprise gift for his girlfriend; he was married and of course his wife had no idea about this. So when he died, both girlfriend and wife didn’t know about the property. Carpenter positioned himself as custodian and gradually started claiming ownership. He was the one who attended all meetings of Landlords and even Tenants.
Some level of secrecy becomes foolish if the right things aren’t done.
Why do folks treat even the concept of writing a will with levity until some terminal disease or helpless situation comes lurking?
Why are folks so adamant to think that nothing bad will happen to them, so much that they never bother about succession planning even in their business endeavors until it is perhaps too late?
Why is the concept of passing the baton even in the realm of political and social leadership such a big issue in Africa? Why do we like to sit on things till we kick the bucket and we deny generations of what could have been a blessing to them?
If you are the only one with the password to your business email accounts, there’s a problem, start working at fixing it. I guess this is why the request for next of kin is mandatory in most legal transactions, whether you like it or not the system compels you to present someone else to stand in should anything happen to you.
If you have no one in this whole world to trust with your ATM Card pin, you probably will need to re-evaluate your relationships.
Branding is much more than identity and marketing communications, it also has to do with how your business or organization is structured.
Written by Maple Dappa
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So you had an idea with a plan and some resources to make it a reality, you then delved in with all you had; the zeal, the excitement, the knowledge from research, and so on. In a great feat of anxiety, you hastily rented a space, employed a number of staff and at some point; some years after you founded the venture, you begin to lose sight of it all because it seemed like only you could really make sense of your dream. It was quite obvious that your staff team always struggled with work and rarely got it right.
The list of issues you get to grapple with is quite long…
You begin to realize that beyond having an idea and drawing up a plan; there are several factors to consider and put in place from the onset, as much as possible.
First, what is the mission of the venture you seek to create, what is the vision? What are the guidelines to help you stay on the right track of your journey?
This is what branding is about, putting the essentials in place and engraving it into the regular activities and operations of the venture. In order to build and maintain a successful brand, you have to ensure that your employees are aware of the true essence of the business. Also, you have to make them understand that each of them in their different departments and roles all contribute to making the vision attainable.
Most times, business owners and organizations concentrate only on the external aspect of branding that they forget about the internal aspect which is the most vital part of branding because one person cannot successfully grow a business alone to its peak, a good team with great internal coordination and cohesion is mandatory for success.
A personal experience…
I was in my early 20’s, still in the university. I remember then, after the day’s lecture, my clique and I will head to “The Corner” – that was the name of the hangout. We had just found out about it in the first semester of our final year and decided to make it our hangout spot.
The scenery was so beautiful and peaceful; it felt like heaven on earth at the time. It was a garden with many seating corners, each of which had well set tables and nicely arranged chairs. Once it clocked 7pm, they’d turn on the lights around the fountain – they had a fountain at the center of the garden, where everyone at every corner could get a beautiful view – it was surrounded with beautiful and subtly colored lights which gradually brightened and faded within intervals, soothing music and a memorable Suya spot. It was a cool place to spend your evenings but one thing always bothered me each time we visited there. It was usually scanty, and we were about the only ones that patronized them regularly. However, we thought that since it was new, perhaps it has not gained much popularity yet, but each time we tried mentioning the place to friends or colleagues, we’d get responses like “hmmmph”, “they are on their own”, “they will close down soon”, “they don’t know what they’re up to” and when all of this began to make sense to us was after we had visited there every evening for a whole week and met with the same attitude and response.
Whenever we got there, we had to wait close to 30mins for someone to take our order, this happened every single time. They were always lagged about everything, we apparently didn’t notice this disposition of theirs during our initial visits because we were busy trying to take pictures and were carried away by the scenery but I guess “nasty” just couldn’t hide under any disguise. When they eventually came to attend to us, they did so with the meanest facial expressions. Even after placing our orders, they would delay for another twenty to twenty five minutes with no apologies whatsoever. At some point, I began to wonder whether the actual owner of the place employed these people with intentions of growing his business and attracting customers or just for the purpose of keeping them busy, for nothing.
Although the place was sleek and sophisticated, we just had to caution ourselves to stop going there because in the end, the whole experience will end up ruining our entire day.
And before long, guess what happened??
You guessed right, it shut down. It was quite sad.
The point here is to help drive home the importance of internal branding and creating values that will guide your every decision making process and daily operations, down to the kind of people to employ and the orientation to give them.
Written by Nneoma Chikeka
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Starting a business is one thing, building a business that not only stands the test of time but leaves lasting positive impressions on your clients, is another. My colleagues and I went out for some drinks at a new spot one of us had discovered; we decided it will be great to give it a shot. We all got there and sat back to take in the space; cool spot, great brand name. They took it up a notch by incorporating the name in their choice of materials for the interior design. Ingenious! The attendants were all smartly dressed in lovely branded T-shirts and the setting had a lovely rooftop view.
Generally, they had ticked off a few boxes on my list of what a great brand should be, but in a few minutes I was forced to rethink my review. More than 20minutes after our arrival, no attendant had come to take our order and efforts to call their attention were futile. So much for a great space, hmmm!
Eventually, we caught the attention of one of the attendants and a plain, ill-crafted menu was given to us. We expected that a menu befitting the space and design flow will be presented, but it was a mere A4 sheet with black print. No lamination, no art, nothing!
Anyway, we placed our orders but were gobsmacked at the cluelessness of the attendant when one of us had a few questions about the meal she intended to order. The platter of surprises was far from full as they kept serving more disappointments. After the stipulated time that they gave for our meals to be ready, we neither saw Chinaware nor silver cutlery and none of the waiters had the courtesy to apologize for the delay or affirm the food was getting prepared. After a prolonged wait, the food was served and it took complaints from us to elicit an apology from the attendant, who obviously had little or no training or knowledge on the rudiments of customer service.
Though the meal and ambience were wonderful, we had definitely struck off coming back to the establishment neither were we going to recommend it to anyone we knew. We were put-off by the poor service and nonchalant employees so much that we had no good reviews to put up. What’s the point in this?
At times, people think once you have a building with aesthetics and can afford some labour, your business is set. Not so! Branding a business goes beyond the buildings, aesthetics and employing people who wear uniforms; a distinct personality has to be created for your business in every way possible. Though the establishment in our aforementioned story had a desirable ambience (first impression), the services failed to portray a good ‘personality’ (character and conduct). If they had paid some attention to adequately training their staff to understand the importance of quality service as well as the vision, mission and core values, maybe the outcome would have been different.
Once the basics are addressed, your business will be sure-footed on its way to becoming a brand in every ramification; from name to service delivery. Once your customers are pleased with what your brand offers, ALOHA! to awesome reviews and customers that know your worth and will gladly pay for your services while they invite others to drink from the fountain of your proven brand!
If you will remember one thing, it is this;
Branding begins its journey from internal coordination before it gets to external communications.
Written by Kosisochukwu Ikeme
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During the era of Nazi Germany, a secret-police organization was created to deal with persons suspected of disloyalty; they employed even crude means in carrying out this task.
While extreme measures may not be employed in their case, employers often treat their employees as corporate slaves. They pay the salaries, so employees should just keep quiet and do the bidding of the masters. Anything outside that is perceived as disloyalty or even treachery in worse cases. Such employers are not concerned about the reservations employees may have about the operations of the organization, and that is where they start missing out on crucial feedback that could help in shaping the organization better.
When the employers eventually get to ask employees if they have any comments or opinions to share, the employees opt to stay mute for fear of being victimized unless such a comment is in favour of the powers that be, just like the Gestapo operated. Supposed team members would rather stomach their reservations than risk being in the black book of the masters, that’s if their jobs aren’t even threatened. This is so because the culture of feedback is in actual sense non-existent in the organization, and I daresay many Nigerian and African organizations. Our understanding of power seems be a function of might and self-assertion.
And so, the unexpressed reservations eventually reflect in the form of nonchalance, it’s sometimes the reason why customer care representatives don’t give their all in serving clients, asides personal attitudinal flaws. A team that is less passionate about driving the organization’s vision, functioning in a more or less dispirited environment, and working the job just to earn a living and nothing more, truly cannot be as outstanding as the organization desire.
Let’s consider the personal relationships in our lives. It is at the point people no longer feel free to express their reservations that our relationship starts going awry. Our associates, friends and family owe it to us as a duty to express their reservations in line with the terms of engagement, so adjustments can be made where necessary and corrections taken as well and we also have the responsibility of giving them our ears so they can let it all out.
Stronger relationships can only be forged when we can freely express both the pleasant and unpleasant observations and also be willing to listen to others when they do same. This should not be mistaken for being swayed by the expectations of others, no. It also doesn’t mean organizations should pander to the dictates of their employees, far from that. What this means is that we value relationships, even with organizations, so much that we don’t take for granted anything that could possibly threaten it.
There should be a feedback system that ensures no one is victimized for expressing concerns that doesn’t conform to the soothing desires of management. Corporate organizations must have that moment of truth within its team, that’s how solid and well bonded teams are built.
It is profitable to harness strength out of divergent viewpoints instead of bludgeoning people into acquiescence.
Written by Maple Dappa
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A certain man once owned lots of properties in the city of Port Harcourt. Over time some relatives came to him to be assisted with their accommodation challenges. He dedicated a particular property of his at Aggrey Road to that purpose; he allotted rooms and apartments to them according to the size of their families. And he charged them ten times lesser than the prevailing house rent rates.
In the same property at Aggrey Road, he had tenants who were not relatives and so paid the full rent. For example, a non-relative could be paying 150k while a relative was paying just 15k per annum for same apartment size and facilities.
For most part of the years that they lived in the man’s property, the relatives kept defaulting in paying their rent. So the man gave out the property to a neutral person to manage, and trouble began. They spread news all over the place that their own relative (Oga Landlord) was bullying them, that was the picture they painted.
The matter got to the compound Chiefs back in their village, so they summoned everyone to hear from them. Oga Landlord opted to speak last; when he started, he narrated the actual story and then presented his own copies of receipts issued in the past as proof of the paltry sum he was charging them. He said he wasn’t even charging them for profit since it was ‘help’ he was offering, but because he had several wives and children, and he is aged, he knew the relatives might want to cause trouble in the future. So he decided to issue receipts regardless of the amount involved, as a reminder that they are tenants.
The need for keeping records and documents in business cannot be overemphasized. You’ve got to keep proof of transactions, purchases, compliance with the laws of the land and even the existence of your business.
If you need help with organizing your business or organization, we are here to provide custom solutions. Let’s hear from you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Building a loyal and effective team is one of the most critical factors in building a sustainable brand, but there’s a silent malware constantly disrupting the process of building a team. Let’s call it the Superiority Complex.
The idea is yours or originated from you, so everyone else is a Lilliputian around you, almighty Gulliver. You may have conceptualised the venture, you may have even built the product, but you must see the value of everyone in your team and their importance to the vision.
If your business will succeed, so many things must fall in place to make it happen beyond ideation and product development. The person who writes marketing content is important, the person who takes care of everyone’s welfare is important, the person who keeps the work space tidy is important, no work should be described as “just” — just to clean, just to write a copy, and so on.
Putting an effective business system together is like having a super functional automobile; from the gear system to oiling to air conditioning, and so on, all systems have to be in shape. Likewise your business, all units need to be in shape for you to have an effective system. Everyone’s work matters.
I see many young entrepreneurs basking in the euphoria of having a “great idea” with no grasp on the basics of practical business administration, so the attached photos are from a basic course we usually offer for a fee, but I am sharing it here for free as part of the commitment to encourage those who need the knowledge. What we call “basic” could be a “breakthrough” to someone else. There is love in sharing, right?
If you need help with organizing your business or organization, we are here to provide custom solutions. Let’s hear from you, send an email to email@example.com