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Social Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room. It’s good to have everyone in the house. In the simplest of terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hi guys I’m IniOluwa Odekunle, Project Lead, and Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation aka Socially Africa. I’m a budding social entrepreneur.

Obianuju Asiodu: Hello everyone. My name is Uju. I create healthy communities for people with intellectual disabilities at Special Olympics Nigeria.

Dunsin Fatuase: Awesome Evening Everyone.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Glad to be a part of this conversation.

Debiyi Ajayi: My name is Debiyi Ajayi. I wear a lot of hats but to a large extent, much of what I do has to do with learning and development so I train and consult on a range of topics. I’m a legal practitioner and I’m also a volunteer with The Stellar Initiative. Happy to be here.

The Moderator: The floor is opened for everyone to speak… The conversation has started

Chisom Ogbumuo: Hello Everyone! My name is Chisom, I am the founder of The Conversation Cafe, a safe space for people to interact, learn, share and converse on alternative education topics and issues to engender personal and societal development. As well, a UN Youth ambassador.

Tony Joy: Hi Everyone, I am Tony Joy, the founder of Durian. Durian is a social venture that is committed to empowering rural communities through transforming their local waste into value.

Precious Eniayekan: Hello, Everyone, my name is Precious Eniayekan… I’m a serial entrepreneur, I run a fashion business and also a lead volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, an initiative that empowers young adults, men in the force and middle-aged women.

Dunsin Fatuase: Hi Everyone… I am Dunsin Fatuase. Director of Exponential Programs, at the Curators University and I am building an Industry 4.0 ready Africa through STEM in marginalized communities.

Abimbola Akinsanya: My name is Abimbola Akinsanya, lead volunteer for lend a hand to the development of Africa, OAP and creative director for Japhix creatives.

The Moderator: Great introductions. We have got 50 mins left. My name is Gabriel BALOGUN and I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation. The plan is to ensure that we just let this conversation flow naturally like we are having a roundtable gist.

The Moderator: I will begin by saying that there are many opinions about the role and impact of social enterprises/businesses in the society. Some see them as a way for the private sector to fill the gaps left by the public administration and government, while others consider such businesses a vehicle for social change and nation-building.

Some even go as far as to view them as ways, people launder money from the government or foreign investors in an effort to get rich quickly. With the rise of Social Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, What do you think is the role of a social enterprise/business in the society?

The Moderator: The floor is open, anyone can answer

Obianuju Asiodu: Social enterprises are sustainable NGOs. Self-funded agents of change and social transformation at all levels (micro-macro).

Inioluwa Odekunle: Typically an enterprise/business is a system that’s built to meet a need through trade of value for financial exchange. What differentiates a social enterprise is that it exists to tackle societal problems while doing business (if for-profit or hybrid).

One major role social enterprises play is to heighten the awareness about deficiencies in the society and galvanize civic engagement in the citizens.

Tony Joy: Social entrepreneurship has indeed positively affected the nation’s economy, not just on one hand but in multiple ways. These in my view include social, vocational, environmental and educational development. All of these aspects have been brought to birth by several social entrepreneurs in the country who not only solve problems but also create opportunities for others. While there are genuine efforts, we also need to acknowledge the fact that some people are using the idea of social entrepreneurship to create another means of draining the economy and/or deceiving others.

Precious Eniayekan: First social entrepreneurship connotes a special, innate ability to sense and act on an opportunity, combining out of the box thinking with a unique brand of determination to CREATE or bring about something NEW to the world… So social enterprise meets a NEED and thereby they create VALUE that many can benefit from.

Debiyi AJAYI: For me, I see social entrepreneurship as the major driver of the economic future of any nation especially within the African context.
To a large extent, Africa has been limited by a paucity of genuine leadership and this has created a system where citizens have been forced to be everything to themselves. So we provide education, healthcare, power, shelter, basic amenities for ourselves. Due to this harsh environment, the divide between those who have and those who don’t is manifestly clear. Social entrepreneurship however has been the key towards bridging that gap and somewhat create a level playing field through innovative ideas and platforms that empower people who can then contribute largely to the profit economy of the nation.

Abimbola Akinsanya: The way people view social enterprises is dependant on how they have perceived them. I would rather like to say, how do we view the work we do in our various organization. It’s however imperative for me as a leader to understand that my work is about the problem I want to solve and the people I am about and stay true to it.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Social enterprise is the gap tool between capitalism and socialism. It yields a paradigm shift, provides opportunities and ensures growth. It promotes creativity and sustainability models

Obianuju Asiodu: Socal enterprises create opportunities that help to bridge gaps. They also serve as key platforms/champions for awareness and Civic engagement

The Moderator: With these roles stated, do you think Nigeria social enterprises/ business have made impact fulfilling these roles?

Dunsin Fatuase: First with, may we be clear about what a Social Enterprises are? From a simple but a birds view, a social enterprise is a minimalized approach to solving the world’s problem starting with the least available resources sustainably. While a business can be built on this framework, the main goal is not excessive profit, unlike every other business models.

Dunsin Fatuase: Most have not… There seems to be some form of imperfection with a very key factor of Social Enterprises which is self-sustainability in Nigeria.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I think some have, but I am reminded that there is more to do.

Tony Joy: We are daily growing into fulfilling our various roles because it is a process.

Precious Eniayekan: Some have, but we have to take direct action and generate new and sustained growth.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, so far we have done/doing a good job. A lot more could be done if certain values are being put in place.

Inioluwa Odekunle: There’s been a significant growth and progress made by social enterprises, a good example is Andela, which has attracted foreign investment and contributed to the positive image of Nigeria in the global scale. Not to talk of the number of programmers that have been trained.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, they have.

Debiyi AJAYI: To a large extent, I would say that the social enterprises I have come in contact with have done a very good job in fulfilling these roles.  A couple of indices mark out effectiveness as a social enterprise in my view which includes:
-Focus
-Clarity of Purpose
-Clarity of Strategy
-Sustainability
I dare say that in the midst of really harsh conditions and a society where social enterprise is viewed with a lot of skepticism and suspicion, Nigerian social entrepreneurs have done well.
Although there are some bad eggs in the basket, it doesn’t negate the excellent work being done, I dare say by quite a number of the people in this room who’s work I have either followed it actively participated in.

The Moderator: A couple of us here are either running or working for a social enterprise, what are the challenges? I want us to give very specific challenges

Tony Joy: Creating solutions with impact in view while also thinking sustainability

Obianuju Asiodu: However, social enterprises are still plagued by “regular business and system problems” and I feel that this has greatly limited and frustrated the impact/efforts of many social enterprises.

Precious Eniayekan: Basically major challenge has been social acceptance. Most people don’t understand what we are doing and it has in a way affected funding. In Nigeria, once we don’t understand something we often bad mouth and ignore. It is like making a statement like ”These NGO/ non-profit people want to steal our money and use it for themselves”

Abimbola Akinsanya: Challenges vary per time. However, for me, putting the right structure in place has been quite challenging especially thinking about sustainability in view

Inioluwa Odekunle: A major problem is that the current CAC does not recognize a Social Enterprise business, that is to say, you cannot be registered as a social enterprise. (I understand that the office of the Vice President is working with a team of lawyers to fix the laws to allow ease of business). In Nigeria, the law recognizes, either For-profit or Not-for-profit. Social enterprises are not recognized yet.

Chisom Ogbumuo: True!!

Precious Eniayekan: 👌👌👌👌👌👌

Obianuju Asiodu: I started a social enterprise in 2016, a major challenge I faced then was my bottom line. after producing my food products no one would buy it just because I was running a social enterprise model. I had to go out there market, invest and compete like every other for-profit brand. at the end of the day, I was running the impact on my 9-5 salary and there was no way that was sustainable.

Tony Joy: The challenges come in different forms, but one that I have found notable is sustainability.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Another major problem is getting the right team to adhere to the structure because of the norms they have been accustomed too.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hmmm, lack of angel investors within Nigeria as opposed to the North Atlantic countries.

Dunsin Fatuase: Having transitioned from various sectors of Social Enterprises, here are very common problems I have identified.

– Sustainable Structure.
– Team Recruitment.
– Unfriendly Policy Procurement Processes.

Obianuju Asiodu: There’s no special recognition or tax exemption for running a social enterprise, even investors would evaluate your proposal like a for-profit organization.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Sustainability is also an issue whereas sustainability is supposed to be one of the major actors of social entrepreneurship

Dunsin Fatuase: How about no provision of locally reserved funds to support local initiative.

Debiyi AJAYI: I think one of the major challenges is the suspicious and skeptical nature of the society we are. Recall I said earlier that we have all been brought up in a society where it’s survival of the fittest and every man for himself. So when a person creates a social enterprise, it’s is first of all viewed through those lenses of “why, what and how”.

I believe this is largely one of the factors that make sustainability hard when it comes to social enterprise in Nigeria. A lot of people are doing great stuff but when the environment and conditions aren’t favorable it takes a brave heart to continue and keep pushing. It can be a thankless job really but social enterprise reaps the larger part of its value in the social value it communicates.

Debiyi AJAYI: Even the structure for not for profit is largely skewed, to be honest.  Its registration is a more tedious, more expensive process (this just defies logic for me) and even so, there are very few opportunities for continued investment and support for social enterprise. Like someone said, even an investor will evaluate you as a for-profit business, whereas typically social enterprise would require a lot more time to balance itself out and break even.

Tony Joy: I also think one more challenge is the fact that social entrepreneurs work in isolation.

Precious Eniayekan: THIS IS APT !!!

Tony Joy: Let me add to this by saying, somehow we are beginning to have a popularity of passion and less of practical experience sharing. There is a truth that is not so popularized which is not everyone can be social entrepreneurs. We have people going into social entrepreneurship for so many other reasons other than creating impact. So I agree that there is a knowledge gap between what it all entails. Some of us have learned through experience that running a social enterprise is not just about social media beautiful storytelling but also facing practical day to day management issues.

The Moderator: From a lot that has been said, Developing a Sustainability Structure has been the major one. What do you think can be a solution for this?

Debiyi AJAYI: As a way forward I would suggest that there is a clearly developed framework for social enterprise in Nigeria with clear codes of conduct which would make it easier to decipher who is real and who’s fake and also make it easier for partnerships and collaborations across the board to even deliver better results.

Obianuju Asiodu: Accessibility, Collaboration and advocacy for concessions.

Tony Joy: One that I can readily think of is Collaboration for social change.

Dunsin Fatuase: Collaboration by far the most effective solution. Next to it is proper awareness. Many just jumped into Social Enterepurship. No background. Just plain passion without adequate knowledge. Next is to help our policymakers understand how these works. Maybe not all.. but those who care to know.

Obianuju Asiodu: we have various organizations working on the same societal problems in the same location. we need to put personal interests aside and pull efforts to scale impact

Precious Eniayekan: Yesssssss

Tony Joy: We also need more information sharing on best practices from successful social enterprises\

Inioluwa Odekunle: Training in business administration and a clear understanding of the business projections & figures. Passion cannot be sustained on its own.

Obianuju Asiodu: Everything becomes a “secret” once you label it “business or organization”. At the heart of social enterprises is passion and sometimes passion can be very misleading. so one lesson I learned was to put my passion aside when creating structures and to test ideas on a small scale before implementing.

Abimbola Akinsanya: Ability to learn, unlearn and relearn as we carry out of various projects. Tides keep changing, we need to keep ourselves informed. Further still collaboration is in the crux of this matter, we need to work together to achieve more. I can say that we achieved more at LAHAfrica when we identified individuals and organizations we can work with per time. Of course, the visions of the organization might align with ours to avoid any misunderstanding.

Debiyi Ajayi: Collaborating with other social enterprises for me is the biggest solution possible. Once we can come to a place where everyone is pulling their own resources i.e. Financial, manpower, strategy, and execution etc in the same direction I strongly believe in the ability of social enterprises to deliver even more

Dunsin Fatuase: I agree. But if this is left to run without proper guidance. I fear what the complexities will later become. No doubt that they will work. But again, how long will they run ? will they answer the question of sustainability?

The Moderator: We are approaching the last 8mins of our time. Some companies have used their CSR to develop social enterprises or do the jobs of a social enterprise. Should every business become a tool for social and economic change? 

Debiyi Ajayi: In a simplistic view of the question I would say yes. But if I were to take a more detailed approach I would say not really. As a corporate entity, one of the easiest ways to do effective CSR would be to actually adopt and to a large extent fund the initiatives of a social enterprise that aligns with your CSR goals.  Think about it, it still affords you almost all your usual needs as a corporate entity. You can track their progress made, monitor what and how the money disbursed is being used, get your tax write-offs as applicable and achieve all these while not over entering your staff on these activities.

Inioluwa Odekunle: The fact is that every business is a tool for social and economic change. When you look at it critically, businesses interact and affect the society and economy, through land use, employment, production, sales, branding, customer interface and so on. The question is are these positive or negative effects. The solution will be deliberate actions geared towards effecting positive changes (these will require closing some businesses that really bring no value but are just means of facilitating money and lining pockets).

Dunsin Fatuase: They should be, but the weakness with human want, Insatiable-greed. CSR has now become a tool to launder since there are some tax-evasions possible through this. Why that is on its increase. I think accountability of this CSR process from companies is al that matters after all.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Word.

Tony Joy: Our daily living which includes our businesses should be an avenue to solve problems and create a better future for our next generation. It is not about competition but about collaboration and various individual contribution to change, however, there needs to be an accountability system for our CSR system

Debiyi Ajayi: Like you said, proper guidance is the keyword. I referenced earlier the need for a clear framework of governance for the social enterprise. I’ve been made to understand over time that one of the reasons why it’s hard for a social enterprise to garner support is there is really no way to truly verify whether we are what we say we are.
If there was a governance framework, that would largely enable people to weed out the chaff and focus on the genuine ones.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I believe business are also solving one issue or the other, however with CSR being incorporated into their activities proper accountability should be put in place so it doesn’t become a tool to launder with creating any change.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, we are all tools for social and economic change on various levels n platforms. I can’t recall which company refers to theirs as Citizenship. I strongly believe that all organizations should be conscious of the impact of their products, services, policies, processes… on the society and economy. From my experience in the zero profit space, a lot of organizations CSR initiatives are all about “the numbers” and a few days fanfare.. good juice for the media that ends abruptly. This cannot be compared with the outcomes/scale of impact that social enterprises consciously achieve and work towards.

Debiyi Ajayi: So true…

Tony Joy: 👍🏼👍🏼 the focus is not on impact but on numbers

Abimbola Akinsanya: Without creating any change. The social media fanfare shouldn’t be the heart of the matter.

Obianuju Asiodu: These CSR initiatives are also good platforms for tax evasion so it’s not all “for the love of the society”.

Debiyi Ajayi I’ve pushed the idea over time that what most corporates today call CSR is actually only eye service really. A true impact can only come when their CSR objectives align with social needs and that would truly be actualized if they can partner with social enterprises.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, I mean, Isn’t it to meet a need? Of which social and economic needs are very important in the rise of a nation.

The Moderator: Wow, Wow, Wow, Our time is up. But before we go, can everyone drop their last remark?

Tony Joy: 😭😭😟 I love it here😭

Dunsin Fatuase: Can we vote for an extension in time? Thank you all for the depth shared. Keep Saving the world.

Debiyi Ajayi: Looool. I would have supported this but I doubt if any length of time would be enough for a conversation this robust and we are limited by time, space and other commitments. 😊

Chisom Ogbumuo: That In our way, we should continue to strive for social impact and sustainability! Ps, I am having a Conversation cafe this Friday, 17th August. It would be lovely to have some of you around! Thank Y’all for an insightful evening.

Dunsin Fatuase: Structured or unstructured… It is far more glaring than our dear world needs more saviour. A “Saviour” in every genuine sense. Can we keep being that Saviour? Recognized or Not.

Tony Joy: Let’s do more as social enterprises to create change but while also doing this let’s remember that together we can do more. So more collaborations and not competitions. I enjoyed it here.

Debiyi Ajayi: I just want to encourage everyone here to seek opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge. The work will do is vital towards delivering the future and truly there is no one size fits all approach here. We must all share ideas, collaborate and largely do all that we can to further enhance the impact of our work out there.

The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, for participating. We loved every min of it.

Tony Joy: Thank you for being an amazing moderator.

Obianuju Asiodu: Thanks for having me. Enjoy the rest of your day

Abimbola Akinsanya: I enjoyed this conversation. Have a blessed week Guys

Inioluwa Odekunle: Thanks for having us.

Debiyi Ajayi: It’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you for the invite.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Thank you!

Tony Joy: It has been interesting sharing with you all and also learning from you. I am very open to collaborations.
Chisom Ogbumuo: Same here

Precious Eniayekan: Thank you for being an amazing host and nice meeting everyone.

The Moderator: This has been an amazing discussion and we would like to know what the members of your community think about the discussion. We ask that as soon as this conversation is curated, the link will be sent to each person and we would like you to share with your community and invite them to add to the discussions.

The Octagon Room 030: Sole Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Tony Joy is a young Nigerian whose dream is to see a Nigeria where Rural doesn’t mean poor and marginalized but cool and creative. She is working daily on empowering rural communities to become self-sufficient through transforming their local waste into value. She does this through her social venture Durian (www.durian.org.ng). The organization currently works in Imafon community Akure Ondo State. She is a Kanthari Alumni, a LEAP SIP Fellow, an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a Queens Young Leaders Award Highly Commended Runner-up amongst others. She is passionate about social change, waste management, and rural development.

 

With a background in Project Management and Management Consulting (Advisory),
Obianuju is currently the Manager, Health Programs at Special Olympics Nigeria (SO Nigeria).  She is an advocate for inclusion of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations i.e. People with Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDs) and responsible for the successful planning, delivery, and synergy of all SO Nigeria health programmes.  Obianuju enjoys traveling, reading books and trying out new recipes.
Chisom is the founder and Executive Director of The Conversation Cafe and United Nations Representative to the Youth Assembly. She has facilitated several delegations of Model United Nation conferences in Nigeria over the past six years. As well, represented Nigeria enormously & severally at delegations such as the annual UN Youth Assembly at the UN headquarters, Instagram, United States Mission To The United Nation among others. She is also a pivotal member of the United Nation Association of Nigeria.
Abimbola Akinsanya holds a bachelor of arts degree in language from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. She works as a relationship manager for a client relations company in Lagos and is also the founder of lending a hand for the development of Africa and Ngo that seeks to fill the void created by lack of access to education and health support and supplies experienced by children in poor families from local communities across Africa.
She is also an On-air personality and creative director for Japhix enterprise. In 2017 she was nominated by SME under 25 awards under the Social Entrepreneurship category. She is a member of the alumnus committee on training at her alma mats Inglewood Academy. She multitasks as a speaker, writer, and creative director.
Debiyi is an excellent public speaker, trainer, corporate event host & lawyer.  With cognitive experience in career enhancement coaching, SME advisory, public speaking etiquette training, and social entrepreneurship Debiyi have contributed towards the development of Nigerian Millennials by working with GEMSTONE, HOME ADVANTAGE AFRICA & THE STELLAR INITIATIVE amongst others. Having trained under some of Africa’s best names in the speaking & coaching space including Fela Durotoye, Jimi Tewe & Damilola Oluwatoyinbo, Debiyi has carved a niche for himself as an emerging voice in the speaking & coaching space. Debiyi is also the Curator of EQUIPPED, Nigeria’s first comprehensive, structured employability finishing school for FYBs & penultimate year students. A firm believer in dedication, smart work, excellence & determination.

Dunsin Fatuase is an Industry 4.0 Evangelist.
As a Socio-Exponential Entrepreneur, he leads the social-impact project to prepare 10,000 African youths for the 4th Industry Revolution as he helps organizations to be properly positioned in the digital space for opportunities.  He is the Director of Exponential Programs at the Curators University – A Nano-degree awarding and Africa’s first high impact university for mission-driven social entrepreneurs.

Precious Aderonke Eniayekan is a graduate of Computer Science from the Houdegbe North American University in Cotonou, Republique De Benin. She is also the founder and Lead Volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, a non-profit organization which over the past two years has done a lot of intensive work specifically geared towards the empowerment and education of teenagers on the principles required to live purposefully and create a success story out of their lives. Precious achieves this through The Stellar Initiative’s Revamp Conferences which have held consistently since its maiden edition in 2016 reaching over 700 teenagers in that time. Also, she reaches out to teenagers and young adults in rural areas through the Rural Revamp Project which began in 2017. She also leads and executes the “Reinforce” outreach project which is a welfare and appreciation outreach for uniformed officers which began in 2017 as well. Outside of her work Precious is a skilled video editor, a singer, and entrepreneur who runs her own fashion and lifestyle outfit, Sparkle Global. 

 

IniOluwa Odekunle is the Initiator and Founder of Planen Tekad Programme, a mentorship initiative geared towards raising the reading habits of children in public primary schools, encouraging creativity through talent discovery and management, and mentoring them all in the bid towards equipping them to live a purposeful life. He is also the co-founder of The Amber Circle a volunteer platform that connects volunteers with their area(s) of passion and also offers volunteer service to Charities and organizations involved in social works. Amber Circle volunteers number over 300 and are spread across the South West, South-South and North Central geopolitical regions in Nigeria. He is currently the Senior Project Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation, a social enterprise that exists to nurture and build the habit of giving and sharing within the community. Since May 2016, he has project managed over 20 community projects across Nigeria.

 

The Cost of Intellectual Property

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by The Moderator 8 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon. We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end in an hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? 

 

Jude: I’m Jude. I work in Brand Development and Crisis Management. I also co-own a food company with my brother.

 

 Damola: I’m Damola, I recently started a role as head of business development for A2Creative, a brand development group and also the founder of a brand consulting firm.

 

Yomi: I’m Yomi, I work in brand development as a strategist/account planner. I’m also an entrepreneur and want to be president some day.

 

Isi: My name is Isi Etomi. I trained as an architect, now Creative Director of my own design studio focused on architecture, interior, graphic design and photography. Interesting thing about me…in the past, I’ve pretty much done everything from working in McDonalds, to selling car and home insurance, to door-to-door sales, to working in practice for a firm that restored/repaired/renovated stately homes and cathedrals/museums. I like to think of myself as an all-rounder.

 

Alex: I’m Alex. Digital marketing/Strategy. I also dabble into event planning when I’m not busy being a super hero.

 

The octagon: Nice to meet you all. Let’s jump into the conversation.

As a creative, you will eventually have to face a couple of unfortunate truths in your career in Nigeria. One of the most prevalent ones being a client who does not respect the work you do. A client that believes ideas shouldn’t be paid for, and only the execution of the idea is worth valuing. However, in other parts of the world, Ideation and strategy is a valid line item in billing clients.

Another challenge is the zero respect for intellectual property. There are clients who will take your idea and run. These days people show up to meetings and sign NDA’s before discussing. But are these NDA’s really effective?

The most unfortunate part of this unfortunate truth is that it will all too often present itself in the form of a client who refuses to pay for your services once all of the work has been completed.

Do you think clients should pay for Ideation ? How important do you think the idea is in a project cycle?

 

Jude: There is no question about it when it comes to the value of ideas in any project cycle. An Idea can be the WHAT, the HOW, the WHEN and the WHY of any project. Sometimes, it is all of these things. Ideas are solutions. Solutions end problems.

 

Isi: Clients who do not respect what creatives do can be found all over the world. Case in point: Trump not paying his architect’s fees. Humans by nature only want to pay for something tangible. We struggle to understand things we do not see. Which is suprising, considering how some of us have taken to the idea of religion – believing in a God we’ve never seen. But that’s an argument for another day.

NDA’s –  I don’t mind NDAs, but I think an initial consultation fee is required. IF they are happy to pay, then at the very least, there is value exchange. The idea, I think is 50% of the work. The rest is planning and execution. Ideas are pretty important. You can’t plan and execute ‘nothingness’. And creatives counter this today by tying their work to production, and building strategic partnerships

 

Alex: Ideas form the backbone on which planning and execution are done. You can’t plan what you have no idea about. Like Isi said, humans like to pay for tangible stuff which i think is where most of the problem lies.

 

Damola: I understand not executing nothingness but the reason why I agree that there must be compensation for ideation is that it has been a line item since I started in management consulting for these reasons;

1. I have seen instances when we send a proposal. The client may terminate the contract prematurely or might even be a prospect. They wait and slightly remix the execution. That’s theft.

2. If you also Bill for hours spent on ideation you realize you have resources committed and they have to be paid for.

3. The possibility of using your IP without credit. Hence need for IP lawyers.

 

The octagon: How do you decide what to charge for the idea? Should the possible tangible results be more emphasised during the cost process?

 

Isi: Only a creative can dictate what they feel their time is worth. Figure out your rates and don’t let anyone short-change you. Easier said than done though.

 

Damola: Man hours spent ideating and royalty potential for me. An example, if I had an idea for a platform. With clearly defined mechanics and earning potential. You would have to charge something since you’re basically giving a platform away with the blueprint with the possibility that you won’t earn a dime from it. if a platform can earn 40m by projections, I would charge 5-10% for ideation

 

Jude: Hours… Value Added to the project.

 

Yomi: So quick question if you don’t mind, how can you rate or charge for ideation given that it’s subjective? On the creatives end, it’s seen as 50% and one of the most important elements of a creative process so we would seek to charge a premium on same. However the client sees otherwise and would be VERY reluctant to pay for something he/she doesn’t value just as much. So how then do we bridge this gap?

 

Isi: The only way really, is to educate our clients – Which is one reason why I really love the Netflix show ABSTRACT: The Art of Design. It shows everyone what creatives do and how they do it. It’s sooo important that people see this. Many times in the hallways at school, everyone thought all architecture students did was ‘colouring in’ and ‘drawing lines’. Not understanding that every line and colour represents a decision.

 

Jude: This client education is difficult in Nigeria. I was on a consultation project for an Architect recently, and I had to stress the importance of building concept portfolios.

 

Damola: Have you had to educate the client and how ? Especially the ones who wouldn’t watch these shows or heed to videos or decks of educative material.

 

Yomi: There’s also the angle of clients who feel they ‘know and understand’ creativity especially as it pertains to their businesses even more than you the creative person. Educating that type of client would be a tough one.

 

Jude: When creativity is only based on a client’s brief, they feel they know better than you. But for those that create concept portfolios where ideas run free of limitation, clients seem to respect the extent of their ability even before going into a meeting with them. I’ve seen this happen time and time again, And I just had to take it on board.

 

Isi: We invite our clients to the studio and we have our work and process PLASTERED all over our walls. There’s also a short clip of like 101 logo revisions before the final. Things like that go a long way towards educating a client. Concept portfolios are good, but clients want to see BUILT WORK.

 

The octagon: In the case where the client needs to determine the best agency to move their vision forward and reaches out to multiple firms to pitch… how do you present and charge for ideas? There have been cases where ideas have been pinched and shared with the choice agency.

 

Isi: Only bid for work where you’re paid an honorarium. Unless you choose to do the work ‘on risk’ – Then it’s on you. The fact remains that there are people out there who will do the work for free. And they need to be educated as well. Newbies don’t know much – same as me when I first started freelancing as a designer. And they’re the ones the clients want to find and latch on to for work. I’m curious to know what they’re being taught at Yaba Tech and other graphic design/creative schools. Is there a business module ?

 

 Alex: I think as much as clients need to be educated, creatives need to be educated even more!

 

Damola: Yeah that’s what makes half our client pitches done on risk. I think there is a legal protection needed along with the education. Happy that IP law is a growing category that’s very much needed

 

The octagon: Here is a funny scenario: What happens when agencies who do not have good ideas begin to spring up because they know that initial ideas are typically paid for?

 

Isi: Competitions. In this scenario, people are being compensated for their time. Clients know that they have to search for talent. So they put out competitions, with an honorarium which suits their budget. Then maybe….everybody wins?

 

Damola: Yeah it’s also a tactic used by big FMCGs during their annual pitches. Especially as they take on the risk by inviting those agencies specifically, for the RFP requirements and resources needed.  BUT, I know of some consulting firms that send out RFPs, get proposals. Go quiet. And then eventually use the research done or execute themselves. I see RFPs like that I run. Or respond with a credentials document without giving away the meat of the idea

 

Alex: At the beginning, we spoke about NDAs. Why aren’t they effective anymore? Is it a Nigerian problem?

 

Isi: Some big companies know they have the money to fight, and we don’t. It’s as simple as David v. Goliath. ‘We have deep pockets’. Until someone teaches them a lesson

 

The octagon: What are different ways to protect your intellectual property from being used by a client without consent ?

 

Isi: Watermark, low res, Password protected files, Disable right click/save image as, Screenshots, etc. Even sending watermarked images ALONE will get you your money.

 

Jude: I knew a guy who created an app where he shared his work. The app security didn’t even let people screenshot its pages. I sometimes put clauses where some essential development is done outside of the client’s billable hours. On the surface it looks like a discount, but in reality I do some essential work I want protected during this time.

 

Damola: That’s dope!!

 

Isi: Do we know of any cases where a creative has taken a big company to court for using their IP without compensation or permission? But we too are responsible though, we should call them out when it happens. Instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying ‘it’s what they do’. Maybe we need to file class action? Find other people who’ve been screwed similarly.

 

Damola: No one oh. Just morning exercise. Haha. I’veheard of only a few, but it drains the creative outfit in the long run. Re: IP court case. It’s out of fear and the effort required but when we get bigger I think the larger agencies have a responsibility they are not taking on. They become YES men because their billables have made them fat and docile.

 

Jude: We don’t have a coherent creative industry. Too much noise from mediocre champions desperate to feed.

 

The Octagon: From each of your different experiences dealing with clients, how have you been able to ensure that you get the best out of your engagement? Can you paint a picture for us?

 

Jude: It has been a struggle. When I started out, I was based in the UK and the issues I faced were different. Now I find myself having to be extra selective about clients. I must vibe with you on a personal level before I do a job for you. If a potential client is an a-hole, I make sure I establish some grounds before we work together. Tame the beast before entering its den, so to speak.

 

Isi: If from the very beginning, I sense a client isn’t a good communicator, that’s the first sign of trouble…in my opinion.

 

Damola: Mine has been interesting both as an employee and a business owner. I worked with a big agency, it was easier to absorb the hits and fire clients that we weren’t interested in when they didn’t conform to our terms of engagement (smaller clients). With larger jobs we pitched for we took a risk and absorbed the hit.

As a business owner, I literally almost went on a dating expedition before I signed with the client before I engaged and even when I shared proposal. Always kept something before I got some kind of commitment (financial) to share more. In those cases the chemistry worked for the better for the engagement because of the trust.

 

Yomi: To be honest, I believe it’s about positioning yourself as not just being the ideas guy but also the execution guru as well. Creating a perception in the mind of the client of being as critical a factor to the execution of an idea as the idea itself has upped my chances in a lot of instances. (This however isn’t full proof).

The Octagon: Thank you for taking time out to share your insightful thoughts with us. We will be sharing this conversation on www.theoctagon.com.ng next week. We hope this has been exciting for you as it has been for us.

Alex: Thank you for having me!

Yomi: Same here! Have a swell day!

Isi: Thank you! This was a great conversation!

Jude: Thanks for having me. Thanks everyone.

Damola: Thanks! It was great discussing with you all

 

Octagon Survey Results – Starting a Business Partnershp

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

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Our previous survey on partnerships give a picture of how businesses are gradually evolving in Nigeria. 138 people took part in the survey with 113 males and 26 females. The greatest number came in from those in the age group of 30 – 35 years and the lowest 50 – 60 years.

In this survey, we asked our participants if they would warm up to the idea of partnerships in business. 118 people said yes and 20 said no.

It is interesting to note that even though 62% said they have had bad experiences with partnerships in the past, over 85% still confirm that they warm up to the idea of partnerships. Other results in relation to choosing a partner suggest that this might mean that we attribute failure of partnerships to the character of people versus the business idea. Since 3/4 of our poll group are between the ages 20-35 and have been in business for only 0-5 years this suggests that most small business owners are continually open to collaborations even though they get increasingly cautious.

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The following results showed the percentage of key determining factors when choosing a business partner; 45% said values, 16% Business Development, Finance 14%, Creativity 12%, Management 5%, Marketing 2%, Logistics 1%, Technology 1%, Other 1%, Connection 1%, Friendship 1%.

76% of the participants said they would discuss long-term goals with their partner before commencing any sort of partnership, compared to the 24% who would discuss long-term goals after commencing partnership.

In this survey, we see 61% of participants saying the deal breaker for closing in on a partner would be lack of trustworthiness, 15% said lack of vision, 8% said incompetent execution, 7% for poor relationship skills, 5% for pride, 3% for lack of knowledge and 1% for family.

When asked which they would rather go for, 57% said investment, 30% would go for partnership, 12% for acquisition and 1% said none. This might suggest that more people consider that business financing is what they need rather than having another person/persons on board.

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How much equity would they give to investors and do they understand that this in itself is a form of partnership?

When it comes to partnership, there is always more than two or more people involved. 68% said they would be comfortable partnering with two people, 17% said three works for them, 13% stuck with one, 11% said 4 is a comfortable number for them while 9% said five and just 1% said 10.

The feedback on this question was a bit surprising to us. Until a few hours before compiling results, the role of COO was the most preferred option. How is it that people who are over 75% cautious of going into partnerships are not willing to jump at the opportunity of taking the role that gives the company direction.

Among the 139 participants, 97% (135) said they would have clearly laid out roles before starting a partnership compared to the 3% (4). Among the following roles, 35% said they would most likely be comfortable taking CEO (Chief Executive Officer), 33% said COO (Chief Operations Officer), 13% said Board Member, 12% said Team Member, 5% said CTO (Chief Technical Officer), 1% said CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and the remaining 1% said CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

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The question we might also need to answer is, are more people running away from the hectic responsibility of steering a small business in todays economy? The above shows that a total of 45% are more concerned with the day to day operations of the business.

When asked what they would consider as top most for success in partnerships, 50% said trust, 19% said they consider vision as the top most, another 16% said passion, 8% said values, 4% said respect, 2% said relationship and 1% said knowledge.

If a partner acts unethical, how would you handle it? 64% of the participants said they would simply speak to their partner, 20% said they would go legal, 7% said they would seek the counsel of a mutual friend, 7% said they would work towards replacing them, and 1% said they would walk away. None of our participants considered reciprocating with an unethical act.

37% of the participants would approach a partnership to be innovative. While 26% said the focus was to make more money, 23% said their end goal would be to do more, 9% said save the world and 5% said conserve their energy.

In this survey, we had 47% who have been in business for 1 – 5 years, 37% 0 – 1 year, 105 5 – 10 years and 6% have been in business 10 years and above.

The “Motivational” Leader vs the “Instructional” Leader

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

The Octagon: Welcome to The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? 

Thank You.

Sam:  Good day, gentlemen. I am Sam Ikoku, Ocean Lifter, and a Productivity Consultant with NAKACHI Consulting.

Oyiza:  Good day everyone, I’m Oyiza Salu and I lead the HR team at GTBank

Shina: Shina Atilola, I lead the strategy and communication team in sterling bank.

Aruosa: Good day all, i am Aruosa Osemwegie, my day job is Lead Partner, Enable Africa and Programmes Director, The HR School; my night job is speaking and writing people and organisations forward and some books have gotten published through some restlessness.

Chude: Chude Jideonwo, co-founder RED here!

Dikko: This is Dikko Nwachukwu. CEO JetWest Partners.

The Octagon: The relationship between leaders’ behavior or the leadership style and subordinate has gained increased attention in recent times especially with the emergence of millennials in the work place. Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge of new technologies define the culture of the 21st century workplace. Millennials want a flexible approach to work, but very regular feedback and encouragement. They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized. As a result there have been increasing complaints and even employee turnover rates. This is a real concern for businesses as these are “tomorrows people” and understanding how to manage them is key.

There is also the discussion that the larger organizations lose their core/essence, ability for top leadership to impact and give accurate appraisal as it keeps expanding operations.

All these impact the employee to customer relationship and more businesses are loosing the loyalty they once enjoyed.

How important are employees to a business success? Does leadership style affect organizational productivity? Is there a problem with the way leadership in Nigerian Businesses relate and channel its employees? Are there any leadership styles to lean towards?

Shina: Employees in business are like the blood in a human system. Therefore they are not only important but the most important for business success. Leadership can make or mar an organization. A critical trait of leaders that are successful is the ability to get the best from people always. It takes you knowing them beyond the work place. Building trust and creating a conducive environment.

Sam Ikoku: I believe The Octagon is addressing all types of people so I’d like to look at the two types of leadership from 60,000ft.  More and more the term employee is becoming obsolete. Partners best describe them and leadership must recalibrate to better manage them. A phrase attributed to Steve Jobs captures this well. “Why do we hire smart people if we tell them what to do?”

I believe the topic raise really cuts to the heart of the matter because the type of leadership now becomes a part of the business model.

For me,  after more than twenty five years of trial and error, I have come to some resolution on the difference between Instructional and Motivational Leadership. Despite talk about the Millennial Generation, both types of leadership have a role to play. The tweaking is in the prominence of one over the other. It is the employees who drive the business. Before now their role was mostly tactical, but more and more they formulate strategy as well.

Oyiza: It goes without saying that people are the core of any business. A lot of the times, you hear the phrase -“Our people are Our greatest assets” but to what extent is this demonstrated day to day? That being said, I believe that a lot of effort has actually gone into making this saying come to life within organizations especially with today’s reality of managing a diverse workforce.

Aruosa:  There is a limit to what one person can do. Having more people on board (otherwise called recruitment), is a way to multiply our results. Then if this group of people achieve synergy only then can they ACTUALLY multiply their efforts. And leadership style affects the ability for us to reach this synergistic state. The Nigerian business or Nigerian entrepreneur has a lot to learn but they might be finding it difficult to learn with the a difficult macro economy and a lot of learning of the wrong things too. Particularly if one doesnt create alternate communication diffusion systems which allows real info to get to you and of course creating a culture of candor

Oyiza: I agree with Sam & Dikko’s assertions. In terms of leadership style, it is important to find a balance depending on a number of factors including Organizational Culture. Also leaders need to ensure that they are not far removed from the goings on in the organization. They should be accessible to a large extent in order to really feel the pulse of their people, sell the vision and get buy-in.

Chude: I’m interested in Sam’s point about how to marry the two.

Sam: In my view, instructional and motivational leadership are different parts of the same spectrum which begins with self-awareness and ends with appreciation.

Dikko: Having led a company of 1500 people. I can tell you that when a leader sits in his or her ivory tower. You only get to see what your people want you to see. I think a leader needs to be visible and accessible.

Aruosa: @ Dikko, would be nice to know if and how you solved it.

Dikko: @ Aruosa i spent one day a week working in the field and got on flights whenever I could helping out in every aspect. From loading bags, to cleaning aircraft to checking in passengers. It resonated with our people very well. They felt motivated. They had direct access to put suggestions and ideas that made the system work better. It also made us the senior management understand their issues better. So it wasn’t always about Naira and Kobo. And when the catering department said they needed a high loader we quickly bought one because we too had carried food on to the aircraft and it was back breaking work.

Oyiza: @Dikko – That’s a very good way Of building credibility and trust.

Sam: @Dikko, I think that is a good example of instructional leadership. I want to assume you seize upon every learning moment.

Aruosa: Wow. Instructive. Sounds like what someone called Management by Walk Around. We can see exactly how YOUR leadership style affected their morale and company results. Thanks for sharing.  A leader defines the climate in his/her team and climate being simplistically “How it feels here to me”….and how it feels to me as an employee affects or defines how i do my job; how I relate to other staff and customers and whether i go the extra mile or not.

Sam: @Dikko One question. Would it help if leaders walk the path before creating job descriptions, providing tools and negotiate remuneration?

Aruosa: By the way what is instructional leadership…and what is motivational? thinking getting commonality of meaning would help deconstructing the matter.

Sam: I believe they are part of one spectrum. In that spectrum instructional leadership, which is the centre point is bracketed on both sides by motivational leadership. On the self-awareness side motivational leadership is inspirational due to the leader’s own achievements. On the appreciation side it is due to the leader’s ability to create an empowering environment for those working on a common vision.

The Octagon: The motivational leader is one who leads by getting buy in and constantly pushes his team to take ownership …. The instructional one leads by giving tasks/instructions.

Aruosa: For an academic discussion it would be nice to ask which is better or needed between instructional and motivational, but from a practitioner discussion, BOTH are needed….a leader needs to have both in his/her repertoire.

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Artists and the contracts they sign

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 7pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences. 

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? Thank You. 

Gbubemi: Hi Everyone, my name is Gbubemi Fregene. I am Chef Fregz sometimes.

 Tyeng: Hello everyone. My name is Tyeng Gang, and at the moment I’m the program director for Urban96 Network (Radio).

Tobe:  Hi Everyone. My name is Tobechi Nneji. TobeDaDiva sometimes 😀. I am a presenter and content creator.

Uyi: Hello Everyone. My name is Uyi Osifo. I’m an artist manager and co-owner of Flux Factory Group.

Tobi: My name is Tobi Adeola. I’m a sponsorship specialist with Etisalat Nigeria

Eniola: Hello Everyone my name is Eniola Leyimu and I am an Intellectual property lawyer. Nice to e-meet you all.

Andre: My name is Andre Blaze Henshaw and I’m a broadcast creative and policy administrator.

Nike: My Name is Nike Fagbule. I am Chief Strategist and sometimes founder  at Zebra Stripes Networks, a Public Relations Company in Lagos, Nigeria. #ThatsAll.

The Octagon: ”As an artiste, you have hustled and chased the dream. Finally some record label, or an investor shows up promising you the ride of a lifetime, and checks so fat, that you could see money falling out of it. But before you sign on the dotted line, perhaps there’s a need to make sure you actually understand what you’re signing so your dreams of fame and fortune don’t turn into a nightmare.”

With the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry comes more structure, and contractual agreements. In recent times, we have seen various artists and their labels/management looking to the court to solve disputes.

Do you think that Nigerian artists are generally overvalued or undervalued when it comes to contractual agreements ? Why do you think that Artists are continuously having issues with their labels/management ?  Finally, What are some of the things you think that every Nigerian artist should consider before signing contracts ?

Tyeng: Artist are so eager to have a ‘record deal’, they’ll sign almost anything. And you know ‘we’ don’t read terms and conditions.

Tobe: I think there is, maybe, an initial  ‘take-anything-I-can-get’ mindset on the part of the artists. They pretty much just sign anything, after they’ve been told some attractive figures and sold the ‘dream’. They hardly ever read and understand and negotiate other components of the contracts. Then they ‘grow a brain’ a few years down the line and want to level up the agreements and the investors don’t agree.

Uyi: But then again, you have investors coming into the business without a clue or an understanding of the business.

Tobi:  The entertainment industry is one the rise, but the corporate issues around it is still a concern. Beyond artists being desperate, you will notice after one or two hits, they instantly want to own a Label without really understanding the business side of music. Also regarding valuation of artists with respects to the contracts they sign, we really don’t have the data to measure the quality of contract and the value within it.

Nike:  I don’t think it is a case of read and understand. I think they really just want that big break and no matter what their lawyers or managers say. They just see how the money or platform can take them to the next level. You will hear a lot of ‘It is me that is in it not you’.

Tobe: @tobi and @uyi. I agree. So it’s a mix of ‘desperate’ artists and ‘unaware’ investors.  A classic case of bad cook and rotten tomatoes.

Uyi: The thing is, these artists are usually blinded by empty promises, the investor in most cases just wants to be famous and make money off the project ASAP. Usually this ends in a messy situation. The investor is expecting an ROI on every investment. This usually isn’t the case.

Eniola: There’s a famous saying in the music industry, that it all begins with a song. If there is no song, there can be no recording session or artist singing the song. A distinction not often made in the music industry in Nigeria is between the musical  composition and the sound recording. So for example, I can write a song for another artist. While I own the song, the artist or whoever pays for the sound recording owns it. This is where record labels come in, they usually pay for the recording. The question then is if their investment justifies what they get back.

Tyeng: These ‘Investors’. They aren’t trying to develop you, groom you, help you better yourself, improve you and the industry – Just make them money. That’s why the quality of music sucks. Song writers, producers, get nothing after, which is so sad.

Tobi: It’s OK for an investor to want to make money, for them it’s business. As you will see the Nigeria market is quite complicated and unregulated, content is not safe. Artists are now only able to make real money from endorsements and performance opportunities, and if they are good enough, they get to go on international tours. This and more are the new ways they are able to make some money, of which a part of it goes to the investor.

Uyi: @Tyeng, it’s just business, and I really don’t blame investors because they see the artist the same way they see their other investments. With regards artists being overly valued. A clear case is Skales whose buy out clause is £10,000,000.

Nike: Well. I think the buy out was not based on the value of said artiste. I think it was more to ensure that the contract is fulfilled.

Eniola: Traditionally, record labels could justify their wanting to take as much as possible because music was sold via physical copies. They also had the distribution networks under their control.  However in this day and age where most music is digital or live, and artists can promote via social media, can record labels still justify their take as much as possible approach? I do not think so.

Nike: And the sharp ones see a way to make quick money. Get that house in Banana Island and travel around. The others just keep waiting for when investor will wake up and remember that there is a label somewhere. Either way. They forget about the reason they set out to be artistes in the first place.

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To partner or not to partner in business – Pros and Cons

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 7pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

 

Otisi: My name is Otisi Ukiwe. I work with a risk management and security company in Lagos. I have a passion for sports and own a sports marketing and management company. May I just be permitted to state that being invited by The Octagon is an honor and also very humbling

Tobi: I am Tobi, I manage Strategy for a Financial Institution.

Gbenga: Product Manager, Financial Institution

Bankole: Bankole Oluwafemi, Blogger. Co-founder of BigCabal Media, publishers of Techcabal and Zikoko. Currently missing his stop in a Keke because he is typing this.

Emi: Name is Emi Faloughi. Currently running my family holding company AKA learning to be a Jack of all trades and trying to be master of all!!! I Love travel, art and making jewelry (which I flog by the way!)

Donald: Donald Okudu, Creative Director, Mesh Media Labs & Mesh Ad studios

Kunle: My name is Kunle Erinle. I’m a certified Solution Architect, and I work with Intelligent campaign hub ltd – we create digital solutions.

Chiekezi: I am Chiekezi Dozie, I work as a sales director for a multinational ISP, I’m also a professional photographer, serial techpreneur, Co founder of Ediyara Technology Group and Co founder of www.nigerianbride.com.

 

The Octagon: Great. Everyone is here. Let’s Begin.

Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the best approach.  Effective leadership creates a clear path and makes the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. The adage that two brains are better than one may explain why a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners create partnerships. Today, business partners start businesses together with little planning and few ground rules. Sooner or later, they discover the hard way that what’s left unsaid or unplanned often leads to unmet expectations, anger and frustration.

Should more Nigerian small businesses consider partnership?  What are the Pro’s and Con’s of partnering in Business? What are the ways in which a partnership can work?

 

Otisi: In my opinion partnerships are very important and key for growth. One of the key partnerships I feel is in the employees – a big partnership that is generally ignored.

Chiekezi: I agree totally with this but I think a lot of people don’t go the extra mile with employees. For me 20% equity is vested in all employees.

Tobi: I think small businesses need to partner to succeed or expand. You can’t know everything required to grow your business.

Chiekezi: For me the fundamental principles of partnering in nigeria as simply trust, mutual respect and openness. Partnerships are key as all knowledge cannot and does not reside in one person.

Otisi: I agree Chex. But I will also partner with someone I don’t trust. I will however build the required barriers. Even thought this could be limiting. Buhari/APC/CPC by rhetoric partnered with groups/people they hated 4 years prior. What happens if someone who you don’t like/trust can be the route to achieve what you want to achieve ? Will you shift your goals ?

Chiekezi: No I won’t shift goals. I will find another way to either hire or buy the expertise via consultants.

Kunle: Would you say that the APC partnership is working well less than 2 years down the road?

Emi: @Otisi Limiting…but Necessary. I work really simply – I trust u but I verify. The key I find is to understand (as best as you can ) the underlying motivations of those u are partnering with. I like what you say, but actions speak louder than words.

Tobi: Building the right culture is the single hardest thing in business. Ownership mentality however is even harder to instil or brew within an organisation. Like Emi mentioned it’s hard to figure out everyone’s motivation and that is crucial to ensue ownership.

Donald: Totally agree and maintaining that culture or rather improving it. People’s motivation changes with time.

Kunle: Partnership is key when complimentary skills are brought to the table, however our culture is one of the reasons why partnerships here often fail. Successful partnership is built on honest open and objective discussions. In Naija we tend to do things based on sentiments a lot.

Chiekezi: This is quite simply because in my opinion Nigerian Workers do not understand the concept of ownership culture unless they are vested.

Otisi: I think the thing about partnerships is just about the goal.

Chiekezi: I disagree. Not about the goals but for me more about shared vision and each individual’s fundamental principles.

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Starting a business partnership – Survey 001

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator

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We would like to know your thoughts on this issue. This survey will take about 4 minutes to complete. Please click the “finish survey button” at the bottom of the page  to submit once you are done answering.  Thank you.

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Can technology truly help traditional Nigerian Businesses experience astronomical growth?

Posted on: August 1st, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you.

Bade: Bade Adesemowo – Co-Founder, Social Lender; & Deputy Group Head, Bincom ICT.

Kazeem: Kazeem Bello-Osagie MD QUO Courier & Logistics

Daniel: Hello All,  I’m Daniel Oparison. Head, Growth Strategy & Brand Marketing @ Paga. Exec Creative Director @ Dmastermind Agency.

Udoka: Udoka Uzoka. Technologist. Run a software development company (Cubix Labs) and a few startups with focus on Education (BrightCube) and e-commerce (Heels.com.ng).

Mayor: Hello All. My name is Mayor. I like Game of Thrones and work in Brand Management/Marketing to be able to pay for this passion. (Hands of the King (And Queen) are very expensive!)

Dami: Hello, Akinwale Damilola. I used to work in Financial services, now I am on the proverbial Streets looking for a Unicorn.

Sam: Hi my Name is Sam Uduma, serial entrepreneur with a flair for innovative technology and Impact investing. Give me $ 1billion and you’ll get a dent in the African Eco space.. Give me $1m and I’ll get you a billion

Kola: Hello house. I’m Kola Aina. I provide leadership at Emerging Platforms Group – a suite of technology companies. We also recently lunched Ventures Platforms Hub (hybrid incubator / co-working / enterprise development / investing) with our first campus in Abuja – Ventures Park.

The Octagon: Great! Everyone is here….

Over the last few years we have seen technology change the face and pace of businesses around the world. So many tech driven businesses have not only emerged but have earned great profits in their very early years. Uber is a great example of the speed at which new markets are created, and it’s all driven by technology. Nigeria is not left out in this global trend. Do you think Nigeria is at the point where technology driven businesses can truly thrive? Can technology help traditional Nigerian Businesses and SMEs experience astronomical growth? Do we encourage and bring business developers and tech solution experts together to collaborate? Or should these exist as separate items? Over to you guys!

Mayor Esiaba: Ah Yes. Uber another famous American Unicorn

Dami: To be honest I don’t think the question can technology help traditional businesses is necessary anymore we are past that stage. The question is more how can we use technology to help solve uniquely Nigerian business problems quickly. Don’t get me wrong technology will not solve all of our problems.

Mayor: I would really like to Segway slightly to what has indeed driven “change” in Nigeria, helping us along the way elect a new Government. We can lay our current woes at the doorstep of tech. Our first technology powered elections ensured the voices of most Nigerians counted.

Kola: For me I think the real question here is not what tech can do for Nigerian SME’s rather is that how can we get SME’s to leverage tech in becoming more global brands. My other concern is how our SME’s and tech companies can collaborate more and build bridges for scale.

Kazeem: Technological advancement is a global trend & Nigeria being in the forefront of Black Africa must embrace this phenomenon or be engulfed by it. History has taught us the unhappy truth, that we must at all times engage or open up to disruptive technologies, because sooner or later, it becomes the norm.

Sam: I don’t mean to throw a spanner in the works… or maybe I do… But I’d like to shed some light on what I feel is a fundamental misrepresentation

Dami: OK Sam lay it out

Sam: Uber is not a tech business… Uber is a customer service and a tracking business powered by technology. Customer Service to stake holders, Tracking to vendors, and merchants as the case may be

Mayor: Errr…Mr. Travis says he runs a tech business. He collects rounds and rounds of money, whilst terrorizing everyone in his path.

Sam: Cos it’s sexy. Tech is sexy. But ask Andressen Horowitz. The Hard things about doing hard things

Mayor: Therefore the entire sharing economy isn’t tech?

Sam: Tech is the sexy dress you put on a fully functional paper/mortar business.

Kola: I agree with Sam. Tech leveraged well can make “any” business sexy. The key lies though in the business engineering first and building the tech to scale and make delivery more efficient.

Mayor: So Uber is just a Taxi company?

Sam: Nah Uber isn’t a Taxi company. Customer service and tracking, and seeing the fuel Come out of a sexy filling station tank, we wanna go and build our own filling station.

Mayor: Do you mean like DHL/FedEx? Sam, all of us who deal with direct to consumer businesses are in the end simply in the business of logistics and customer service.

Sam: Mayor, you are getting me now. And until we see ourselves as that, we are building castles in the sky.

Kazeem: Uber is the largest taxi company that owns no vehicle. So I will say it’s more of a taxi company.

Mayor: Nope. Not a Taxi business. You cannot be in the taxi business and own no taxis.

Kazeem: Most airlines lease their planes.

Sam: Monsieur Kazeem, Uber builds its customer service business on taxis but can easily switch that to moving goods around and take out your business. They can even start carrying technicians around and take out my business.

Mayor: They’re already doing that in New York. You can now deliver stuff whilst Ubering and earn some cash.

Sam: Uber eats will soon launch. If not already, they will take food delivery businesses out, and then dove tail into Uber for Okada… And then we don hear am. That’s why Travis is going to collect more money every month. Simple – For world domination. Same as Mark Z, all he wants is to be president of the largest country in the world. Anyway, I’m sure you get my point.

Mayor: Sam, I am absolutely passionate about tech, but have desperately worried about what the current American model of executing tech has done to their economies.

Sam: Hey Mayor … Me too. But I’ve failed a few times to know what won’t work at the least.

Mayor: I believe this growth in tech is responsible for the extreme Nationalism that has emerged across the World and the clowns masquerading politicians who come with them.

Sam: My problem with addressing these questions laid so intelligently by The Octagon is this. Nigerian businesses have caught on late in the tech game… So what they are seeing is result of years of infrastructure development by the Henry fords and Rockefellers. We are catching up to decades of pipe laying.

Bade: I think it is inevitable. That we are generally behind the curve is also true. Imagine a tomato seller on the street actually using basic technology. If we think of technology as an enabler, the question will be slightly different.

Mayor: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Hi Bade. I’m now with Sam. She’s at her core, tomato Seller

Kazeem: Lol @ tomatoes seller

Dami: Bade, but she does already. If she wrote down all her customers numbers and called before venturing out she could scale.  I.e. determine what routes are best, and how much quantity to take with her.

Bade: that’s actually my point, she would actually scale better based on the technology available to her. For example, if someone put her tomatoes on Konga and we all knew I can get quality tomato on Konga. She would sell more, and we would buy conveniently. There is a site like that by the way. So I think the focus should be on the how … and actually the massive education required on both end of the value chain.

Daniel: Uber is getting more airplay than our Tomato seller here… and she’s the one who needs the enablement #justsaying.

Dami: @Bade I think that’s where we start to make mistakes. By scaling too quickly.

Bade: @Dami managing scale can also be done with other technologies, but more education is required.

The Brand Ambassador / Influencer Dilemma

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments

 

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you

Bayo: Good Afternoon People. I am Bayo Omishore. I write seldom.

Wale: My name is Wale Adetula (call me Tula). I’m the founder and CEO of thenakedconvos.com (Nigeria’s largest open digital publishing platform).

Toks: Hello people. I’m Ola-tokunbo. I’m a creative and a brand person.

Eddie: I’m Eddie Madaki, publicist and Marketing communications practitioner.  I work with iBlend Services/ EddieMPR IMC.

Eze: Hello all! My name is Ezegozie Eze, brand and content developer, specifically entertainment & lifestyle brands.

Chuka: Hi Everyone. I’m Chuka Obi, ECD at DDB Lagos

Tayo: Hi everyone, my name is Tayo. I work as a digital strategist with Ogilvy One.  I’m the founder of Isten Digital, recruitment and training in digital marketing. Partially into photography

The Octagon: Ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving.   Social media, content marketing, the younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just some of the many things that are pushing brands to think differently. Customers want to identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued. As a result, today’s competition among brands to capture the attention and hearts of their audience is really tough and challenging. This has forced so many organisations to adopt certain approaches to engage their market to transact with them. One of this approaches is the use of brand ambassadors and influencers.  Do you think that brand ambassadors truly help these brands and businesses grow , create greater sales and equity? What is wrong with way brands are going about this?

Wale: I don’t think brand ambassadors have helped a lot of the brands that have gone that way here in Nigeria and it’s mostly down to the reason why they made the decision in the first place. You just mentioned how the ground rules of branding/marketing is continuously evolving. Marketing needs to be way more intelligent nowadays and not based on emotions or who the MD of a particular organization likes or doesn’t. However, I think it is important to note that most of the success stories aren’t particularly exceptional cases. Signing on a brand ambassador so you can gain rights to his music (at a cheaper rate) is a no-brainer. And most of the so called success stories fall in this space.

Toks: I think the bitter pill most of us brand people who know, without a doubt, that the brand owners are going about brand ambassador-ship wrong is that it’s actually working for a few of these brands. Where the real issue is is that, a strategy works for company A and companies B, C and D rush to get on that bandwagon, regardless of whether it fits their brand or not.

Tayo: I agree with Toks. I think that brand ambassadors and influencers have their place in marketing. However, it’s the use of these resources that determine how useful they are to the brand. Brands do not really do brand fit. They just randomly pick people. I believe that ambassadors are mostly for awareness while influencers are for conversions.

Toyosi: Marketing has to evolve with the rest of the world and whether we like it or not using celebrities/influencers (real and imagined) is part of that evolution. People now use Instagram comedians eg I am Kanmi that was just mentioned as MCs for their shows because they know they can pull the crowd they want.

Bayo: I’ll speak from the perspective of a consumer who just so happens to have worked with a number of entertainment brands and say No. In the first instance, I question if the brand managers on the side of the product understand their own product enough to find a music brand that sufficiently mirrors their brand. For the sake of synergy. Or perhaps they sacrifice that on the altar of making a quick buck by hiring the guy that can attract the highest number of coins they can take a nice slice off.

Eddie: Bayo, I beg to differ. Most consumers purchases are won on an emotional level and the right influencer actually wins a larger market share for the product owner IF he/she has the ears,eyes and hearts of the target market the client is looking to penetrate. Now unfortunately since its the trend most agencies just pick anyone for personal/sentimental reasons and that’s when such campaigns are not effective. But if Brand influencer to market segment is a perfect fit, the campaign will work. And it’s cost effective and cuts across most media channels making for a much more organic way to connect with consumers

Bayo: That’s idealistic Eddie. What’s happening in reality is different. The question is, are mothers buying Pampers because of Tiwa? Or Pepsi because of Wizkid?

Wale: hahaha… Or are they even buying at all ?

(continued on next page)

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