Dont be all about the money

money.jpgA lot of businesses are not successful and profitable in Nigeria because those who run them are going about their business the wrong way. Statistic says that only 1 in about 3 startup businesses in the country lives longer than 5 years. This shows that there is something wrong with the way our entrepreneurs exercise their entrepreneurship.

I have found that most business owners in Nigeria are all about the money. They are only in business just to make money from people and enrich their pockets. They really don’t have long term commitments to the business or the people they serve. They just want their business to cater to their various needs and luxuries now.

I am of the strong opinion that meeting needs ought to be the priority of any  business venture; solving problems and not making money. I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. That’s the reason many people start businesses in Nigeria. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

This is not to say that making healthy profits in business is wrong because right next to meeting needs is making profit. But never before it. You can make profits without meeting needs; it won’t just be sustained. And yes, you can meet needs without making profit too; but that is hardly the case except you are running a charity.

The point however here is that your chances of making sales, increasing returns, and making healthy profits are enormous when you are focused on meeting needs rather than on making money.

We don’t have strong brands in Nigeria. A strong brand is one that resonates both functionally and emotionally with its customers. No brand will promise to just make money off its customers although many act just like that. They don’t promise that because it is common sense to know that people are not looking for people to give their money to; they are seeking people who will solve their problems and they will pay sufficiently for such help.

It is said about God, that we shouldn’t go after his gifts but rather after him, the giver of the gifts. Likewise, businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves. When you have me, you have all that I have (my money inclusive). Even in cases where repeat business isn’t possible, the moment you win me over, you can be sure I’d replicate myself to patronize you through friends, associates and family.

Businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves.

Businesses ought to be in the business of sweeping their customers off their feet, taking their breathe away, blowing them into unprecedented ecstasy. You should be trying to win people and not make money. Because money is temporal, always moving places, but people are always there. Because money is owned by people and not people by money; it is wise to be after them than after their money.

You cant make real money in life if you are all about money. You have to be about several other things. You have to be about service, about giving, about management, deferring gratification, making sacrifices and investments, making wise decisions, etc. Money alone doesn’t make rich, these other things do.

Afolabi Soaga

 

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2016: guess whose squad i belong to?

992780_10153863901418130_6727036791520169095_n.jpgAfter thinking much about that one important stuff that we all need to know about this New Year, I have reached one very important answer- God’s got our back in the New Year!

This truth is very important and it carries a lot of weight. It is proof that you can’t be on the losing side in 2016. That you can’t fail. It is our assurance of victory. It is for this reason that I am confident that though a thousand fall by my side and ten thousand by my right, I and my lot are kept safe; that no evil fashioned against me will succeed; that the new year would be a rewarding one for me.
You must walk with this consciousness that you are on God’s team. That’s the only way to have full victory.

God’s got our back in the New Year

In the book of Judges Chapter 4, we see the story of Barak, a commander of God’s army, to whom God gave his word that he should go and fight a battle. For some reasons best known to Barak, he refused and insisted that he would only go if Deborah, the judge of Israel, accompanies his army to war. In summary, Deborah agreed, Israel won its battle, but Barak lost.

I like to think that Barak didn’t trust the God he had; that he trusted the involvement of God in Deborah’s life than in his life; and that despite receiving God’s word to go and conquer, the word wasn’t mixed with faith in his heart and so he couldn’t profit from it. Barak knew that God had Deborah’s back but wasn’t sure God had his. And this cost him.

So whatever projects, goals, dreams, and visions that you have for the New Year, I’d like you to always remember that God’s got your back. He is on your side and his team never loses. When you walk through tough times, know that the greater one lies within you and he’d help you through your storms. Be conscious of God’s presence and involvement in your life. Be aware of his love and all that love would cause him to do on your behalf.
In this New Year, you can not fail! The earth will yield its increase to you.

Don’t be a Barak! Rather, trust and believe in God and watch him come through for you.

Happy New Year!

fuyfui

A Christmas day Speech

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Our Christmas barbecue in church was tagged ‘Jesus’ birthday’. And like some other birthday parties we attend, folks were given the chance to talk about the celebrant. How they met him and how their relationship has been thus far. I didn’t get passed the mic and so I’ve decided to recount my own story here.

*coughs*

As much as I’d have loved to, I can’t remember the exact day, hour and second I met him. Like I can’t remember the exact day, hour or second I met my other friends. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t a ceremonious meeting, or maybe it’s because our love happened softly. They say it’s wise to choose good friends; in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed.

in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed

I’ve always been a ‘Christian’ for the most part of my life that I can remember. I did everything the average Christian does. I attended church services as often as I could, I argued about religion at every slight opportunity, gave my own share of N5 when it was offering time, slept through sermons only to be tapped out of it rudely by ushers, etc. it’s a good thing to have been raised up a Christian. But I find that all my parents did was introduce me to a religion and that helped me find faith and Jesus. You don’t find Christ until you believe him and his gospel. And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time. That’s partly why I don’t have a date I can name. All I can say Is that I have come to believe on him and I always re-affirm this faith as often as I have needed to.

And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time

Now to how our relationship has been thus far…

The first thing that strikes me about the lord is his love for me. Ours has so far been a truly true love story. Countless times I have failed and disappointed him; countless time he has forgiven. Why and how he does it, I can’t exhaustively explain, I don’t even try to reason it out, I just enjoy and bask in it. Jesus’ love has never been conditional. He’s loved me at my best and at my worst. When the feeling was mutual and when it wasn’t. Whether I felt like it or not. His love has been that constant ‘X’ in my life’s mathematical equation.

His love has been that constant X in my life’s mathematical equation.

His loving me has taught me what love really means and has led me to love him much too. It has also taught me to love others; to be tolerant of their faults, to always look for the best in them, and to always offer to help bring out their best at all times.

His faithfulness is epic. Just when you think he’d leave you, there he remains with you. Through thick and thin, he’s never ashamed of you even when you are ashamed of yourself. His loyalty is legendary. He has been faithful to me and the things that are important to me.

Then there is his grace. I like to call it my shine. Prior to our relationship, I was pretty much average. There was no boldness, no confidence, no uniqueness; or maybe they were all there, but I never found them. Christ has helped me see my best self and attain it. Of course this is a process; I keep getting better and better, brighter and brighter, smarter and smarter, wiser and wiser, richer and richer, finer and finer, every day and in every way. God’s grace has made and is continuing to make all the difference in my life.

And lastly, he gives me hope. That hope is why I’m always joyful, positive and full of life and energy. I truly understand what it means to have life and have it abundantly. I am truly alive. Not that I don’t have bad days, but through it all I shine. Nothing ever keeps me down. I’m aware that he’s always got my back. I know that in the end, it will all be alright; and that if it isn’t, then it is not the end. No matter how today seems my future here on earth and hereafter is never bleak. His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

There are countless other things to write, but I’ll save ink and paper for another day. This has not been an attempt to get you to believe in Jesus and start your own relationship with him (if you don’t already do so); it has only been an attempt to share my overwhelming experience with my savior. I’ve only written as much as words and talent can permit me, there is so much more to our relationship than I can find words to express. If this moves you to want to have this same experience too, then I’d be glad it did, and I’d be happy to help out.

Compliments of the Season.

Have a prosperous new year!

 

 

 

Show kindness this Season

 

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This picture says a lot about the wrong things happening in our world.

A world where a mannequin wears a good cloth when a real person has none. A world where humans envy machines and things that have no life.

The world already has enough of such problem and wrongness. Don’t be another one. Don’t add to the problem and  refuse to be a part of it. rather, be a solution.

Show kindness, give to the needy, share of your abundance. Do your own little to fix the world.

Compliments of the Season

 

Our Wrong Approach to Innovation

In our quest as a nation and continent to stop being BUYERsellers but rather SELLERbuyers, the drive and push to create and innovate things is greater now than ever. People are being encouraged to look past the theory they are being taught in school and get practical with the knowledge they get; to look past seeking jobs where there are none to creating jobs others can find. We are in the long awaited era of creative and innovative African entrepreneurs.

We’ve gone past the period where we thought that creativity and innovation was a white man’s thing; that the answers to our problems will only come from outside our shores as a nation and continent. We now know that it is our duty to take responsibility for our growth and development and that it is dutiful for us to contribute to world development for we have the capacity to do so.

Yes we now know, but knowledge has never been enough. How do we then make the change, what course of action should we take? What is our strategy? If we have a strategy, are we doing it the right way and what are our chances of success with our present direction?

Yes we now know, but knowledge has never been enough

Typical innovation news we hear in Nigeria goes like this- 7 Unizik students produce automobile bus with local material; Enugu boy builds airplane without engine, 3 Kwasu students built a rocket prototype, etc. while these are all credible achievements that are perhaps worth celebrating, they are still a far cry from the best we are capable of. They are good enough, but good enough they say is never good enough. Those stuffs are good enough for museums but not real life markets.

Innovation-Africa

A good footballer doesn’t go to where the football is; he goes to where the football is going. The problem with those inventions we are celebrating is that they are not even where the world’s ball is at the moment, the world has far gone past those things. It’s like we are playing catch up with the past. How are we ever going to make progress that way?

It’s like we are playing catch up with the past.

We need to stop creating what others have created and stop solving problems that have already been solved. That is not innovative, it is only being re-inventive. While that isn’t a bad thing, I believe that we are capable of better things. Worse still, these catch-up products of ours are still of no quality based advantage when in comparison with the originals we copy.

Our university system also has a similar problem. Final year students are encouraged to work on thesis other people have worked on before. So it’s a copy-and-paste exercise for them. They are not encouraged to champion new frontiers and make new discoveries. They are trained to follow rather than lead. (Again, most of these research works end up in shelves somewhere not really contributing to global knowledge or advancement in their field)

Africa has unique problems; Africa can produce unique solutions

All these can change. Africa has unique problems; Africa can produce unique solutions. To really get to the level we are capable of as Africans, we need to do these things

  1. Stop playing catch up with the past– We need to be charge up our curiosity and ask questions- questions about the future; the future of any field we are playing in. We need to figure out where the ball is going and map out ways and means of getting there before the ball does. Only then can we be reckoned with as good players and only then can we score innovative goals
  1. Even if we’d tackle the same problems that others are tackling; We should do it better. I understand that some needs are universal and generational. People would always have to eat, move around, shelter and cloth themselves. But we don’t have to solve these problems the way they have always been solved. We can solve them in a more distinctive, efficient and timely manner. Our offerings become more valuable that way.

Great new innovations are usually high on two things. The first is the solution or value they provide; second is their divergence from the norm. You and I are capable of creating such solutions; we are capable of delivering on our duty towards world development and prosperity for all of mankind.

Be Great!

Afolabi Soaga

 

 

 

The 1 thing all creatives have in common

A study of the top 50 game-changing innovations over a 100 year period is reported to have shown that nearly 80% of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place.

Post-it notes, Xray, penicillin, saccharin, and even cornflakes are all stumbled-upon inventions; some of which were done by someone completely outside their field of expertise. Firework for instance, is believed to have been invented by an unknown cook in china…do your research 😉creativity-1452t3r

That says a lot to me about creativity. So imagine yourself teaching in a secondary school somewhere In the north for NYSC and then you stumble on an engineering breakthrough innovation while at it.

‘lol’. You say. ‘That rarely happens’. True! But it could happen. That’s what that study I started with tells us- that you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places. I’ll now tell you how you can make such happen.

you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places

The one important key to unleashing creativity and creating innovations is resourcefulness. Resourcefulness doesn’t necessarily mean having so many resources but rather being able to make useful whatever resource you have available.

Sticking to our example of a teaching role during your NYSC program – Yes you won’t have access to technological labs or resources; but you’d have access to other resources like textbooks, rudimentary tools, local technologies, and people with unique problems. Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

To be resourceful, you’d have to look beyond what your resources can do and has done to what they haven’t done but can possibly do. You’d have to THinK- Think possibilities. Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

I recently boarded a bus for a long distance journey. Sitting beside me was an elderly woman. She sat close to the window and had to deal with the problem of the harsh sun rays which fell directly on her through the window. What she did was remarkable. She pulled out her scarf from her bag and made it into a curtain. Problem solved!

Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

That looks like a no brainer right? But I think it really illustrates my point. She was resourceful with what she had. She looked beyond the reputation of her scarf which has always been that thing she ties on her head for fashion sake to some function it could perform. She looked beyond what it has always done to what it could possibly do. She looked beyond the rules, broke them, and created new rules and that solved her problem.

Creative people have little regards for reputation and status quo. They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been. They are futurethinkers; possibility-makers. They are resourceful and you can be too.

They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been.

BE Great!

It’s my birthday today!

(Birthday pix)
The Afolabi Soaga. Photo credit: Myself

It’s been an eventful past one year since my last birthday and this time around, I actually got a cake from a good friend Bob. So if you can swing past my house late in the evening (Nigerian time), let me know so that I can keep a piece of cake for you too.

For the numerous others that can’t, I have decided to share something juicy with you too- Just some random thoughts that have shaped me and are continuing to do so. I have shared some of them earlier on facebook with the hashtag Here is a compilation of all of them and I hope they make as much meaning to you as they do to me.

#AttitudeToLearning

Often, the key to ‪#‎Relevance isn’t what you have known, but what you know and what you are continuing to ‪#‎know.Great people don’t stop ‪#‎learning.

#AttitudeTowardsLife

‎The most important thing isn’t your job, or how much you have, or what car you drive, or how you look.You are probably not the only one that has those things or does them as the case may be. So there is nothing special in those.What’s important is who you are and how you make people feel.

#AttitudeTowardsVisionandPlans

It’s good to have a plan. it’s good to have dreams and make strategies on how to achieve them. Some of those dreams are seeds God planted in your heart. And most times, he expects that you water those seeds with the resources he has placed in your care. Resources like your ability to think and your ability to plan; ability to pray and ability to expect. Once there is such planting and watering, God won’t hold back an increase.

#AttitudeTowardsDisappointments

Nobody prays for them, but sooner or later we all get to face them. What’s important is not if they come or not. Rather, it is HOW you handle them when they show up. No one cares about what you go through or how tough your situation is. What people are interested in is how you handle things. So like they say, if stones are thrown at you, build a castle. If life gives you lemon, make lemonade.

#Attitude towards money

God frowns at both the man who withholds all his money and he who keeps none. I’ve found that with God, how you handle money as with other things, your motives are most important. They decide whether you get a frown or a smile. A foolish man spends all that he has; Another withholds unduly but comes to poverty,  but a Generous man will prosper (prov21:20; Provs 11:24-25 )‎. Do you hold on to money because you are prudent or because you are stingy; and do you let go because you are generous or because you are impulsive and wasteful.

#AttitudetowardsIdeas

An idea is NOBODY’s until SOMEBODY does something about it.Your idea is not secured until you do enough about it.An idea is of no good if it remains in your head.

#AttitudeTowardsPeople

People are not good or bad. People are just people. The same man that stole your money, used it to pay his kid’s school fees. To you, he is bad; but his kid sees him as the best dad in the world. No justification for bad acts. But the story is that people are beyond what you see them as. And they have what it takes to be good people; even, great people. And sometimes they just need you to see the good in them and give them a reputation to live up to.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Birthday Cake from Bob

Today has been an exciting one for me. Thanks to everyone that has made this past year awesome. My Mom and siblings, My sister and her awesome husband, my darling friends that I adore , my awesome boss at work, everyone who reads my stuffs and support me, and well wishers in all corners of the earth.

I celebrate all your contributions to my life. You guys push me to be better and I’ve committed myself to not failing God, to not failing purpose, and to not disappointing you.

God bless you

#Over20YearsofGreatness

Afolabi Soaga

Super Mario

It is said that the greatest loss in life is not when we die, but rather what dies in us while we are yet alive. The graveyard is reputed to be the wealthiest place on the earth because it is home to a lot of dreams unachieved, potentials unprocessed and possibilities unattained.

Its that time of the year again, the EPL has started! Boys in town are breaking up with their girlfriends to rekindle that passionate affair with their various teams and leagues. There are so many talks about the big money transfers, the exciting fixtures, who is going to win trophies and individual glories, and who the losers would be. There are several names making the headlines these days but one person that seems to be absent from the whole party is BALOTELLI!BALLOTELLI

The Italy international who has played for top sides such as Manchester city, AC Milan and currently plays for the Merseyside team, Liverpool isn’t making headlines as he use to. When he makes the headlines these days, he does it for ‘pitiable’ reasons.

Some few years back, one could have bet his life on the fact that Balotelli was the next biggest thing in football. He has the skills, the strength and the platform. He can shoot from almost impossible positions, he is aggressive and is no doubt a threat to any defense in the world…or maybe i should have said was.

Recent report says Liverpool are supposedly interested in selling balottelli off. I heard they placed a figure of about 7 million pounds (which is less than half of what they paid for him) on his head but couldn’t get any offer for him  despite. The only team that looked interested is a second division team and even they were not willing to pay that much. Its funny how a chief corner stone of yesterday can become a reject today. selahmario_growth

Amidst the several points that could be raised to be responsible for Super Mario’s woes; one i count highly significant is his ATTITUDE.

That is one thing Balotelli hasn’t gotten right in his career. As a result, he has become another testament to the fact that skills and abilities can take you to the top; but they cant keep you there; That effort will beat talent when talent refuses to work hard; That your attitude indeed will determine your altitude in life; and that anyone who stands should take heed lest he falls; and that super mario isnt super if his attitude sucks.

One could make a list of the several things in life that are beyond our reach and control and our attitude will never make the cut. However, the recompense of our attitude might do so, but our attitude itself will never. You can choose to be optimistic, positive, full of life, hope, and passion, or you could choose to be otherwise. You can choose to be enthusiastic which in the original greek rendition means to be full of God or you could choose to be moody, lethargic and drawn-back. What is however out of your control is what your attitude rewards you with.

In conclusion, potentials and abilities mean nothing if you dont have the right attitude to combine them with. Attitude indeed is everything. You might not have control over everything that happens to you, but you can always choose to respond appropriately to whatever life throws at you. And with the right attitude to all circumstance, you will always hit the sky flying.images (2)

I sincerely hope things get better for Mario especially now that he has rejoined AC Milan, but first, its important he improves his attitude.

PS: Please remember to share with your network if you like and also follow this blog so you don’t miss any of my posts. Thanks!

Soaga Afolabi

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!

Project Nu Wine

Hi reader,

Have you heard about Project Nu wine? No? Here is what its about.

Project Nu Wine is a Nigerian talent discovery/development initiative geared towards beaming  spotlight on unexposed singing talents within the country; and also to groom and project them to the fore front, making them high fliers in the gospel music industry.

This year’s edition which started with about 15 people now has just 4 contestants left. One of them is Dapo Zacchaeus, a young man with unique and tremendous talent. (he is also my good friend 😉 )

Dapo needs our votes to advance in this competition. I’d love top oblige you to make this dream a reality. This wont take much of your time and its only a click away.

Visit: apps.agorapulse.com/mobile/fanVotes/57184
I’m hopeful that i’ll write another feature celebrating our victory

Thanks

BE BETTER

Lets kick off this piece with one of my favorite wisdom from the scriptures.

Answer a fool not according to his folly, lest you be like him; answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

I’d like to say two important things about handling offenses.

First, not every word spoken to you deserves a response. Not every action taken against you deserves a reaction. Sometimes, silence is the best answer. The bible tells us that when a fool keeps quiet on a matter, then he is considered wise. Wise men know when speech is silver and silence gold. As a rule of thumb for me, if your speech or response to a matter won’t improve your value or the other person’s value, its best you keep your opinion to yourself.Meek-Mill-Drake

Taking into perspective the book of proverbs, 26th chapter which was earlier quoted; one thing is clear, the only time a response is required for a fool is when the response will help set the fool straight. If you are replying just to defend yourself or to hurt the enemy, you’d be either wasting energy or worst still doing yourself harm as well. Of course there would be cases in which a response should be given especially when the claims in question could affect your reputation, but even then; the availability of an appropriate answer, that won’t reduce you to level of your offender, should be considered before you respond.

Picture this, imagine me, a guy dressed up in a white shirt as i am as at the writing of this piece, and then imagine another person walks up to me and starts screaming at the top of his voice at me saying “hey, woman!, woman in pink!!”. Then imagine he persists at this to a point that he commands the attention of people around.

It would be a waste of my energy to get into a war of words with him. If i do, i would have only certified myself a candidate of yaba-left just like him. I am obviously a man and i’m wearing a white shirt. Such shenanigan behaviour doesn’t require a reply.

Whatever i say shouldn’t be said with an intention to hurt him. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. If he is saying what he is saying to hurt me and i decide to reply just to hurt him, proverbs 24 says we are both fools and I’m no better than he is. Before God and man, we are both guilty of the same thing.

So summary of point one is this, in essence, what should decide whether you answer a fool is your intention for answering. Am i answering to clear my reputation? or am i answering just to get on level terms? Do i even have to answer? To whom is my answer due? Will my answer add value to me or him or will it just keep as both in the gutter? All these questions i believe are the silent questions embeded in between those two seemingly conflicting statements of that verse of scripture in proverbs 26.

Secondly, it is best to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship. Of course the terms of the relationship could change, you don’t have to be jolly good friends with everyone especially when they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are foolish; but Jesus did make it clear that as much as it depends on us, we should be at peace with ALL men.

There is no wisdom really in making enemies or increasing the number of people that hate you. Hatred has no good to offer anybody. And so even if you believe a man isn’t qualified to be your friend, you don’t have to make him an enemy.

What does this imply? Same thing brother! Just give a wise response to the query of a fool. Dont give a response that will stir up more resentment and strife. A soft answer, the bible admonishes, turns away wrath. This is key! There is no point adding fuel to a fire a person set just to prove a point. Two wrongs can never add up to a right.adr

So folks, dont be quick to give a response at any time. Be sure, infact, be very sure that your answer either in words or deed will add value to you or in the least keep you where you were before you gave it. But the way words are, they never leave us the same way. They are that powerful. Once a word is spoken, it can’t be taken back; and the damage or beauty it creates is seldom easily reversed.

Have a great life people; be better!

*yaba-left is a popular psychiatry centre in lagos

 

Afolabi Soaga

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!!

 

 

 

 

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