“Small Businesses Matter”: Sparkle for Business Launches to Power Nigeria’s SMEs

Sparkle Business

Fact checks. Do you know that in Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48% to the National GDP? They also account for 96% of businesses in the country, as well 84% of employment. You would think with these numbers we would have more small businesses thriving, but the reverse (sigh) is the case.

Apart from lacking access to basic services that will help their businesses grow, Small businesses are also challenged with making strategic decisions due to a lack of data for key insights into important issues that affect their business. Stuff like keeping records of your goods and services, managing your payroll and the people who work for you, making payments, and staying tax compliant are all things we need to stay on top of.

Now imagine having a platform that helps you store necessary business data, calculate the necessary payments, invoices, taxes, and provides you information and insights at your fingertips? Using technology and data, this is designed so you can make better-informed decisions on how you can create great customer experiences, motivate your team, and manage and optimize your stock of products or services.

We know these things matter to you, so let us tell you about Sparkle and their recently launched digital business management solution called Sparkle Business. Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sparkle MFB is a digital bank, a lifestyle and financial ecosystem providing seamless solutions to individuals and SMEs by leveraging on technology and data. Sparkle is founded upon the values of trust, transparency, freedom, inclusivity, simplicity, and personalization. Sparkle is also deliberately focused on female-owned businesses and how Sparkle Business can provide necessary solutions for them to scale.

Sparkle Business is way more than your regular business account. With small businesses in mind, now you can easily manage tasks like payroll management, tax management, inventory and invoicing, customer management, and much more, all taking place in the Sparkle app.

So, what does this mean for you as a small business owner? You can know and manage all your customers. Avoid miscounts and stock loss. File tax deductions for your business and staff at the click of a button. Send invoices from the comfort of the Sparkle app, with the freedom to do much more.

Interested like we are? Click IOS or Android to download the Sparkle app with the Sparkle Business update. Do not forget to share your experience with Sparkle Business with us and other small business owners. When you win, we all win. Keep leading!

 

The Winning Resume By Veronica Alfred

Writing a resume can be frustrating, especially when there are a zillion contradicting opinions about what works and doesn’t work. I recently figured why it was tough to write a resume by testing out resume types and personally applying to some companies. This gave me a huge opportunity to measure, analyze, and test the effectiveness of different resume types.

In this article, I’ll share what I have learned as well as provide some valuable tips on the best ways to write a winning resume.

Over the years, I have read various “how to write a resume” blogs, attended several employability workshops and I realized that most of the advice out there has not been proven against the actual end goal of getting a job. It’s easy to say “one page works best” when you’ve seen it happen a few times, but how does this hold up when we look at 100 theories against resumes from different industries, experience levels, and job titles.

Based on my research, here’s what works and what doesn’t work:

  • Quantitative Results/Achievements 

Most resumes lack them. The goal is to give the recruiter a solid reason to not only look over the full resume but also move you through to the next stage of the interview process. Many of us tend to flood our resumes with a list of job responsibilities/duties forgetting that the recruiter knows what you should have been doing every day on the job. Think about it, the reason for a role is to meet a need, your resume should speak to your knowledge of the need and how you have tackled these challenges successfully. This has been tried and tested by yours truly and I must say, the invitations came within hours of applying. 

Here’s an example:
Executed in-house marketing strategy that resulted in a 15% increase in monthly leads along with a 5% drop in the cost per lead
  • Simple Design

These days, it’s easy to get carried away with our mission to “stand out.” I’ve seen colourful Canva resumes from graphic designers, video resumes, and even resumes with images of candidates in very unprofessional outfits. While those can work in very specific situations, we want to aim for a strategy that consistently gets results. The format I saw the most success with was a black and white template with sections in this format:

Professional Summary/Objective
Skills/Interests Education Experience- focus on achievements) References (Available on request)

According to research, hiring managers scan resumes for an average of 6 seconds. If your resume is in an unfamiliar format, those 6 seconds won’t be very comfortable for the hiring manager. Our brains prefer things we can easily recognize and digest so you want to make sure that a hiring manager can get the full scope just by glancing at your resume.

  • Short and Concise Resume 

As times change, processes change too. Back in the day, we had 3-4 pages of resumes to prove that we had been successful or good enough for a role. We would even go as far as including volunteer, industrial attachments, and summer jobs just to make our resumes lengthy. Today it is the opposite with the introduction of ATS software and focus being on accomplishments and not job duties. As much as possible, you want to make your CV short, simple, straight to the point, and specific to the role you are applying for. 

Here’s what did not work:

  • Grammatical Issues (typos, spelling errors, & grammatical mistakes)  

In my research and years of reviewing resumes, I found that close to 60% of resumes have some sort of typo or grammatical issue. Have your resume reviewed on three separate occasions – by spell-checking software, like Grammarly, by a friend and by a professional. Spell check should be covered if you’re using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create your resume.

  • Lengthy Resumes 

As earlier stated, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing your resume and if it’s more than one or two pages, it probably isn’t going to be read. Increase your margins, decrease your font, and cut down your experience to highlight the most relevant pieces for the role. When you’re dealing with recruiters who see hundreds of resumes every day, you want to make their lives as easy as possible.

  • Buzzwords 

It is important to not use too many buzzwords. Yes, you’re a hard-working innovator with excellent communication skills but so is nearly every job applicant you’re competing with – at least according to their resumes. Instead of using buzzwords, write naturally, use bullets, and include quantitative results whenever possible. Think about it, would you rather hire a salesperson who “is responsible for driving new business across various sectors to help companies achieve their goals” or “drove $15M of new business last quarter, including the largest deal in company history”? 

An example:
‘Creative,’ ‘outside the box,’ ‘innovative’

What you think it says: “I come up with good, new ideas.”

“If you could think ‘outside the box,’ you’d be able to phrase it less blandly,” Scherwin says. These trite descriptors can undermine your case if you don’t back them up with specifics.

In addition to the above, I have also found that resumes with a link to a comprehensive LinkedIn profile have a 71% better chance of hearing back, 76% of resumes are discarded for an unprofessional email address. Resumes with a photo have an 88% rejection rate. 58% of resumes have typos. Applicant tracking software typically eliminates 75% of resumes due to a lack of keywords and phrases being present.

Now that you know every mistake you need to avoid, the first item on your to-do list is to comb through your current resume and make sure it doesn’t violate anything mentioned above. This experiment led me to understand that If you don’t know what consistently works, you can’t lay out a system to get there.

2 EASY WAYS TO MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT MISS YOUR SHE MEANS BUSINESS TRAINING

So… you register for She Means Business– all pumped and ready to learn how to dominate the online business world. You are looking forward to your training and all the amazing online business knowledge you KNOW you are going to leave the class with.

But then two days later you get an email saying you were absent from your training…yesterday. You had totally forgotten. Believe it or not, it happens to the best of us.

This article is going to show you two easy ways to make sure you do not forget to attend your She Means Business training. We want to see your awesome business grow and we are willing to do what it takes to make sure you get the knowledge you need.

OPTION 1- Add the event to your calendar.

  • Once you register for any of the sessions, you will get a confirmation email in your primary inbox. It looks like the image below. Please open it.

  • Scroll down a bit and tap on the calendar option of your choice and it will automatically take you to that calendar.

  • It will ask you to give Zoom permission to access your calendar. If you are fine with the terms, agree and your calendar will be displayed. Tap on “Save” and the session will be added to your calendar automatically.

  • On the day of the training, you will get a calendar reminder with a link to your session. Click on the link and voila, your training will begin!

OPTION 2- Join a WhatsApp Reminder Group

  • When you open the confirmation email above, scroll down a bit till you see what is in the image below. Tap on any of the blue links to join a reminder group.

  • Interaction is limited to admins on the group, so do not worry, you won’t get spammed. The only messages you will get will be session reminders.

If you want to make super super sure that you do not forget, you can try both options. This way, you will get a reminder via the WhatsApp Group and also through your calendar.

We can’t wait for you to gain the knowledge you need to run your online business like a pro so that you can strut into places like this:


What is She Means Business?

She Means Business in partnership with Facebook offers digital skills training and business finance sessions for entrepreneurs to learn how to effectively grow their business online and share strategies for success. 

Here is what you can expect from She Means Business-

  • Practical courses on how to use Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp to make more money for your business.
  • Business finance training to help you stay financially healthy.
  • A certificate to show you have successfully mastered the digital marketing skills from the training. (If you can score 80% or higher on our course quizzes😏)

You definitely do not want to miss out on this opportunity! Tap here to register today.

     

    Budgeting Tips for the 2021 Bride (Nice-to-Have and Must-Have)

    Are you overburdened with all the bills with no one to help you out? Or, are you worried about a long to-do list with numerous ‘advisers’ but no help in sight?

    This is one time to pause and breathe! Yes, Breathe in…Breathe out… 

    Now that you’ve taken a breath, here’s what to do to get control of your wedding expenses three months before your wedding:

    1. Make two lists; a Must-Have List and a Nice-to-Have List. Grab your fiancé to do this with you. 

    Your Must-Have list contains things you know you need to make the wedding the most successful to you.
    Your Nice-to-have list is for anything else that will be good to have but does not determine your wedding’s success or your happiness. Let’s not deceive ourselves, not everything is a must-have so be true to yourselves as a couple and make that clear from the beginning.

    ​2. Review your Must-Have list and put a timeframe to each item with the corresponding cost. Thankfully, I have created a wonderful Wedding Budget Template to help.

    ​3. Make notes of when the next stream of income will come and plan for it. If you earn monthly, plan ahead on how much of it goes into your wedding.

    ​4. According to priority, review your Nice-to-Have list and add the maximum you can spend on each item.

    5. When money comes in, check off something on your Must-Have List. Repeat until everything is checked off.

    ​6. Use extra income to start checking things off your Nice-to-Have list, in order of priority.

    7. When help is offered, as long as you have items on your Must-Have list, channel all help to this list first before anything else.

    ​8. Repeat as often as required. In my line of business, I’ve realised that the smartest brides are those who always stay on top of their finances.

    Remember, the whole essence of this is for you to take one day at a time. There is no need getting so frustrated about what isn’t available or living beyond you. 

    You’re on your own budget! #NoComparison.

    Always remember, you’re not alone and I’m always here to help.

    Investing Tips for the Millennial woman

    Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

    Our 20s are hard, but being in your 30s presents a whole new set of challenges. Women in their 30s are expected to achieve more and therefore, they find themselves going down life paths differently. The great thing is, your 30s bring a greater level of self-awareness and since rethinking about the future tends to take a centre stage for most, this is the perfect time to choose the best investment opportunities. 

    We’ve all heard the stereotypes: Women are shopaholics racking up credit card charges to add one more pair of shoes to an already overflowing closet, while men bring home the bacon and are savvy investors that understand how to manage money and take advantage of opportunities. These clichéd images have overtime been reinforced by the media and popular culture.

    When it comes to investing, a number of studies have revealed that men and women invest differently. Gender differences in investment approach, perspective and experience can enhance long-term investing success. Women have been classified as being less confident, not keen on investing in the stock market and massive spenders. Whilst on the other hand, the same women can be seen as being more open to seeking guidance, more patient and a trend has been seen on millennial women who are investing more than their predecessor. Well, to the millennial women in their 30s who are seeking to change the narrative this year and START, here are a few tips on investing:

    Before going big on investment:

    1. Educate Yourself

    Before diving into strategies that claim to give you a better financial future, carve out some time to learn about money management and investments.

    2. Set Clear Financial Goals

    If you don’t have a set goal to work towards, it can be hard to find the passion or drive to save. Whether it’s a house you’ve been eyeing or your retirement, carefully defining these goals and figuring out how much you’ll need to save can help you craft a better plan for getting there. 

    3. Make a budget and stick to it. 

    The first step is to gather all your bills and pay remains, then plan your budget for the month according to your income and your expenses. 

    4. Save for Retirement:  

    Let’s get real, we are all getting old, why not start saving now so that we are not drowned in worry later!

    5. Avoid Consumer Debt

    Some debt like mortgages and student loans are OK to take on if they fit in with your overall budget. In a consumer-driven society, it’s incredibly easy to live beyond your means; a good rule of thumb is to try and save at least 15% of your income  and always spend less than you make.

    6. Use Missteps to Help You Learn and Grow

    As the famous saying goes, experience is the best teacher. Instead of being ashamed of past financial missteps, learn from them and make better decisions.

    7. Put Your Savings on Autopilot

    Have your savings contributions automatically deducted from your paycheck and/or direct deposit into an investment account. If you put money aside before you even see it, you’ll tend to not miss it.

    8. Always Take Free Money:

    You should never turn down free money—your nest egg will grow faster, if your employers march a percentage of your benefit contribution, take it up sis!

    9. Don’t Let the Financial World Intimidate You

    A good percentage of personal finance is not financial education, but financial behaviour. If you can modify your behaviour with your finances, you can modify your financial future. 

    Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to be a financial expert to start investing, budgeting or preparing for emergencies. All you really need to do is work on building a solid plan and committing to it. As the American poet Carl Sandburg said, “Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.”

    Have an investmentfull year! 

    Finance Tips for Startups Trying to Survive the Pandemic

    Someone said, saying “when the pandemic is over” is starting to sound a lot like “when Rihanna releases a new album” and lol, I couldn’t agree more. We should start adjusting to what life looks like now, instead of making plans for when the pandemic ends, because we have no idea when that might be. Everything around us is constantly changing, including the way we do business. The World Economic Forum says that the businesses that are most likely to survive this pandemic are the innovative ones. I also believe that businesses that have made good financial decisions in the past (have emergency funds) are most likely to survive the pandemic. 

    For businesses that are still in their infancy stage, this might be a very tough period as they don’t have a pool of savings to tap into and unfortunately have to depend on their creativity. We’ve come up with a few finance tips and tricks that businesses can utilize to not only survive the pandemic but operate smoothly even after it is long gone.

    1. Don’t put your eggs in one basket

    You have probably heard this piece of advice a thousand times before, but you need to listen to it now more than ever. With so many businesses closing their doors, the least that you can do as a business owner is diversify your income. Depending on one source of income/sales is way too risky, you need to start thinking of how to improve the customer experience and in turn, get more sales. What else do your customers need apart from what you already provide? Can you provide that product/service? Try by all means to think of ways to introduce new offerings to your existing customer base or start providing something new to a new clientele.

    2. Everything is becoming virtual, why aren’t you?

    This tough period has forced so many business owners to think on their feet and execute immediately. We’re also seeing so many businesses hopping onto the online scene and honestly, it makes so much sense! Think about it, do your customers need to visit your office for all of your products/services? Is there a way that you offer your services online? Can customers order and have your products delivered to them? If there is even the slightest chance that you can continue with some parts of your business online, then GO FOR IT! You don’t have much to lose, setting up an online platform is less costly and has higher returns, in most cases.

    3. Make Smarter Budget Choices for Your Business

    We need to make smarter money moves this year and that starts by budgeting better. Also, try by all means to increase your income and decrease your expenses. The first thing you can do is ask yourself; what costs can you absolutely live without? Think of all the costs that are not vital to your business operations and all the costs that are unnecessary now that some employees are working from home.

    For example, you no longer have to buy coffee and tea because, if no one is in the office, no one needs these during coffee breaks. Most landlords can give their tenants payment holidays and cuts on their rent, you will never know if yours is keen unless you ask them. Administration costs such as stationery can lower your spending, see how much money you can save by not buying these. To save the company from costs of petrol, try to arrange all meetings online so you don’t have to travel to any venues or offices. The last thing you can cut out of your budget are events (if you’re still having those), as great as they may be for employee morale, the business can do without it for now.

    4. Invest in learning new skills

    When push comes to shove, become the jack of all trades. For the time being, try not to outsource services such as Marketing and Finance. Tough times call for tough measures, so as a team, this is the time to invest in a new set of skills. There are a lot of free online courses, make use of them. Take a social media course and handle your own social media, this cuts out the Marketing consultancy fees you pay. Your finance team should also try to learn how to create professional and accurate annual financial statements, that way you can pay less on finance fees to other businesses. 

    We’re all trying to survive the pandemic so we need to do business better, the key is to try and see if you can do some things in-house instead of outsourcing.

    5. Apply for relief grants

    Do your research and find out if your local government and banks are still offering relief funds. If they are, take full advantage of this opportunity. Apply for your business and hope for the best. After all, who doesn’t like free money?

    I hope you find these tips helpful, here’s to successful and thriving businesses in 2021!!!

    “I’ve Had A Lot Of Rejections But I Keep Going Back For My Yes”- Abimbola Oludare-Ojo, Founder,  Nareli Farms

    One of Abimbola’s greatest motivations is the look of pride on her little daughter’s face when she is excited about one of her mother’s products. This keeps the illustrious agro-entrepreneur going regardless of the harsh tides and seasons in her business. “I want to always make something she can be proud of. I want to always be someone she can look up to,” Abimbola says.

    Abimbola Oludare-Ojo spent 17 years in the banking industry before leaving to start Nareli Farms and Agro-Allied Business in 2017. Nareli Farms is a budding business in the agricultural sector that trades and packages items like Shea Butter, Black Soap and edible products like bread and spices. 

    This article discusses her journey and lessons from her experience as an entrepreneur.  

    You left a fulfilling career in banking after 17 years to pursue your agro-business, what spurred you to make that change?

    Farming has always been a part of my being. Growing up, my father was a passionate farmer. He worked full time as an electrical engineer but he had a rural farm that he always took my siblings and me to. At the farm, he taught us how to plant corn, cassava and other local foods. He also taught us how to fry Garri. 

    I have always wanted to run my own business. After I graduated from the Master’s program at the University of Ibadan, I tried to get a job in the food processing industry. That was tough so I ended up getting a job at the bank as a Relationship Manager. In that role, I learned a lot about satisfying customer’s needs, I learned about different businesses and read a lot of feasibility studies.

    While I enjoyed my job there, I always had this longing to leave and start something of my own. I kept saying, “one day, one day” but of course, one day turned to 17 years. I got moved to another sector and it made me interact even more with business owners. When I would see a business similar to the one I wanted to start, I would feel bad and thoughts of leaving would come up again.

    Another thing that spurred me to leave was the feeling that I was not spending enough time with my family. It had been tugging at me for some time and starting a business where I could manage my time proved a solution.

    One day, after some soul-searching I walked up to my boss and told him it was time to go. I made him realise that I had to leave. I had to start Nareli Farms. 

    If you could go back, would you change how your entrepreneurship journey played out?

    No, I actually would not. Leaving was a tough decision, but I am glad I did it. Leaving took a lot of courage. In fact, some people thought I wasn’t normal. The pay in banking is good and when you think about how your next venture might not sustain the lifestyle you have, leaving seems less enticing. My supervisors could not believe it. They kept asking me if I was sure. But till now, I know I made the right choice.

    The only thing I would have altered was my spending habits. While I was working, I spent a lot of money on equipment I thought I would need for my business but till date, I have not used many of them. 

    There will be challenges regardless of whether you are on the right path or not. - Abimbola Oludare-Ojo Click To Tweet

    There’s this idea that when you are on the right path as an entrepreneur, there won’t be challenges, has that been true for you in your journey? What are some of the challenges you have faced in the course of running your business and how have you been able to manage them?

    There will be challenges regardless of whether you are on the right path or not. When I initially started, I had a million and one ideas in my head. I did not know which product I wanted to launch first or how to really go about it. So I joined a network- NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women. 

    The amazing women in this network helped me to figure out my business in the early days and held my hand through the process. Joining this network was also instrumental to me leaving my job. Before joining, I did not have the courage to actually take that step. I was three months into the network when I realised that I could do this, I could actually start something for myself. 

    I was also a part of the cohort at the last FCMB SheVentures program where I learned about growing and running a business. In fact, it was like attending Business School. I would have made some wrong business decisions if I did not attend some of the Masterclasses in the program. My amazing mentor, Cynthia Umoru helped me to challenge myself as an entrepreneur and I grew from that. 

    To learn more about Abimbola Oludare-Ojo and Nareli Farms, read the rest of this article on the FCMB Business Zone.

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    This feature article on Abimbola Oludare Ojo is sponsored by the First City Monument Bank (FCMB). FCMB is passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women.

    Why you need an Endowment Policy (even while you are Pre-Rich)

    We’re all constantly thinking of new ways to save money, especially when it comes to saving towards a particular target. We use apps, banks, and even in 2021, our pillows.

    Do you know what these all have in common? Your money is somehow still right in front of you, tempting you at every turn. Without a great deal of discipline, you’ll break into your savings and never reach your goals.

    According to independent surveys by She Leads Africa, 73% of young women in our audience said that their top money goal right now is financial independence. In another survey, 58% of women highlighted their top money goal as ‘saving and investing for my future’.

    Now if you earn a decent, steady income but you’re always breaking into your savings, when are you going to achieve financial independence, or even save towards your future?

    Luckily, there’s a more efficient way to save towards your goals that you’ve probably not heard of in the past- an endowment policy. Never heard of it? Well, you’re in luck, because that’s what this article is all about.

     

    So, what is an endowment policy?

    An endowment policy is a plan to help you meet set financial targets and obligations at a particular date in the future. You set a goal, pay periodically towards that goal and your policy provider pays you your set target amount plus a pre-fixed interest sum on your target date.

    With an endowment policy, you’re able to put money aside with a trusted institution and get a specified amount back at your target date.

    An endowment policy could also double as an insurance plan as in the event of death, accident, or illness (in the terms covered by your plan). Your target amount is paid to you…even before the target date.

     

    Why should you get an endowment policy?

    You’ve been trying to save for yearsss: You’ve tried a bunch of methods and nothing is working. It’s definitely time to try an endowment policy.

    You want to be accountable: Endowment policies are a great way to plan towards your goals. You’ll have a specific target amount to save monthly towards your goal and the payment plan keeps you accountable.

    You want to stay focused: With a target date and a target sum, you can keep your end goal and payday in mind and actively work towards it. You’re not spending the money you’re saving on something else. Your money is safe and secure till the agreed date.

    You’re saving towards a specific goal: Could be a master’s, a car. your kids’ education or even a wedding! Get the funds you need when you need them…with no excuses.

    You have money: No, that’s not a typo. If you have money and a plan for your future, you SHOULD get an endowment policy.

    Other benefits…


    Tax relief: Some endowment plans qualify for tax relief so the amount of tax you have to pay is reduced. 

    Your estate is covered: In the event of death, your target sum is paid back to your estate and the policy terminates.

    Back-up funds in case there’s an accident: If you ever have a serious accident, you’ll have your target sum to fall back on even before the set target date.

    Fall back plan in critical illness: If you get critically ill? We know hospital bills can be a pain. You’ll have your target sum to fall back on and help you pay your bills!

    Where do you start?


    A good example of an endowment policy is the Leadway Target plan. You can contact Leadway Assurance right now via DMs and they’ll put you on all you need to know!

     



    “Being An Entrepreneur Is Not A Walk In The Park”- Meet Taiwo Oludairo, Founder Of Ejire Onigarri

    ejire onigarri

    The art of balancing a 9-5 job, side business and managing a family cannot be underrated, it is the work of a superhero! Taiwo of Ejire Onigarri describes herself as industrious, ambitious and a go-getter not just because she has her way with words but it is a description of who she truly is. 

    She started her business, Ejire Onigarri, to fill in a gap in her community. Repeatedly, people had complained bitterly to her about the dirt-filled Garri they buy at the local market. They would always ask her to buy Garri for them from her hometown.  This she turned into a business, added a unique twist and has since then been evolving. 

    Her business journey is one filled with challenges, successes and lessons learned to help other female entrepreneurs map out their way in the business world.

     

    How did you become an entrepreneur, where did the idea of your business come from?

    My mum used to work in UBA, and that always excited me. I dreamt of working there or any other bank of my choice. Everything was going well for my mum until there was an overturn in the banking industry that made banks lay off their staff. This was a major struggle for my mum because she only knew about the 9-5 life. It was difficult for her to get another job or enter into the business world. This hit me deep and ever since then I made the decision that I wouldn’t rely on a 9-5 job. The urge to start a business sparked in me.

    I personally don’t buy Garri from Lagos, it always has stones, dirt and other impurities. For those who do not know what Garri is, it is cassava grained into dry edible granules. Anytime, I travel home, my colleagues and friends would always tell me to bring Garri for them. This demand kept on increasing and I thought to myself why not start a business out of it. Garri is a  fast-moving product that people can affordably buy. No matter what is going on in the economy, people will always eat, food will always be a priority.

    ejire onigarri

    What’s the biggest factor that has helped you become successful?

    I won’t say I am there yet, I’m on the path to success! I see feedback as an opportunity to do better. Customer service is key! I don’t do transactional relationships with my customers, I go beyond that and invest in building a long-lasting relationship with them.

     

    What significant struggle have you faced running your business and how did you solve it?

    • Financial: Funds are usually needed to scale up an enterprise from being a hobby to growing into a profitable business. To achieve this upscale, I began monthly contributions. 
    • Having to get equipment for the business: At inception, my Garri bags were handmade by me. However, as I interacted with colleagues in the industry, I learnt there were machines available that will save time, manage resources and maximise profit. 
    • Social media: Social media can be a hard nut to crack sometimes. My degree in English couldn’t save me as the terrain spans beyond that. To succeed, I enrolled in digital marketing courses as well as conducted research. 

     

    What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?

    Having something to call my own and building my dream. I am building something that generations behind me can take over. As a mother, I want to leave a worthy legacy for my daughter.

    Ejire Onigarri

    Beyond Garri I am preserving the Nigerian heritage, providing crunchy nourishment and creating customer satisfaction and happiness.   

    What are some lessons you have learned?

    Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park, it is definitely not a bed of roses. There is a lot of struggle behind the smiling face, behind that exciting post you see on social media. As a 9-5er, I have to balance the orders, package the Garri, prepare for work, get the kids ready for school and put the home in order, I’m still learning, I learn new things every day.

    To learn more about Taiwo Oludairo and Ejire Onigarri, read the rest of this article on the FCMB Business Zone.

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    This feature article on Taiwo Oludairo is sponsored by the First City Monument Bank (FCMB). FCMB is passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women.

    How to Spot and Manage Employee Personalities

    We all say that we want to be leaders but many times we forget that to be a successful manager, you must learn to adapt your leadership style to suit different types of employee personalities.

    Employees have a range of behaviours ranging from normal to extreme. When confronted with these different personalities, managers sometimes aren’t quite sure how to manage this. In this article, we look at seven types of employee personalities and how best to manage them. 

    The Employee Personalities

    The Slackers

    They can be found lingering in the break room, openly surfing the net, or parked in someone’s cubicle for a lengthy chat (which proves that slacking off can be contagious). They may find legitimate reasons to leave the office, then take time to run lengthy errands. This personality may be as a result of an under-developed work ethic and lack of good role models or they don’t just like their jobs so have trouble bringing any energy to it. 

    The Space Cadets

    These employee personalities frequently seem to be lost, thinking of something else except the subject matter. They make seemingly off-the-wall comments in meetings and may start discussions in the middle of a thought. They may come up with ideas that, at least on the surface, seem rather impractical. They are usually abstract thinkers who are more focused on the future than the present. 

    The Power Takers

    These employees tend to get into power struggles with their bosses. They often act like they’re managing you, instead of the other way around. These employee personalities would naturally take over a meeting or quickly step into the lead role on a project, brag about their accomplishments, so titles, perks, and public recognition are important to them. A strong fear of failure often lies behind this bravado.

    The Loners

    They are quite easy to spot. Look out for those who prefer to spend the day working on the computer and talking to no one in a little corner they carved out for themselves. They never want to attend conferences, meetings or workshops, because they look for any excuse to duck out. They don’t dislike people – they just don’t find social interaction to be a very enjoyable activity.

    The Drama Queens (or Kings)

    The dramatic ones thrive on excitement and attention, so spotting them is easy. A calm, peaceful workday is just not very rewarding, so they try to spice things up with dramatic pronouncements, juicy gossip, ominous rumors, personal traumas, or emotional breakdowns. When talking with others, they are expressive and animated. More subdued coworkers find the dramatic employees exhausting and try to avoid them. They thrive on emotional stimulation, regardless of whether the emotions are positive or negative.

    The Challengers

    Challengers are programmed to be oppositional. When presented with a proposal, suggestion, directive, or idea, they automatically point out flaws, obstacles, and potential problems. In fact, they enjoy challenging management, because they feel it establishes their independence. They resent authority and never show respect just because the person has a title. Their focus is on winning arguments, not resolving the problem. Challengers have a high need for control. 

    The Clingers

    The major quality of people with this personality is dependence. They like clear instructions, ongoing communication, and frequent positive reinforcement. Uncomfortable making independent decisions, because they are afraid of doing the wrong thing. Clingers are reluctant to express disagreement because they fear making others angry and losing their support. As a result, they sometimes withhold their opinions or harbor resentments that they never express. The Clinger’s main need is to feel safe.

    Management Techniques

    Management may differ for each personality but here’s a brief summary of tips that may aid in effectively managing employees that fall in these categories listed above:

    • Clearly define expectations in terms of results that must be accomplished.
    • Help the employee break down large projects into smaller implementation steps.
    • Set regular times for feedback and follow-up to ensure that work is on track.
    • Explain why more mundane or tedious tasks are important.
    • Provide regular feedback to encourage more concise verbal and written communications. 
    • Stress the importance of each team member to the overall organizational success.
    • Take time to understand individual ideas, as sometimes they often have benefits that are not immediately apparent.
    • Provide opportunities to be creative.

    It is important to note that in any organization or sector, asides from identifying the multiple personalities within you must first define the culture and type of leadership as a step to effectively manage for success. To be categorized as a Great leader, you must actively listen, build rapport, ask questions and give constructive feedback. Communication and flexibility are key.