This feature article on Onome Ikhimoya is sponsored by the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) SheVentures proposition. FCMB SheVentures is empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women. Please click here to learn more about how FCMB SheVentures can support you and your business.
Onome’s love for fashion is only rivalled by her drive to be the best and her businesses are proof of this. Onome Ikhimioya is the founder and CEO of Mistics Couture and Mistics Sparkles.
Mistics Couture is a fashion outfit that specializes in making bespoke outfits. Their outfits include English wears, traditional wears, casual wears, beach wears, and so on. Mistics Sparkles is an arm of Mistics Couture that brands and designs t-shirts, fabrics, throw pillows and much more. She has styled celebrities like Yemi Alade, Kim Burrell, Oge Okoye, Funke Akinokun, Ngozi Ezeonu, and so on.
This piece discusses Onome’s journey in the fashion industry. It also talks about some struggles she has encountered and insightful advice she has learned from past mistakes.
Running Mistics Couture requires you to be very creative and that can take a toll if you are not inspired. So my question for you is, where do you draw your inspiration from?
God inspires me. Every inspiration I have comes from God because he is the creator of the world. He sees me through my day to day life and guides my path.
Secondly, my inspiration comes from a knowledge of myself. Knowing that I have a lot of talents in me, seeing that I have a whole lot to actualize in my time here on earth. After my first degree and my Masters, I did not want to work for anyone. I think I worked for a while- maybe like a month before I started my own thing. I felt like I had a lot in me waiting to burst out and I was not going to be able to let it out while working for someone else. One talent I have is that I can look at you and sketch what will suit you. I can do a lot of stuff with fabric generally. So I decided to go into fashion design.
My inspirational fabric- if I can call it that- is Ankara fabric. Looking at Ankara fabric gives me this joy that I don’t understand. I look at the fabric and I want to do a whole lot of things with it.
My mum is another person that inspires me. Growing up every Sunday, people would come out and peep at my mum on our way to church and they would call her, “to match, to match.” Even till now in her 60s, she dresses so beautifully. Her age has not really made her step down in her dress sense and she has a lot of strength, faith and hope which she passed on to me.
So in all, I get my inspiration from God. From my belief in myself, the fabrics that I love to work with and my mum.
This feature article on Adebimpe Osanyintuyi is sponsored by the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) SheVentures proposition. FCMB SheVentures is empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women. Please click here to learn more about how FCMB SheVentures can support you and your business.
If there is anything Adebimpe cares about intensely, it is business- talking about it, running it and growing it. The normally introverted business founder comes to life when she is asked about her experience as a business owner or about healthy mouth-watering treats.
Adebimpe Osanyintuyi is the founder and CEO of Dios Dlite– a healthy food company with outlets in Lagos, Nigeria. Dios Dlite’s products include healthy yogurts, salads, sandwiches, fresh juices, and so much more.
Before leaving the corporate world in 2018, she worked in marketing and branding for companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Nutricima Limited.
In this article, she shares her wealth of experience with Dios Dlite and gives valuable tips on how to manage a demanding business and a full-time job amongst other things.
Starting the business was not out of a financial need because when I started Dios Dlite in 2015 I had a great corporate job. I ran the business for three years before I decided to resign in July 2018.
I have a sweet tooth so I wanted to have healthy alternatives for all the sweet things I enjoy. Most times, when we think of healthy food, what comes to mind is boring food- food that doesn’t look or taste nice. I wasn’t going to settle for that.
Frozen yogurt appealed to me because it is a healthy alternative for ice cream which is delicious but has way too many calories. So I started with frozen yogurt and we kept to that for over a year.
It was going well but along the line, our customers started requesting fresh yogurt. They wanted to be able to take it to their homes and not have it melt or spoil. So we decided to cater to this and along the way, we were getting helpful feedback from our customers.
You mentioned that you were working a corporate job when you started Dios Dlite, how were you able to manage both commitments?
The processes I put in place made it easy for me to manage both. On some days I was too tired from work to stop by the store and see what was going on. Other times, the outlet may have closed before I am done with my work for the day.
Some of the major things I did to manage this was:
Invest in software–
One major thing that helped was sales-tracking software. With this software, my staff would punch in their sales and I could easily look at the numbers. I could see which products were slow and which products were doing well. That software helped me to have a hold on what was going on in the store without necessarily being there.
This article is sponsored by the FCMB SheVentures proposition. FCMB SheVenturesis empowering female entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses, and improving the overall success rate of businesses owned or run by women. Please click hereto learn more about how FCMB SheVentures can support you and your business.
We’ve seen time and time again that we are only going to be able to move forward as a community, if we all use our skills and talents to support each other.
Over the past three months, several incredible women served as mentors for the FCMB SheVentures Program. These experts shared, connected, and bonded with the fourth cohort of this mentorship program supporting women-led businesses in Nigeria.
Some of the feedback from the mentees, shows how impactful this program was to entrepreneurs across Nigeria.
To learn more about how SheVentures supports the growth and aspirations of Nigerian women in business, visit www.fcmb.com/she-ventures.
On August 5, 2015, Sonia Nabeta succumbed to a sudden hypoglycemic attack that had barreled through her defences and Type-1 diabetes won. She was merely 24 years old and had fought the disease for 16 years.
Back in 1999 when Sonia was first diagnosed, it almost seemed like she was the only child in Uganda with the condition. Her parents looked in vain for support groups and medical personnel that understood the condition.
Schools had no idea how to handle Sonia and the requisite support and awareness did not exist. They felt alone, and more importantly, Sonia felt alone.
Throughout her life, Sonia journalized her dream of one day changing the state of affairs for children with T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) in Africa. As such, it became incumbent on her family to carry out her wish through the Sonia Nabeta Foundation.
Pressed with other contagious diseases it is difficult for African governments to prioritize T1D. The Sonia Nabeta Foundation aims to work with governments and other partners to alleviate the hefty cost of treatment and provide holistic mind, body and spirit healthcare for low-income, children “warriors” under 18 with T1D in Africa, starting in Uganda.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that there are 542,000 children under the age of 15 years with type 1 diabetes in the world. Around half of them live in developing countries. 463 million adults (1-in-11) were living with diabetes in 2019 and the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030.
Diabetes is not only hurting people both at the personal and national levels. T1D is a financially backbreaking disease at a cost of at least $700 a year for basic tests and supplies.
In commemoration of World Diabetes Day, the Sonia Nabeta Foundation has partnered withrē•spin, a health and wellness platform created by Halle Berry, to host a “Wellness Warriorthon”. The Wellness Warriorthon, taking place on November 14, 2020, at 10 am PST, is designed to be an annual event aimed at raising worldwide awareness about diabetes.
In line with the Sonia Nabeta Foundation’s goal of hosting holistic wellness camps that integrate the mind, body and spirit into the T1D care and management regime, the Wellness Warriorthon will do just that. This virtual event will comprise of workouts cooking and wellness sessions, discussions on diabetes and COVID-19, conversations on racial inequities in diabetes care, and presentations on diabetes technology all aimed at bridging conversations across the globe.
The event will provide the opportunity to learn, grow and walk away more informed about your health and wellness as well as diabetes, both domestically and globally.
As a sister, daughter, mother, aunt or friend we hope you recognize the importance of this event as lives are in danger, today it could be you, me or someone you know. Join us in the Wellness Warriorthon where your participation will have a transformative impact on the lives of these children.
Despite the misconception that team building is lame and barely seen as relevant, did you know that team building is the most important investments you can make for your team?
It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.
In this article, I will be talking about the importance of team building and sharing some valuable tips on how to plan effective team building activities.
Why Team Building?
1. Networking and socializing
Socializing and getting to know your team in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. Team building boosts morale and also allows for team members to work better at solving everyday workplace issues.
2. Teamwork and boosting overall performance
Employees tend to understand each other better after completing a team-building activity. It becomes easier to identify each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This collaborative spirit and team effort helps everyone work even better together on future projects vital to a company’s progress.
3. Fostering of innovation and creativity
Successful team building events not only bring people closer together, but they also contribute to a more successful and creative workplace. Games and competitive exercises become more challenging as people tend to have a larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with.
To no surprise, communication and working better together is the top reason why people choose team bonding. Everybody desires a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and collaborate with anyone. One of the results of team bonding is that the activities actually work to improve communication.
Are you looking to improve your team’s communication skills, collaborativeness and performance? Why don’t you try these tips when planning your next team building soiree:
Identify the goal of this event
This includes identifying what you want the focus to be on. It is best to plan an entire team-building session around key objectives. For example, if you want to foster better communication among group members, then your activities should include initiatives that call for various combinations of players taking a leadership role in giving directions, commands, or ideas in both verbal and non-verbal mediums.
Replace the usual team dinner with something new
Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways. Take your team paintballing or maybe to a boxing ring to let off some steam. A little physically challenging activity might be all you need to get people to destress.
Quit looking at it as a favor but as an investment
Most team-building events fall flat because it’s a one-time activity that is done and then forgotten. It’s key to find ways to keep organizing these events.
The challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations. One way we do this is to have a monthly team hurdle. At this event, team members can celebrate achievements and show appreciation to their co-workers.
After team bonding exercises, you must evaluate and measure impact. For you to measure a team member’s ability to collaborate with other departments on projects, I would recommend that this be evaluated or assessed during performance appraisal.
This can be done in the form of a questionnaire, survey or during 1-on-1s with other team members. This is the easiest way to track improvement when it involves showing team effort.
How do you know you’ve gotten team building right? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track! A little adventure can unlock many levels of creativity.
I remember my first ever performance appraisal calendar invitation and the 35-page document I was asked to fill out before the chat with my manager.
I can tell you for a fact that I had a mini heart attack upon receipt of that email; primarily because I was convinced that I would complete that document and still get fired.
Recent trends, however, include a less formalized process focused on more feedback and coaching, rather than a time-consuming paper trail. This article debunks the myth that performance appraisals are a death sentence and provides you with tips on how to measure performance in an effective way.
Performance appraisals include setting clear and specific performance expectations for each employee and providing periodic informal and/or formal feedback about employee performance relative to those stated goals. A well-structured performance appraisal should do the following:
Provide adequate feedback to each person on his or her performance
Serve as a basis for modifying or changing behaviour toward more effective working habits
This is a process of establishing objectives to be achieved over a period of time. It is the performance criteria an employee will be evaluated against keeping in mind that each goal should align with the organization’s goals.
Types of goals include:
a. Job description goals: Goals expected to be accomplished continuously until the job description changes.
b. Activity goals: These goals may be based on the achievement of a project or objective. They may be set for a single year and changed as projects are completed.
c. Personal development goals: Goals can be based on certain behaviors. These goals are expected to be accomplished continuously. Behavioral goals are “how” things need to be accomplished.
d. Stretch goals: Goals that are especially challenging to reach and usually used to expand the knowledge, skills, and abilities of high-potential employees.
Goals should be documented, available for review, and managed continuously by providing regular feedback. Goals should be flexible enough to account for changing conditions.
An effective performance review process should include a feedback process that is continuous and timely throughout the review period so that team members know how they are performing and what is expected.
Also, there should be a process for acknowledging the outcomes of the performance review process (checklist) that is documented between the manager and the employee. Regular one-on-one sessions that allow for feedback, coaching and mentorship cannot be overemphasized.
I would recommend using collaborative tools that allow for transparency, keeping information in one place, scheduling regular calls and tracking progress. Tools such as Slack, Google Calendar, Google Docs/Sheets, Trello and Zapier.
Include the Performance Improvement Plan
Many employees see this as a step to getting fired but what I see this to be is a progressive discipline process regarding performance level, a guide to improvement and an opportunity to do even better than before.
The first step in planning a PIP chat involves creating a document used to guide the process. This will help in facilitating performance discussions, recording areas of concern and ways to correct them, and serve as legal and decision-making documentation.
The format of the PIP should contain the following components:
a. Employee information. b. Employment start dates c. Description of performance discrepancy/gap. d. Description of expected performance. e. Description of consequences. f. Action points and timelines for review g. Signatures of the manager and the employee.
Some of the most common problems with appraisal systems these days include:
a. Lack of top management support b. Perception of the process as time-consuming “busywork” c. Failure to communicate clear and specific goals and expectations d. Lack of consistent and constructive feedback
Oftentimes, the performance review process can be viewed as uncomfortable, unfair and uninspiring. In order to improve the fairness factor and ensure employees accept the feedback, managers must accept that we all have a role to play when it comes to the overall performance of the organization.
There are intentional and unintentional biases inherent in appraisals and being aware of them and training managers may be useful in dealing with some of them.
The pandemic has admittedly done a number on some of us and our money. It came unexpected and nobody knows how long until a vaccine is found. Though some of the countries are slowly moving towards opening their economies, our pockets have undoubtedly felt the pinch.
If you’re an avid spender on things you ‘absolutely must have’ or enjoy going rampant on sales or specials, well, then grab a cuppa and notebook. We’re about to get real about some of our nasty (or savvy) money habits and look at some hacks to help us navigate towards a money relationship that is as healthy as our laid edges.
What does smart budgeting look like?
It is up to you to decide how you’re going to split your funds, take time out to make a tally of the activities you have planned with your girlfriends, the commitments you have agreed on with bae and the spoils you’ve got up your sleeve for the tiny humans- or just some funds for the everyday needs. Let’s not forget that we’re intentional queens. So this includes that stash you’ve set aside for intentional self-care Saturday or Sunday.
If we’re to piece this puzzle together, we need to unbox it first. Let’s see what this looks like:
From a horizon perspective, have a 3-month or 6-month projection in terms of what it is that you would like to do. Think about how much accessibility you’d like in terms of the cash component of your budget.
Tracking your monthly spend
Take stock of the accounts you have, transactional, savings or any investment accounts you have in your arsenal (retirement annuity or shares). Pay yourself, honey! Set aside some money for your savings/investments, your future self will thank you. Shed some of that debt weight, sis. If you can inject a little extra towards your credit agreements, go for it, this will help ease the strain of the interest rate and you can pay the debt off faster.
Then look at how much you spend on average per month, and if you can make changes and reduce the spend list. If you can do this? Kudos to you! This means you’ll have more cash flow available.
Checking (and improving) on your credit status
A considerable part of being savvy is knowing exactly where you stand financially. How you can gear yourself up for the power shift, is to know what you have and what offers are available to you. This is not only so that you improve your credit score for creditors, it is so that you can make an informed decision about your money moves.
Here are 2 sites in South Africa that offer a free credit status for you, check them out:
You can keep yourself on track and accountable by having someone to help you make the right decisions based on your current reality. Having someone in the know helps to eliminate the pain points of navigating the terrain. Your coach or advisor will assist with your financial ABC’s.
Before you look for an advisor, you need to know what you want out of the relationship. Have an idea of what your state of monetary affairs looks like. Doing this groundwork means you will be able to get the most out of your initial session.
Start documenting what it is you’re looking for. Do not be afraid to ask questions- there can never be a silly question when it comes to how to manage your funds better.
Being smart about your expenditure is especially important in the current context and it shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to get this right. Either way, we’re thankful for the grace of learning through lived experience. The benefit of having a coach or advisor is that the pressure is removed from you and you get to have a professional as your sounding board. They’ll offer guidance and help unlock your financial prowess or potential.
Stay pushing to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to plan for your future. Continue to share your money experiences with your girlfriends. Eventually, we can shift the conversation from being inactive participants in our financial lives to owning the narrative.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and geared towards motivating a more hands-on approach to your money habits. This is derived from my experience personally and as someone who works in the Financial sector. For a tailored financial or a specific needs analysis, you should contact a financial advisor or money coach.
Most of the time, the people we think are extraordinary are actually quite ordinary. The difference in most cases is the discipline and consistency they’ve applied to achieve their goals. This includes millionaires. Rolling your eyes already? Well just listen, I’m going somewhere with this.
The Book “Everyday Millionaires” by Chris Hogan sheds a bit more light on this. While doing the research for this book, Mr. Hogan assessed more than 10,000 people whose net worth was over $1 million, and what was interesting is that most of these people were pretty ordinary folk that applied these two qualities to their money habits.
The outcome of his research was in contradiction to most of the perceptions held by Americans about millionaires.
Contrary to popular belief, only 3% of the millionaires he studied had received an inheritance at, or above $1 million. Actually, the vast majority of the millionaires he studied did not get any inheritance at all. It turned out that most of them held ordinary jobs – they were teachers, farmers and lawyers. No fancy titles! No fancy education! Just simple ordinary folk.
Mr. Hogan found that these “ordinary people” who had built wealth over time had focused on these four things to achieve their financial goals:
The people who participated in the study were driven by the fact that they are solely in charge of their financial destinies. They realised that they could not depend on the government, their employers or their families to attain financial independence.
This category of people recognized that how they live and the decisions they make daily have a direct impact on their financial independence. As such, 94% of them lived below their means and 95% of them planned ahead and saved for big expenses compared to 67% of the general population.
The men and women who participated in this study had a vision of their future lives and consequently put the necessary plans in place to get them to this desired future. This vision helped to steer them everyday, to keep them working towards their goals. This vision restrains them from buying the next shiny object that comes into the market.
Consistency is what brings it all together. Day by day, month on month, year on year the participants in the study invested a portion of their income, saved a portion of their income and stuck to the budgets they created. They put in the relevant mechanisms to ensure this happens on a monthly basis.
Seems easy, doesn’t it?
It’s easy to say that this is an American based study and is therefore not applicable in the African context. But in my opinion, this could not be further from the truth. I am sure that each of us knows or has heard of ordinary people who hold ordinary jobs in our own communities, yet have excelled financially.
To drive the point even further home, some of these people we know or have heard of, do not have a formal education.
Isn’t it amazing what discipline, consistency and commitment can do for your financial goals? We unnecessarily complicate financial matters by getting entangled in jargon and “big investments” we do not understand. In the quest to obtain wealth, some of us even end up getting caught up in ponzi schemes.
Over the years, the United States Government has funded a number of agencies and platforms to support African companies to do business with both the U.S. government itself and with the U.S. private sector.
To provide more clarity on ways in which the U.S. can assist in growing African businesses and entrepreneurs through trade, investment, and technical assistance, Africa.com is organising a one-day Virtual Summit – if you are a Motherland Mogul looking to expand your business into the United States, this is not the one to miss!
This Virtual Summit will bring thousands of c-suite executives and decision-makers of African businesses together with high ranking U.S Government and business officials. It will be held on Wednesday the 14th of October 2020 with the following panel sessions:
Panel 1: View From The Very Top The Summit kicks off with keynote remarks by the highest-ranking U.S. government official responsible for relations with Africa, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, The Honorable Tibor Nagy. Then, the Chairman of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (President and CEO of GE Africa) Farid Fezoua, will deliver keynote remarks from the private sector perspective.
Panel 2: Hear It From The Agency Heads A panel discussion featuring the Chief Operating Officer of Prosper Africa, a new U.S. government initiative that brings together the resources of over 17 U.S. Government agencies to connect the U.S. and African businesses with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities. Joining this panel are the ‘Africa heads’ of some of the key U.S. Government agencies that do business with Africa, including the International Development Finance Corporation (formerly OPIC); The Export/Import Bank; USAID; and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation.
Panel 3: Hear It From African Business Heads The third portion of the summit is a panel of very senior African business leaders who have done business with the U.S., who will provide their perspectives on their experiences and guidance to those who seek to follow their footsteps. Panel 4: Views From Ambassadors Country-by-Country The fourth portion of the summit is a panel of U.S. Ambassadors to several key African countries who will speak about the resources available specifically in their markets to support African businesses.
This event is free so don’t miss this opportunity to take your business international!
Abigail started Spawn Ideal to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria. Since 2008, she has been on this journey of twists and turns and has encountered some challenges and successes. However, the challenges have not deterred her from her goal- which is to train as many youths as she can and help them operate their businesses with an entrepreneurial mindset.
As she said, We are trying the solve the problem of youth unemployment. We believe that today in Nigeria, the number of white-collar jobs available is not equal to the number of graduates we churn out each year. We are trying to develop a platform in the educational sector to decrease that margin.
In this piece, Abigail Alade talks about her journey with Spawn Ideal and gives valuable insights on running a business.
Passionate about learning vocational skills? Keep up with Abigail on Instagram
What inspired you to start your business?
When I was in OAU, we had strikes that would keep us at home for four to six months. During one of these strikes, I went to volunteer with an NGO that works in capacity building specifically with young adults. After my experience there, I decided to form an organization to contribute to young people’s development. After school, I wanted to launch it as a non-profit but then there were challenges with funds so I decided to work with a corporate organization for some time to expose me to possible networks and help me make some money. So I was a banker for some time but soon enough I had to make the hard decision to let go of the job to face my passion.
How did working for a corporate organisation impact your business?
The exposure I had gotten from working in a corporate organization made me realise that I could make it into a for-profit business. This way, I could empower young people and still make revenue. I believe that teaching children vocational skills early helps them set the pace for their lives. Like I said, most graduates look for jobs unsuccessfully for four to five years before going to learn a skill. If these children are being introduced to vocational skills from a young age, it becomes part of them and they are more likely to excel in it unlike people who learned as adults. Right now we operate in Ile-Ife, Osun state.
What are some of the challenges you currently face at Spawn Ideal?
In Ile-Ife, finding man-power has been a challenge. Unlike most tailors and carpenters who work with apprentices in their shops, we operate as a school. So we want people that can teach not just the skill but also the business side of it. Our students need those skills on how to run and grow a business so we need skilled people who can speak good English, preferably even graduates with vocational skills. That has been hard to find in an area like Ile-Ife.
Funds are also a big issue because the way we want to expand, requires a lot of funds. We need to get so many equipment and that costs a lot of money. We started small and we are growing gradually.
What is your vision for Spawn Ideal?
In the next two years, I plan to have trained 200,000 youth through schools. We go to schools and train students in schools so in that way we get numbers. After the lockdown is over, we would resume the drive so that we can reach lots of young people. We are also working on having a mobile app so that even though we can’t reach some people physically, we can reach them online.
In five years, we want to expand to universities and train them in an entrepreneurial way. So regardless of what you studied in school, you can apply an entrepreneurial mindset to it and instead of waiting for job, be a job creator.
What advice do you have for people who want to start a business of their own?
With any business or passion you want to pursue, you have to be tenacious. The issue most of us have is that we are so excited when we have great ideas but the truth is that excitement alone can not keep your business running. There are challenges that you are going to face but being tenacious and resilient will keep you going.
Try to do something every day that gets you closer to your goal. Things are going to get tough sooner or later and it may feel like you are not achieving much but work at something everyday, no matter how small.
Do your research to be sure that this is what you want to do. You do not want to start a business without doing research or knowing the possible challenges and setbacks. If you start a business unprepared, you may not be able to withstand the challenges that come with running that business.