Looking for more information? Search this blog

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Top 5 Misconceptions Nigerians have about Business Plans

 Many Nigerian entrepreneurs have very wrong worldview about business plans. They tend to see it as something – akin to trying to pass an exam in school - you present to an investor, bank or development agency to score points by letting see what you think will convince them to buy into your business idea.

That would have been correct if the real world functions like the academic world. In real life business situations, street wisdom rules to a large extent and the same academic approach would fall flat on its face if the real issues that make things happen are conspicuously absent in your business plan. Secondly there are mindset issues you must eliminate before you ever conceive preparing a business plan for submission.

That is what this article is out to address, but will only focus on 5 misconceptions Nigerians have about business plans which can negatively affect how they can present professionally and persuasively to interested stakeholders. Here are 5 common misconceptions Nigerians have about business plans.

You Only Need a Business Plan to Raise Capital
Most Nigerian business owners or entrepreneurs think a business plan is only needed when it’s time to raise capital from investors or loans from banks and other lending institutions. They are partially right to think you may not need a business plan to succeed in business but that is if you are a master in your business. Sometimes even highly experienced business owners still need a business plan as a working document. A highly experienced business consultant I sometimes work with still contacted me recently to prepare a strategic plan for his consulting business which is over 15 years in existence and he isn’t looking to raise capital to fund it. He just needed an objective worldview for his consultancy over the next 10 years. So you don’t only need a business plan to raise capital, it can also serve as a blueprint for future success.

You can use any Format for your Business Plan
Initially I used to think this way too until I got a call from a business analyst who reviewed a business plan I submitted to a client. He was very upset that I used a sample business plan format I got online which according to him is not suitable for his client’s business model. He sent me another one to work with instead and asked that I be very mindful in future the kind of business plan format I use as different businesses require unique presentations. So business plan formats are not one size fits all, they must be adapted to a particular business for them to make good impact.

Professionally Written Business Plans are too expensive

This is one poor mindset to have in my opinion. It’s like wanting high quality education for free or wanting to live in a mansion but paying bus fare rate to own it. That is why many people who consult Professional Business Plan Writers in Nigeria scamper for safety when they hear How Much it Costs to write a Professional Business Plan only for them to end up patronizing quacks who can sell them pre-written and copied business plans for N10,000. A big mistake if you want to submit this to a business plan competition where probably other applicants in similar industry would have bought the same business plan and made skeletal editing. After having the business plan turned down, the same person may have no choice than to call on a professional to write him the business plan – that is like being penny wise and pound foolish.

Business Plan and Business Proposal both mean the same thing
For many Nigerian business owners/entrepreneurs, a business plan is the same thing as a business proposal. There is an informative article on what is business proposal which you will find here how to write an effective business proposal. They are very different indeed. A business plan is blueprint for success in business – how you will exploit a business opportunity using an established venture. A business proposal is an offer to be part of a business opportunity in which all parties involved stand to benefit and it’s usually short term and may or may not involve established ventures. The format, layout and targets for both are not the same.

You can Copy, Edit and Present a Sample Business Plan for Submission
Just as I stated earlier, this is a very bad idea especially when submitting to a business plan competition. It will portray you as someone lacking integrity and competence. Moreover just like finger prints, no two businesses are exactly the same no matter how one tries to copy another. There are differences in company structure, culture, mode of operations, even locations of businesses are different and target customers in different regions have different behaviours. The list goes on, can a supermarket based in Onitsha realistically have the same business plan as another based in Kano? If you copy and edit a business plan for a restaurant based in Los Angeles, do you really think its contents will apply for a restaurant that will operate in Lekki or Festac?

I will conclude by saying you are more likely to find success in business and in life if you are properly informed, getting rid of misconceptions and false beliefs is the starting point. Thanks for reading.

To get a professionally written business plan in Nigeria call: 0803 206 4106 or email: paulonwueme@gmail.com

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Guide Tips on Writing a Successful Business Plan in Nigeria

What should you expect when writing a business plan in Nigeria? To raise money to setup your business, to attract a strategic partner or to define your company’s corporate objectives or some other reason may be? Whatever the case one outcome is common to all – to achieve success with your written business plan.

So I am not going to write an instructive article as usual, but will write a brief guide loaded with links to point you in various directions. The article will be short but detailed enough to provide you with enough information towards achieving your desired business plan objective.

The business plan tips attached to this article are ideas and knowledge squeezed out from my nearly 5 years of professional business plan writing in Nigeria which has seen me achieve some outstanding results with clients from different fields and backgrounds.

Many of my clients have been awarded loans or attracted investors to fund their respective businesses to the extent that some of them years later still call to check on me or thank me for my work. I feel honoured knowing that my work is appreciated by respectable people - business owners and entrepreneurs.

By virtue of these, I am qualified to offer business plan writing tips to anyone seeking to find success especially if you are based in Nigeria. So here goes.

Successful Business Plan Writing Tips in Nigeria

Here are a few tips to help you along;

How much does it cost to write a Business Plan in Nigeria

This is a very common question that many people ask when making inquiries initially. The price ranges. Some people can write you a business plan for as little as N20,000 whereas others may take over N1 million. It depends on who is writing it, the qualification of the business plan writer, the time it would take to complete the work and the client.

Short Guide on How to Write a Business Plan for Nigerian Entrepreneurs

I call this article a short guide whereas it is quite lengthy. But it answers a lot of questions about how to write a business plan in Nigeria.

What to know before hiring a Nigerian Business Plan Writer

This article will save you trouble so you don’t fall prey to scammers and quacks masquerading as business plan writers in Nigeria. You will learn about things to look out for when you contact any prospective business plan writer so you can identify the genuine and competent ones from the fakes and copy cats.

How to Hire a Business Plan Writer in Nigeria

Most experienced business owners and entrepreneurs prefer to use their existing networks to hire a business plan writer which is usually a very good option. But eventually how would you know for sure if you are on to the right one?

Best Business Plan Options for Nigerian Entrepreneurs

What are your options if you need a business plan in Nigeria? Should you write it yourself, hire someone else, buy one online or just copy from www.bplans.com or contact professional business plan writers on www.liveplan.com?

Why do I need to write a Business Plan in Nigeria 

This article answers a simple question. What is the essence of writing a business plan when many others have started and ran successful businesses without a business plan?  

Why Did Investors Turn Down My Business Plan                                                                                    
If you approach an investor with a business plan but he refused to invest money into your business even though he has the money and obviously wants to make profit. Find out some subtle reasons investors turn down business plans.

How to Write an Effective Business Proposal in Nigeria 
Finally, I’ll include this article on how to effectively write a business proposal which some people mistakenly refer to when contacting business plan writers. 

Conclusion on Writing a Business Plan in Nigeria that will likely Succeed

You are the best person to write a business plan or proposal, but if your writing skills are poor and/or you don’t have enough time to write a business plan then you should contact an experienced and skilled professional business plan writer.

To hire such a writer send me an email: paulonwueme@gmail.com or call: 0803 206 4106

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How to Setup a Microfinance Bank in Nigeria

Microfinance banks as we have them today evolved from pre-2005 community banks and cooperative societies which carried out informal financial services to the benefit of low income, rural dwellers who were too far from accessing retail banking services from commercial banks or earned too little to even be worth saving or approaching them for loans.

The Central Bank of Nigeria saw this situation and noticed that despite the huge acceptance of the Esusu System (local/informal revolving, interest free loan scheme) was very well received in Nigeria only a few corporate organisations were tapping into this.

Nigeria’s rural poor cumulatively could generate over N280 billion in savings annually (as at 2005) and cheap access to loans and other business funding meant a lot of people could move out of poverty as they fund their micro businesses – especially rural subsistence farmer, petty traders, artisans, low income salary earners and other unskilled labour. 

Business Opportunity for Setting up Microfinance Banks in Nigeria
There are plenty of reasons microfinance banks in Nigeria are needed. But we shall look at only 4 today.

Huge demand for affordable Loans to Micro, Small and Medium sized Businesses 
The number of small and medium sized businesses in the economy that need finance to fund their operations but are unable to do so is really huge. Less than 54% of Nigerians have bank accounts and interestingly many of these people not captured own farms, run small sized commercial ventures and have their eyes set on doing bigger business which without additional funding they will be unable to do. At least N600 billion is requested for by SMEs annually but less than N300 billion is granted.

Increase in Population of SME Businesses Captured in the Formal Sector
More hitherto informal businesses are migrating into the formal sector. For instance, small food retailers like 5 years ago would have grown into medium sized businesses employing from a few to dozens of employees. These employees would somehow need to be captured in a payroll system which would require documentation. The business would need to start paying taxes, pensions etc. But this same business may be better served by a microfinance bank which is closer and more compatible than a commercial bank.

Microfinance Banks are strong drivers of savings among low income earners
Many low income earners may be know the benefits of savings but microfinance banks offer greater services in mobilizing them to save than commercial banks. Low income earners who prefer Esusu scheme for target savings are more likely to patronize an MFB than a commercial bank to open and operate a savings account - the reason being that savings can be a major source of credit and financing to them, which commercial banks are less likely to deliver on.

Challenges of Running Microfinance Banks in Nigeria
In the Nigerian business environment running an MFB is a huge challenge. There are many obstacles and threats which could both slow down or even stifle your success in the business. For instance;

Internal Bank Fraud
While the CBN, EFCC, NDIC, NDLEA and the police have played crucial roles in limiting internal fraud in many MFBs, there are still instances of where bank staff make away with depositors funds. Some MFBs have even folded up because a director made away with huge sums of money under various pretext. This is a reality which they still face till date.

Loan Defaults from some Customers
In comparison to commercial banks MFBs tend to record less loan defaults. In fact petty traders and artisans who are less educated seem more likely to repay a loan than a formal business run by educated people. But there are indications that loan defaults among Nigerian 
MFBs have been on the increase year on year by very small margins.  Loan defaulting has a way of frustrating revolving loan schemes which in turn can discourage further savings.

Misapplication of Loans
Some people will approach a bank to raise a loan for their business but divert it to pay house rent, splash on wedding or cater to another non-business need which could lead to them either not repaying the loan or taking longer than they should.

Mini Commercial Bank Syndrome
A newspaper report quoting the CEO of an MFB noted how most MFBs in Nigeria are struggling to stay afloat. In fact most of them are close to closing down as over 40% of the entire market is captured by just 10 out of 991 existing MFBs. This was attributed to ‘mini commercial bank syndrome’ where the MFBs function like commercial banks and target more of middle level customers than low income earners and micro businesses. According to the CEO when you neglect the core microfinance practice you are heading for insolvency which most MFBs in Nigeria are currently doing.

Setting up a Microfinance Bank in Nigeria is not too hard and offers great Returns
You can actually start a microfinance bank in Nigeria with as little as N20 million operating from just one unit location within a state. Alternatively, you can startup as a state MFB with N100 million startup capital or N1 billion for national MFB. The return on investment (if you manage the business well) can be as high as 35% and this can be realized by your 3rd year. Your first year is capable of generating over 20% ROI.

Setting up an MFB in Nigeria has stringent requirements but they are not too difficult for serious minded individuals who want to invest in it. Secondly while the market is growing, there are challenges to deal with and but sound management practices can handle most of them. The future of MFBs in Nigeria will likely improve as more people in the informal sector have increased access to financial services.

Want to setup a microfinance bank in Nigeria and need a bankable business plan with detailed industry analysis, market information, financial projections and management setup plan. Give me a call: 0803 206 4106 or email me: paulonwueme@gmail.com to have one prepared for you.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Why do I need to write a Business Plan?

If you haven’t read if you need a business plan to succeed in business or not, I suggest you click on the link to gain additional insight into this article. In this write-up, we want to identify some viable reasons to prepare a business plan. It’s not always about trying to raise money to fund our startup business idea or existing business venture. There are other goals that a business plan can help achieve which are not financial in nature.

8 Reasons you should consider writing a business plan
I could list up to 15, but for want of time and space, I’ll just list and briefly explain 8 reasons to write a business plan.

#1 To Attract Investors or Partners
This is easily the most common reason people in Nigeria write business plans. Most investors won’t understand your idea if it can’t be captured in a document and may not be willing to just take you by your word. So to attract investors to fund your business, you obviously need a bankable business plan to help you achieve it. In addition, you may wish to engage technical or financial partners who may not come on board unless you show them a well written business plan.

#2 To keep Track of Your Business Progress
Another good reason for writing a business plan especially here in Nigeria is to keep track of your business progress. If you projected 15% growth in sales 3 years ago for your business in this financial year, how much of that growth have you achieved so far? You would be able to tell if you are on course with your business goals or not if you have a written business plan. 

#3 A Point of Reference for Your Planning
If you want to plan how to penetrate a market, exploit a new business opportunity or restructure your business for future challenges, a business plan can do the trick of guiding you. It would be very difficult for a new business led by a not so experienced business owner/manager to plan if they had no prior business plan because you would be short on parameters to guide your planning.

#4 To Guide Your Decision Making Process
What kind of staff should you hire for your business? What strategy should you employ to retain excellent staff? How would you sieve out business tactics that don’t offer much value to your business bottom line? Where should you focus maximal use of your resources? These and many other questions won’t be easy to answer if you have to make crucial business decisions without a business plan.

#5 To Drive Corporate Strategy
What corporate goals and in which direction should you be heading in the next 5 years? A well written business plan should detail how your corporate strategy should function and offer your business a sense of purpose

#6 Plan and Project into the Future
Business wisdom demands that we try to predict the outcome of our investments and activities to minimize risks and maximize returns. A well written business plan comes in handy for anyone who is serious about taking charge of his/her business’ future.

#7 To Secure Bank Loans
Except for businesses with proven track records or industries which have be time tested, most business ventures with little business relationships are required to present business plans to secure substantial loan amounts. The banks want to assess your business risks and the viability or otherwise before granting you the loan and without a business plan you would be preaching to the wrong choir when you approach a bank for a loan.

#8 To Demonstrate Corporate Readiness

How will you fare in the highly competitive business climate your own business will find itself in? There are businesses which have been around for decades that you your new business may have to compete against, you will also have to show employees in other companies that you mean business when you try to poach them by the kind of corporate structure and performance you have in place. But how will you know which kind of structure or performance to aim at if you lack a business plan?

I wish I could on but everything must come to an end, thanks for reading. 

If you want a bankable business plan written for your own business needs, give me a call: 0803 206 4106 or email me: paulonwueme@gmail.com