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Monday, September 24, 2018

Professional Business Plans: Are they overrated or are they the real deal for Businesses in Nigeria?

I am writing this article in response to an argument between two businessmen who had this discussion some months back at a sports bar in Abuja. One of the businessmen has limited education but he owns a 3 retail stores stocking plumbing and building materials. He talked about how he ventured into business 21 years ago with no clear understanding of what to do or even what to expect, but has grown over the years learning from his mistakes and those of other people and getting better that way. The other is more versatile and educated.

How the Argument Started
Both men were at a sports bar analyzing football matches and also forecasting bets to make some small cash on the side. The trader businessman didn’t believe in analyzing teams before placing a bet because according to him it’s pure luck to win, the real estate guy disagreed partially - he believed a little analysis should be part of sports betting. Then came the point of how he – the trader – makes money more than many so called business experts/consultants who can speak all the big grammar but can’t make a sale or even address a potential customer. 

The first business man a trader, let’s call him Chima, worked under his uncle learning the art of trading while at the same time studying part-time to obtain a degree for 11 years before moving on to become his own boss. Today he is educated and his businesses fetch him annual income running into millions in profits all this without ever consulting a business plan. The second businessman happens to be well schooled. He owns a medium sized property development company but invests a lot in the stock market and does a lot of market research for different businesses. During his spare time he is constantly reading, writing and researching on business topics. According to him, he has raised over 300 million from investors in either buying properties or refurbishing old ones for rent. Both men are successful but one doesn’t think a business plan is useful while the other disagrees.

 Why a Business Plan is not really useful?
As far as I know, this is relative and also not very true. There are many businesses that were started less than 5 years ago without a business plan and today they are doing very fine. But what percentage of businesses are we talking about here?

Why a Business Plan is Useful
At the other hand of the spectrum are businesses that failed without a business plan and those who succeeded because they worked with a business plan. Most of these businesses of course are formal businesses in highly competitive markets

My Analysis on the Pros and Cons of a Business Plan to Startups
Both men are right to argue for or against the importance of a business plan. It is like gambling with your last money on a game that is too dicey to predict – running a business without a business plan – or intelligently putting money into a business you have carefully researched – running a business with a business plan. Both methods could pay off or fail. The truth is business needs strategy to succeed and there are two kinds; intended and emergent business strategies. The trader is successful because he is using emergent business strategy which often times relies on street wisdom, common sense and prudence hence it doesn’t require a business plan whereas the intended strategy approach always depends heavily on research and knowledge transfer/sharing and so needs a business plan and is what most companies will do to keep themselves accountable and set realistic corporate and marketing goals that will ensure they succeed. Look at this way can Dangote group of companies say a business plan is not useful to them? But another small business like Tony and Sons Auto parts dealers may disagree and insist that as for them, business plan is a waste of time and money.

If you are running a formal sector based business such as manufacturing, services or large scale farming, you should work with a business plan. It may not guarantee you success in business, but it certainly will take away most of the blind spot that will cause you to fail in business. If you understand your business very well and it is a one man business in an informal sector such as; trading or retail, you don’t need a business plan

Paul Onwueme is a professional Business Plan writer since February 2014, has achieved respectable results with his business plan writing service with several of his clients securing funding and leaving positive feedback about his writing service. You can connect with him via phone: 0803 206 4106 or email: paulonwueme@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sample Business Plan for Professional Trainings and Business Consultancy in Nigeria

There is a huge demand for professional trainings in Nigeria across diverse professions. The list of these trainings cut across accounting, management, marketing, governance, leadership, human resources, business development, entrepreneurship, specialized soft skillsets such as; poise, negotiations, networking and a host of others. The market is so huge, that it was estimated to be worth at least 1 trillion naira in 2016 assuming cost of seeking overseas masters degrees were included.

  • There is a huge demand for foreign overseas education which amounts to over 1 Trillion naira for undergraduate courses according to speaker House of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara
  • In 2016, over 360 billion naira for continuous Education programs - Dr Kabir Usman (Director General, Center of Management Development)

The trend so far indicates that most people seeking professional trainings are doing so for career advancement namely; to gain promotions at their workplace, earn higher incomes or secure new employment opportunities elsewhere. In addition to this, most corporate organisations also want to enhance staff productivity and so would naturally enroll them for specialized trainings.

People pay anywhere from 50,000 naira to over 3 million naira to be taught very useful and productive skills and in some cases, they are willing to travel some distance to receive such trainings. The target market for professional trainings cut across middle level to upper level managers, interns, junior managers, students, NYSC corps members and even civil servants.

Why are Consultants and Professional Trainings needed in Nigeria?

There is bound to be problems within a business which are beyond the capacity of management to handle. New trends emerge in the global and local business climate that require businesses to adapt and re-strategize but very few businesses or managers know how to deal with it because they are more into their core businesses than researching emerging business challenges and threats. Meanwhile these cannot be ignored, besides it costs more resources to research and plan new approaches to survive and thrive which brings us back to square one – the need to outsource the time consuming research and analysis to specialists which are the consultants. Thirdly, when we focus on our core areas and let the experts improve our capacities we can achieve more at less costs. Experienced business leaders and professionals know this, hence why the demand continues to soar.

Market Trends and Growth Indicators

  • Rising unemployment and underemployment
  • Growing knowledge of how non-white collar opportunities exist outside the corporate world
  • Growing sense of self-employment and entrepreneurship as opportunities to actualize financial independence
  • Skills acquisition in high demand because of proven improved career prospects
  • Demand is affected by general view that capacity is a strong asset in professions and many certifications remain
  • Large number of corporate employees seeking costly post tertiary education and specialized trainings

A business of this kind is best handled by experienced business/management consultants who are deeply knowledgeable about whatever skills and capacities they are trying to impart. A minimum of first degree with at least 7 years’ experience and professional track record with enviable achievements to back it is often enough to make one a consultant at least to those not as experienced and/or qualified. Acquiring certification and professional trainings and even masters’ and Ph.d can also boost the profile of the would-be consultant. The most likely niches to find success in consultancy are; ICT, marketing, management, cost accounting, strategic planning, financial auditing, human resources and entrepreneurship trainings, of course opportunities exist in other niches as well.

What are the Startup Requirements for setting up a consultancy business in Nigeria?

  • Office Space – 960,000
  • Stationery – 600,000
  • Marketing Budget – 1,200,000
  • 6 months Salaries – 1,800,000
  • Furniture – 600,000
  • Operating Costs (1 year) – 2,400,000
  • Others – 1,800,000
  • Total – 9,360,000

Paul Onwueme is a professional Business Plan writer since February 2014, has achieved respectable results with his business plan writing service with several of his clients securing funding and leaving positive feedback about his writing service. You can connect with him via phone: 0803 206 4106 or email: paulonwueme@gmail.com