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The difference between having an idea and being an entrepreneur

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Many people have good ideas, but not everyone becomes an entrepreneur.

I’m often asked if there is a good way to work out whether your idea is a good one, so I’ve put together a quick guide for those wondering whether to make the plunge.

1. Evaluate your idea

OK, you have an idea. Now what? Good business ideas are a dime a dozen, and they are not all are worth pursuing.

Ask yourself: Have I done the due diligence necessary to take my idea to the next level? Does my idea solve a problem? Meet a need? Touch a nerve? Is it unique? Has it been done before?

Write down your answers, then critique them as thoroughly as you can. The best ideas are those that can withstand heavy critical analysis. If you can’t do this alone — which is almost always the case — then take your idea to someone you trust and ask for their perspective.

Still standing? Good. Let’s move on.

 

2. Plan for the future

Let’s assume that you have come up with an amazing new product or service that meets all the criteria outlined above. Good for you. Now it’s time to plan.

Ask yourself: What do I need to do to make this idea a reality? Have I developed a business plan? What are my capital needs? How far away am I from having a working prototype? Have I looked for potential partners and investors? What’s my distribution strategy?

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At this point, you may want to look for a mentor if you don’t have one already — a seasoned business veteran who can push you in the right direction, point out potential pitfalls and help you to navigate around them. I still rely heavily on others’ advice, though I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than five decades. After all, without the advice I received from some great mentors, Virgin might still just be a little record store somewhere in London.

3. Weigh the risks 

You had an idea, and now you have a plan. Great. Let’s talk about you now.

If you are feeling stuck and uncertain on your next steps, ask yourself: Would I rather keep paying my bills or am I ready to live on my savings for a while? Is maintaining my current lifestyle more important than having a fresh start in life?

You see, entrepreneurship is all about taking risks — potentially disruptive and frightening life risks. If your family depends on your income, it is your responsibility to think things through very carefully.

If your answer is still a resounding and emphatic “Yes” after you have weighed all the risks, then you are ready to leap.

4. Take the plunge

If you’re still with me at this point, the next stage should be a simple one: Take the plunge and give it a go. You can start small — but make sure you think big. Many businesses start off in people’s spare time as a side project while they are being developed.

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5. Don’t stop believing

The key to success is unwavering commitment and focus. You will make mistakes as you launch your product or service — a ton of them. But keep your eye on the prize and never blink. If you stop believing, your entire enterprise will be called into question.

In my case, when our team started Virgin Atlantic with just one plane and little knowledge of the airline business, we stood alone against established players who were ready to bury us. No one would have faulted us for throwing in the towel and going back to the music business. Yet we saw the enormous potential in disrupting and reinventing airline travel through superior service and innovation. So we kept going, and we are still going strong after three decades. It’s all about drive.

 

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Ecobank wins Bank of the Year, Best Bank in prestigious London awards ceremonies

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Ecobank wins “Bank of the Year” and “Best Bank” at The Banker and EMEA Finance Awards in London.

Ecobank Cameroon, Gambia and Rwanda won Bank of the Year at The Banker Awards on 28thNovember. This recognition came just before Ecobank Cabo Verde, Gambia, Liberia and Zimbabwe won Best Bank at the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards on 5th December. The Banker is the most prestigious global financial publication and EMEA Finance is widely read by the international banking community.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “We are pleased to be recognised as ‘Bank of the Year’ and ‘Best Bank’ in two distinguished award ceremonies in London. This confirms the strength of our brand in multiple countries across Africa, our unique pan-African platform and innovative banking products and solutions. Indeed, our One Bank strategy is providing the desired banking excellence for our consumer, commercial and corporate customers across the 33 countries in which we operate on the continent.”

The judging panels were impressed by Ecobank’s sound management, business model and strategic initiatives as well as its pioneering technology. They highlighted the bank’s recent innovations, including digitalised trade finance products, Ecobank Online & Omni Lite, digital payment solution, Ecobank Pay, and cross-border remittance solution, Rapidtransfer. These products are transforming the banking sector and empowering African businesses by providing accessibility and affordability.

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Dangote Honours 160 Staff at Long Service Award Ceremony

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Dangote Industries Limited recently presented 160 employees with long service award in recognition of their commitment, loyalty, exceptional service and invaluable contribution to the growth of Africa’s most admired brand over a period of 10 to 30 years and above. Post-humous awards were also given to ex-employees who lost their lives during their time of service at the organization.

At the Dangote Long Service Award, hosted by the Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries Limited Mr. Olakunle Alake, celebrated members of staff were each given a certificate of recognition, an award plaque, financial reward and ovation from other members of staff, family members and friends of the awardees.

During the ceremony, 29 staff were awarded with 10 – 14 years’ of service awards; 85 employees  with 15 – 19 years’ of service; 29 employees with 20 – 24 years’ of service; 13 employees with 25 – 29 years’ of service and 4 employees were also honored with 30 years’ of service awards.

Remarkably, 12 staff who had passed on while in active duty to DIL, were eulogized and post-humous awards were given to their families for their dedicated service ranging from 10 to 39 years.

The Group Executive Director, Logistics and Distribution, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Abdu Dantata, emerged the highest living awardee for his 36 years of service, while the Group Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake, who gave the welcome remarks, was given an outstanding ovation for his 29 years of loyalty in service to the organization.

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In his keynote address, the Group President/CE of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, commended all the awardees for their loyalty, commitment and dedicated service over the years; all of which had contributed to elevate the company from a trading concern founded in 1981 to one of the largest manufacturing conglomerates in Africa today, with a household name in Nigeria and a global brand to boot. He noted that employees, especially the awardees, were crucial part of the global success story which Dangote Industries has become today.

According to him, “I want to say a very big thank you to all of us here tonight. Indeed, loyalty is royalty and the successful growth of our company is a direct result of your excellent service. Your loyalty upholds our core principles and our continuous growth is based on a culture of resilience and loyalty.

“Today, we celebrate your individual and collective successes and our breakthrough was due to your investment of many years of loyal service. I encourage you to remain dedicated and committed. We deeply appreciate you and your efforts. Thank you very much”, Dangote added.

Africa’s wealthiest and foremost philanthropist, who personally presented the awards to all the awardees that have served DIL for 25 years and more and to the families of all the post-humous awardees, was likewise presented with a surprise gift of a framed picture of himself with the names of all the 160 awardees embedded by the organizing committee led by the Group Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake.

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Their overall gratitude at the award, gift and honor was aptly captured by a staff in the security department, Mr. Samanja Umaru, who was rewarded for his 20 years of service to the company. Samanja, who effusively narrated how Dangote has transformed his life and family, pledged his undying loyalty to the organization which has given him so much.

According to Samanja, “Dangote is a blessed man and Dangote (DIL) is a good company. I began working with Dangote way back in 1981 at the warehouse where we were paid N10 daily. God bless Alhaji Dangote. He carries everybody along, whether Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, anyone. Alhaji Dangote changed my life. He is a blessed man”

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FG Links Rise In Food Inflation To Border Closure

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The recent border closure drill has been attributed to the rise in headline inflation which is currently at 11.61 per cent as of October 2019.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who is the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, briefed Journalists on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, adding that recent figures from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) were noticed since September.

The Minister informed that the increase in food inflation witnessed in September and October is linked to the increase in prices of food, propelled by the border closure.

“Headline inflation declined for several months before we noticed an uptake in the last two months and now headline inflation is at 11.61 percent as at the end of October.

“The slight increase between September and October is due to increases in food inflation ascribed to increase in prices of cereals, rice, and fish.

“Part of the reason is the border closure; the closure is very short and temporary and the increase is just by 2 basis points,” she explained.

Mrs. Ahmed pointed out that discussions with neighbouring countries on the border closure have advanced and the Federal Government is expecting every party to respect the protocols they are all committed to.

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She stressed that the government is making sure that the economy does not suffer once the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into effect.

“The border closure is temporary; we have really advanced on the discussion between ourselves and our neighbours and we expect that the outcomes of those discussions and agreement are that each party will respect the protocols that we all committed to and then the borders will be open again.

“What we are doing is important for our economy as we signed on to the AfCFTA, we have to make sure that we put in place, checks to make sure that our economy is not overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the AfCFTA and that’s why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we are all committed to.”

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