The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as the economic turbulence, have had significant impacts on businesses, manufacturers and households, including individual lifestyle and well-being in recent times. The direct consequence of these impacts has been a very large increase in inflation numbers in the country, and it is currently having serious implications. Globally, no country is immune to inflation. Around the world, inflationary pressure has been experienced in the USA, the UK, and many other developed and developing nations. But in Nigeria, the peculiarity is that inflation has been getting higher steadily for the last two years.Nigeria is one of the countries where inflation has grown the fastest, and it has been a concern for many businesses, and the government due to its severe impact post -COVID-19. Lately, we have witnessed continued and unexplainable increases in the price of practically every known item and service across the country. The troubling trend is that most of these basic and essential necessities are increasingly out of reach for the majority of people. Indicating that the country's cost of living has risen at an alarming rate. That is, the rise in household spending required to maintain a consistent and decent quality of life has been a source of anxiety for many. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria's headline inflation rate increased to 18.24 percent on a year-on-year basis as at June 2022. The percentage change is the highest in the last five years, according to the records. Though academic literature has pointed out that once inflation exceeds a certain level, on average above 15%, it starts to have a negative impact on the economy, principally on economic stability, growth, employment, and investment attractiveness. Even so, the author thinks that the real inflation in an economy is shown by the rise in prices of food, groceries, and other goods and services that people use every day.Without a doubt, the food inflation trend over the last two years has been overwhelming. The proportion of the majority's income that is spent on food has remained ridiculously high. The persistent rise in inflation results in a decline in the buying power of Nigerians, who are therefore getting poorer. Because they will be forced to prioritise significant spending and the affordability of essentials will continue to decrease. The consequences of high inflation are a spike in unemployment numbers, a rise in poverty rates, declining savings, a high number of jobless youths, crimes, and unrest. A report by Aljazeera titled "Inflation rises in Nigeria amid fuel scarcity and insecurity" indicated that four (4) out of ten (10) Nigerians are living below the poverty line. So, with this trend, the author has noticed a spike and sharp rise in the demand for substituted products and services by the majority of the citizenry in the country. The substitution effect usually happens when consumers replace very expensive items with cheaper ones due to price changes or when their financial conditions regress, and vice-versa. However, the point is about the decline in purchasing power due to inflation and its attendant consequences. The cost of purchasing products and services required to maintain a given quality of life continues to be a major worry for many families and individuals in the country. According to the substitution effect, people switch from more expensive products and services to less expensive alternatives when prices rise or income declines.For the majority of businesses, the persistent inflation in the country has made the high cost of running and maintaining independently generated power unbearable, particularly the cost of diesel. This has resulted in a high cost of running businesses. However, this cost is passed on to the consumers without notice. When this cost is passed and consumers find it intolerable, then a change in demand by switching to substitute products and services prevails. The propensity for this trend is high and it has been the order of the day. Substitute products or goods are alternative goods that could be used for the same purpose. Therefore, in the presence of inflation, substituting means that consumers seek out alternatives that are frequently low in price, most of the time low in quality, inferior, and largely unregulated. The demand for substitutes continues to rise, because the masses need to survive at all cost, so who has the blame? The consumers or the businesses? So long as the price of goods and products continues to increase, demand for their substitutes will continue to rise. Consequently, business operators need to be aware of this. For instance, numerous salary earners have been forced to reduce the quality of the food they purchase, and business owners continue to replace family food basket staples with any affordable alternative. Meanwhile, the expenses of transportation, school fees, electricity, cooking gas, and rent are equally on the rise, adding to the burden.From a business perspective, substitute products create rivalry, loss of revenue, weak sales, loss of potential customers or consumers, low or no patronage, and threats to business survival. The main absurdity is that businesses cannot even identify the providers of these alternatives, because they remain largely in the dark. For instance, canned and jarred Sardine Titus is expensive, but Sardine Estus an alternative is available and affordable but the producers are faceless and unknown. Many of such competitors are available in the Nigerian market with a huge market share and competitive pressure. However, the quality of these readily available cheap alternatives is significantly compromised, and market leading companies and products could even suffer business continuity issues if the lower-priced alternative continues to gain market share and interest of the masses.As a response, it is a time for businesses to re-strategise, engage in high marketing and promotional campaigns, innovate in line with customer expectations and patronage-improving products, and lower prices. Again, businesses can review their pricing model at this time to accommodate consumers and customers with waning purchasing power. It is also important for the government to play a bigger role in regulating substandard, inferior, and bad products, especially those that are dumped on the Nigerian market. Right now, it's important to look at and understand how substitution can affect the economy, businesses, and environment in order to stop high death rates and illnesses.Businesses can fail entirely as a result of substitute effects and substitution products outperforming the original. In a market where there are fewer substitute products, there is a higher probability of businesses earning greater profits, but the reverse is the case, with inflation and the current realities. So, entrepreneurs, business owners, and SME operators need to clearly understand that their businesses may just suffer from a substitution effect, which can weaken the sales of their products and may be attributed to consumers switching to cheaper alternatives just because they no longer have affordability or the price hike is unbearable. In the view of the author, consumers largely make their choices based on their available spending power and make constant adjustments based on price changes, most of the time on impulse. So, in a time of high inflation and low consumer spending, cheaper substitutes and second hand (used) items) are the alternatives that are available. Observation of the surroundings reveals every accessible space or place for micro businesses to operate, its an avenue to trade in second-hand items which the majority now prefer as alternatives owing to dwindling income and affordability at this time due to inflation. This can make it harder for well-known brands or established businesses to get patronage and remain in business, if differentiation or other business strategies are ignored to stay cost competitive.Many are unaware that the high inflation rate in the country is one of the major reasons why the Naira is losing value. Therefore, the authors recommend that the government should make a deliberate effort to tackle the key issues in the country: insecurity, incessant power issues, continued exchange rate instability, and non-availability of forex to genuine business operators and exporting companies. Inflation could remain an issue unless these issues are given headlong attention. Good luck!How may you obtain advice or further information on the article? Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, author, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions, reactions, and comments .The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author- Dr Timi Olubiyi and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.
Nigerians and Nigeria, Happy Democracy Day! Democracy Day is observed to commemorate the country's restoration of democracy in 1999, and it has become an annual event since. True democracy, on the other hand, comes when the environment encompasses safety, ample economic benefits, a free, fair, and trustworthy voting system, as well as the decrease of the hydra-headed difficulties, most notably the ravaging poverty and unemployment in the country. Electronic governance is one of the methods that may be used to achieve full and true democracy. The World Bank defines electronic governance as "the government's use of information technologies (including Wide Area Networks, the internet, software applications, cloud infrastructure, and mobile computing) to transform relations, safety and communication with citizens, businesses, and other government agencies." It may seem overwhelming, but if the nation is genuinely dedicated, e-governance may improve public access to government services, information, dependable security, adequate oversight roles, accountability, and regulations. To name a few, the scope of e-governance may include simple citizen identification; e-registrations; e-voting; e-courts; e-policing; e-licensing; e-taxation; e-mobilization; e-education; e-service delivery; e-feedback; intelligence collection; and the analysis of public financial records. Passionately, governments around the world are taking steps to incorporate technology into all governmental processes, which is a seamless service option as well as a way to achieve a meaningful data-driven decision-making system at a low cost and with fewer human interactions, which ordinarily aids corruption and bribery. What is the significance of this e-governance? For example, the government cannot fully provide social infrastructure unless it knows the nation's population or how many people live in the country, and it cannot adequately provide educational infrastructure until it has data on children. More so, the number of automobiles, road users, unemployed youngsters, and even the country's unbanked and illiterate rates must be known for adequate and meaningful planning purposes. Citizen data, in my view, is a development infrastructure and a real asset that the government may employ to increase economic well-being. Because it could tell us a lot about how people act, what they do, and how that affects society as a whole. It is long past time for all levels of government to think about how to use technology through e-governance in running the country.No doubt, Nigeria has the fastest growing information and communication technology market in Africa, particularly in financial technology (FinTech), according to reliable records. However, the country still ranks low in terms of providing e-governance services to its citizens. So, it is only necessary for the Nigerian government to adopt digital innovation and fall in line, with other countries where technology greatly supports governance via e-governance. Many countries and government agencies around the world rely more and more on electronic methods and technology to keep records, provide services, and communicate with their citizens. Nigeria should not be an exception, especially because of the constant security issues.With no doubt, Nigeria has a large population, which is projected to be 400 million by 2050. It is clear that digital applications in national planning are critical and unavoidable for the country to achieve the needed growth and stability. Because current infrastructures are more likely to be overstressed in the absence of a reliable data-driven decision-making system and adequate scientific projections. So, e-governance and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in government operations are needed to make government services more available to the public.Therefore, if e-governance is fully implemented, it can help in the areas of security, defense, judiciary, economic monitoring, social and national planning as it relates to demographics, electioneering, and even tax administration. Furthermore, if implemented, data such as offenders, criminals, and violators' lists may simply be shared and made available where necessary. This will aid in not having people with dubious characteristics or criminals in areas they should not be.It is important to stress that no meaningful government can improve the lives and livelihoods of its citizens without reliable citizen data and a national database portal. As it stands, a large number of Nigerians are still without government-regulated identification, and this is a huge risk to national development, security, and planning. In rural locations and some areas, people are generally born, grow, reach maturity, retire, age, and die without the government knowing or being aware of their existence. This should not be the case; birth data is crucial and should serve as the foundation for other types of registrations and records in the country. As things stand, we may have all kinds of foreigners pretending and claiming to be Nigerians.Therefore, it is a clear and indisputable fact that to be able to govern with any degree of meaningful impact, the government needs to be able to know and be able to identify not only its citizens but all other people living within its borders. It appears national identification number registration alone cannot adequately achieve this without formally having a national census and resident survey. The government should think about e-governance policies, especially the e-citizen portal, which will make it easy for people and businesses to use all government services in the country.Thus, it is beyond doubt that the implementation of e-governance and a national database portal is imperative and crucial for national development. More so, e-governance can smoothen the working procedures of the government and also reduce crime and insecurity in the country, due to the availability of intelligence and information for the government to use from time to time. If well managed, it will be extremely useful in administrative, legislative, and judicial agencies (including both federal and local governments). Besides e-governance when implemented, it will help in developmental policies to fix or alleviate social issues, help with inequality social intervention improvement, and determine the rate of unemployment in the country meaningfully, among others.To summarise, the e-governance system is long overdue in Nigerian ministries, police forces, prisons, courts, ports, and many other places. Thus, if widely implemented, it will reduce the perennially suffocating administrative costs and regulatory burdens on citizens and businesses. It will also promote good governance by increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the public sector, which will encourage more public-private partnerships, foreign direct investments (FDI's), and an open government ecosystem. Citizens' attitudes toward government will invariably change as a result of increased trust and public value. Although e-government requires a significant initial investment in hardware, software, and expertise, it yields significant long-term benefits when compared to bureaucratic ones. Once again, happy Democracy Day and best wishes to Nigeria and Nigerians!How may you obtain advice or further information on the article? Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, author, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: email@example.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments. The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author- Dr. Timi Olubiyi and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.
By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D.In recent times, we have seen more businesses reporting low or no profit and, in some cases, no revenue. The case of business failures is equally high and prevalent, which could be attributed to the changing landscape in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, high inflation, poor supply chains, high exchange rate regime, and a host of other struggles. Despite the coronavirus pandemic radically altering business operations and customer experiences, many businesses in Africa, particularly Nigeria, have stuck to the prevailing old pattern of customer service, which frequently involves poor customer convenience and low customer satisfaction.Though we have seen more of innovations around technology adoption in businesses to improve performance and retain customers little is noticed in small businesses and large firms in Nigeria. Despite changing business models all across different industries around the world to meet current realities and customer expectations. Consequently, businesses that wish to maintain survival need to adjust to the realities around customer expectations, preferences, and convenience without further delay. If small businesses fail to recognise these changes in customer expectations, they may face a business continuity threat rather than just poor performance, likewise large firms.The majority of business advances in recent times have been inspired by technology, noticeably in service businesses and food-service sectors, particularly restaurants and transportation. For instance, considering the case of Uber, the car hailing business and the likes, the business model was driven by changes in consumer behaviour and convenience was the major driver. The success of the business model does not rest on a deep emotional connection with customers but the success may be summed up in a single word: convenience.Also, based on my observations around Lagos State, the adjudged economic capital of Nigeria, I have seen a restaurant with multiple outlets offer a single meal, rice with boiled egg, for N500. That is less than a dollar for the meal, noting that a $1 is around N600 in the country. Similarly, banks provide mobile banking software applications (apps) through which accounts may be opened online and transactions can be completed, even to borrow funds, without having to enter the banking hall. Another example is the sudden deployment of point-of-sale (PoS) terminals to agents throughout the country, with the agents executing some banking transactions nearly everywhere outside banking halls.Further to this, in Somolu, a Lagos State suburb, I have also seen that a local café (Amala joint) opens on Sundays when competitors are all closed, and chooses to close on Mondays to observe the one day off per week. With this idea, the local cafe operator can give a lot of customers the flexibility and convenience they need on Sundays while also making premium on the business gains. All these concepts are intended to capitalise on customer convenience and the current realities nothing more.Therefore, business owners and SME operators should understand this and know that when it comes to the most crucial aspects of customer needs, convenience is supreme. Each customer, though, may have different ideas of what constitutes convenience, from pricing to the business location, payment options, ease of shopping or making transactions, business opening days and time flexibility, customer experience of ordering, delivering, and the likes. It is important to note that most consumers are price sensitive though and base their purchasing or service decisions on it.According to my further observations in Lagos State, I noticed that despite a lack of solid business concepts and knowledge, the numerous neighbourhood corner-shops, traffic hawkers, and businesses without recognised classification, operate on this convenience model. Though it may seem to be an insignificant way to operate a business, the turnover, revenue, and profit could be sufficient to sustain the operators.The expectation is that customers will hurriedly need items or products, and such businesses exist on this premise. Whereas I see major enterprises with a brick-and-mortar retailing strategy still paying exorbitant rent to maintain a physical presence without operating online or adopting technology for convenience. Ignoring the digital age that has changed the retail industry, and indeed most sectors of the economy, where businesses can relate with customers anywhere and at any time.As a result, it is high time for structured enterprises, retail outlets, and large businesses to adopt the convenience model in order to improve business sustainability and profitability. Convenience is more important to consumers than ever before, particularly in terms of pricing, (i.e., affordable services or products) and location that is easily accessible (physical or online). What matters to most consumers is the time and effort they have to expend because they are largely impatient – the less time, the better, and the less amount, the best.Giving an illustration of how convenience can make a business more profitable in a case of a superstore, patronage can be increased by having a good and convenient location, reducing expensive, specialty, or high-end products and exponentially increasing convenient goods. Convenient goods are items or products that customers can easily afford and frequently buy on impulse without much thought. Such items are groceries, eatables, detergents, toothpaste, paper products, and emergency products such as light bulbs and so on.The idea is that large volume is likely to be sold within a short period, and repeat purchases will happen continually and such business will be active and performing. Furthermore, technology too can greatly help in this instance, that is where e-commerce comes in. The extra levels of convenience where customers can effectively use their phones with seamless payment platforms or gateways to effect purchases or transactions will help a great deal, no matter how small. For micro businesses social media platforms and WhatsApp status can equally help with cheap advertisement and keeping customers updated.For other forms of businesses, particularly large firms a business model can be designed or redesigned around convenient solutions. To create convenience, firms must find ways to eliminate any "friction" that may arise when a potential customer interacts with or purchases from their business. Such convenience can be designed around, packaging, delivery, usability, automation, and product variety.Let the truth be told, convenience can actually increase repeat purchases of any form of business, which in turn helps increase and grow the profit margin. Any strategy to boost the convenience of customers can also give brand loyalty, which will, at the end of the day, give a competitive edge and market-dominance. Therefore, providing convenience can be the key to business success at this time of high inflation, low disposable income, and weak purchasing power of the majority, who are the masses. Because by saving customers' time, money, and energy, businesses can also make more income.Significantly, market survey and customer research may assist in determining which solutions will enhance business service, and overall provide a high degree of ease. Quite often, I have noticed that businesses do not leverage on feedbacks from customers. It is good to have present customers submit comments or reviews highlighting instances in which a particular business (or rivals' businesses) failed to meet their convenience expectations, and this may be a pointer to what needs to be addressed.It takes more than pricing to outperform the competition, so consider how to integrate convenience into a designed business model. Who says customers cannot order a haircut, photoshoot, home-cooked meals, or even a manicure directly from their mobile phones for a convenient home service? All that is needed is for the vendors or business owners to think critically and carry out research about the ways things should work.In conclusion, to effectively engage with today's hyper-connected, technology-savvy, and impatient consumers, businesses must be preoccupied with offering quick, convenient, and simple' solutions. In short, nothing pays more for businesses at this time than being more convenience-oriented because it could be the shortest path to increasing customer retention, loyalty, and business profitability. Good luck!
By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D.The rising cost of living is impacting globally but differently, and it is clearly evident that expenses and bills continue to rise steeply. The cost of food, household consumables, and other essentials has skyrocketed in recent times from Cairo, to Botswana, Delhi, Shanghai, London, Houston, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Dublin and Manila, name it. This price hike has been on the increase as part of the consequences of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and this continues to shrink the available disposable income of the majority altogether. In the Nigerian context, a loaf of bread that was N350 in 2020 is now about N700, a 100% increase in two years. Similar percentage increases are in the cost of flight tickets, health care, rents, diesel, cooking gas, bag of rice, crate of eggs, a kilo of chicken or turkey and many other essentials due to inflation, yet income has remained the same or even less. Nothing is easily affordable, and everything is out of reach of the masses. Given the country's current situation and that many people have not seen a growth in their income, this has resulted in reduced or no savings, increased frustration and dissatisfaction in fulfilling basic demands amongst many. There is always the possibility and anxiety of losing jobs or businesses folding up regardless of the length of service put up, experience acquired, or available connection, and these consequences may even be more severe.Employers, in fact, are hesitant to implement any wage increases for economic reasons. Inflation continues to have a severe negative impact on man's mental, emotional, and physical well-being, as well as on marriages and livelihoods. Currently, even with a steady, regular salary, living has become costlier with heightened uncertainty, high inflation, and weak purchasing power, especially for the masses including civil servants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. As a result, one of the ways to have protection is by diversifying sources of income and having multiple streams at this time. You have multiple bills; why not have multiple streams of income to support the inadequacy.Therefore, in addition to salary or business income, it is important to source other income avenues to satisfy the rising needs, poor business performance and inflation. Because if financial capacity is weak and daily expenses continue to rise, individuals, businesses, and even households will be threatened with sustainability. Therefore, there is a need to take action because having multiple streams of income has proven to be priceless.According to my observations, the majority of people and homes in the country rely solely on earned income, be it salary or daily income from a business, and they are always hoping that nothing bad happens. It is critical to understand that if salary is the sole source of income, you are on the verge of financial pressure. With the high inflation, unemployment crisis, and unstable economy, having many sources of income may help spread the risk and guarantee that homes and businesses are stable and financially protected. We live in a world where one source of income is insufficient and becoming increasingly unsustainable. If you ask me, having multiple sources of income is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. To be safe, it is never rational to depend on a single income source, full-time job, or a single market. Remember, change is the only constant thing in life, and this change happens rapidly in this period and is always unpredictable. Living on paycheck-to-paycheck, can severely affect mental health, increase anxiety, depression, stress and many are unaware of the implication on their health.Consequently, having multiple sources of income is the best way to protect yourself, your company, and your family against drastic financial change. The tools for generating these multiple streams of income are readily accessible on the internet or by engaging a professional. We have greater access than ever before to information, people, ideas, and opportunities with the social media, so tap into this. If the average billionaire or millionaires has more than one way to make money, it is important for professionals and business owners to think the same way and have stable passive income streams in order to stay on top of financial and economic woes.While active income will require your full attention and effort, like being available from 8am to 5pm daily, passive income is generated with no or insignificant effort and attention; it can work while you sleep. So, to complement active income, passive income such as investing can generate income through dividends, interest, and return on capital. Depending on the market and your financial circumstances, investing in real estate might provide you with high returns and rental income. But if you cannot construct to generate rent, acquire a piece of land and protect it; no matter how far away it is, it will rise in value. If you have years of experience in your field, you can start giving consultations or guest lectures as a means to earn another stream of income from your regular job or business. Another reliable way is by acquiring assets that can generate consistent and steady cash flow. Looking inward might just help as well, talents, abilities, and passion can be used to create potentials that can give income streams.Clearly, research has shown that having multiple streams of income as a plan aids retirement and provides the necessary comfort in old age. Hear this: if a solid retirement plan is your goal, savings alone will be insufficient; instead, the objective should include developing numerous streams of income sufficient to replace your principal active income (salary). The main benefit or advantage of having multiple streams of income is that when one stream is challenged or things are very volatile, there is a backup for extra income to attain financial stability. That can give the necessary hedge against uncertainties in a business as well during illness, disability of the entrepreneur. In conclusion, it is reasonable to live below your means to make room for savings and then investment, no matter how little it helps along with side hustle. Relying on a salary or daily business income alone is a danger at this time. In an environment where job loss and unemployment are chronic, the decision to create multiple streams of income and secure a financial stability is expedient. However, do not let your side-income streams put the primary and full-time job or business at risk, unless you can survive without it. Good luck!How may you obtain advice or further information on the article? Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions, reactions, and comments.
By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D.Many people are unaware that the small business sector in Nigeria can have a significant impact on both the environment and the economy. The sector could also provide the country with rapid industrialization and non-oil industrial export gains. All that is required is more structure, framework, support and participation from government, entrepreneurs, politicians, policymakers, and academics. Nevertheless, what is painful is that, despite this potential and opportunities, the country's small businesses are failing at an alarming rate. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic consequences, fuel cost, inflation and incessant insecurity have continued to harm these businesses.From my experience working with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), small business owners are multifunctional, and while they are often constrained by day-to-day operational demands, it is important to encourage them with ways to help their businesses to be more sustainable.My focus is to continue to target the sector with knowledge of best practices in my own space. Therefore, this piece is primarily to address leadership deficiencies and stress that leadership is critical and can be a great indicator of an organization's success or failure in the country. No matter how small or micro a business is, the owner-manager or operator adopts a certain leadership quality to lead or govern the business. This is what is referred to as the leadership style that the business leader has, even though effective leadership is lacking in many of these businesses.As simple as it sounds, leadership style or qualities impact strongly on decision-making and the business outcomes in any scenario, it equally impacts employees significantly.To mention, it is vital to note that true leadership in any business or organization is informed via the combination and use of power and authority. While power is the capacity to influence people to accomplish goals, authority refers to the legal rights that follow a person who holds a certain position or office. What gives issues in small businesses majorly are the unethical behaviours around power and its dispensation.Most small business operators and entrepreneurs exhibit absolute control over all business, workplace decisions and enjoy imposing commands on staff and the management if any. More so, in the majority of the businesses particularly in Lagos State, owner-managers, operators and entrepreneurs continue to instil fear in their staff by threatening them with consequences such as being fired, ignored or withholding salary, or even threat of assaults and so on.Many workers in these small businesses, although may not acknowledge it openly, they carry some measure of worry with them into the workplace due to this issue. Which usually weighs them down and also affects their morale, motivation and performance in the short to long term in the business.When operators/owner-managers lead or run a business they apply the combination of their personality, life experiences, communication style, decision-making preference, level of emotional intelligence, education and overall perspective to the way the business is run.These attributes are typically what inform the leadership style(power) available in the business, whether it is nano, micro, small, or medium-sized. So, the question is does leadership style affect small businesses? The answer is yes, leadership style does. Staff are never involved in the decision-making process; they are expected to follow the leader's decisions, choices and orders because the leaders have a huge amount of influence over them. These business leaders bring all the decisions and commands to the subordinates; whose responsibilities are mainly to align.So, it is fair to conclude based on context observations and obvious perception that small businesses around are typically run-on autocratic leadership style, characterized by the authoritative and forceful work environment, and imposing commands in the daily business operations.Note that with a large enterprise, there are several hierarchical levels, so the conduct of a CEO does not immediately affect the employees, however in small businesses the owner has a direct influence on their staff and decisions are only goal-oriented.Other forms of leadership styles are available but are underutilized for a variety of reasons, the most imperative is the environment, characterized by labour issues, where individuals must be pushed to do the correct thing. While this is a valid reason, largely most of these businesses are unaware of the impact an autocratic leadership style can have on business performance and staff morale.Good relationships with the employees have been noted as one of the key factors for business success. Consequently, being flexible by displaying and combining a variety of leadership styles within a business by leaders can also improve the performance of small businesses, instead of sticking to the predominant autocratic leadership style that is widespread. For instance, different leadership styles can be adapted for different scenarios in the business for outcomes and deliverables.In some cases, leaders can adopt the democratic leadership style, also sometimes known as participative, which builds on consensus through the participation of staff and team members to achieve a goal or make a decision within the business. It is moderately the opposite of the autocratic leadership style and useful in a structured business entity where staff are educated and rational.Employees feel motivated to participate in decision-making and that can enhance their performance. Rather than extracting inputs from staff from a participative leadership style and then considering it when making a decision, a laissez-faire leader willingly submits to team members in making decisions.This form of leadership style is the extreme opposite of autocratic leadership and is equally useful. A laissez-faire leadership style may be a very fruitful and effective method to manage staff or team made of a highly talented, highly specialized individuals within the business.It has been captured that initiative and creativity behaviours are achieved by staff with this form of leadership style in businesses be it small medium or even large firms. Because with sufficient job experience, a person learns a variety of things that eventually reflects in behaviour and character. Furthermore, it is believed that the more experience one has, the smarter and wiser one becomes. The Laissez-faire leadership style gives this platform, it does not have to be an autocratic style predominantly.For micro-entrepreneurs with a staff or two the coercive leadership style which generally expects instant compliance with instruction and commands may be suitable because of the lack of structure and that not too educated employees are engaged for duties. This method is especially effective in times of crisis, in other businesses like during a major emergency or rowdy session.While it is similar to the autocratic leadership style, it differs somewhat but is oftentimes used interchangeably since both require the use of force. Other forms of leadership available that entrepreneurs can use to support the autocratic leadership style if the business is structured and formal businesses are the transactional leadership style transformational leadership.Transactional leadership style is set up, for rewards and incentives for specific outcomes from employees, simply agreement basis. Next, is the leadership style that transforms called the transformational leadership where the collective, collaborative, or participative approaches to leadership are all taken at the same time.Though there is no ideal leadership style for a business, the key is that there is a leadership style suitable for each scenario or situation in the business, therefore entrepreneurs must understand this and swap to apply the appropriate style to each situation. This is essential to obtain the best business outcomes, achieve best practices and promote ethical behaviours within the business. If this approach is adopted by many of the struggling businesses, they can still be hopeful. Good luck!
The common social concerns are the high mortality rate, poverty, and malnutrition in the country. But for the concerns that bother on health, the advice is usually to reduce fats, cholesterols and sugar intake, improve on nutrition and good diet, do not smoke and so on to avoid health issues. However, the fact is food is about health and healthy living, but less is heard about the need to promote organic food eating, in a world where innovation is now widespread in Agric-Business and farming, with the genetically engineering of crops and foods.Genetically Modified (GM) foods are foods that are produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO) that have had their DNA altered through genetic engineering. Genetic modification, also known as genetic engineering, it simply means having the DNA of crops and foodstuffs altered using genes from other plants or animals to achieve specific aims. Scientists take the gene for the desired trait in one plant or animal, and they insert that gene into a cell of another plant or animal. So, with this in mind, the natural ways of growing crops and even mating by animals can be bypassed for commercial and business gains. This concept is quite different from the conventional gestation period and natural farm harvest time.Scientists take the gene or seed for a desired trait (colour, flavour, texture, early maturation, greater yield and bigger output) in one plant or animal, and they insert that gene into a cell of another plant or animal to produce the specific and desired results. I am made to understand that the benefits of this innovation in agriculture include better taste, a longer shelf life, better nutrition and quality; increased profit for growers; virus and insect resistance; herbicide tolerance, and increased food yield to alleviate hunger.Furthermore, the key benefit of this trend is mainly for multiple productions of food, though many fish or chicken can mature more quickly with this innovation as well, with the hope of lowering costs, with fewer environmental resources (such as water and fertilizer). The big question and concern are who regulates this process in the country?A place where shortcuts, dumping, profiteering at every cost are the order of the day, this should be a cause for concern. I have seen first-generation products such as oranges without seeds, corn with less harvesting period, plastic-looking tomatoes, bananas and plantains looking like toys, chicken ready for consumption in three months and a host of others mainly due to commercialization. The main motive is for profitability of the businesses that are involved in the enhanced food production.Enhanced food production through genetical modification of the foods may be everywhere considering the economic woes, shrinking disposable income and the poor affordability of many. But is there any quality checks or control on all these genetically modified foods that are freely available in the markets? Who monitors the health implications if any? Businesses may just be feeding the poor, the hungry with this process without any scientific checks.In fact, many consuming these foods may not necessarily be aware of the makeup of the foods or be aware that they are actually consuming genetically modified foods. A quick survey to understand the viewpoints of consumers on genetically modified foods indicated that many were unaware of the concept in agriculture or farming. In fact, a large number close to 90% of those surveyed have no idea what the concept means. The answer from most of them was” I am just hearing about it for the first time”.This is the key reason for this piece, to bring awareness to the growing trend of foods that are genetically modified, and the need to provide guidelines, improve food safety, to avoid potential harm and cases of unknown sicknesses in the world and indeed Nigeria. Though the concept could make food available commercially and could make for better yield compare to traditional breeding, the important thing is the quality control and the need to certify it fit for consumption before production on commercial scale. Because like all new technologies, such foods may also pose some risks, both known and/or unknown.In a country where many shun moral and ethical values much is expected from the Research Institutes, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Consumer Protection Council and other sister agencies to regulate, control and set standards for genetically modified foods. Although there has been no evidence of detrimental or toxic effects from the use of genetically modified foods in the country, the truth is that no one can predict all its consequences. Currently, the public knowledge is weak and farmers, food retailers, restaurants and caterers rarely inform customers or consumers of the foods, crops or ingredients, they deal with, or that it contains genetically modified organisms or not, because currently, no law compels them to do so.Even though the production of genetically modified foods involves tampering with nature, the entrepreneurs, businesses and farmers involved in such production claim that these foods are safe and have no side effects. Conversely, in my opinion genetically modified foods represent a significant innovation and commercial breakthrough in the Agric-Business, therefore to a high degree, abundant harvests and profitability may just be the key drive, so there is need to regulate.So, effective regulations, standard guidelines and the need to have genetically modified food Regulations in the country is expedient. I am just concerned and I think many too should be, over the safety of the food we consume and the health implications because majority are poor and what is affordable might not be right for consumption. Nevertheless, genetically modified foods have entered our food basket largely via imports or due to cultivation of genetically modified food crops, it is still right for the apex food regulators in the country to carry out safety assessment because this is central in ruling out fear, uncertainty, and doubt (often shortened to FUD) in consumers and citizenry going forward.In conclusion, government and the regulators must set up a system for regulating both domestically produced and imported genetically modified food products, because Australia, Brazil, the European Union, and others do regulate genetically modified food, Nigeria needs to do so too without exceptions. Good luck!
By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D. As businesses grow many decisions come to bear from marketing to funding, expansion, investments, operations, logistics, staffing, technology adoption, and so on, all to enhance the business productivity. Without a doubt, just like individuals make poor choices and bad decisions businesses do too. Business leaders and entrepreneurs make bad decisions not because they are not clever or experienced, but because they are humans. Certainly, humans are never perfect decision-makers at all, a bad decision can occur once in a while or repeatedly and such is the case with business leaders, entrepreneurs, top management, and/or owner-managers of businesses around as well.As important as decision-making is in business operations, the good news is that business failures have been identified largely to be due to poor decision-making by the operators, owners, or business managers. Why is this good news? In my opinion, understanding the major cause of past business failures could help restrain many entrepreneurs or businesses from repeating this error clearly. Since poor decision-making has been identified as a major concern for business sustainability, therefore, making a good choice most time is important for any business, though this can be argued.In business, no matter the structure in place, decision-making is key and is one of the main indicators of a high-performing business or one of the indicators of how healthy a business is. Remember, not having a decision-making process is in itself a decision on its own. I have observed keenly that a large number of the businesses be it large or small in Nigeria, particularly the ones in the industrialized States and areas, relish taking shortcuts as a normal practice and they hardly ever have an articulated decision-making process within their businesses. It is rather worse in small-scale businesses where decision-making could be the sole responsibility of the operators or business owners. In fact, in small-scale businesses, the most common cause of poor decision is that the operators are so dominant with excessive managerial control that they see decision-making as their sole right without any recourse to the ideas or opinions of employees or others. This is the big issue really.Furthermore, no initiative or contributions from employees and subordinates are ever considered, key decision making is never participatory and this sometimes leads to business concerns. A decision-making responsibility before, during, and after any implementation of a task in a business should not be the entire decision of the business owners. Playing the obvious role of the sole expert in all departments, units, and concerns of the business operations by the owners is never sustainable but damaging, this action has been captured as one of the major causes of the incidence of widespread business failures amongst small -scale businesses in the country.A good decision can enable a business to thrive and survive long-term, while a poor decision can lead a business into failure. A common behavior of leaving things to chances when decisive action ought to be taken are also decisions but a poor one at that, which can bring huge consequences on the business. This worrying development amongst small-scale business operators has cost many their fortune, particularly with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) which has been impacting the economy and businesses negatively. It should be a time for decision-making for businesses and not a time to operate aloof. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and also signaled a new era for businesses, therefore, there is a need for business operators to take strategic decisions, most notably in the manufacturing, retail, and service sectors due to technology disruptions.Yet business operators in these mentioned sectors disregard this all-important activity. The failure of any business or venture in making good and quality decisions could be a result of many factors, such as inexperience, lack of time, stress, overwork, and pressure from stakeholders among others. All these can lead to poor decision-making and the eventual failure of any business. The quality of decisions in any business directly impacts its performance and overall business outcomes.Small business operators should understand that it is healthy for staff to disagree over decisions if the views defer. It only helps to make a proper and effective decision for the business at the end of the day. Leaders should purposefully create a culture where debate and disagreement are welcome. Remember, decision-making is the action or process of thinking through possible options and uncertain outcomes, and selecting the best option concerning the business. This decision-making could bother on marketing, financing, customer satisfaction, investment, and technology usage in the business.It is often shocking that once known and thriving businesses can suddenly go under and cease to operate as a result of what most times seem to be poor decision-making and mismanagement. In the case of big and widely known multinational businesses like Kodak, Nokia, Motion Blackberry, and Motorola, the managements ignored the shift in technology and failed to be decisive in their decision making particularly on innovations until it was too late despite the vantage position.Though Nigeria has a tough operating environment and harsh economic factors, however many of the small businesses and start-ups in the real estate, retail, manufacturing, corner shops, and service sectors among others have lost their relevancies due to poor or lack of prompt decision-making. For instance, just on Ogudu road via Ojota in Lagos State businesses that were once the toast of teeming residences and customers such as Cherries superstore, Terminal 3 restaurant, CCD stores, and The Mr. Biggs eatery Ogudu branch have all now remained permanently closed, failed, sold off or shut down to what seems to be poor decision making from the management. This is the fate of so many of the medium-small scale businesses in Lagos State and indeed Nigeria, they disappear after few years of operations and never grow to become intergenerational businesses.One of the worst things to do in business is to ignore customers' preferences, revolutionary innovations and also fail to adapt to changes within the business environment as quickly as possible. The high business mortality rate in Nigeria is mainly due to these reasons. Entrepreneurs and operators try to protect what they already have going for them, instead of having a decision-making process that can always suggest innovation and ways of doing things better to meet and surpass customers’ expectations.Many businesses still follow this rigid path, particularly in the manufacturing, services, and retail businesses, lacking the foresight of the advent of online presence, e-commerce, and technological shift occasioned by COVID-19. In my view, businesses need to have a sound decision-making policy that is in tune with the current realities of aggressive social media and internet usage. We have experienced a major cultural shift in customers’ behavior with the COVID-19, businesses need a decision-making process to review their activities from time to time. This will help to adapt to the economic and environmental changes accordingly.Multiple studies have suggested that engaging employees in the decision-making process can impact businesses positively, make them more committed to business success, have stronger connections with the businesses, increase engagements and also help produce higher quality results. Therefore, building a participatory decision-making culture is recommended for businesses particularly small-scale businesses at this time. This strategy will more than likely improve the competitive position and effectiveness of the management, operators, and business owners. Because making decision is a critical component of effective leadership, hence involving employees in the process will help businesses make better decisions. Let the truth be told inexpensive and reasonable businesses built around clothing, housing, potable water, medical care, education, home essentials, shopping and food items will always have economic demands. Thus, in as much as the adequate and proper decision-making process or policy is in place, that should give the needed competitive advantage and make businesses not to ordinarily fail. Good luck! How may you obtain advice or further information on the article? Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: email@example.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments.
Small businesses are important for many reasons be it nano, micro, small, or medium-sized enterprises. On one hand, as an important contributor to any economy, and as the lifeblood of many developing and underdeveloped economies. Small businesses can equally provide many essential opportunities that cannot be overlooked because as they scale, they impact innovation, job creation, economic diversification, poverty reduction, wealth creation, and income redistribution within the country. Hence, the core attribute that makes small businesses achieve all these and more is the agility which the founders/owner-managers provide. This makes this form of business nearly inseparable from the founders.This inseparability makes the decision-making process and flexibility within the businesses much faster than that of large corporations. More so coupled with the agile management that exists in the small businesses, adaptation to current realities and changing economic circumstances is much easier in small businesses. Research finds have also shown that the agility that exists in small businesses is the direct involvement of the founders, and the business owners. They can provide quick decisions and also react to changes in the environment easily. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has added to small business challenges around the world. A lot has happened with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it has fueled a lot of economic, livelihood, and business disruptions with more grave consequences on developing countries like Nigeria.Without a doubt, the pandemic has brought about the untimely loss of loved ones, colleagues, associates, neighbours, friends, and prominent Nigerians. While many died as a result of COVID-19 complications, some died due to accidents, age-long sicknesses and others died as a result of economic pressures. The painful truth is that most of them held key roles in the entertainment industry, sports, politics, and in particular many held key roles in businesses around before they succumbed to death drawing from context observation.As it stands and relying on worldometer and the World Health Organization (WHO) figures, as of January 2022, coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, stands at 5,575,367 and 3,116 in Nigeria. The figure seems underreported for Nigeria because the common knowledge is that most deaths go underreported and most times not captured and unrecorded with the necessary authorities. Families do not see reasons to formalize closures by visiting the hospital for proper attestation, getting death certificates, and having the deaths captured.As a reminder, since small businesses and the founders/owner-managers are inseparable, it is easy then to conclude that we may just be losing businesses as part of the huge consequences of the COVID-19 situations. Agreeably the rate at which obituaries come up in the newspapers these days has been so alarming and disturbing, many are unaware that most of these late individuals are business owners and key decision-makers in these businesses. Therefore, what happens to the business when a founder dies or is incapacitated? This usually creates leadership vacuum in the businesses, survival and continuity is highly threatened which may lead to liquidation of the business.In fact, research finds corroborate that many businesses could suffer long-lasting and significant negative impacts if the founders/ owner-managers die untimely. Though no reliable data to substantiate this claim in Nigeria it is evident that a large portion of the population lives on income from small businesses which account for 96 per cent of businesses around and 84 per cent of jobs in the country. Coupled with the current demography of Nigeria, the prevalence of deaths of founding entrepreneurs or owner-managers may negatively impact many of the businesses and worsen the unemployment situation in the country. Though small businesses have different forms of incorporation, from a partnership, to sole proprietorship, or Private Limited Company (Ltd) and Private Unlimited Company, the reality is that founders /owner-managers rarely put such business structures in place.So, upon the owner's death who has a clear vision and goals for the business, a leadership and decision-making vacuum is created almost immediately. A clear recent reference was the November 2021 collapse of a high-rise block of luxury flats under construction in Ikoyi Lagos State. At least 42 people died including the property developer, who also is the MD/CEO and owner-manager of the building. Since the unfortunate incident and the demise of the founder/ MD/CEO of the company, no detailed communiqué or press release has been issued in respect of the building collapse by the company -an incorporated limited company. What we have in the public space is the investigations and evaluation of the state of things by the Lagos State Government. Contrarywise the project's website has been shut down by the company, therefore it is easy to tell that as capital intensive the project is, the company behind it lacks adequate business structure.Most times this is usually the trend with small businesses in the country, the businesses disappear or experience significant operational decline following the death of the founder or key owner-manager, regardless of the form of business incorporation. Chief Moshood Abiola and Chief Henry Fajemirokun’s stories and a host of others are well known. They had investments in critical sectors of the economy with business interests from aviation, agriculture, sports, bakery, real estate, publishing, and communications but after their death, the businesses fizzle out gradually. It starts with business struggles, the overall performance of workers and staff dwindles and family of the founder who most times have no knowledge of the business steps in, which further compounds the misfortune of the businesses. Contrary to what the majority thinks is right, a business owner’s spouse is never a co-owner of the business just by virtue of marriage unless it is expressly stated in the incorporation documents.With the changing economic circumstances of businesses, a non-economic factor such as the deaths of founders, decision-makers, and key entrepreneurs may further impact negatively on the small businesses that are already burdened with challenges. The going concerns of many of these businesses may just be threatened because of the negative impact of the pandemic and any loss of owner-managers. Consequently, with the silently ravaging pandemic and untimely deaths, family businesses and small businesses may just need to adopt strategies to stem the tides.On the part of businesses, attention should be paid to the effective implementation of businesses structure, good governance, business risk analysis, succession planning, mentorship, and transitions because these are the most prevalent factors leading to leadership vacuums. Stakeholder management is equally important customers, employees, vendors, and investors contributions, feedback, and initiatives should be honoured and appreciated for different situations at all times.To reduce the vulnerability of small business closure with the demise of the founders, government, policymakers, and SMEDAN need to intensify their efforts to disseminate information on business continuity, capacity development, technology usage, and other needs for SMEs to continue to make the desired positive impact in the country. So, a lot of support and development of interventions from the government is required for small businesses to go beyond mere survival.On a final note, government interventions can transform small businesses, into vast employers of labour, tax generators, which will contribute to government revenue, and ultimately the growth of the economy, but again right structures have to be in place. Good luck!How may you obtain advice or further information on the article?Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions, reactions, and comments.
The new year is here, it is my prayer that 2022 will be a profitable year for all individuals, businesses, and households. Our new year resolutions at every level must include enhancing productivity and improving performance. Without a doubt, transportation is central to this and can be an effective indicator of performance in any economy, business, and quality of life.Simple things like getting to work, school, meetings, appointments, trade facilitation, transacting, moving cargoes, travels, and even delivery of social services such as rescues during emergencies can become extremely difficult with poor transportation. In fact, business decision-making and access to everything for economic progress hinge strongly on effective transportation I must say.Certainly, every nation regardless of its population size, level of development, and industrial capacity can benefit from an efficient transportation network be it road, waterways, rail, or air transport. But on the contrary transport poverty exist where inefficiency in all transportation modes is prevalent within an economy. Such is the case in many African countries and cities, including, Benin, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Lusaka, Zambia, and a host of others.In many of the developed countries, transportation plays a significant role in the ease of doing business and the government plays an integral role in the implementation and administration. A recent visit to the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strongly indicated that, where there is efficient transportation and fewer traffic congestions, the economy and businesses are positively impacted.From my observation in the two countries, public transportation which includes buses, taxis, water ferries, trains, trams, and the metros are regulated adequately by the government and it is not completely private-sector driven, making it so efficient and reliable. Apparently as noted, where private companies are involved in the operations, it is usually on an agreed model such as the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.Ironically, across many African cities particularly in my country Nigeria, the unreliability of the transport system has continued to limit access to services, business, trade facilitation, the attraction of foreign direct investments, and also in the revenue drive of the government.The pilot region of observation is Lagos State the economic centre of Nigeria, where transport operation is largely run informally by private individuals. This makes the services undesirable because of the inefficiencies that exist due to under-regulations.For instance, car reliance keeps compounding in the State because of poor demand responsiveness of public transports, commuters then tend to avoid the long queues and waiting hours at bus stops, and the associated risk of using public minibuses called Danfo. But the result is usually wastage of productive hours by many commuters in traffic congestions. Sometimes bike taxis which are usually referred to as Okada are considered for mobility.Though this trend depicts transport poverty, it is largely heightened by the informality of the public transport, widespread unemployment, lack of worthiness of the available transportations, lack of adequate maintenance system, giving rise to the high traffic congestion on the roads and expensive transport fares.Basically, the over-reliance on one mode- road transport and over-exposure to informality are the issues that are mainly slowing down growths in the sector. As widely noted, private participation, with little or no government entry barrier promotes informality.Such as the operations of the non-conventional ferry on the waterways, motorized tricycles, and the Okadas and Danfos within the hinterlands. Sadly, these are the only affordable services to the poor despite the widespread insecurity and risks. In the UK particularly in London, a mobile application (app) offers most of the information about the public transport system, and regulations in the city including fares, routes, and time of arrivals and departures.That means if you must operate government has to know, this procedure reduces informality. In both UK and UAE, the logistics and business supply chains are effective because they rely on the transportation infrastructures and strict regulations available and that reduces the cost of business operations.For most public transportation closed-circuit television (CCTV) is installed for safety and security businesses. Transport cards are also used on most of these public transports for ease of payment, this offers a hassle-free environment for the populace, visitors, and tourists.Strict regulations also avail the government the opportunity to monitor many of these services, ensure accountability on the part of the operators, and for government to monitor service trends. For instance, in UAE just in a year, there were around 600 million rides on public transport (in a city of 3 million population). This is an indication of the rate of conversion to the public system by visitors and residents in a region that used to be primarily private vehicle driven.This is an indication that individuals move with ease and travel on public transportation because they are timely, affordable, and adequately available. With such a system in place, businesses can make projections and enjoy a reliable supply chain, with no uncontrollable logistic issues.With this experience, I have a strong conviction that there is a direct relationship, between the development of the transport system and the ease of doing business in any country. In fact, without a doubt, it is easy to conclude that transportation can be a useful criterion for measuring development in a country.If transportation is made efficient it must impact positively on the economic development of a country and also improve the performance of the businesses in that country. It is no brainer or magic such a system can happen in Nigeria, with improved regulation, reduction of informality with sufficient investments in the sector.Even though in Nigeria it has been a situation of hectic traffic congestion even at the ports, poorly maintained roads, overstressed railways, underutilization of the waterways, long hours of waiting to have access, inadequate infrastructure, there should be a concerted effort to raise the percentage of public transportation, expand the modes, and offer stricter regulatory regime.For safety and security reasons the ease of entry into the sector by informal transport operators need to be reviewed because it appears that is majorly the issue. Government entry barriers are obstacles that can make it difficult for an individual or business to operate in the sector, such as what is available in the aviation industry.It is important to improve policies and regulations in transport services, expand transportation networks to achieve large-scale economic growth, and modernization. Though it can be argued, effective transportation can alleviate the level of poverty in the country.The current chaotic congestions on the roads and in the ports are essentially aiding market failures and hindering the ease of doing business in the country which are enablers of business closures and impoverishment. Hence when transportation is effective and efficient, businesses will be able to make adequate projections, improve production, produce faster, reach consumers faster, attend business meetings promptly and all these stimulate the economy, create jobs, and can reduce poverty.Truthfully, the transportation sector can offer the needed diversification of the revenue generation drive of the government. I am aware that the current public debt of the country is around 38 trillion Naira according to figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and this is mainly due to revenue challenges. In my opinion, an effectively regulated and efficient transportation system can be revenue-yielding for the government.In conclusion, it is also important to note that an improved transportation mode- air, rail, water networks and the expansion of road networks can increase economic productivity, cut the cost of production, and enhance the ease of doing business in the country.For thinkers, the issues mentioned above can adequately present mind-blowing opportunities, particularly for investors and businesses. To this end, businesses and individuals can have better mobility, access and livelihood. Good luck! [caption id="attachment_847014" align="alignright" width="360"] Dr Timi Olubiyi Phd[/caption]Dr. Timi Olubiyi An Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: email@example.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments.
The current landscape of retirement in Nigeria will change in the next couple of years as the aging workforce is becoming increasingly visible in businesses, government, politics and in sports. Besides, with or without employment retirement phase will surely come for every individual. However, persistent high rates of unemployment have been a serious concern in the country over the years, without any visible unemployment benefit, insurance or social policy. The reality is that many in this unemployment category will equally be reaching retirement age and will be transiting in few years. So the impact of unemployment should be seen as long term and life- long, because it affects living standards even in retirement,when active age and work life has been passed with no palliatives or supports.It is not uncommon for employees,politicians, entrepreneurs and the unemployed to live more than 20 years after the retirement age of 60years but the issue is usually the sustainability of wellbeing, livelihood, lifestyle, status, and social demands. The longer the time spent in retirement, the harder it becomes to be certain about the adequacy of resources to keep the livelihood and lifestyle going. For those that care to know, individuals will need to have enough funds, assets that generate steady income, family support or investments saved to last even beyond 20 years. Unfortunately, with a recent survey in Lagos State amongst the cluster of entrepreneurs and older adults majority may not have enough to meet and maintain their standard of living particularly livelihood, in an era of uncertainty, increasing inflation and harsh economic environments and much more at retirement.This piece present insights from business owners and businesses around Lagos State the economic capital of the country on retirement planning. A follow-up survey in computer village Ikeja area of the State was carried out, where respondents (entrepreneurs) indicated that they will only be willing to grow and expand their businesses at the expense of retirement planning, how ironic? Few mentioned that the only motivating factor that can increase their confidence on retirement is if their businesses succeed.One of the key finding in the survey was that only a fraction of businesses are aware of the importance of pension and retirement plans. It was a stiff struggle identifying businesses with adequate arrangement of pension for staff, owner manager or the business operator. Even though a retirement plan through pension arrangements can help ensure that business owners and their staff have enough funds to live on in their later years, this all important scheme is found missing in majority of small busineses in Lagos State. Recall small businesses are over 90% of existing businesses in the country and provides significantly for majority of homes and family in terms of employment, sustainability and livelihood. Many entrepreneurs are so busy growing their businesses that they put off planning for retirement, this growing trend is not only worrisome but disturbing. Surprisingly as important as a retirement plan is, aging business owners and operators rarely consider it imperative.The survey further indicated that the majority of the businesses especially the self-employed do not have retirement savings plans, and 40% of business owners in the survey are not confident that they will be able to retire before the age of 65. Nevertheless, the good news is that those small business owners have more options available to them than traditional 9 am to 5 pm office employees, yet this advantage is not explored. Because it presents an option of flexibility in the date of retirement. Retirement can either be considered early or later, in some cases business owners might choose not to fully retire. The flexibility gives entrepreneurs the option to determine exactly when to stop working, yet majority continue to operate without ceasing.Indeed, according to the survey, 70% of the self-employed and entrepreneurs in computer village do not save regularly for retirement. The reason adjudge to this phenomenon is that they do not receive a steady salary pack, so many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement plans. The survey further highlights that some of the small business owners have the mind of selling their businesses to fund their retirement and relocate to the village when the time arises. However, the risk of this option is that entrepreneurs and small business owners can overestimate the value of their businesses and eventually run at a lost. Counting entirely on the sale of the business to fully fund a long retirement is highly risky due to unforeseen circumstances.The survey also found that many business owners would appreciate guidance when it comes to retirement because they lack knowledge of it. It is important to note that before death, especially under normal conditions in life, there is a phase called old age; a period where entrepreneurs have almost exhausted intellectual values and strength. Consequently, there is a need to prepare for such a phase of life with adequate retirement planning and possibly business succession.Retiring is a real-life changing phase with far-reaching implications, dreadful stories most entrepreneurs would not want to hear or discuss this reality but unfortunately, there is nothing one can do about it; it is bound to come one day. Business owners cited cost and lack of resources to administer the plan as the leading reasons why they do not have a retirement plan in place.Please note if you are a small business owner reading this, you are likely busy running your business and have not had the time to research the best retirement option. While retirement may not be on your mind currently as an entrepreneur, the sooner you start planning for this all-important aspect of your business the better. Here are simple steps entrepreneurs and small business owners can take right now to prepare for retirement in my opinion.A good start is by implementing the 10% rule which is a lot easier than you can comprehend. Achievable by simply setting up an auto-transfer system with your bank, that is automatically transferring 10% of all your earnings out of your business account into your savings account every month. Then you can place the accumulated fund into a low-risk investment at intervals and allow compounding interest to grow your fund. This applies whether you are an entrepreneur or not. It is a simple trick to grow your wealth and support retirement plan. Real estate investments can also help give succour in retirement, but professional guidance needs to be sought.Another approach is to develop an exit strategy in your business, that is, have in mind right now what will happen to it when you retire, when you intend to eventually quit and set up strategies to guarantee retirement income. One other important factor to consider is what will happen to your business when you retire. Will you pass it on to family or sell the company to another business or owner? Will you have someone currently working for you take over? A simple retirement model can give you a simple leeway, but you have to plan for it and stick to it. Because retirement age varies so drastically, small business owners need to evaluate their lifestyle, savings, and the company's overall performance to determine an ideal retirement option.In conclusion, a bit of research, adequate planning, and seeking advice can help with achievable retirement goals. A professional can also help streamline your business and help with the necessary details required to have a comfortable retirement. Good luck!How may you obtain advice or further information on the article?Dr. Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions, reactions, and comments.