How to search for business opportunities

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

 By Chris Nikolov

Often wait for opportunities, but is it worth waiting for opportunities? My answer no, it isn’t. First of all you can’t depend on pure luck, you never know if you will be granted with a great opportunity or not. So why do you want to be dependent on luck?

Instead you could be and should be dependent on yourself. This is the only sure way you know you will be granted with opportunity.

Opportunities are missed by most people because they don’t realise they have encountered such.

Here is one of the basic laws in life: There will always be opportunities for those who recognise and pursue them. The lucky people are simply those who have more chances than average.

Know your limits

You can’t be perfect. You can’t do everything yourself. You can’t create a business or live the life of your dreams or make a lot of money if you don’t know your weakness, strength and passions. If you know your limit and what you are capable of, you will know exactly what you need. Once you begin to know yourself, you will realise your weakness and you can fill these weakness with other people’s strength.

Open your eyes

There is a lot more happening in the world than you see. Stop listening to music all the time when you are riding the bus or taxi. Maybe there is someone who can change your life in that bus or taxi. Maybe the person sitting next to you is your next business partner or your husband/wife or your new best friend. You just never know, life is unpredictable, and that’s why you should always keep your eyes wide open. You might miss opportunity simply because you were too busy listening to music on your phone. Always be on the lookout even when doing simple activities as drinking coffee, riding the bus or walking back home.

Meet new people

If you want to be presented with more opportunities, simply meet new people. The more people you know, the higher chances you will be presented with new experiences. Go to meetings with people having similar interests as you. Visit conferences. You can even meet people online these days; join different Facebook groups, follow people on twitter, join LinkedIn. People are not so mean as you think. Also if you are one of those people who meet a lot people on daily basis and have a problem remembering their names this app will help you a lot-Anki (This app will make you never forget a name, a job position or age again. It does miracles. )

Don’t be afraid to ask

There is no shame in not knowing something, and there is no shame in questioning things. Do you know how I got my first job? I simply asked the manager could I work here and after he interrogated me a bit he said; Yes. So I found a job by simply asking a question in a company that wasn’t looking for employees. Most people would gladly help you if you ask them nicely for some help.

Don’t be afraid to try different approach

In Bulgaria (the country I am from) blogging is not something people make money out of. When I decided I wanted to blog, people laughed at me to find myself a serious job. But I didn’t think so; I knew I could create a successful blog myself and that all happened thanks to the steps I mentioned above. And in the end I did. Now I am earning five times more than what my friends are earning. I am working from home, I work when I want to. Just because the masses of people think something is wrong doesn’t mean they are right.


You should visit different places at least one time a year. This way, you will meet new people and also might be presented with an opportunity that simply doesn’t exit at your hometown.

Build self confidence

You can’t let people follow you if you don’t look confident. That’s why you need to confidence, you need to be sure 120 percent things will work out right in the end if you want other people to believe you as well. It might be fake confidence, but you need to have it. Most people follow the leaders even when they make bad decisions simply because of their leadership status. And if you could make people follow you, you will surely be able to create a lot of opportunities for yourself/ your company/ your work place. Keep learning. Learning is a process that never ends. You can always learn something new. Always maintain the attitude of a student. If you think you are done learning, then bitterness set in, but if you have more to achieve every day in an arena that makes each morning awaking full of potentials and cheery portent. In the end, all comes to doing. You will never get presented with opportunities by sitting and watching television all day. Go out, feel, see, be and take part of live. If you are active and always on the lookout, you will always end up on the right place in the right moment. - motivationgrid


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Business Loans: Borrow or not borrow?

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Borrowing money is a necessity of life. This is especially so for business development and personal emergencies. But loans are never free. There is usually a cost element attached to the facility. This is interest factor. The interest rate on a debt is a very important element in determining its suitable or otherwise.

To borrow or not to borrow is not the question. The purpose for which the loan is contracted is the matter. A good loan should generate adequate returns to repay the loan plus interest amount. The loan should be used for a project with a net positive value (NPV) thereby creating enough cash to pay for the project and other associated cost.

Whenever a loan is contracted, it becomes a debt to the recipient. The total amount for any debt is the amount borrowed plus the cost of borrowing (interest payment). The cost of borrowing may include the interest payment plus other incidentals such as loan facilitation fees, default risk premium, account maintenance fees, insurance fees and other fanciful ones which are peculiar to the loan offer. Caveat emptor (Buyer beware!)


Some form of borrowing is vital to running a company or economy successfully. This is caused by the inadequacy of financial capital to prosecute all projects and programmes within the business time frame. The incidence of the cost of borrowing money makes it important to learn how to borrow more effectively and efficiently.

Borrowing is necessary for undertaking investment projects and to facilitate the operation of business activities. It is mostly used to finance the acquisition of fixed assets like heavy duty equipment or landed property. It is sometimes used to fund and replace maturing loans. It is also useful as working capital when financing short term cash flow challenges.


The sources of finance are usually from personal savings, internally generated funds or borrowings from third parties. Loans could be short or long term. The key criterion for selecting an appropriate funding source for any project is the interest rate. For good financial management, you should borrow money for an investment only if the return on the investment (project) is higher than the interest on the loan. This underscores the maxim that the financial objective of a firm is to maximise the wealth of the owners. It makes sense to take a loan only when the benefit outweighs the cost in either social or commercial terms. Any other contrary decision would be a slippery road to financial disaster at personal, corporate or national level.


The interest rates are influenced by numerous factors relating to the type of loan. They include, the length of time over which the loan is to repaid, the collateral, credit history, the loan maturity period and the lending source. All these could influence the rate charged. There are other external influences like the prevailing economic conditions with regard to inflation, Treasure bill, exchange rates and other government policies.


A loan in any form is not a bad thing. Indeed some loans are desirable in the capital structure or a business. It is rather too much of it which could be bad. When you have too much debt, it leads to high gearing. Too much debt could give you financial diarrhoea. The cost of debt i. e. interest payment could bleed your financial resources to the point of financial distress or death, whether personal, corporate or national. The adage is to borrow within your means. Many persons and businesses have gone bankrupt for failing to observe this credo. If you must borrow, then borrow effectively or efficiently.


Never borrow to finance expenses, unless it is a temporary measure. A microfinance loan of 6 percent per month is equal to 72 percent per annum.

Never borrow short term for long term projects. Don’ts also borrow long term to finance short term projects. They could all lead to financial mis-match.

Debt is a necessary component for financial activities i. e. projects, but it is best served when the cost (interest rate) is lower than the returns on the investment.


Debt can be very tantalising especially when your back is against the wall. But it could hold you to ransom and slavery when poorly managed. The HIPC program was a good experience. The continuous challenge faced by countries such as Ireland, Italy, Greece and Iceland are hard lessons. The bitter result is usually economic hardship and inevitable bailout.


Borrowing is not the only solution to financial challenges. Occasions for funding could be resolved by evaluating various optional solutions. Adopt other financing methods like leasing and hire purchase. For capital intensive projects, public private partnership (PPP) could take the pressure off scarce resource. Better still, project financing (using future cash flow to pay for the cost of the project) methodologies works. - Johnny Quarshie, The Spectator



 How to manage a small business


This 29-year-old startup founder shares her advice for entrepreneurs

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

Amber Venz Box shares her advice for young entrepreneurs.                                                                                         Image: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


Amber Venz Box has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.

The recent inductee to Forbes 30 under 30 list for retail and ecommerce told Business Insider that she started her own business in middle school selling jean skirts.

"This was back when jean skirts were a big thing," Box said."I figured out how to stress denim using old jeans, bleach, and razors."

She was in sixth grade.

The business didn't last long. Box had yet to learn one of the most fundamental lessons of business: the market price of a firm's goods must exceed the cost of production.

"Also, my teachers didn't take too kindly to me mending my wares in the back row of their class," Box added.

By the time Box was a student in college she was a seasoned entrepreneur. She was making $100,000 a year from a jewelry business she started as a senior in high school.

"I was making them in my dorm room and then selling them to local department stores in Dallas," Box said.

Box's love of fashion and retail only grew as the years went by. In 2011, when she was 23-years-old and working as a personal shopper, she launched a blog to attract potential clients. That project led to the creation of RewardStyle, a platform that allows so-called influencers "to make cash from their social media content."

In 2014, in response to the exploding popularity of Instagram, Box launched The service makes it possible for users to buy merchandise that their favorite Instagram influencers post. When a shopper likes a picture on Instagram, they receive an email with information about where they can buy the item they liked. Since 2014, shoppers have purchased more than $250 million in merchandise via the service.

On March 6, launched an app that would allow consumers to buy products they screenshot.

According to a press release, "By downloading the app, consumers get a push notification with ready-to-shop product information when they screenshot enabled influencer images across the mobile web, including the content they discover inside of closed mobile social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat."

Box told Business Insider that being a young entrepreneur came with numerous challenges. One of the most difficult hurdles was striking the perfect balance between her personal life and her professional life. The fact that her husband was her business partner made this an especially daunting task.

"In the early days my husband Baxter and I shared a phone and a desk," she said."Over time it became difficult to have a healthy relationship."

Box said she and her husband overcame this by setting boundaries around their work day and personal life.

"They include simple things such as designating times when we allow each other to talk about work, when we start our work day and end it, and cutting down the number of night events we commit to," Box said.

We asked Box to share her best advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs thinking about starting their own company. She said they should consider the following:

Learn as much as you can about your industry. Learn what motivates people in your industry and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. When I was in college I took advantage of internships in different cities and different sides of the fashion industry in order to expose myself to everything.

Be your own costumer. We created RewardStyle to create something that I really needed. Look for problems in your own life, a real problem that you and other people have, and try to fix it. And if you continue to be your own costumer, then you will be able to properly critique and improve your product.

Build the right team. The founding team is so vital to a firm's future success. If you're a tech firm, and most startups these days are dealing with some sort of technology, then you have to find experienced engineers. They're going to be more expensive, but it's worth it. Hiring the cheaper engineers will result in a bunch of speedbumps and cause a ton of headaches. The second thing is finding people with operational experience as early as possible. You can have the vision, but you need the management. And don't underestimate the importance of marketing. You can have a great idea, but if you don't have a solid team or resources to market it, then that idea won't go anywhere. -World Economic Forum


How to manage a small business

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

Starting a business is a courageous decision. It is tantamount to venturing into the dark with no guarantees of achieving your objective. It is synonymous with taking control of your destiny, mindful of all the risks and responsibilities involved. Despite the challenge, the following guidelines would help to assure your success.


Always have a plan. Written plan. A good plan is necessary for informed action. Taking on any activity without a plan can lead to chaos. Any good intentions without a plan is a mere dream. A plan would outline the specific objectives of the business, strategies to achieve it, financing resources, a sales and marketing plan and a budget to encapsulate all the financial requirements.


The success of every business is dependent on setting smart goals. It is critical to define where you want to go and develop goals on how to get there. With goal-setting comes clarity of intentions and alignment of activities. Setting goals allow everybody to understand the structure and directions of the company and critical success factors.


Pay attention to the daily activities. Manage all aspects of the business paying critical attention to product and service delivery. Quality product/service will sustain the service. A check list may be necessary to manage the daily activities. It serves as a memory aid. Record keeping is very important when managing daily activities.


A good business structure is important to support a functional business system. When a business is well organised, it becomes easier manage. It then functions and create value. Keep each aspects of the business organised and functioning at peak performance.


A budget is a quantification of your business plan. The financial numbers are necessary for quality financial decisions. It helps to know the sources of the business funds and the business expenses. It helps to place the business on an even keel. It act as a guide to help your business grow. It also gives you enough understanding of your finances and helps to determine action lines to achieve business objectives. A budget should act as an action plan.


Business processes are critical to establishing an effective and efficient business set-up. It is important to have documentation of all of the business processes. A typical business operating procedure serves as a standard for promoting business effectiveness. It also serves as a reference manual for the staff. It helps to run the business in detailed and efficiently.


Business systems are necessary for business development. A business system inter-connects all the functional aspects of the business to form a cohesive unit. It connects Human Resources and Sales to Accounting to create a harmonious working system. It is critical for overall business operations.


Related: This 29-year-old startup founder shares her advice for entrepreneurs



The formula for business success is to maximise business income and minimise cost. It behoves on the business manager to ensure that cost is managed in every aspect of the business in order to create a margin. Decisions should be taken to ensure that waste in operation is reduced to barest minimum. Maximising revenue as against minimising cost creates an opportunity to maximise profit. A typical objective of a business entity.


The success of every establishment depends on the quality of the human capital. Recruitment of quality staff is important in this instance. Quality staff would create business growth and success. Be prepared to hire qualified and hardworking persons and fire lazy persons. Motivated and train your staff as part of business development.


It is worthy to reposition your business as and when in the continuously changing business environment. Many a well-established and performing business have failed dramatically because they failed to update their business concept. In this modern business environment, you either innovate or die. The strategy is to create a competitive advantage continuously. This can be achieved by monitoring the changes and dynamics in the market place and upgrading to match the changes. Being an entrepreneur is your choice, so make it work.


Business digitisation is the way forward in business development and success. Automation and speed of delivery is critical in entrepreneurship. It is incredible powerful and very cost efficient, but it takes time and small skill. It is about creating a community, using social media networking such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogging to build rapport with your market. You need to be computer literate and savvy.


Financial information is crucial for business decision making. Financial literacy is the difference maker in terms of understanding the financial performance and position of the business. If you want to sustain your business then monitor the cash flow. The financial reports impact on quality decision making. Know your numbers and check them daily for quality decision making.     – Johnny Quarshie, The Spectator


This 29-year-old startup founder shares her advice for entrepreneurs



Africa Free Trade Agreement: Is Ghana positioned well to benefit?

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

Image result for africa free trade agreement ghana


On March 21, 2018, 44 African leaders gathered at Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the framework that establishes the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTFA) – aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services as well as a Customs union with free movement of capital and business travelers.

In line with this commitment, parliaments of at least 22 countries were supposed to ratify this agreement 30 days after the meeting in Kigali.

To respond favourably to this, Ghana recalled its parliament which was on recess to come and ratify the agreement. On Thursday, March 26, the agreement was subsequently ratified by parliament.

One central goal of the agreement is to boost African economies by harmonising trade liberalisation across sub-regions and at the continental level. As a part of the AfCFTA, countries have committed to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods.

According to the U.N. Economic Commission on Africa, intra-African trade is likely to increase by 52.3 percent under the AfCFTA and will double upon the further removal of non-tariff barriers.

And according to the Africa Union, Africa has a market of 1.2bn people and a combined economic output of US$2.5 trillion; and the population is expected to double by 2050, the UN says.

But intra-African trade accounts for only about US$170bn, or 18 percent, of the continent’s total annual formal commerce, according to the African Export-Import Bank. This compares with about 68 percent for the EU.

With a market of this size, it is expected that the AfCFTA will only improve fortunes of the continent and create a prosperous economy for all beneficiary countries.

This point was underscored by Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, who was reported by the FT newspaper to have said after the deal: “We now have the construct for meaningful intercontinental trade. An increase in trade is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between our countries, enhance development and attain prosperity”.

But the big question is: who stands to benefit from this agreement?

It is common knowledge that countries with large manufacturing bases – such as South Africa, Kenya and Egypt, are likely to be the receive the biggest gains in this agreement.

But quite surprisingly, one of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria, did not join in signing the agreement – with the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, saying he needs more time to consult with unions and businesses to assess the risks an open market would pose to his country’s manufacturing and small-business sector.

The situation in Ghana

Considering that countries with large manufacturing bases are those that will really benefit from this agreement, it raises a question about Ghana’s chances in this pact.

Are the manufacturing sector and small-businesses resilient enough to repel any risk or ‘attack’ the open market will pose? Is the country’s economy productive enough to export goods and services to other countries?

Well, a look at the performance of the manufacturing sector will help answer.

The country’s manufacturing sector is currently growing at a slow pace. The provisional 2017 GDP figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show that the manufacturing sector grew by only 3.7 percent in 2017.

The figures are even more disappointing when compared on quarterly basis. The manufacturing subsector grew at a measly 1.3 percent in Q4 of 2017; down from 6.2 and 2.5 percent in Q2 and Q3 respectively.

Since 2006 when its contribution to GDP hit 10.2 percent, it has never grown past that figure. The sector’s contribution to the economy has consistently tumbled to record 4.5 percent in 2017. In fact, its contribution to the economy has dropped six years in a row since 2012 to date.

From the above figures it is clear that the country’s manufacturing sector is so much in distress, and the raise doubts about its ability to support the economy in this free-trade deal.

Challenges of manufacturing sector

A major factor crippling this all-important sector is the torrid business environment faced by manufacturing companies.

Ranked high among such challenges is the difficulty in accessing capital. In a country where lending rates are 30 percent and above, it is extremely expensive for companies to use the country’s financial sector to access capital for expansion.

Another challenge the manufacturing sector is bedevilled with is high cost of production owing to high tariffs and raw material cost. In most cases, companies must import raw materials before they can produce. And with the local currency not stable against the US$ and pound Sterling, their case seems worst.

As if these challenges were not enough, local manufacturing companies face very unfair competition from big foreign companies, which – because of economies of scale, cheap labour, stable macroeconomic environment, among other factors – are able to produce and dump their products in the country, selling at a cheaper price.

Expert opinion

Speaking to the Head of Economics at the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey, on what government must do to ensure that the AfCFTA does not become a win-lose situation at the expense of Ghana, he said government must ensure that goods allowed into the country are those that Ghana does not have competitive advantage over.

“I think that in going into such agreements, we should be informed about what commodities we have the comparative advantage over that we can produce at a cheaper cost; that we can trade with our partner-countries – otherwise if we all produce the same commodities and we want to trade, that will be impossible.

“Trading doesn’t mean anything at all can come in, there are standards. So, you set the ground rules. If the products do not meet the standards set, then they cannot come in at all. But if there are rules and no enforcement, then that is how dumping can happen,” he said.

He further stated that government should support local industries build their capacities, and also provide an enabling environment that will make them thrive.

“Government should not engage directly in production. Government should rather provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. For example, availability of land. If government takes the lead to make land acquisition easy and stress-free for companies, it will encourage investment.

“Again, roads, electricity and water. Those are some of the things government can provide for the private sector. They need markets. Government can organise a trade fair or engage foreign markets. It can also source capital for local industries, but not directly engage in production,” he said.

Prof. Quartey again urged governments of all African countries to build the needed infrastructure that will facilitate easy movement of goods, services and humans, so that the trading process can be carried out smoothly.

So, in conclusion, if Ghana is to really benefit from the AfCFTA, then it should revive its manufacturing sector and produce more to satisfy local demand and export as well. - Business & Financial Times


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