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
In his latest book now available worldwide on Amazon titled, How To Start Small: Financial Skills For Business Success, I.K Adusei has this to share.
"In the many events, training programs, conferences and workshops hosted by my non–profit venture, Africa Business Network (ABN), I have had the rare privilege of being confronted by participants with mixed questions on starting and running a business. Here are a cross section of those questions, some of which may be of use to you.
1. Q: I want to setup a team for my business. What are the basic things you would look out for when hiring your staff?
IK:It is good to hire people who demonstrate commitment and dedication to work. But over the years I have come to learn that, to hire a committed and devoted person who is not trustworthy is a launch pad for failure in business. Trustworthiness stands out among all the basic things to look out for when hiring.
Unfortunately, no one comes to a job interview with trustworthiness boldly inscribed on their foreheads. So you have to hire the most disciplined people and monitor them closely to identify the traits of commitment, dedication and above all trustworthiness. Keep those who have the latter.
As an employer, the buck stops with you. You remain fully responsible for the team you choose to work with. So you need to put in place a robust system to check the conducts of your employees – even those you deem trustworthy.
2. Q: Why do you think it is important to think big?
IK: It doesn't cost a pesewa to think big. It is absolutely free. It takes the same energy to think big as to think small. True success always has a small beginning. To ever succeed you need to think big. It cost USD $ 0.00 to think like a billionaire. This is why it is important to think big! After all, if you succeed you win; if you don’t, you lose nothing.
3. Q: I have about USD $ 10,000 to invest in a business. Which business do you think will give me a good return on my investment?
IK: Like real estate, location is key to business success. While a business will do well in a certain location, it will perform poorly in another.
Carefully study the needs of your immediate community. Find a need that is related to your passion or interest and make sure people will be ready to pay for your product or service. Such a business should be scalable for you to achieve maximum financial rewards.
Design a creative way to make money delivering the product or service. With the best business practices and principles – most of which are encased in this book, you will guarantee yourself a good return on your USD $ 10,000 investment.
4. Q: What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
IK: I have a plaque on my desk that reads:
BUSINESS IS ABOUT BUILDING THE FUTURE. DON’T LET TODAY’S CHALLENGES HOLD YOU BACK. – I.K Adusei
This keeps me going no matter what.
5. Q: I believe in financial literacy. Do you think financial literacy should be made a core subject in our schools?
IK: This is a very good question. My answer is an absolute yes! Financial literacy should be thought in schools from first grade to the tertiary level. This is the only way we can create the enabling environment for private sector growth in our economy.
When people are financially literate, they can create surpluses (savings and investments) which the banks can use to support their liquidity situation. They can give out more loans to support businesses.
More financial surplus means more seed capital available for the creation of more businesses. ABN through its flagship program Commence is working hard to make this possible. Check our website now www.abnonline.org and search for ABN Unite for more updates!
6. Q: I have a small business. I always find out that my workers steal from me. What can I do now since I do not have money to invest in high tech security systems?
IK: Walmart started as a Nickel and Dime Store in Arkansas, USA with no sophisticated security systems. Today it is the largest department store in the world.
If you don’t have high tech security systems keep your eyes and ears wide open and be your own security until you can afford one. Keep as little cash as possible at your work place. Keep only what your business would need for the day to day operations. Any excess cash should be kept in your corporate bank account. This will save you from the shock of losing all your business capital after you have entrusted all your money in the care of your subordinates (ie. your accountant, cashier, shop attendant or managers).
Employ a good accounting system which will help you keep track of your daily records to minimize or regulate theft. Big banks with high tech security systems have theft issues among their staff. So, be vigilant! If you sleep after your investments, you will always have nightmares.
7. Q: I am a Senior High School graduate. My parents have no money for my tertiary education. I want to setup a business to repair tech gadgets and build computer software. What can I do now?
IK: It is good to identify your passion and interest. However, you need to be on top of your game in order to get anywhere. In whatever you do, aim at being the best.
For now you need the skills and know-how to be able to ply your trade. In your case, you can apply to be an apprentice or intern with a firm or business which repairs tech gadgets. Whilst there, I am sure you will find people who can teach you Computer Programming. Such people may be customers of the company or some of your colleagues at work. Take the opportunity to learn all you can - both on your own and on the job. Plus, there are a lot of information on entrepreneurship skills development available on the home page of ABN’s website. With strong determination and pursuit of purpose, you will succeed!" Excerpt from the book, How To Start Small: Financial Skills For Business Success
The book How To Start Small is now available on Amazon .
Ghana is the first African country to open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world..
The logo of the International Decade for People of African Descent
In Prampram, a town just an hour’s drive east of Ghana’s capital Accra, many holiday houses line the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean. One of them belongs to Jerome Thompson. Located only 500 metres from the water, Mr. Thompson’s house is resilient to the effects of the salt and wind. The floors, windows and doors are made of hard wood. His self-designed furniture is made from quality Ghanaian timber and hand-carved by local artisans.
“The ocean helps me fall asleep and wakes me up in the morning,” says Mr. Thompson, an African-American retiree taking a stroll on the beach where palm trees shade hand-carved canoes. “Where else can I live this close to the ocean? It would cost me millions of dollars!”
Mr. Thompson, a native of Maryland in the United States, retired to Ghana 11 years ago. He first visited the West African country on a tour in 2000. “I fell in love with Ghana and its people,” he recalled, during an interview with Africa Renewal. “It was good seeing black people, my people, in charge of the country (Ghana).”
That trip took him to many attractions across the country, including the Cape Coast Castle from where centuries ago millions of Africans walked through the infamous “Door of No Return” into slave ships bound for plantations in the Americas and the Caribbean, never to set foot in their homelands again.
But for their descendants like Mr. Thompson’s, the sign that hangs on that infamous door today reads: “Door of Return”.
“I was so ready to turn my back on the United States,” he says, adding: “We did so much for the US, yet they don’t want to see us as first-class citizens.”
A feeling of belonging
Mr. Thompson is one of the 20 or so African-Americans and other people from the diaspora of African descent who have found a home in this fishing community, attracted by the beaches and the peace and tranquility the town offers away from the hustle and bustle of Accra.
According to 2014 estimates, more than 3,000 African-Americans and people of Caribbean descent live in Ghana, a country of about 26 million people.
Whatever their motives, Ghana, the first sub-Saharan Africa country to shake off colonial rule 58 years ago, has become the destination of choice for diasporans looking for a spiritual home and an ancestral connection in Africa.
While some returnees have gone through the emotional journey of tracing their families through DNA testing, for the majority who just come to visit, or to settle like Mr. Thompson, the feeling of being “home” on the continent is satisfying. “It’s good to know that you came from some place and it’s not just a figment of someone’s imagination,” he says.
Claudette Chamberlain shares Mr. Thompson’s feelings of belonging. She was born in Jamaica but lived in the US and United Kingdom. Seven years ago, she moved to Ghana and built a five-bed guesthouse at Prampram.
“When I got off the plane, I just had this overwhelming feeling come over me,” Claudette says, adding that she realized then that Ghana was the place she wanted to be. She misses her mother and siblings who still live in London but she doesn’t miss London. “Ghana is definitely home, I’m going to spend the rest of my days here.”
Ms. Chamberlain, a former dentist, says while her native Jamaica is more beautiful, it is not as peaceful as Ghana.
Currently, there are around 200 million people in the Americas identifying themselves as of African descent, according to the United Nations. Millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, and in most cases they experience racism and discrimination.
To promote the respect for and protection of their human rights, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015–2024 as the “The International Decade for the People of African Descent”, to be marked annually on 25 March.
Right of Abode
Ghana, from whose shores the majority of 15 million Africans passed into slavery, has invited its descendants in the diaspora to return home. The country has had a long history, from the days of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, of encouraging the return of persons of African descent to help with the continent’s development.
In 2000, the country passed a law on the ‘Right of Abode’, which allows a person of African descent to apply and be granted the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. And recently, the country set up a Diaspora Affairs Bureau under the foreign affairs ministry to provide a sustainable link between the Ghanaian diaspora and various government agencies to achieve development
and investment goals.
More needs to be done to make returning African brothers and sisters feel welcome back on the continent if Africa is to benefit from their return. Samuel Amankwah, the director of research at Ghana’s interior ministry, admits that the authorities need to engage more. “Those who left our shores are still our brothers and sisters,” he says, adding: “Offering Africans in the diaspora a right to abode in Ghana is a way of engaging for our common interest.”
When the late televangelist Myles Munroe visited Ghana in 2012 and paid a courtesy call on President John Mahama, then a vice president, he encouraged people of African descent living in the diaspora to take advantage of Ghana’s Right of Abode law and reconnect with the African continent.
Despite some initial setbacks, people of African descent continue to migrate to the continent, though not in the expected droves. And like Florindo Johnson, who just retired from Delta Airlines this January, says: it is important to encourage more blacks to come.
Having flown in and out of Ghana for nine years, Ms. Johnson, a Caribbean who lived in Chicago, is retiring in Ghana to operate her six apartments in Prampram that she intends to rent out as holiday accommodations. “I really want black people to come and see for themselves. It is disheartening that a lot of black people don’t want to come because of what they’ve seen in the media, yet white people come.”
Written by I.K Adusei
It is a shocking fact that, 30 of the world’s 48 least developed countries are in Africa. Worse still, though more than 200 million Africans are between the ages of 15-24 years, Sub-Saharan Africa has about 60% of the unemployed being youth, and an average of 72% of the youth living on less than US$ 2 a day.
The monster of unemployment among young Africans especially those in the rural areas, has led a huge number of them migrate to look for better opportunities in urban areas, but too often find themselves stuck in slums with little or no means of survival. Many of them end up being paid as thugs by political parties or joining militias – not because of an ideological compatibility but because they need to eat. Criminal enterprises also recruit from this pool of the unemployed hopeless youth. This unemployed and desperate youth pose untold danger to the African society.
There are veritable armies of unemployed youth eager to make a living doing whatever they deem fit for the sake of survival. Some leave for greener pastures oversees while a countless number of them either engage in illegal immigration to Europe and the Americas or add up to the pile of unemployed youth who usually live on less than US$ 2 a day.
Most African leaders parade themselves as the breadwinners and the sole providers for their people. They therefore stifle private sector growth while they remain excessively incapacitated in providing sustainable jobs for their people. They have no viable policies to support group and individual initiatives. There are no genuine efforts to harness and develop talents, intellects, scientist, inventors and innovators. These talents, initiatives and projects go fallow, unattended to and unsupported. This invariably has been the major bane of industrialization and job creation on the African continent.
As our leaders were dogmatically taught in the classrooms of their colonial masters, their focus have perpetually been on the production and exportation of raw materials to gain revenue to feed the large masses of the people. To keep doing the old things and expecting different results has been tagged as the definition of madness.
Enough is enough Africa! History makes us know and understand that no single country has ever become rich by being a chief exporter of foodstuffs and raw materials without further development of its industrial sector and presently, advanced service sector.
It is a disturbing fact that, the more a country specializes in the production of raw materials, the poorer it becomes. This is a medicine which African leaders find so difficult to push down their throats. In the 19th century, the saying in America was: “Don’t do as the English tell you to do, do as the English did.” In this 21st century a good advice to African leaders and that of other developing countries is that: “Don’t do as the Americans and British tell you to do, do as the Americans and the British did.”
It is about time African leaders learn from history. The Roman politician and philosopher, Cicero ones said, “Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infantry of knowledge.”
History teaches us that all the nations that went from poverty to wealth used the same toolbox which was first developed by the city-states of Florence and Venice in Italy, and the Dutch Republic in today’s Netherlands, borrowed and enhanced by Britain, and imitated by the United Sates and the late comers in Asia thus: Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and India.
Until African leaders see the need to adopt the import substitution industrialization which the Venetians and Genoese adopted in the 13th century, the English in the 16th century, the Americans in the 19th century and so on, sustainable economic development, independence and progress will elude us like a mirage while unemployment tears our social and economic fabric apart like a canker, leading us into eternal dependency, vulnerability, poverty and misery.
Now the toolbox; what then is the toolbox? Two most conspicuous writers have succeeded in assembling all the various parts of this toolbox in their writings. Erick S. Reinert, a Norwegian Economic Historian as well as Ha-Joon Chang, a South Korean Economist have elaborated this toolbox in their books: How Rich Countries Got Rich...and Why Poor Countries Stay poor as well as Bad Samaritans – The Guilt Secrets of Rich Nations & the Threat to Global Prosperity respectively.
These rich countries are driven on the wheels of industrialization, division of labor and private sector development. Invariably, the youth have been at the heart of this massive evolution in these rich and enviable countries.
It is evident that, the power of every successful nation is the youth power and thus, the strength of a nation’s youth determines the nation’s strength. Youth development therefore equals national development.
Singapore for instance (a third world country which has succeeded in evolving to first world between 1965 -2000) has over the years relied on the power of the youth for their economic fortunes. Today, the National Youth Council of Singapore continues to supports youth organizations strongly in terms of funding for projects, and has implemented various schemes to enhance youth organizations’ capacity. It has also developed a policy to facilitate the support of local youth organizations to benefit from foreign funds and grants, international partnerships as well as linking local youth organizations to foreign youth sectors and agencies. This is with the ultimate aim of nurturing a world-ready youth to provide quality human resource for national development at the long run.
Africa has come of age, and it is about time our leaders became dyed-in-the-wool students and artisans of world economic history. If Africa will see the radiant light of day, the youth must bear the light. Youth neglect in the development process has over the years been the major bane of Africa’s development. Africa's economy needs fundamental change NOW!