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“Go Hard or Go Home”.

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…Except you just struck oil in your backyard or aunt Lucy left you fifty million big ones to splurge on, the reality is that It’s a fish eat fish business clime out there as economies the world over strive to achieve sustainability. This state of affairs has trickled down resulting in dire situations where there are little or no venture capitalists willing to inject required capital into businesses and investment angels looking the other way. Statistics have shown that only 0.05 percent of VC’s fund start-ups. Little wonder 90% of those amazing ideas out there never see the light of day. The chances of receiving funding for businesses are getting slimmer by the second meaning that if any great ideas are to be implemented, there’s definitely a probability that you might need to bootstrap your way to success. This way you get to retain more or all of your equity and feel really accomplished at the end of the daunting process

Here are some practical ideas picked up along the way that could help you bootstrap your business idea to fruition;

Start with YOU and Cut Out the Unnecessary

Most times, the main reasons businesses don’t get past the infancy stage is as a result of the people or person at the helm of affairs. Without a monthly salary, every bootstrapping-Bill needs to cut down on expenses or totally kill it. Go to the open market more and cut down of supermarket visits, run more of your local errands yourself as opposed to using a courier, go through your account statements and see areas where you could cut down on expenses. These would free up a little currency to be invested into the project at hand.

Get Creative with Your Marketing

Getting people to know about your business and what you do does not really have to be a question of how much you’ve got in the bank. It has a lot to do with how creative you can get whilst building a branding and marketing campaign. There are always opportunities to capitalise on without actually being a business parasite. Take for instance, a situation where a football competition is scheduled to happen in two months in your city and you decided to create a range of football-shaped cakes, take pictures of them and splash it all over Instagram, Facebook and local sites with a huge following. I guess this would bring in a customer or two and all you spent money on was data and ingredients.

Short Gestation, Short Turn-Around

Well this one somehow explains itself. What’s the use of a great business idea if the ones who get to enjoy and reap it’s benefits are your grand-kids? If you have to bootstrap PLEASE ensure that the revenue cycle of the business is short. The duration may differ depending on the nature of your business but ensure it’s a time-line you can wait out without your ship running aground. Any business whose revenue turnaround time exceeds 3 months must be approached with caution and lots of planning for a start-up.

Research Comprehensively

This is an important aspect in bootstrapping your way to success. It’s paramount that you find out who the other companies or individuals in your line of business are for three major reasons. Firstly you need to find out how they have managed to stay afloat in the business the whole time, secondly you need to also find out how they have been able to set themselves apart from the crowd. Lastly, combine both answers and find out cost-effective means that will make you stand out and also outdo already existing competition.

Let your First Customers be your Reps

New things have an initial ‘almost-endearing’ appeal. Everyone loves the determined business springing up against all odds but won’t for long. With this in mind, “Bootstrap-Bill’s” the world over need to ride this wave until they hit success beach or see it at least. Find out new ways which your first set of customers could gladly benefit from your business as well as promote the business. This was aptly re-enacted by start-up mobile advertising company ‘Brand Envoy by creating revenue earning opportunities for its reps who in turn gain value and then invite new entrants. Try this it works.

Take a hitting but keep Ticking

Rejection and disappointments will most definitely be a major part of your bootstrapping quest because partners, vendors, suppliers and the whole host will break your heart since they aren’t so into you and ‘what-ever’ it is that great idea of yours is. So from experience, I found out that there’s always that one person or crop of people who believe in you. Listen to them often and stay focused but if you find no-one, you must become both player and cheerleader. You cheer and believe long enough, you will start living and breathing this idea of yours and will look for honourable ways of navigating it through the tough times.

Hope these points make it a bit easier bootstrapping your idea out of murky ‘business’ waters. I personally think that “Nothing is worth standing between a good idea and its actualization” except of course “You”. Go start something. “Go hard on that great idea of yours or you might just find yourself going home like every other “almost-mader” (whatever that means). Stay pumped, stay expectant because it’s only time between your ‘now’ and ‘success’ with of course lots of hard work in-between.

Have a great and productive day.

Written by Temple Obike .

Twitter: @swampsage

Facebook: De Swamp Formula

Linkedin: Digital Content Africa

24 Hours Across Africa

Samsung embroiled in ‘One China’ row after K-pop star pulls out

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The world’s number one smartphone maker Samsung Electronics became the latest global brand to face criticism Wednesday for damaging China’s “territorial integrity”, with a Chinese K-pop star ending an endorsement contract.

The row broke out after Chinese viewers noticed that the South Korean tech giant offers different language versions of its website for users in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan — in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.

All three appear as choices in a list of ‘countries’.

Beijing is very sensitive about anything it perceives as portraying semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau or the self-ruled democratic island of Taiwan — which it views as a renegade province awaiting reunification — as separate countries.

Hong Kong has become a particularly thorny issue for Beijing in recent weeks with the financial hub plunged into months of pro-democracy protests.

Chinese K-pop star Zhang Yixing — popularly known as Lay, from the boyband Exo — on Tuesday cancelled his agreement with Samsung for it allegedly “hurting the national feelings of Chinese compatriots” by maintaining the separate websites.

The hashtag “#ZhangYixing Ditches Samsung#” went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo with his cancellation notice being viewed 840 million times in the 20 hours after it was posted.

“Its act of blurring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country has seriously hurt the national feelings of our compatriots, which we strongly condemn,” Zhang’s Chinese agency said in a statement on its official social media account on Weibo.

Zhang had been a Samsung Electronics brand ambassador in China since December. The firm declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

The move comes days after several luxury retailers apologised for labelling the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as separate countries.

Austrian jewellery company Swarovski apologised Tuesday for “hurting the feelings” of Chinese people after calling Hong Kong a separate country on its website.

Luxury brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy also all apologised this week for making perceived affronts to China’s national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

The row also cost them the support of their Chinese brand ambassadors as the companies scrambled to minimise any potential damage in the lucrative mainland market.

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24 Hours Across Africa

‘Develop viable gemstones, jewellery market’

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Experts have urged the federal government to develop an environment conducive for marketing gemstones, and jewellery, to increase their contribution to the national gross domestic product, (GDP).

They also said this would mark a milestone in the quest to build a vibrant mining sector with a wide variety of gemstones and precious metal for making ornaments for local and international markets.

According to experts at Stakeholders Consultative workshop on gemstones and Jewelry industry in Nigeria, the industry presents tremendous opportunities for investment and value addition and can employ people at different levels along the value chain, such as miners, goldsmiths, dealers etc.

Prof. Theo Smeets of the University of Trier, Germany, said the government has a lot to do to boost both local and international markets for precious metal, especially with the growing population of women.

He also noted that legal frameworks will equally galvanise the industry, and instead of exporting raw materials, citizens will be able to process them in-country and get more products in the local market.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, disclosed that the industry could generate a total of $350 million worth of foreign exchange on an annual basis.

He also said Nigeria was so endowed with precious metal, “the key policy question we have asked ourselves is: ‘why has Nigeria not been internationally-recognised as an important gemstone destination?’”

According to him, Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstones, but it was its government’s commitment to reforms that began over three decades ago that has given her a globally-competitive edge.

“There is a huge international market potential for Nigeria’s gemstones, but it is losing vast business opportunities, value and revenue to illegal activities and smuggled to Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., etc.”

Contributing, Project Coordinator of MINDIVER, Utsu Linus Adie, said they are trying to reverse unfavourable market trend for gemstones, and create a robust jewellery market and promote export.

He equally said the government intends to develop a skilled workforce by creating community jewellery market in all the states of the federation within a five- year period.

“Our target is to emulate is India, who are today the global leaders in gems and jewellery, contributing 29 per cent to world jewellery consumption. We only generate $2 million worth of it.”

Reviewing gemstone resources, Niron Ajibade, maintained that there are many products, and when adequately harnessed will grow the nation’s economy; create jobs and wealth.

Ajibade therefore called on the government to build a sustainable jewellery industry by organising training programmes; create linkages, quality and assurance markets as well as finance the gemstone sector.

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