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For those who attended, it indeed lived up to its billing if the testimonials at the end of the program are a tool to measure it by.

The #HeartOfYourBusiness free quarterly seminar was conceived to help plug knowledge gaps that start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium-sized (MSMEs) businesses in Nigeria face. These gaps have proved to be fatal in many cases, killing the dreams of budding entrepreneurs, putting more pressure on the labour market and for a country whose growth is tied to the fortunes of the MSME sector, negatively impacting the economy.

A little about HOYB before we move on with the tales from the first seminar…
HOYB is a free business knowledge sharing initiative conceived by four agencies - BohoMedia Ltd, Media Range Ltd, Muse Media Ltd and Finedge Consults Ltd with the sole aim of helping as many Nigerian businesses build strong business structures that will see them stand the test of time, as possible.

HOYB brings professionals together from different fields of endeavor to share knowledge on how small businesses can overcome these challenges, especially in communications and finance. These two focus areas of this project are often overlooked but– if properly applied – can significantly increase the chances of success of many businesses. HOYB gives free insight in these that can help them become more competitive.

The unique differentiator in our offering is the fact that it is free and leverages on new media technologies to enhance delivery to a wider audience. On this dedicated website, www.heartofyourbusiness.com,  weekly blogs, podcasts and event updates are hosted. The website also manages our weekly newsletter. HOYB also has Facebook and Twitter accounts which will be used to gain greater audience engagement.

 

September 9
HOYB’s maiden free business seminar held in Abuja on Wednesday 9th September 2015 and over 70 MSMEs owners in attendance! Topics discussed at the event were in the areas of finance, communication and sales and marketing.

Speaking at the event, the managing partner BohoMedia Ltd and co-founder HOYB, Chris Tion said “Most small business owners do not patronize professionals for the services they need to grow their businesses. Our initiative stemmed from a research we carried out which showed that in Nigeria nine out of ten MSMEs die before they are five years old. We also discovered that apart from lack of affordable finance and poor or non-existent infrastructure which stifles business in Nigeria, most small businesses do not avail themselves of professional marketing communications and financial intelligence solutions, so they seem to be groping in the dark, resulting in imminent failure. It is so alarming,”

Edmund Oshioke who presented a paper on the topic ‘Financial intelligence for small businesses,’ stated that most businesses die because the owners refuse to put in place sound business structures, such as even paying themselves monthly salaries.

 

“It will surprise you to know that most businesses in Nigeria today die because business owners believe they don’t need to earn salary from their businesses. They have forgotten that they also have financial responsibilities at home or towards their loved ones like paying children’s school fees, house rents etc. So, when there is a need at home, they just go to the business account or bank to withdraw some money, with a belief that after all, it is their personal business and they are entitled to its profit without considering the implications that such may endanger or limit the business growth,” Oshioke said.

He added that entrepreneurs should avoid starting their businesses with borrowed funds.

“There are times in your business when you need loans...and it is not at the beginning,” Oshioke advised.

Also speaking to entrepreneurs at the event, Hassan Abdul, a communication expert advised “always strive to be the leaders in your industry, be it property, entertainment or whatever business you’re into.”

He opined that, communication has a way of making us bigger than life.

“Your first danger is when people know that they have alternatives to what you do. People will always listen to the loudest voices. Let your voices be heard on television, radio, via the social media etc. Communicate regularly with your customers and the general public.”

In his remarks, Dr. Lanre Phillips a Marketing expert during his presentation on the topic “Getting Your Sales and Marketing of the Mark” stressed the need for entrepreneurs to consider choosing value proposition for the emerging markets.

“As entrepreneurs, you should begin to imagine what the world would be like in year 2020. That will enable you to come up with strategies that will make your businesses thrive for several years to come. “While projecting your brand (or business), develop strategies on how best you can serve your customers that will still be relevant in 20 years’ time, as you grow your business with the science of persuasion,” Dr. Phillips urged.