Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Underestimated Forms of Capital

Most people have just “one reason” they have not started their business or embarked on a venture, and that is "Lack of Capital" While this may be a fact, it is generally misunderstood to mean just money or finance. There are four types of capital I will like discuss in this forum. 1. Financial Capital- We are all generally exposed to this so I will move on to the other forms. 2. Reputational Capital- This can also be seen as integrity. Can people take your word to the bank? Are you credit worthy if you don’t have a physical collateral? You can only leverage on this kind of capital if you have built it over the years. Do you keep to time, schedules, deadlines, commitments? This form of capital can easily help you attract financial capital. 3. Relational Capital – I find it strange when people complain that people in authority have shared all appointments to their friends, who else should they share it with? You do business with those you trust. You trust people when you know them. So how do you treat the people in your network right now? Do you look down on some people with disdain? Are you condescending when you interact with people who in your opinion are of a "lower estate"? People who are stranded or without assistance may perhaps have failed to develop and cultivate their social capital. People give to relationships and not to needs. People will give a beggar N50 and give a friend's son N1000 and tell him to manage the small money. 4. Educational (Know-how) Capital – This is the tool that helps you in problem solving. What curse can your course cure? What intellectual contribution can you bring to the table? Your skills and its commercial value comes to play here. The processes and systems you know and how you have put them to use comes to the fore here. In spite of the scarcity of jobs in this country, I have friends who have changed jobs 4 times in the same year. Head Hunters just keep pursuing them on the strength of their know-how, guess what they didn't even apply for those jobs. If what you have is a "pure water" credential, if your skill is common then your chances of attracting financial capital is slim. 5. Time – This is one form of capital we all have equal amount (24 hours each per day). This is the capital with which we can develop, pursue and acquire other forms of capital. How do you use your off-peak period? Are you utilizing fully your professional network and contacts? Are you passive or active in associations? Are you engaged or disengaged. Are you learning, unlearning and relearning? What you do with your time should be value adding. Perhaps I should end with a quote from the oldest book “For unto everyone that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has.” Mattew 25 vs 29. The first rule in capital is knowing that you have something with which to exchange. Don’t go with a cap in hand. Look within, you have all you need!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Strategic Thinking

The standard of living of all animals are typically the same except for the impact of men on their environment. A sharp contrast however exist in the standard of living of men between and within geographic territories. One of the key factor responsible for this is how we have applied our self to thinking and problem solving. Some people have outsourced all their problems to God. That way, the only thing they do is pray. Yet prayer without works is dead. Some other people have outsourced the solving of their problems to the government or CEO’s. They just hope that someone somewhere will do something. The first duty of an individual is to define their present reality. If where you are today is not your responsibility, I doubt if you can make progress. Opportunities are passing some people by on a daily basis. They have not prepared themselves to harness and take advantage of the treasure they see as trash. We need to think out of the box. “Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer To achieve success we have to embrace strategic thinking. According to Wikipedia, Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving success in a game or other endeavor. What is the future of our present decisions? What can we do differently to achieve a different result? Can we establish a relationship between goals? Can we identify the driving goal i.e. the goal with the highest impact? To achieve more in this quarter, we must take steps that moves us towards our goal or gives us an unfair advantage. Don’t be afraid to blaze a new trail. Be ready to be flexible to change approach or methodology if things are not going as planned. Ensure you align your resources to get maximum results. The question you should ask yourself right now is “What has to happen” for you to move to the next level.