First, I joined Institute of Directors and attended the compulsory training for all intending members. In the training class, I had as colleagues MD/CEO of big companies -- Nigerians, Indians, Swedish, British and other nationals. It was a very enriching experience for me, apart from the deep learning I got on how company directors are to carry out their duties. And as excepted, I was the worst dressed. My car was with the mechanic because LASTMA refused me Road Worthiness (the new way to renew the road worthiness certificate is to go for their computerised test which will almost always find something wrong). So I took public transport the first day, then remembered there is Uber. So I took Uber from the venue home the first day, and for the entire second day.

Now you have to take your car here for inspection

That's my car. Was told the brake lights are faulty, one tiny rod under the car is missing and hand-brake needs adjusting as the major faults that caused the road worthiness denial

Here is the verdict room. Excellent people, they called me back that I forgot my phone.

Iod Class. That's me on the ___ (take a guess)


I also continued my back and forth to Republique du Benin. In fact, I am currently there. And I have become a small celebrity. The people at the company I am volunteering for think I know everything. They ask me all types of questions and they always feel amazed by everything I show them. This week I showed them how to extract data from a damaged hard disk using Linux live boot and Linux commands. I also showed them how to connect two computers together using a RJ45 cable, configure the IP address and share files/folders/printers between the computers. They were singing my praises. They are more experienced on hardware and computer repair than networking and programming. So I am more like their God-send. Then today, I decided to gain from them. I asked that they help me clean off the dust I am very sure has greatly settled inside my laptop. And with small fear I watched as they dismantled my laptop. I am glad I asked for the favour because it was no small dust they found inside. Even the fan was full of dust. They gave me special treatment, cleaned every part of my laptop and used a special foam sprayer to clean the exterior making it look new.











Now the laptop looks new and is not always hot like before. I guess the dust was blocking the fan. Happy me.

We had a training class in Asaba last week and my laptop crashed on the night of the day one. It was a terrible thing. I was to continue the class the next day. Luckily, I had a colleague with me and we ended up using one of the participants' laptop. Unfortunately, the problem was a hardware one and not a simple software repair/reinstallation. I had to buy another hard disk. So I bought a 1 Terabyte SSD hard disk for N75,000. 

And that's all that's been going on in my life the last couple of days. Also, I intend to be more strategic with my blog posts since I am no longer following the one post per day rule. I will be making a lot more educational posts.

A bientot!


In september, we had a webinar on Using Microsoft Excel for Investment Planning, Personal Finance & Financial Analysis. Many people loved it and the practical application in their own personal finance and family finances/investment planning. You can still watch the recorded video on YouTube.

Today, however, I have decided to do the written version of it so many more people can benefit from it. You can download the practice along Excel file here.



There are five major formulas you need to have a good grasp of if you want to put some structure and calculations around your financial goals and investment strategy. And they are:

  1. PMT
  2. PV
  3. FV
  4. RATE, and
  5. NPER
PMT
PMT is the Excel formula you use to determine how much you need to save regularly (weekly, monthly, yearly) in an interest bearing account to achieve a particular set financial goal (education fund for your children, buy a house, buy a car or be a multi-millionaire). It is also the formula you use to calculate how much you pay back monthly or yearly for a loan that requires you to pay back the same amount (to cover both interest and principal) over the lifetime of the loan.

How it works is very easy. And below are the transcripts of the demonstration in the video and practice file.

a. Want to have N20 million saved in an education fund for your children by 2030 (13 years time).
Question: How much should you contribute in a 15% annual interest bearing savings/investment account?


PMT has five parameters:
  • Rate: The interest rate. And in this sample case, it is the 15% annual interest rate.
  • Nper: The number of periods. In this case, it is the number of years you plan to save for, 13 years.
  • Pv: Present Value. How much you currently have saved in the investment account. In this case, since we are starting from scratch, that would be zero.
  • Fv: Future Value. The final amount you want in the investment account by the end of the specified period. In this case, 20 million Naira. Notice the minus I put in the formula, it's just a technical way of getting Excel to show the answer in a positive value. That's all.
  • Type: Will you be saving at the end of the year or at the start of the year. For end of year, you put 0 or leave it empty, and for at the start of the year, you put 1. The logic applies for other types of period -- weekly, monthly etc.
One very important thing to note is that the rate and number of periods must agree. You can't use annual rate to calculate monthly contributions without first converting that annual rate to monthly rate. You should check out the part in the practice file on monthly contribution for the same goal to get a good grasp of how to convert from annual rate and annual period to monthly rate and monthly period.

b. You bought a 3 bedroom flat for N100 million and were allowed to do 25% down payment while flexible spreading the remainder in a monthly repayment at a 2% monthly rate.
Question: How much will you pay if you spread the payment over 5 years (60 months)?


Try figure this one out and compare your answer with mine. 

In this sample case, PV is the loan amount outstanding. NPER is the duration. Rate is the repayment interest rate. FV is zero since you mustn't owe them anymore at the end of the duration nor pay them excess. And TYPE is at month end repayment (hence, the leaving empty).

PV
PV is for calculating the worth of an investment project after factoring the cost of the capital (loan interest rate, if you borrowed the money from the bank). 

c. You are part of board of directors for a manufacturing company. They are considering a business idea that will cost N300 million and generate N50 million every year into the 9th year.
Question: If the company's cost of capital (discount rate) is 15% what will be the present value of the business idea if executed and is it a profitable one?


Notice how there is all those components of PMT formula in there -- Rate, Nper, Fv and Type. They still mean the same as previously explained. This time, though, we have the periodic inflow/payment from the business project (same as PMT) and want to calculate the present value/worth (PV). If we can be able to service the cost of the capital deployed and still turn a profit (pay back both the interest and capital of the borrowed money to finance the business idea, and still have something left as profit/compensation for all our stress).

Again the minus in the PMT box is to get Excel to display the final answer in a positive figure. Nothing more.

FV
FV is a very interesting and useful financial planning formula. It allows you estimate how much you will have in an interest bearing account if you do consistent periodic (weekly, monthly or yearly) contribution/saving. 

d. You invest/save N40,000 monthly in a 15% interest rate investment account. 
       Question: In 10 years, how much will you have? What about in 30 years?

 
I don't think I need to explain how this work, based on all my previously explanations you should be able to figure out how it works.

Also notice how the future value stratospherically increase when you save for 30 years as against the 10 years? That is the power of compound interest.

RATE
This is useful for those who take microfinance loans or co-operative loans or buy land on installment payment or any loan that you are required to pay specific constant amounts regularly. It would make a lot of sense to calculate what the actual rate of the loan is, since most times they don't provide you the rate.

e. My dad took a 6 months loan of N400,000 from LAPO Microfinance bank. He would be paying back N479,000 split into equal monthly payments.
Question: What is the rate he was given the loan at?


No comment. You go figure out.

NPER
This is useful for calculating how long it would take you to finish paying for a car or home if you opt for an installmental payment amount you choose. 

f. Your company has a car loan scheme. You took N4 million loan to buy a car and you are allowed to make monthly repayment at a 2% monthly rate.
Question: How long will it take you to pay off the car loan if you make a monthly payment of N200,000?


No comment. You go figure out.

Don't forget to watch the demonstration video and work along with the practice file.

image: dribbble.com
First, now I realise how much of me is consumed in the daily blog post writing ritual. The absence of the self-imposed obligation has made me free enough to go, unintentionally, several days without writing a single post.

Second, I have a good excuse for not writing for the last six days. I have been practicing French in Republic of Benin just right beside us. I got into an exchange programme courtesy AIESEC to volunteer my IT skills for an small Computer Training school in Porto-Novo. I was also given a host family to help me thoroughly practice/improve my French and make my stay less expensive. It has been a wonderful experience. Both the computer training school and the family hosting me are okay with my impromptu going and coming. Every month, I try to block out some days for the exchange programme without having to close down my business here in Nigeria.

The AIESEC Porto-Novo team welcoming me

Teacher Michael (not easing teaching them in French)

Practical Sessions On Computer Networking
I told you all that the camera was going to be very useful to me.

My post today is on a lifestyle habit I want you to have. One that I use to counter my biggest fear. And what is that fear? 

Interestingly, it is not money related. Somehow, I have always had this inexplicable assurance in my mind that I will be very rich or at least not have money problems. Even when I had no logical proof and the current situation wasn't helping matters. Maybe it is because I have been through deep poverty and significant abundance growing up, and it has made me realise first hand that much more than the money itself is one's ability to be resourceful and contented. And also that if you work hard and smart, you'll have more than enough (God sparing you any expensive accidents/sickness). 

So what is that fear I consider my biggest?

It is the fear of being like many old people I see daily who can't even operate their own phones maximally. They have problems with using the internet and computers on a very serious level. I dread being like that in the future. It is like dying before actually dying. Being out of touch with modern technologies and new important skills. I want to be as mentally active as I am today, even much more if possible, in my old age. I want to stay sharp, hard skills-wise, and well tuned to whatever the modern technology of those days will be.

To ensure this, I have made a habit of always learning something very difficult. At every point since my graduating university, I am always having some difficult thing or skill I am working on. Every year that passes, I can always point at one very difficult thing I progressed at and I try to move to a new difficult thing every few years.

This habit forces me to have a very open and absorbent mind. Rather than become the always judging guy whose favorite pastime is contrasting today with the not so long ago past and loves saying "how things have changed", I try to be the guy with more memories of today than yesterday. I want to live fully in today's opportunities and potentials. I want to keep learning everything, though one after the other, that I have always wished I knew. From French language to Programming and Magic. Yes, magic. I have a book on magic tricks and I read it. It teaches the tricks you see people do with coins and cards and other common stuff on TV.

I also embrace the fact that my learning speed might be slower due to my age and the numerous distractions. I am conscious to not let my slow progress discourage me or make me totally belittle what I am learning to the extent of quitting.

And you? Are you always learning something very difficult?




There are many common tasks that I see people spend hours or days on in Excel, and that's if they don't consider impossible them and give up trying to do them.


Some of what I will be covering are:

  1. Automatic update (using refresh) of reports built from numerous files as more files are added (like having year till date report or national sales report automatically update as individual report files from the different months or regions/branches are sent to you regardless of the names they are saved with)
  2. Unpivot data (better seen than explained, so don't miss this segment)
  3. Pivot data
  4. Better and more advanced Text to Columns, can also do Text to Rows (will illustrate)
  5. Extracting data from the web, with daily refresh capability
  6. Analysing your social media activities or digital marketing campaigns (Facebook in particular)
  7. Working with over 1.05 million rows of data (more than you can fit in one Excel sheet)





You shouldn't miss this webinar. Create a reminder; add it to your calendar.


Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm (GMT +1)
Venue: YouTube live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzPRxfEd7UA

As usual, I will be using real world type of data and illustrations.


To constantly be in the loop of all our webinar events, especially the monthly webinar on valuable features of Excel and Business Intelligence, subscribe to our Webinar Directory.


See you!


In our Excel training class for Abuja folks that ended yesterday, we got talking about real estate investment. I asked if there is as much hype about buying land and properties as we have currently going on in Lagos. The discussion got very interesting with some sprinkles of inspiring testimonies, and now I have decided to do at least one real estate investment.

I am thinking of picking somewhere with high growth potential, problem free and not very expensive. Where do you recommend? Or do you have someone I should be talking to?

Also what are the precautions I should take and how do I verify that the land is problem free and that I am dealing with the rightful owners?

I will deeply appreciate any guidance and definitely share my learning experience with you all. Also one more thing: should I do Lagos, Ogun or Abuja?
image: feedomthroughpassiveincome.com
I've got my hands in a lot of things and now have to re-prioritize. One of the changes I have concluded to make is to limit my blog posts to one in two days rather than the daily posts I previously committed to.

It would be nice to say this would improve the quality of the posts you'll get from me going forward. It would be nice to say that I am making this change to serve you all better. It would be nice to say I am doing this just because of you. Maybe I should and find a way to fully convince myself that they are 100% true. But the one truth I don't need to convince myself about is that I am doing this because of me -- to keep fully sane and make more bearable my workload.

Everyday, I am thinking of what I could cut down on to free more time for me and be able to tackle bigger strategic things. And recently, I found out that I am doing too many things that I could outsource (pay someone else to do). It may be hard to pay someone else for what I could do better myself (and already do) but if I want to stop being stressed out and always in want of time, I have to. 

That is why I have outsourced my web app development. Due to the huge cost (the iTunes gift card ecommerce site is costing us N600,000 and monthly running costs; the stock analysis app will definitely cost way way more) I am now focusing on our most marketable ideas. The ones that we can charge for from the day one. I have also engaged freelance writers to generate articles for the investment and personal finance forum, www.investmentng.com One asked for N10,000 per article and another asked for N7,500 per article. The only one who said N10,000/month for 4 - 5 articles says she's not skilled in the investment and personal finance area, so I'll have to guide and support her. I tried to get a good deal from the N10,000/article person and will probably add the N10,000/month person. So will have two people contributing to the forum regularly to fill it with relevant and fresh content.

I am still thinking about what more I can outsource and translate the time freed + output to business growth.



There are many common tasks that I see people spend hours or days on in Excel, and that's if they don't consider impossible them and give up trying to do them.

In this special webinar, I will be taking you through how to achieve the seemingly impossible with PowerQuery and PowerPivot in Microsoft Excel. Plus how to enable them.



You shouldn't miss this webinar. Create a reminder; add it to your calendar.

Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm (GMT +1)
Venue: YouTube live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzPRxfEd7UA

As usual, I will be using real world type of data and illustrations.

To constantly be in the loop of all our webinar events, especially the monthly webinar on valuable features of Excel and Business Intelligence, subscribe to our Webinar Directory.

See you!

Culled from: https://careers.google.com/jobs#!t=jo&jid=/google/business-intern-2018-lagos-nigeria-2920960095&

Apply at: https://careers.google.com/jobs#!t=jo&jid=/google/business-intern-2018-lagos-nigeria-2920960095&


Applications will close Sunday, 12 November 2017, 11:59pm GMT. Our team will review applications on a rolling basis. All hiring will be complete by the end of May 2018. Thank you for your patience while we consider your application. 

Note: By applying to this position your application is automatically submitted to the following locations: Lagos, Nigeria; Prague, Czechia; Brussels, Belgium; Wrocław, Poland; Paris, France; Oslo, Norway; Moscow, Russia; Nairobi, Kenya; Athens, Greece; Warsaw, Poland; Bratislava, Slovakia; Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy; Munich, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; Vienna, Austria; Bucharest, Romania; Vilnius, Lithuania; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Hamburg, Germany; Dubai - United Arab Emirates; Zürich, Switzerland; Istanbul, Turkey; Stockholm, Sweden; Kiev, Ukraine, 02000; Madrid, Spain; Zagreb, Croatia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Budapest, Hungary; Lisbon, Portugal; Copenhagen, Denmark
About the program:Interns at Google bring questions and build answers. We offer a range of internships across EMEA and durations and start dates vary according to a project and location. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and our recruitment team will determine where you fit best based on your resume.
Business Internships are typically offered in the following business areas:
GMS Sales and Operations: When our millions of advertisers and publishers are happy, so are we! Our Google Marketing Solutions (GMS) team of entrepreneurial, enthusiastic and client-focused members are the "human face" of Google, helping entrepreneurs both individually and broadly build their online presence and grow their businesses. We are dedicated to growing the unique needs of advertising companies. Our teams of strategists, analysts, advisers and support specialists collaborate closely to spot and analyze customer needs and trends. Together, we create and implement business plans broadly for every type of businesses.
Large Customer Sales: Our Large Customer Sales teams partner closely with many of the world’s biggest advertisers and agencies to develop digital solutions that build strong businesses and brands. We enjoy a bird’s eye view on the massive transformation occurring as advertising shifts to mobile and online platforms. We're uniquely situated to help shape how companies grow their businesses in the digital age. We advise clients on Google's broad range of products across search, video and mobile to help them connect instantly and seamlessly with their audiences.
Google Cloud: Google Cloud helps millions of employees and organizations empower their employees, serve their customers, and build what’s next for their business — all with technology built in the cloud. Our products are engineered for security, reliability and scalability, running the full stack from infrastructure to applications to devices and hardware. And our teams are dedicated to helping our customers — developers, small and large businesses, educational institutions and government agencies — see the benefits of our technology come to life.
Marketing: Know the user. Know the magic. Connect the two. At its core, marketing at Google starts with technology and ends with the user, bringing both together in unconventional ways. Our job is to demonstrate how Google's products solve the world's problems--from the everyday to the epic, from the mundane to the monumental. And we approach marketing in a way that only Google can--changing the game, redefining the medium, making the user the priority, and ultimately, letting the technology speak for itself.
The idea for Gmail began with 1 Googler. Today it has more than 425 million users and counting.

At Google, one Googler can make a huge impact, and it’s no different with our interns--they are key players in our daily innovation. As an intern, you’ll have the opportunity to work on projects core to Google’s business, whether it be Sales, Google Cloud or Marketing. Our intern recruitment team will determine where you fit best based on your CV and the preferences you indicate on the application form.

Our internships expose you to the technology industry, as well as provide opportunities for personal and professional development. From being challenged, to collaborating with a team, join our team to make an impact.

Note: duration and start date of internship vary depending on the position.

Responsibilities

  • Responsibilities and detailed projects will be determined based on your educational background, interest and skills.

Qualifications

Minimum qualifications:
  • Currently enrolled in a Bachelor's or Master's degree program and maintaining student status throughout the internship. Priority is given to students graduating end of 2018 or in 2019 so please include your graduation date on your resume.
  • Returning to education on a full-time basis upon completing the internship.
  • Ability to commit to a minimum of 10 weeks and up to 6 months at Google.

Preferred qualifications:
  • Previous internship experience in Sales, Advertising, Consulting, Analysis, Customer Service, Marketing or related fields.
image: money.cnn.com

There are many things that run contrary to our usual logic when it comes to surviving and thriving as a businessman or business woman in Nigeria. In today's post I will share the ones I can remember now. Maybe they are universal and apply outside Nigeria, I don't know for sure but I do know that if you want to successfully run a business here in Nigeria and you have worked as an employee before, you will greatly benefit from these tips.

  1. Remember the advice people give about being nice to everyone -- including the gateman, receptionists, secretary etc -- as you don't know who will tip the scales in your favour. It is good advice. There is no benefit in making enemies unnecessarily, even of a gateman you don't see how he will hinder your business. The tip here, though, is many people take it to another extreme unknowingly. They spend too much time discussing with people who can't make the business decision they seek. You should be nice and brief to the non-decision makers. You don't get monthly salary, sales people with guaranteed monthly income can afford to gist with all the people in the client company. Not you. Yes, they can put in word for you that will lead to you getting the project but sadly on average that is the exception and not the norm. Reach out more to decision makers, even if you have to use online tools (LinkedIn, email, Facebook etc).

  2. If you want a discount at the hotel don't waste your time troubling the receptionist, she's not authorised to give you any significant discount or any discount at all. Ask to see the general manager or a marketer. I don't pay the published rate at hotels and sometimes I pay close to half of that rate. And that's how I get those crazy discounts -- talking to the manager or marketer. Tell them you want a special rate for your company so you and your team will be using the hotel or you'll go to a rival hotel. 

  3. Always factor in meetings when dealing with big companies. Sometimes, you'll find that you'll make more money and face less worries from small companies that big companies. In the small company, they treat you more respectfully, you deal with just one or two decision makers and they won't be calling for frequent meetings and are more open to phone/skype calls. But with big companies, you'll be dealing with procurement dept, HR dept, finance dept and the department(s) that needs your solution/service. Each of them wants to do stupid meetings, except the finance that you won't be able to easily get hold of when your payment is delayed. You'll do vendor registration with procurement and depending on the type of company, that can take from a day to a month. And there will be meetings on what the project is about and how it would be done and expectations and timelines and updates. Things that could be done over email and they eventually send via email, after wasting your time in meetings. And if you are a lean company like mine, that is unproductive use of scare human resources. So better to charge way higher than you would charge a small company. And if a small company asks for meeting, ignore the request by saying you are too busy and will do phone call and email. Or they should come to your office.

  4. Better to have structured offerings than bending yourself to every customers' wish. Do you know why craftsmen and artisans seldom get rich nor have a thriving business? The tailor measures every client he wants to do a shirt for and does customized sewing for each one. TM Lewin sows the same sets of shirts in thousands and in set sizes. If you keep tailoring your service to each client's request you will end up like the Nigerian tailor. When the client has big money he will go and buy H&C, Pink, TM Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt. And when he's price conscious, he comes back to you. People will price you when you operate like the market woman who is available for negotiation but will buy at whatever price you say when you operate like Shoprite with no personal attention for anyone nor room for negotiation.

  5. Forget the whole branding hype. Good branding is definitely better than poor branding, but in the long list of what you need to get right in business (as the business owner and not some hired salesperson), branding is not among the top five. People know when they are getting value for their money and when they are not. I won't buy the most colorful and heavily branded phone. If you provide genuinely superior quality and are reasonably priced, you'll win even if your branding is very poor. So never let anyone tell you that branding is the reason PwC is getting the job and you are not.

  6. When it comes to spending to make more money, not all spending are equal. There are two categories of expenses -- capital expenditure and operating expenditure. When a company wants to grow and make more revenue, it is the capital expenditure than increases significantly. Unfortunately, small business owners don't know this. They start buying more expensive suits, renting more expensive offices and beautifying their cars; expenses that don't translate to revenue. Plus attending conferences everywhere -- Naija and abroad. I shake my head for them.
And those are the ones I can share for now. Need to hurry up for a training class that starts in less than 30 mins and I've not yet taken my bath.

The natural growth path of businesses is very similar to that of humans.

image: goldmansachs.com
In the beginning, there is lots of hope and potential. Everyone close to the child see greatness ahead for the child. Then gradually some of those hopes fade away as the reality of parental resources and environment sets in. The nursery school and primary school activities make the child look very far away from any of the great deeds predicted for it.

Then at secondary school, some of the hopes get rekindled. At university, all those potentials start looking real again. And after university, the child is now someone again with all those initial hope and potential. Finally, the child achieves some level of greatness like predicted for it in the beginning.

What is the difference between the child who grew up to be one of the greatest men of his day and the one who grew up to be just average? They both started up with equal potentials and hopes. The difference lies in the path each followed after birth, and not the size of the baby at birth.

And so it is with companies/businesses. How far you will go has very little to do with how you started but what you did since you started.

The world is full of great companies that started as a child's hobby -- Microsoft, Apple etc. We love to take inspiration from the humble beginning. Even the mighty Shell Oil Company started as a sea shell trading company (I think I am right, no time to cross-check). All the difference between them and every other company that started the same time they started but are no more or unknown (insignificant) is in all each company did after starting.

One company acted more like the child who paid attention in school, who had extra after school classes, who was sent to good schools, whose mind was well developed and who attempted great things. The other company just kept existing.

As a business owner, the bulk of your work starts after you set up the company. If you don't just want to exist or fade away, then you have to work hard (harder than you did setting up the company) on growing the company. On stretching the company's competence, competitive advantage, capacity, learning and on attempting big things (taking bold bets). Because that is how businesses grow.