Rémy Martin: #OneLifeLiveThem with Arese Ugwu

I’ve been too shy to post my Rémy Martin commercial lol! Even though its been showing on Tv for a min 😊. That day was filled with so many obstacles we started filming at 7am in the morning and didn’t finish till 11pm at night because of all the mishaps in between….by the time we were done hair and makeup were not the same again😂…but Remy Martin had put together a great team that was committed to getting it done (even though @bidemizakariyau bailed on me at 10pm *sideeye* )

*permit me to be deep for a second *😂 the video shoot was like a metaphor for life…you have a great vision, life throws you obstacles but if you want to succeed you have to learn to roll with the punches and stay resilient

Watch the ad below

#remymartin #onelifelivethem #brandinfluencer #pacesetter #thesmartmoneywoman #thesmartmoneymovement

Episode 8: How to raise money for your small business

Brothers and sisters, times are hard! At this point it’s probably safe to say we are in a struggle economy, so the prospect of raising funds for small businesses has become even harder and more expensive. However, it helps to be prepared so that if you are lucky enough to get in front of a potential investor you can ace it.

I find that creative entrepreneurs especially in this part of the world may have brilliant ideas but don’t know how to effectively pitch those ideas to investors. Omotola could be the best fashion designer in the world, master of her craft but if she can’t articulate how investing in her business will realize returns she will be unable to raise funding for her business.

An investor is like a client; you are selling them something so you need a compelling story they can buy into. The art of fundraising is basically looking at the person in front of you and figuring what part of your story they will resonate with the most.

3 tips that could help:

Get clear on the value proposition
Great ideas are fantastic but in order to raise funds for your business, you need to be able to explain to an investor how your business idea is going to make money. To do this you need to have a clear understanding of the problem your business solves and a good handle on the financials that underpin your business. Do you understand the business model? What are the revenue streams? What is the cost structure? You don’t have to become an accountant but you have to be able to interpret the numbers and what they mean for the business.

Articulate why you are raising this money
I’ve had several conversations with entrepreneurs that sound like this. ‘If I just had N5, 000,000 I would be able to grow my business’. However, when the conversation goes a step further, I find that many entrepreneurs are not able to articulate or justify how that money will improve the bottom line. They may have a vague idea but no actual facts. At the end of the day what an investor would like to know is how the money they invest in your business will translate to profit. What kind of returns are they likely to get? What level of risk is involved? When will they get their money back? So it’s important to be able to explain the how. For example, Omotola the fashion designer could say, I need N5, 000,000 to buy machines that will increase production of my fastest selling lines by 40% which will translate to at least a 25% increase in profit margins because there is pent up demand for the products but limited supply.

Demonstrate an understanding of your industry
You will need to explain the market opportunity. What is the size of the market? What percentage of said market are you targeting? What’s the competitive landscape like? What is your customer acquisition strategy and what makes you uniquely placed to tackle this market.

Overall, funds are limited so your case has to be compelling enough to convince a investor that the should take a risk investing in your business as opposed to putting the funds in the stock market, real estate or the next kid with a bright idea.

Are we glamourising entrepreneurship?

Just ten to fifteen years ago, in Africa becoming financially successful and making your parents proud generally meant that you had to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant and maybe even an investment banker. Pursuing a university degree, then deciding to become an entrepreneur would have caused mayhem in most Nigerian homes. You were expected to choose a profession, work hard at it and then climb the ladder as far as you could.

However with the scarcity of ‘good’ jobs and unemployment on the rise, starting a business has become the new normal for many graduates. In fact, entrepreneurship has become one of the most sustainable ways to solve Africa’s unemployment problem. However are we glamourising it to the detriment of our long- term success?

Three things we should probably reconsider

Selling the idea that entrepreneurship is the ONLY guaranteed way to success.
I cant count the number of times I’ve heard, ‘If you don’t follow your dreams, you’ll end up working for someone who did’, ‘no one ever got rich working a 9-5’,these are over-generalizations that have consequences because the fact is not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Plus if we all become our own bosses who is going to work for who? Who are the employees going to be?

It is wonderful that non- traditional avenues to earn money have opened up in the form of entrepreneurship but why do we always have to have two extremes.

Mark Zuckerberg may be the founder of Facebook and Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook’s COO and author of ‘Lean in’ which has helped millions of women around the world in the workplace. Just because she isn’t the founder of Facebook it doesn’t make her less important because she focuses on being a value driven individual.

Shouldn’t the focus be on encouraging people to be entrepreneurial in their thinking whether they work in a corporation or run their own business? People who are entrepreneurial in their thinking are value driven. They adopt critical thinking and embrace innovation and continuous improvement. They are the ones you see solving problems everyday and are getting paid to do so regardless of whether they are the founders of the company or not.

Are we choosing entrepreneurship for the right reasons?
With entrepreneurship growing in global popularity, everyone wants to be a boss, many graduates don’t even bother joining the rat race anymore, they come out of university saying ‘I don’t want to work for anyone; ‘I want to be my own boss’ and a great proportion of the ones who are already on the corporate ladder can’t wait to jump off and start a business so that they too can escape the rat race.

The thing is becoming an entrepreneur isn’t about avoiding the discipline of a 9-5 job or jumping into the next ‘it’ industry because other people seem to be making money there. Becoming an entrepreneur is about finding a problem that you are uniquely placed to solve, that people will pay you for. You shouldn’t be thinking about a me too or copy and paste approach because the idea of working for yourself sounds appealing, the thought process should be, what skills or resources do I have to execute that idea? Am I passionate enough about it to pursue it and follow through?

The Myth that good ideas are the key to business success
We live in a world where the future of success is touted as becoming an entrepreneur so the focus of most graduates is to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sara Blakely and create the next Facebook or Spanx which is great. But contrary to the message that is popularly conveyed that becoming an entrepreneur is about the next big idea, ideas are a dime a dozen and execution and the ability to solve a series of problems is the actual key to success.

Becoming an entrepreneur means you are responsible for an enterprise and beyond the idea, a successful enterprise has to have structure, a business model and a value proposition.

Instead of glamourising either end of the spectrum a 9-5 or entrepreneurship lets focus on encouraging people to be value driven and solve problems where they are and focus on finding career paths that suit their skill set and temperament, where they can thrive.