By Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.
There are some basic pitfalls to avoid ,if you want to do business in this complex and some times deceitful world of ours .You must factor in some variables which are time honoured and has transcended generations .They are :
- It is better to have everything on a Written Agreement, if there was a future obligation to be fulfilled ,a Contract or Agreement is more likely to be fulfilled when it written in black and white and evidence of business terms are better put in writing .No matter how close your business partners are to you ,just put the business terms in writing. It is for your interest and for your good . Even if it was parents or siblings that are involved .Just tell them that putting it in writing makes everything ascertainable .
- Do not ever use sentiments to conduct business .Play by the Rules .Business is Business,never say it does not matter he is my friend or relative! Fraud or betrayal is family and friendship neutral.
- When you have an obligation that can be fulfilled as you are making payments ,do not for any reason make payments and allow the other party latitude to deliver later,if he can do it as you making payment, apart from the fact that some persons may never deliver ,some others might become evasive and elusive ,knowing they have your money in their kitty.
- You cannot charge interest on a Loan in Nigeria ,without acquiring a Money Lender’s License from a Magistrate Court ,One will lose both the Principal and the Interest ,if the case got to Court.The Best way to handle the issue is to make it a friendly loan agreement and find a way around the issue of interest .
- Always request for a Post – Dated Cheque ,when some one makes a promise of making a huge payment in the future, for the following reasons :a)A postdated cheque can be used by you as a joker ,if the money is not paid as issuance of dud cheque is a serious criminal offence ,that could land the culprit in Prison ! b) Issuance of a cheque is an evidence of a Business Transaction between parties c)You can pay in the cheque into your current account (after making a photocopy), and the Issuer’s Account will be in debit and yours can be in credit ,whenever any amount is paid into Creditor’s Account .
- Demand for Account Details in Complex
Business Transactions ,and make payments thereto !A person’s Account is the easiest way to track him.With the BVN Platform ,you can ascertain all the Accounts of a person ,through just one of his Account and put a hold on all ,if the need arose.
- Never introduce a person to another , if you are not sure of his business pedigree and character , you may have your hands burnt or even be taken as a Co- Conspirator, if the whole episode turns criminal.
8.In Business, promises are meant to be kept, as the biggest players in business ,thrive on keeping of promises and faithfulness to their business partners .Ensure you keep your promises as it is the speed of trust that makes millionaires out of nothing.
- Do not borrow to a friend ,a sum you can not give him freely, because when the push comes to the shove ,you will lose the money and the friendship.
- When someone negotiates a Business Deal with you , with the Intention of calling you back ,do not be the party to call the person back ,it makes you look cheap and desperate . 11.When you are to meet up an obligation to a party ,do not ignore the person’ s calls for any reason ,doing so will suggest ,you have duped him or that you are unreliable and it may result to a Police Case ! No matter ,how long the issue has taken , always take the person’s calls and explain the situation to him or her .Deliver on time, the biggest jobs or businesses, you will mostly do, comes through referrals, sometimes, you may not even need to see your client or business partner, but millions could be paid into your Account, everything about Business is built on trust.
- Do not give time for fulfilling an obligation you can not meet up with . Always make an additional week allowance for exigencies .
13.Always use official Emails for Official Business or work ,which should preferably comprise your first name and your surname for easy identification! Avoid using Emails that will stand you out as unserious like “email@example.com,blacknigger@ yahoo.com”.
14.Always photocopy your documents before giving them out, or snap same and put them online or in the Cloud .
15.Register your Business name as soon as you start business , as it is a criminal offence for you to do business ,with an unregistered Business Name .Take advantage of the on going free registration of business names on going now by the Federal Government.Check online for details .
- If you had a registered Business Name ,always pay your Annual Returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC) ,failure of which your Business Name will be delisted!
- Pay your Tax and have your Tax Clearance Certificate handy ,you might need it anytime .
18.Design a website for your business ,you will be shocked at the contacts that will reach you from far and wide .
19.Make good use of the Social Media to create limitless Business Opportunities!Instead of posting pictures and talking about haters, advertise your business on your facebook page, Instagram page, Whatssap Status and let people know what you do! Your Patronage will increase tremendously nationwide and beyond if you were really serious
20.You can actually start a Business with out capital! What you need is a will to succeed, an Android Phone with data and people on friends list in the Social Media !You will adveriste the product, they pay, you use their money to buy what they paid for, then you deliver! Boom, before you know you are dealing with people all around Nigeria .
- Be on the look out for Business Support Platforms and follow the News to be abreast of latest Government Policies ,so as not to be caught off guards .You can not do business and not follow the news .You must do so to understand the latest policy issues concerning your business.
- Get a Business Card and exchange with friends and family .It shows you are in serious business and make good use of your network ,church, mosque, school connection, social media connection. This is a type of Resource called Social Capital.
23.When you make profits plough them back into your business, do not use your capital for personal capital projects or to live an ostentatious lifestyle.
24.Always have some one in your office at all times, at least a secretary,it gives your business an image of seriousness.
25.Ensure your receipts have a counter foil and a serial number, to check fraud and do checks on the previous day’s sales and products, before sales commence the next day to check mate fraud.
26.Avoid multiple people owing you at the same time, they can run you out of business.
27.Always sell the original, some people can pay anything for the best.
28.Count your money when given to be sure,even in the Bank do not take any thing for granted .When the money is much they could take a few thousands out and you won’t even notice, when you start spending.
29.Do not make cash withdrawal of huge sums of money from the Bank, because of robbers and kidnappers, if a person insisted on cash tell him or her to follow you to the Bank, make your withdrawal and give him or her the money.
30.Learn to be generous to people around where you do Business, it opens doors and make them go the extra mile for you.
31.The God Factor.Put God First in all you do .No Matter how good you are,it is still time and chance that happens to us all.This is actually the first thing to keep in mind in business.I saved the best last.