Archive for June, 2014

Entrepreneurship – Sales or Return Agreements

June 30, 2014

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What are Sales or Return Agreements and when do they become useful for an entrepreneur?

 

In the present economy with limited credit SOR Agreements are a increasingly popular way for new suppliers, distributors and manufacturers to build a distribution network with established retail outlets. Sales or return (also called a consignment agreement) is a commercial arrangement by which a retailer pays only for goods sold, returning this that are unsold to the supplier.  The supplier is the seller and retains ownership of the goods till they are paid for in full and after a certain period takes back unsold goods.

 

While a SOR agreement might seem like a great way to move mechanise it is important to be aware of the risks and mitigate them accordingly. technically the supplier is providing credit for the buyer, at 30, 60, 90 days or more. The number of days that you are willing to provide credit depends on a number of things – the capacity of the retail outlet,  their reputation, the customer traffic and the terms and conditions (T&Cs) you agree with them. Always try to have a written agreement. A lot of trading in Nigeria is on the informal market where written agreements are rare, it is important nevertheless to have a written document or if you are using a verbal agreement clear terms and witnesses.

 

Terms and conditions should include clauses that cover what happens in the event of loss from theft, fire or bankruptcy.  Legally the retailer does not own the goods and they remain the responsibility of the supplier. Because the retailer does not own the goods and can return all unsold stock there is no great incentive to market your product. Try and negotiate display terms and if you will do any in store marketing (e.g. display cards, posters, stand etc) discuss with the retailer before hand and be sure they agree for you to bring in and display your marketing materials.

 

Also every important to get the retailer to agree to pay for any damaged goods. This is frequently neglected and goods are returned damaged or shabby and the supplier is unable to sell them elsewhere as new. One way to mitigate this risk is to deliver a limited quantity of goods for a shorter period of time and to visit the retail outlet frequently to assess the status.  You can read more about how to mitigate the risks of SOR agreements here.

 

 

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Hell Is Being Stuck in A Nation Of Passive – Aggressive Malcontents

June 28, 2014

I’m tired of Nigerians that have nothing better to do than bellyache about everything. Criticism has become a national past time. We are a nation of dour faced malcontents.

 

“Nigerian ehn? See dem! How stupid is dat? Who gave dem driving licence sef? This country ehn?” says my very Nigerian friend disdainfully.

 

“Are we not Nigerians too?”

 

“I’m talking about the unwashed, ignorant, superstitious masses. You know, everybody else.”

 

‘Are we different from the them?’

 

“Why are you talking like dat? You’re a lawyer, you’re exposed, travelled, you see how its done in other countries.”

 

“So does that mean we are not Nigerians anymore?”

 

“Me, I’m an Afropolitan sha.”

 

“Ok. But no one taught them the the highway code. Their idea of driving is ‘move the car, keep moving’. Some dude was asked what he thought the broken white lines in the middle of the road meant. He said he thought the painters had run out of paint.”

 

“See. Its the governments fault. Nigerian leaders, ehn? They are so busy enriching themselves they don’t care what happens to the rest of us….”

 

He became one of the masses all of a sudden.

 

I tune out. This is getting tedious. Everywhere I go sooner or later the conversation veers towards all the things wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians.

 

“Nigerians are like this…Nigerians are like that….”

 

Try to start a business in Nigeria

 

“It won’t work here, you know we are different…”

 

Yeah we know you are different. We’re actually asking you to change you know.

 

When I’m driving in Nigeria – I just accept the fact that 99% of the other drivers probably never took a driving test or read a high way code and are prone to road rage. I put on my music and my sunglasses, say a prayer and drive carefully. I’m not about to spoil my day bitching about it and getting sick.

 

What would I rather talk about?

 

I’m obsessed with mechanising mass production of garri. Now that would be a revolution.  EVERYBODY in Nigeria eats garri. I’m obsessed with finding efficient distribution channels and harnessing informal markets. I’m obsessed with the human stories of Nigeria. I’m obsessed with justice.

 

Beyond a necessary analysis of the dynamics of a problem I don’t want to obsess on it. I want to obsess about solutions, case studies, best practices.  I want to talk more about the triumphs of Nigeria’s humanity less about its fuck ups. I’m imperfect too.

 

But scandal sells. Outrage reinforces the feeling of superiority.

 

“This is my opinion, the one I think everyone should have.” he tweets.

 

“Can you imagine! A man runs away from the scene of an explosion wearing a back pack and police shoot him because he ignored their shouts to stop. How stupid is that! How do they know he’s a terrorist? He could just be in shock.” She quips.

 

“Nice shot Nigerian police man!”  I think.

 

We’re all experts. We’re Nigeria.

 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road Photo Lesley Agams

Follow the Yellow Brick Road Photo Lesley Agams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall of Bagdad!

June 18, 2014

I don’t need a movie! Its even got its own soundtrack on CNN.

The Arab Spring has been very frosty.

As I watch the news I can’t help wonder if this will be Nigeria soon. The parallels are striking.

I wonder if its good or bad. What does it say about a ‘nation’ when it must use force to hold itself together?

There will be death, pain and wailing in the land. As mothers cry. As wives cry. As children cry.

Are you ready for the tsunami? Are you afraid? Or ‘alarmed?

Are you perspiring? or sweating?

What will be will be. Brace yourself. Here it comes.

I feel the reverberations  under my feet

Is your house built on a rock or on sand? Where will you find yourself tomorrow when the sun comes up?

Buckle up, buckle up … the time has come for which you were born.

Bear witness

 

 

 

 

Thinking About My Father on Father’s Day

June 15, 2014

I been thinking about my father. Not surprising. The capitalist machine has been churning the cream. All its been selling the past two weeks or so is Father’s Day.  Its made me think about my father. We never did Fathers Day. Or birthdays. Or Christmas Day, me and him. Not after we returned to the village. He was a socialist, a free thinker and he was into conspiracy theories.

“It is all American imperialist  propaganda. Don’t you know that December 25th used to be a Roman pagan ceremony?” he told me.

“Its just a festival Dad, a time for people to be happy.”

“If you want a festival to be happy at, come home for Owuh. It is our own.”

I never did.  Not after I left the village for Lagos.

We had a difficult relationship. Me and my father. He was always trying to make me submit and I was always resisting. I had a mind of my own. There was no ‘mother’ to mediate. He was smart but I always considered myself smarter. Even when I was four. He thought so too. Why else would he call me an accomplice in my own kidnapping from Russia when I was three and a half?

I been thinking about him a lot  lately even before Father’s Day advertising began. He passed away 3 years ago. I think I maybe finally letting go so much of the bitterness and disappointment that characterised our relationship.

He was a harsh man, a pure narcissist. It was  always his way or the high way. I spent many a night on that highway. I was a defiant child. He tried but he couldn’t beat it out of me. He brought me to the village to add value at the community level, he believed in community development. He also believed in violent revolution. He was a fighter, a warrior, with hot blood and a hot temper.

He was also charming and urbane, with a gift for the gab. He either charmed or bullied everybody he met into submission. Or he ignored them if he couldn’t. The ladies loved him. Even when he beat and abused them. Then I hated him for them and for me. I don’t know maybe he was a generous lover. I escaped as soon as I could. I could love him better at a distance.

Years of living in the village disabled him physically, emotionally, mentally and cognitively. He died from complications of diabetes on 6 April 201,1 a paranoid, bitter, nasty old man. His death took me by surprise. I used to joke he was too mean to die.

I loved my father very much. I miss him  when I have a question about the family history and genealogy. He could recite the names of his ancestors back ten generations. I miss him when I see his hand in the process of my evolution but can’t say “Thanks Dad, I get it now”.  I miss him because he was the first man I loved.

 

The Politics of Fathers Day

June 15, 2014

Men all over the world are gleefully embracing  Father’s Day, some have even called it Man’s Day. Makes you almost feel sorry for them. Its like they are celebrating a victory. A lot of the dad’s I know are even wishing themselves Happy Father’s Day. It must be tough being a father in this rapidly changing modern (or is it post-modern) world.

Father’s Day is also provoking some feminist back lash. I read some radical feminist group in America went to court to stop Father’s Day. Now why would they do that? Its feminists  like that give feminism a bad name. I want to celebrate father’s and fatherhood, its about time we had more positive messaging around fatherhood and men.

Not all father’s are dead beat dad’s, bums, drunks, cheats, narcissists and wife beaters. There are lots of committed, caring and engaged father’s out there and we need positive reinforcement to make more good dad’s. Of course when you witness the abuse  a lot of women  and children worldwide receive from fathers its easy to want to hate all men. Especially if your personal experience was rough.

But even ‘bad’ fathers deserve some empathy. They’re not always evil (though some are for sure) sometimes they’re just miseducated. The old school dad’s were particularly harsh. Someone told them ‘petting’ the kids was bad. They had a Colonel Von Trapp mentality and submissive wives.

I always tell my male friends that how they treat their daughters is how their daughters will expect to be treated by men. So if you treat her (and her mother) good she is less likely to accept bad treatment from an intimate male partner when she grows up.

So all you dad’s out there enjoy your day, whether you’re a good dad or a dead beat dad your kids love you. I hope they can tell you that comfortably.

 

Adult Sex Education – Casual Sex, Hook-Ups & Friends With Benefits

June 13, 2014

As part of Adult Sex Education month I’m facilitating a discussion on twitter tonight on “Casual Sex, Hook-Ups & Friends With Benefits”. ‘Casual sex‘, also called recreational sex, seems to be any sexual activity outside the context of a committed emotionally exclusive relationship.

 

There is a diversity of opinion for and against casual sex.  And different standards and sanctions for men and women that have casual sex even though the World Health Organisation has said;

“Sexual rights protect all people’s rights to fulfil and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health, with due regard for the rights of others and within a framework of protection against discrimination.” (WHO, 2006a, updated 2010)

Most Nigerian’s don’t talk about sex openly. And when they do they rarely tell the truth. The appearance of virtue is frequently more important than actual virtue. Adult Sex Month is a great opportunity to crack open that guilt ridden vault and let in some air and light.

As a Nigerian what do you think about casual sex?  What is your advice on casual sex?  One young Nigerian women laments the new era of open sexuality and casual sex here.  Jess Obinwanne wrote about Nigeria’s changing sexual values in Daily Times in 2011 here.  I personally recall encountering similar  sentiments as a teenager and young adult, everyone publicly lamenting the loss of that Victorian innocence.  As usual without a hint of irony.

I googled ‘casual sex Nigeria’ I got lots of results for young men unabashedly looking for  sugar mummies, the two examples above and Dr. Abogena’s  ‘Christian Sex Rules‘.  He says casual sex is emotionally unsatisfying and ignores that an absence of emotion is the objective. I sent him an email asking him to share some more of his thoughts and join us tomorrow. Still waiting for a response. I saw only one result for a Nigerian female looking for casual sex on nairaland back in 2007. She was crucified.

When I googled ‘casual sex’ I got some sex positive, interesting and informative results from HuffPost, Jezebel, ask.men.co.uk and BlogHer.  Their advice can be summed up as – talk about it first, respect each others opinions (and feelings), use protection, talk about it again, where possible don’t spend the night together, don’t feel guilty and don’t exploit.  I also came across The Casual Sex Project where people share their casual sex stories in an effort to debunk stereotypes and misconceptions.

So as usual in Nigeria a lot of moralising and no useful advice despite the fact that a whole lot of casual sex is going on and is acknowledged. Over the past few days following other discussions on #sextalknaija I have been struck by suggestions that Nigerian women are unable to negotiate sex or are too inhibited sexually yet everyone is also lamenting the loss of values,  virginity, growing incidence of STI’s, divorce, ‘run babes’ and prostitution.

The choice to have casual sex (or any type of sex) or not resides with the parties and not anyone else but the choice must be an informed choice. Make no moral judgment about right or wrong/good or bad. That’s for each person to decide. Different strokes for different folks you know. Sorta like religion. Just keep health and safety first.  Before sensual pleasure. Or beside it at least. Right?

Let’s talk about this. Join me tonight at 7pm GMT for #sextalknaija