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10 Common Legal Mistakes Small Business Owners And Entrepreneurs Make

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Small business owners and entrepreneurs are known to be very busy people always having so many things on their schedule. If they are not attending to clients and customers, they would be busy marketing/advertising their products and services.  In the bid to spread their brands, take part in the selling process or tackle management issues, many small business people disregard the legal requirements of operating a business and make a lot of avoidable legal mistakes. They fail to realize that legal missteps are one of the top reasons for business failure. As you might have known already, IGNORANCE IS NO DEFENCE (IN THE COURT OF LAW)!

Legal Requirements When Starting Business In Nigeria, Common Legal Mistakes Small Business Owners And Entrepreneurs Make

For small businesses, especially in critical sectors like medical care, food, e-commerce, and insurance, it is very crucial to focus on the legal aspects of running a business. This is because not knowing these legal requirements or obligations can bring down a startup and as a business owner, you do not want that to happen to you.

In this article, I discuss ten (10) common legal mistakes you should avoid as a small business owner.

10 Common Legal Mistakes Small Business Owners And Entrepreneurs Make and how to Avoid Them.

(1) Not using a lawyer.

A lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs believe that they do not need to involve the services of an attorney at the start of the business like the bigger entrepreneurs do. They believe that legal issues will only emerge when their business becomes bigger, so they can get a lawyer later. This is an enormous mistake that can cost you a large amount of money if not your organization. So it is better you get an attorney before you launched your business, irrespective of the scale of the business. The lawyer would help you to understand the legal obligations and requirements of your business and how to go about it properly.

Speaking on this, Ramzy Ladah, the CEO of Ladah Law once said,

‘A lot of soloenterprenuers and partnerships mistakenly believe that they do not have the same legal obligations that bigger enterprises have. They believe that legal issues will only arise as they scale, and they can always bring in an attorney later on. This is a huge mistake and one that can cost you your company, if not buckets of money. Get a lawyer before launch, and let him or her get you set up correctly from the beginning.’  

(2) Not Tracking Expenses.

Another legal mistake commonly made by small business owner and entrepreneurs is not keeping track of their small or large expenses throughout the year. Most business owners only try to collect receipts when tax returns are to be filed. Hence, what is not documented is not deduced thereby leaving money in the open.

There are many ways approaches to keeping records of expenses. Entities should hire professional accountants for stock, inventory management. This will help to curtail a business’s expenses if the volumes are quite high.

(3) Not Having “Terms and Conditions” To Which Customers Agree To Be Bound.

Term and conditions policies often regarded as “Terms of Use” or “Terms of Services” are a set of policies that explain what your business expects from your customers and what the customers can expect from your business/company.

If your business does not have this policy written and published for customers to read before making a purchase, then you’ll end up spending a lot of money to resolve issues between you and your customers if such arise in future.

(4) Failure to Have a Privacy Policy.

According to, www.privacypolicy.com, A privacy policy is a legal document that includes information on how a company collects handles and processes data of its customers. It simply describes whether information about customers is kept confidential or shared with third parties. As such, you have to inform your customers before sharing their contact information like their email, phone numbers and biometric data with another company. A privacy policy must be disseminated publicly.

(5) Lack of Documentation.

Most small businesses do not keep documents of what has happened in their company. This can break a crucial deal of business and cause issues to mount up in future. You must have a register to keep records of all interactions in the business. This amongst other advantages helps to keep you and your business in check, expenditure-wise. For a comprehensive list of documents that your businesses must have to operate legally in Nigeria, please check my free report on essential legal documents every your businesses must have in Nigeria.

(6) Lack of Compliance to Security Laws.

Most small business owners and entrepreneurs usually issue shares to family members and close friends without complying with the specific laws usually in the haste to spread their brands. What many of these business owners do not know is that they did this Shares and other securities issued without following the specific disclosure and presentation requirement could lead to serious legal problems. You might want to avoid this in your business.

(7) Not registering Your Business.

As an entrepreneur, it is very crucial that you register your business because its importance can never be overemphasized. Registering your business gives you a unique identity, makes you look serious to your customers. As a matter of fact, you must your business must be registered with the appropriate organ of government, in this case the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) before you can obtain serious loans and get quality investors to invest in your business.

Above all, registering your business projects you from personal liability. If you register a Limited Liability Company [LLC], make sure that you get a name verification before making a brand logo, banner, business card, or building a website. This is very important and a concrete legal requirement that you must meet. For details explanation of the process to get how to get Certificate of Business Incorporation for your business in Nigeria, please see this guide

(8) Not Hiring Employees Correctly .

In the bid to find the employees, many business owners end up not following the proper procedures for hiring the right employees. Recruiting ideal workers is a critical part of your achievement in business. Therefore, you must have proper documentation in place when hiring people. These include employee handbooks, benefit forms, offer letters, and operating procedures for jobs. While this might take you time to create, it will save you a lot of money, time and other valuables and offer protection to your business.

(9) Mixing Personal and Business Expenses.

Business and personal expenses often become indistinguishable for startups. This is one of the major sources of confusion for small businesses especially when taxes are filed in. This often leads to income authorities canceling various deductions on an ad hoc basis resulting in a higher tax expenditures levy. To avoid this, small business owners and entrepreneurs should have separate records and financial accounts from the beginning.

(10) Reliance on One Key Customer.

This is a great mistake made by most small business owners. They tend to rely on one key customer especially if the client is a government. This is very deadly as a change of government or policies can cost you a lot if not break your business. Even if the key client is not the government, the person or entity can fail in his/her/their business dealings which might lead to your failure too.

Okay, let’s wrap up…

Starting a business is really intriguing yet challenging. While focusing in how to spread your brand, you should also take note not to make costly mistakes as you start. This is because if you avoid these mistakes, your business has more chances of moving smoothly from the beginning and growing steadily from there. But this doesn’t mean your business will not experience problems. As a business owner, be ready to experience some little challenges here and there.

As a business you should try as much as possible to comply with the legal requirements needed when starting a business. This will help you to avoid the majority of the legal mistakes which small (and even big) businesses make and the punitive measures that come with making these mistakes.

With the right education, mentorship and advice like the one I give in this article, you will so well and surmount any challenges that might come your way. Talking of business education, I like you to see an article I published lately on business schools in Nigeria near you. You might want to enroll in any of the nearby business schools to widen your entrepreneurial and managerial horizon. Trust me, the benefits are grandiose.

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Ekemini Ekpo is a professional Blogger, Research Analyst, Internet Marketer, and Tutor. He is passionate about Business, Investment, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Personal development.

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6 Tips for Small Businesses Before Making a Business Partnership

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The next line of action an entrepreneur especially someone running a small business considers to boost his/her business is partnership. This is because the main goal of every business is to make money and business partnership can offer a great deal of that.

Starting a business gives the business owner the power to choose the people he/she is willing to work with. Making the right business partnership decisions has the potential of escalating the profits and scope of a business almost overnight. However, partnering with individuals, brands or companies without the proper guide or information do not guarantee 100% profit.

There are things you should take into consideration before you go into business partnership (s). These things can make or break your business hence it is important to take note of them ahead of time.

I implore you to take your time and consider the points I am about to share with you if you truly value your business and intend to maximize your business partnership(s) and get full returns on your investment.

Useful Tips Small Businesses Should Consider Before Going Into A Business Partnership

  1. Be Clears With Your Motive(s).

When you are starting a business partnership, it is important that you have thorough understanding of your reasons for going into the business.

You should clearly define your motivation for the business venture which is to say what you hope to get out of the relationship. There should be a clear reason behind your quest for business partnership instead of running the business alone. Is it to increase your business’ income, to add more value to your products or to reach out to a greater audience?

You must have a firm reason behind your need for business partnership and why it is necessary. Be clear about your motivations or intention behind the partnership and make it clear to your prospective business partner. This will help to steer your small business partnership in the same direction.

  1. Choose A Partner With Complementary Skills.

You can’t have a partner that has the same strength as you. You have to double the power of your startup team right off the bat. For example, a shy tech expert who wants to start an Internet business would do well to find a partner with sales, marketing, and people skills. This way, both partners can focus on doing what they enjoy and are good at. So, partner someone, a company or a group with skills that are complementary to yours.

business partnership

Business partners dialogue how to move the business forward.

  1. Discuss the Long-Term Vision of the Business With Your Partner.

You have found a complementary partner, what next? Strategic business partnerships are in many ways like a marriage, and both parties must be committed to the growth and long-term development if it’s going to work. From the onset of the partnership, express your expectations and sign contracts with one another so that trust is established.

  1. Define The Job Roles Of Each Partner.

Having strategized and established a vision for the business, you proceed to discuss roles differentiations between you and your business partner(s). That is, what roles will each partner play? This is a keen move to eliminate any confusion on what each partner’s duties will be.

A business partnership is bound to fall apart soon after it is formed when one partner believes the other should be performing certain tasks other than the ones he or she is performing.

To avoid this confusion, prepare a written document with your partner stating the roles each individual plays so it can always be referred to when the need arises.

  1. Devise A Way to Measure Each Partner’s Contributions.

There will be times when partnerships experience stress and at that time one party may be tempted to assume that the other party is not pulling in the much-needed weight. To avoid mounting resentment, define clear and objective performance indicators from the beginning to measure each of your contributions to the business’s success. This way, if one or the other of you fails to meet up with his/her end, you can have a level-headed conversation based on facts instead of feelings and thoughts.

  1. Make Provision For The Demise/Exit of a Partner.

What happens if one partner is deceased or wants to leave the partnership? To manage these situations you need a buy/sell agreement document.  This establishes a method by which the partnership interest can be valued and the interest purchased either by the partnership or individual partners. In addition, it will do you extremely good to develop an exit strategy. Like a prenuptial agreement, an exit strategy should clarify what will happen to the business’s real and intellectual properties should the partnership come to dissolution.

Conclusion

Great businesses are founded on great partnerships. But great businesses can also be destroyed by bad partnerships. Small business partnerships can be harmonious, mutually beneficial relationships that help propel a business forward. You should endeavor to choose a business partner just as carefully as you’d choose a romantic partner. This could be someone you spend the rest of your life working with, so don’t go into it loosely.

Have you analyzed these tips? If you have carefully done that, you can finally say “I do” to that business partnership and go ahead to execute it.

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4 Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Making Money In Nigeria

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With the increase in online transactions in Nigeria today and increased internet coverage and usage, it is expected that the average website in Nigeria should make a sizeable amount of money daily.

However, this is not so.

Most websites these days still operate like traditional offline businesses with a beggary look and operation. Rather than serve as a cash-spitting machine for the owners, most websites in Nigeria take more money from the business than they give. This makes it appear like owning and operating a website in Nigeria is unprofitable and mediocre endeavor. It is not supposed to be this way.

If you are an entrepreneur in Nigeria with a website which is not making money or as much money as it should, this article is for you. Read this to the end to find out the 4 reasons why your website is not making money in Nigeria and how to fix it.

The 4 Key Reasons Why Your Website Is Not Making Money in Nigeria as It Should and How to Reverse This

1.     Your Homepage is Not Friendly, Lacks Call-To-Action (CTA) Features

The reason why most websites don’t make sales (as much as they should) is the lack of an attractive, enticing, welcoming, and customer-friendly homepage. If your website cannot ignite a visitors interest to do business with you (on the first, second or third visit), don’t expect to make (much) sales from it. Your website can bring you money if you can influence your visitors buying decisions as soon as they land on your website.

Even if visitors to your site don’t buy on the first visit, at least your homepage should have an offer (i.e. a lead magnet) to wet their appetite and convert them into subscribers who may likely buy in the future. This is how most smart businesses make money from their websites. If your website is not designed this way, the chances of you making money from it are very slim.

To fix this, kindly redesign your homepage with clear Call-To-Action (CTA) button or form with an offer to collect visitors information for (email) marketing and re-marketing. Doing these will greatly improve sales and income from your website in a short time.

Why Your Website Is Not Making Money

Why Your Website Is Not Making Money and How to Reverse This

2.     You Are Not Selling Anything!

Damn it! How can you expect money from your website when there is nothing on it for someone to buy? When it is not clear that you are selling, how and why do you want people to give you money? When you are not selling anything on your website, it suggests that you don’t need money and people won’t force money on you.

So, if you need money from your website, sell something on it. In fact, sell things! You don’t have to create everything you sell. You can sell other people’s products and earn commissions ding so if your product is not yet ready. This is called affiliate marketing. You may incorporate an ecommerce section on your website to sell a physical or electronically deliverable product (related to) on your niche.

3.     You Are Promoting Too Many Things Too Soon

A website may be well-designed but lacks an orderly sales sequence. This will leave visitors to your website confused and overwhelmed. You can’t expect a new visitor to your website to buy all your products at once on one page, in one day.

Who does that?!

This is the bad marketing practice. Doing this makes the visitor a victim of offers’ overload and he/she may leave angrily without making a purchase.

Rather than commit this marketing felony on your website, place single and unique outstanding Call-To-Action messages on your website pages. This will help your visitors to make a quick buying decision.

4.     You Are Selling Features Not Solutions (Benefits)

An entrepreneur’s primary responsibility is to sell benefits not features. However, many websites waste too much time on preaching about the features of their products and pay little to no time talking of the benefits.

That’s stupidity!

No one wants to buy your shiny shoes because it’s shiny without solving a peculiar need. But anyone will buy your shiny shoes if he/she perceives the benefits it has compared to other shoes.

So, sell solutions not features; let the visitor know why he/she should buy what you sell and why that should be done immediately. You may include urgency in your sales’ copies to incentivize your prospects to take prompt action. Beside doing so in writing, you may go a step further to place a timer on the offer’s page to boost urgency in the prospect.

That’s how smart website owners make money from their websites.

So…

The question now is, “are you smart enough to take your piece of the cake from the market?”

Or, are you still doing things the old-fashioned way and expect your website to make sales without positioning it to do so?

The reason why your website is not making money as it should is because you have been doing so many things wrongly with or without you knowing it.

Now you know; the ball is in your court. Go back and apply the pieces of advice I just shared with you in this article to your website and watch it make you money in a matter of days.

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4 Reasons To Use Email Marketing in Nigeria for Your Business

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Are you a business owner in Nigeria looking for an effective and low-cost means of communicating with your customers and clientele? Try Email Marketing! Email Marketing in Nigeria can allow you to sell your product or service to your customers through direct marketing.

Also, with Email Marketing you can inform or remind your prospects (i.e. subscriber) of the availably of a (new) stock. The main advantage of Email marketing over other forms of marketing like social media marketing is that it drives sales without having to spending so much after the initial setup fees and maintenance fees.

To profit from Email Marketing in Nigeria, you need to first of all build an email list of your customers. This will help you gain your customer’s unique information – what they like to buy, how often they buy, when they like to buy and how likely they are to buy what you have.

Besides, with proper email marketing, you can gain information on your customer’s purchasing strength, their demographic information, tastes and dislikes. You will use this information to sell to your customers whenever there is the need to do so.

This article explains in detail the reasons for using Email Marketing in Nigeria.

Email Marketing in Nigeria

Email Marketing in Nigeria for for Business Growth

Why You Need Email Marketing in Nigeria for your Business

1.     Email Marketing Can Help You To Identify Your Customers Or Prospects Unique Needs

With an email list of your customers, you can determine your customer’s preferences and specific by sending them an email requesting for feedback. Based on the feedback, you can know if the product you have in mind to sell will actually sell. Email marketing is an information providing tool that decides the success or failure of your next product. The beautiful part is that you do this at almost no advertising cost to you besides the initial and recurring maintenance fees.

2.     Having An Email List Reduces The Cost Of Your Marketing And Business Operation

I have mentioned twice in this article that email marketing is comparatively cheaper than other forms of marketing like digital marketing. This is because it is true. Besides, it is always available to you to use compared with hiring an employee or office assistant to run your marketing.

While an employee will fall sick, need a break for holidays, demand employee bonus or insurance, Email marketing does not. It is always there for you at no additional avoidable expenses. So, if you are looking for a way to reduce your cost of marketing and do away with some of the troubles of human labour, try Email marketing.

3.     You Can Sell/Rent Your Email List

Leave your local business for a moment and think global. Do you know that individuals and big corporations are currently looking for businesses with harvestable PDI (public domain information to work with? Yes, this is true. Email marketing is one of the most-sought after PDI tools. If you have a list of thousands or millions of targeted buyers on a given niche which investors are willing to buy, you can sell (or rent) this and make huge profits doing so.

4.     Email Marketing Can Give You International Connections.

You can connect with multinationals and internationals globally and expand your business reach seamlessly. Multinationals are looking for effective email lists to source domain information about customers whenever they are entering a new business terrain. They are always glad to connect and pay a juicy sum to whoever has a promising email list. The question is, will that be you?

5.     Effective Email Marketing Can Help You to Make Quality Business Decision Quickly

Why I say it helps you to make the best decision on time is that with your email list you can get buyer’s feedback and leverage this anytime of the day. This is a follow-up to what the first point I mentioned which discussed the customer information acquisition aspect of email marketing. This one discusses one of the key benefits which is the ability to make quick business decisions based on the information you gathered from your customers in your list.

Knowing what informs your (potential) customer’s choices and why they purchase more of a particular product is vital to a business’s growth. But that’s not the best part. The best part is having this information almost immediately to make the best decision quickly!

Growth in business is a function of quality, timely decisions. The more quality decisions a business makes and on time, the more it is likely to experience tremendous growth. This is made possible by email marketing.

Some of the outcomes of prompt business decisions which email marketing in Nigeria can give you are:

  1. Improvement in your business’s overall manufacturing strategy
  2. Improvement in the production capacity (input and output) of your business.
  3. Reduction of your business’s turnover time.
  4. Determination of a better profitability margin for your business.
  5. The use of better machinery, tools, advertorial, etc. in your business

Conclusion

Email marketing in Nigeria has many benefits and this article has explained them. If you want to give and gain more from your customers and prospects, then go for Email marketing. It always helps. Yes, it does.

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