LAWpreneurship™: Dealing With the Fundamental Issues (1)

We are yet to lunch into the deep of pure legal issues as they relate to Small and Medium Enterprises and I suspect that the inquisitive ones may be wondering why. Not to worry, as typical lawyers that we are, we are just trying to follow what we call, ‘the normal procure.’  What is this ‘normal procedure,’ you may ask? It is nothing but the necessary foundation we are mandated by our discipline and order to lay before delving into the weightier matter of the law as they relate the SME sector.

Now, one necessary foundation we want to lay, which we believe will help us maximize the benefit of this column is to address our attitude as Small and Medium Enterprises operators to the relevance of experts’ advice in the management of our businesses. I am afraid that if this issue is not addressed, considering the tendency of the SME operators to neglect experts’ advice in our decision-making process this column that is out to offer legal clinical service to all SME-related legal challenges may be another exercise in futility. A sage once said, “When the purpose of a thing is not known abuse is inevitable.”

One thing that we can only shy away from at our own peril is the fact SME sector in Nigeria plagued with sundry problems. While a cursory observer may conclude that the most prominent of the problems is lack of funds, experience with the sector reveals that commoner than the challenge of funds are the fundamental problems of lack of organizational vision, principles and procedure of operation, absence of administrative structure and zeal for excellence. In fact these problems are the reasons for lack of funds. For instance, many SMEs are not able to access the funds under the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS) because they are not able to meet the requirements.   Mr. Ben Arikpo of Akada Consults shed light on the situation in an interview as follows: “Every SME wants to keep their own business; they want to continue to do things they’ve been doing. And if they continue that way, of course, no bank will put their money into them. Most of them don’t even have policies and procedures…One of the problems we have found with SMEs is that there is no clear distinction between the business person and the business…” 

These problems adversely affect the management of the SME sector by the operators. In fact these problems take their toll on decision making in the management of SMEs. The very bitter truth is, when a large chunk of a sector lacks structure, vision, principles and procedure of operation it will definitely make fatal decisions, which can only attract negative effects.

It is important to note that at the root of the challenges itemized above are two major factors:

  1. Lack of exposure as regards the standard required of a twenty-first century SMEs, which must be well positioned to milk the benefits of globalization, which have for too long eluded the African Continent.
  2. Most SMEs lack proper structures for effective administration. This is often reflective in the facts that that they are not only in most cases understaffed but also have to cope with unskilled workforce.

The way out of the woods of business mismanagement by the SMEs operators is for us to learn the wisdom of recognizing the peculiarities as stated above and therefore fashion out the strategies of survival. One of such strategies, in fact the most strategic is the resolve of SME operators to embrace the services of experts in major areas of business management.

Before we say, where do we get the funds from, let me clarify that what stands between experts’ advice and us, most of the time is not funds but information. There are Non-Governmental Organizations, government agencies, individuals etc. that exist for the sole purpose of rendering managerial support services to the SME sector.

Having established the relevance and inevitability of experts’ advice to the successful administration of SMEs, it is important to define who an expert in a particular field lest we think we can open our business to every Tom, Dick and Stupid Harry, who cannot in any way help us. When we do that we are simply though, foolishly casting you precious jewel before the swine. It will not only trample on it, it will turn round to rend us.

Who then is an expert? Going straight to the point, three qualities mark out an expert. They are as follows:

  1. Skill: It is in this sense acquired formal or personal training. The fact  that we live in a society that lays high premium on formal education makes this an important factor.
  2. Experience: This is acquired by time. It is the practical use of the skill acquired backed up by results.  It is not a requirement that an expert cannot do without at the initial stage of his career as an expert. The fact is that   it only increases his worth and effectiveness in his chosen field.
  3. Integrity: This is  honesty, honour and reliability.  This is the most important credential. That someone has skill and experience does not mean he will properly protect our interest as an expert. It is the same skill and experience, which he is suppose to use to protect us that he is going to use against us. This is because we are expected to trust an expert and his judgment.  I am in a profession that skinks with corruption and perfidy. Lawyers embezzle clients’ funds. There are all kinds of double-dealings. We just have to be sure, whom we are talking to. As far as I am concerned skill and experience without integrity is zero.

I think this is a safe point to stop this first part of issues before the issues. It is a necessary appetizer for the table that we are about to greet as this august column progresses.

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CHILD PROTECTION CREED 17: CHILDHOOD is not synonymous with FOOLISHNESS

God did not create the child foolish. In fact God the child is born wise. He has enough wisdom to cooperate with nature and experience growth. He has the wisdom to cry at birth, announcing his arrival, knowing that if he does not cry he will be buried.

The Holy Writ says, Jesus grow in wisdom. The question is how someone grows in something that does not exist? He could not have grown in what He does not have.

Adults underrate children. They have a baseless conclusion that the child does not know anything. They believe that the reason why God made them the custodian of the child is because the child is foolish. They do not know that the reason they are custodians is to help the child discover his genius. They do not understand that they are to relate with the child depending on his age and understanding that he knows something. James Dobson says children from 18 months have an understanding of what a custodian wants him to do.

Sadly, custodians dictate to the child. In fact some overbearing custodians live for their children. In the process, they do not allow the child to live not to talk of growing. They do not allow the child to give expression to his God-given talents, not to talk of helping him to maximise them.

These ones of course do not raise children. They raise robots. What am I even talking about? It would have been better if they raise robots. Robots are useful to humanity. A child, who is not raised to be conscious that he is wise and curtailed and treated as a fool may not be useful to himself, family and community.

Permit me to warn that being a child is not synonymous with being foolish, being weak and being irresponsible. The child must therefore be treated with respect and his opinion taken into consideration, particularly in matter that concerns him.

Thank you for visiting today. I charge you to Think the Child! Think Today! Think the Future!

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

 

CHILD PROTECTION CREED 16: CHILDHOOD is not synonymous with BONDAGE or SLAVERY

A child is a free born. He is born free and created to live free. His spirit is created to maximize its God-given potentials in an atmosphere of freedom. Freedom is a gift God gave the child to help him define his destiny and meaning in a densely populated world. God knows that no matter how populated the world may be may be, once the child recognises that he is free, he will find expressions for the gifts and talents deposited inside of him by God. His fulfilment is in his expression. This fulfilment becomes the lubricant of his expression and it helps the expression to speedily find relevance. It is the relevance which is the direct product of fulfilment that leads to significance.

As significant as freedom is to the child, I have found that it is the most attacked attribute of the child. Legion of custodians believe that childhood is synonymous with bondage.

Freedom here is powered by love. It is impossible for the custodians of the life of the child to ensure his freedom without a genuine and conscious commitment to love. It is perfect love that casts out fear. Fear is the number one impediment to freedom. Fearlessness is not a gift, which parents give to their children. It is an attributes the child is born with. The responsibility of custodian is to protect and sustain same.

Please note that love to this child means attention and appreciation. Without attention and appreciation, it is impossible for custodians to convince the child of their love and once the child is not persuaded of the love of their custodians, beginning from the parents, he will never be free.

It is the responsibility of the custodians therefore to create an environment for the freedom of the child and fight consistently to sustain same.

I will like to state here that once a child senses bondage, he disconnects completely from his captor and seeks nothing but emancipation. The custodians see themselves as custodians; the child sees them as captors, from who he must be free as soon as possible to pursue his destiny. The truth of the matter is the child may not be able to interpret his state of bondage and agitation for freedom, yet he agitates for it because his system is program to resist any form of bondage.

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

VISION OF THE CHILD (VOTC):DIAMOND BANK PLEDGES CONTINUOUS SUPPORT FOR THE NIGERIAN CHILD

Welcome to Social Works Watch™ (SW2). Today, we bring you a story on The Vision of the Child Arts Exhibition. It is sponsored by Diamond Bank and this story is culled from www.diamondbank.com. Please visit www.votc.lagosblackheritagefestival.com for more reading.

We publish this today because it is in conformity with the goal of Social Works Watch™ (SW2), which is to report genuine social works, with a view to encouraging the members of our society to free themselves from the rat race of the Third World and find creative ways to give back to society. The message is that we must on daily basis seek how to be our brothers’ keepers. The book that I read says, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ I hope this story will inspire you to give back to society. I invite you today to read and comment.

Diamond Bank Plc, a leading commercial bank in Nigeria has said it would continue to invest in the people of Nigeria, particularly children.

Mr. Uzoma Dozie, Executive Director, Lagos and West Businesses of the bank stated this on Tuesday at the unveiling of the theme for this year’s Vision of The Child (VOTC) painting competition solely sponsored by the bank. The competition is one of the highlights of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) which comes up later this year.

Said Mr. Dozie: Our goal as a bank is not only about making profits, we believe that for us to thrive we need to invest in the future and this is our key area of strength.

Describing the programme as unique, Mr. Dozie said the programme which was also sponsored by the bank last year, promises to bring together under one roof “children who are willing to exhibit their artistic talents,” adding that the people of Lagos are set for a display of talents at the competition.
Speaking on the competition, the Executive Secretary of the Vision of The Child (VOTC), Ms. Foluke Michael said this year’s event which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education would see over 500 pupils from over 2,000 schools across the six education districts compete in the competition.

Though entry for the competition closes on February 8, 2013, the selection process she said would begin on February 16, where 30 finalists would be screened. The finalists would later paint the theme of this year’s VOTC competition before a live crowd and the winner would be announced on March 29, 2013.

Ms. Michael said the competition is open to primary and secondary schools pupils as well as those outside formal school environment whose ages range between the ages of eight and 12 years.

She praised the leadership of the Badagry Local Government Area for picking 50 entry forms, even as she said more schools and councils in the state could sponsor pupils for the competition.

LBHF Ambassador Erelu Abiola Dosumu who read the Festival’s Consultant Prof. Wole Soyinka’s speech said the competition was designed to bring out the best in the Nigerian child.

In his words, “The competition is out to challenge the children’s creativity early in life and provide an outlet for those observations and feelings, for which they sometimes seek the means of expression.”

Erelu Dosumu and Diamond Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mrs Ayona Trimnell later unveiled the theme of this year’s competition which is, ‘The Thousand and One Faces of Corruption’, which Soyinka said had been deposited at the bank since July 25 last year.

Erelu Dosumu implored the children to use the four weeks before the painting competition to think about the theme and come up with an appropriate painting to interprete the theme.

The Law Rules all Things

Yes, the law rules all things. This is a well-thought-of conclusion. This is not a slip of the pen. It is the truth against which no man can do anything. Many are used to hearing that the law is an ass. But I have come to declare to you today that the law beyond being an ass, it is as relevant as water against which there is no enemy.

Those who are religious may accuse me of heresy. They may say, “the Lord, and not the law rules all things.” Yes they have a point but this is not an exercise in religion, we are here talking law. But can I quickly add one thing before I go any step further? Well, it is the same Lord, who rules all things that has empowered us through the law to rule all things for without order we cannot rule and without the law there can never be order.

Now, what do we mean when we say the law rules all things? All we are saying is that the law governs every human relationship (husbands and wives, children and parents, employers and employees, governments and citizens businesses and customers etc.). Thus the law has many parts. Family Law governs family matters; the law of contract regulates major areas of business transactions; Constitutional Law spells out the rudiments of governance and citizens’ rights and duties; the Law of Medical Ethics deals with the relationship between medical practitioners and their patients, to mention just a few.

Don’t mind what appears to be a too-copious preamble. I guess the point I am frantically trying to make is that the law is relevant to all. If you have been caught in the web of that conclusion, which I believe you have, then you will not have the slightest difficulty in believing that the law is relevant to the growing activities of Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.  The law will not fold her arm and watch without having a contribution to make to a sector as important and significant as the Small and Medium Enterprises. Now, don’t ask me the cheap question, how important and significant is the SME sector? If you dare, I will readily say the SME sector has become an engine room of economic growth in every serious nation of the earth. That the sector has the seemingly lost answers to the ailing economic situation in the Third World is a fact that has been established in countries like Pakistan, Thailand, Mauritius, Philippines, Malaysia, India, and Taiwan.

The inevitable relevance of SMEs to the African economic development was reiterated at the recently concluded 15th International Conference of World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME). The conference, which “called for the chanelling of at least 25 per cent of all public sector procurement to small and medium scale enterprises” observed as follows, “ in a globalizing world, Africa is the continent most marginalized. It is yet to benefit from globalization; its share of the world’s trade and investment is a mere 2 per cent. Of the 49 least developed countries in the world, 70 per cent of them are on the African Continent. With globalization and liberalization the gap between these countries and the developed world is widening which need not be the case. If the gap is to be narrowed and poverty reduced, African governments must build a strong SME sector. Their highest priority must be to raise the productivity of the informal economy and to integrate it into the economic mainstream”

Welcome reading friend, this is introducing to you, Lawpreneurship™. It is a column that is poised with the zeal of an envisioned mind and equipped with the skill of legal practice to dissect, on a weekly basis, the law to the very last letter as it relates to the SME operator and the entire gamut of his/her business activities from registration or incorporation of business, employment issues, contract with clients, partnership arrangement, taxation, importation and exportation to drafting of contract letters and agreement, to mention a few. It is a much-awaited open legal clinic, where without cost, (except just visiting this blog) you are logged on to the exciting time of legal education as it relates to the day to day running of your business. This is an attempt, a noble one at that, to make you a better manager of your business by understanding, from the perspective of the law, the implications of your business decisions.

Do you know one thing that scares me about decision-making? It is simply this: the fact that you don’t know the consequences of your decisions is never a strong enough force to stop the consequences from manifesting. This explains why many innocent but wrong decisions have seen many out of the businesses they have toiled to build. Innocence or sincerity is not always enough in decision making in every sphere of life, only adequate information makes all the difference.  Those, who have embraced the foregoing as a bosom truth, make it a rule of the thumb to ensure that the first thing they do when they are confronted with the challenge of making a decision is to embark on a journey of fact finding, no matter how long and how much it may cost.

One major challenge with the SME sector is that her operators always downplay the place of experts’ advice in the decision-making process. This is basically because of two major reasons:

I. The quest to maximize profit.

II.  The unfounded conclusion that I can always do it myself.

To deliver this crucial sector from the devastating claws of decision-makings without thorough experts’ guidance, particularly legal is the reason for this weekly season of legal companionship for the SME sector.

Hear the final word: you are inexcusable oh SME operators, now that the mountain has proverbially decided to come to Mohammed in the form of free weekly legal clinics. Shalom!

Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 15: The FOUNDATION of Child PSYCHOLOGY is Child SOCIALISATION

Psychology is defined as ‘the science that deals with mental processes and behaviour and the emotional and behavioural characteristics of an individual, group, or activity.’

Sociology is defined as ‘the study of human social behaviour, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.’ Apart from understanding the psychology of the child, the custodians must understand the sociology of the society in which they raise their children.

The foundation of psychology is sociology. I therefore make bold to say that any attempt to understand or address the psychology of a child without first taking time to understand or address the requisite subject of his past or immediate sociology will be an exercise in futility.

The psychology of the child is a product of the sociology of his community through the process of socialisation. Socialisation means ‘the adoption of the behaviour patterns of the surrounding culture.’

Socialization is the ultimate responsibility of the custodians in the life of the life of the child. This requires knowledge, wisdom and skills.

Thank you for visiting today. Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

Do have an INSPIRED Day.

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Child Protection CREED 14 ENLIGHTENMENT is SUPERIOR to ENFORCEMENT

I verily believe ONE SECRET of  creating a WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN is an unflinching COMMITMENT of all STAKEHOLDERS in the CHILD’s LIFE to ENLIGHTENMENT. Why?  ENLIGHTENMENT is SUPERIOR to the ENFORCEMENT of the existing laws’ Why? ‘ENFORCEMENT focuses on CURE or at most EARLY INTERVENTION.’ ENLIGHTENMENT, on the other hand focuses on PREVENTION. PREVENTION through what we call, ‘SOCIAL POLICING.’

Social Policing happens when the generality of the Nigerian citizenry  is aware of the rights and responsibility of the child and are ready to protect, preserve and defend same, even at the cost of personal discomfort. ‘PREVENTION,’ has been said to be ‘better than CURE.’ Cure is also an effort at damage control. The success of the best of damage control is still unpredictable. It is like snowball. You only know the beginning and not the end.

Thank you for visiting today. I invite you to Think the Child! Think Today! Think the Future! Have an INSPIRED Day.

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 5 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.