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Performance Appraisal: A Critical factor in HR Management

Posted by | February 17, 2022 | Career Tips / Blog

In real life situations, performance appraisal is a daily activity as it is also to organisations. We evaluate our activities daily, weekly, monthly or yearly to see our achievements and, challenges, correct our mistakes and set new targets.

More so in organisations. The continued success of organisations is dependent on its employees who in all thinking is the primary resource and, the focal point as all decisions revolve around her.  Their development and retention is a critical success factor if it must meet with its present and future requirements and surpass same.

Performance appraisal sometimes referred to as performance evaluation or personnel evaluation, is very important in HR Management; a tool that places high in people Management. Other factors / functions which contribute to employee development are staff orientation and career development and all these add-up to enhance organizational effectiveness.

Infact, performance appraisal is a fulcrum on which major HR activities revolve.  Many informed decisions such as promotions, wage hikes, transfers, terminations, job rotation, job enlargement, succession planning etc emanates from this. Again, allocation of organizational resources is facilitated by performance appraisal.

What is Performance Appraisal?

“Performance appraisal is the process by which an organization obtains a feedback about the effectiveness of its employees”. It is the evaluation of employee’s job performance and contributions to the organisation. In other words, it is a mechanism through which employees and the organization obtain feedback and provides organisation with assessment data for present and future use. It is the measurement of performance against set and agreed target over a given period of time so as to obtain to obtain feedback.

The purpose of Performance Appraisal stems from the need to improve organizational efficiency by ensuring that employees perform to the best of their ability and also develop their potentials for improvement. A good performance appraisal or management system is designed to serve two (2) main purposes:

  1. Evaluative purpose and
  2. Developmental purpose

Evaluative Functions: This function helps to promote or reward higher performances while at the same time assists to determine low performance.

Development Function: On the other hand, this performance appraisal function is useful in determining training needs of the subordinates while at the same time motivates them to higher performance.

Unfortunately, many people lay more emphasis on the evaluative function to the neglect of the developmental function.

A good organization should have a well laid down policy on employee performance management and the potential of each employee to access his/ her future development.

Performance appraisal must be seen as a result-oriented machinery for the growth of individual and company and not as firing squad or punitive measure. You should note that organisations decide on what performance appraisal system to be adopted based on its laid down policy, suitability and operational modus.

Performance appraisal is either open or closed. The open system is profound in the private sector while the closed system is more practiced in the public sector.

Performance appraisal can be classified under two broad systems: Individual and Multi-Person Appraisal Systems.

Individual Appraisal Method:

In the individual appraisal method, employee’s performance is studied over a given period. This is aimed at identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Examples of these are Annual Confidential Reports, Essay Evaluation, Management by Objectives (MBO) and Check List Methods.

  • Confidential Reports:

Perhaps, this is the oldest method. It is a report prepared by employee’s senior/ supervisor wherein he/ she highlights the subordinate’s strength and weaknesses in the past year. The flaw about this method is that the feedback on the report prepared is not disclosed to the employee for whom this has been written because every report is kept confidential.

  • Critical Incident and Checklist Techniques:

In the critical incident technique, the superior studies and analyze the subordinate’s best and worse incidents of behavior in the past year; analyzing the most critical incidents while in the checklist method, the supervisor is given a paper that has set of statements that are expressive and purpose in nature, and the answers to which are either YES or NO. Here, the usual and typical questions are whether/ or not the performance was satisfactory and whether or not the standards were met.

Multiple Persons Appraisal Methods:

The multi-person appraisal method compares the performances of the employees in a particular department and are pitted against one another to identify the best performers and the worst performers. Examples of multi-person appraisal methods are Ranking System, Paired Comparison, Forced Distribution, Performance Tests and 360-Degree Appraisal.

  • Paired Comparison Method:

In this technique, the superior compares each individual to all the other individuals working in the team and the subordinates are all ranked on the basis of criteria and traits analyzed. The comparison method could be from the best to the worst or the worst to the best.

  • Management by Objective (MBO)

The Management by Objective (MBO) is the well-known technique for setting goals, then judging how they are met; it emphasizes on tangible and measurable goals. The Key Result Areas (KRA) and the means to attain maximum results are concentrated upon. This system gives the superior the opportunity of knowing his/ her team’s KRAs and the results expected at the end of the year/ or given period. In this method, the job is delegated and the authority, responsibility and relationship is defined.

In this method, both the supervisor and the subordinate discuss, negotiate and agree the goals to be attained over a period. The objectives/ target are expected to adhere to the SMARTER rules – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, Ethical and Recorded.

  • 360-Degree Method:

The 360-degree appraisal method involves various stakeholders – the employee’s immediate supervisor, other supervisors who are not the bosses but comes in contact with the employee/ appraisee on a daily basis, the top management, and the employee’s subordinates as all provide data/ information on his/ her performances.

All 360-degree of employee working and working styles are analyzed involving the whole cycle of individuals with whom the employee comes in contact or interacts with on the course of work. The feedback from the appraisal is passed on to the employee for increased performance.

Why do we conduct Performance Appraisal?

Performance appraisal aims at regularly assessing and reporting on subordinate’s performances, attainment, abilities and potentials for future development. It further seeks to:

  • Clarify the Key Result Areas (KRA) of the job and provide basis to agree on targets and standards of performance for a given period;
  • Assess performance of employees and agree on how to foster continuous improvement;
  • Provide opportunity for a formal recognition and documentation of performances (the subordinate has opportunity to bring certain achievements or constraints being experienced on the job to the attention of the boss, his/ her career plans and aspirations);
  • Generate information for management’s decision-making on issues like promotion, transfers, succession planning, job rotation, job redefinition, job enlargement, disengagement etc;
  • Determine employee potentials and provide guided development;
  • Provide opportunity for identifying individual training and developmental needs;
  • Take stock of skills and talents available, strength and weaknesses of employees in the organization
  • Provide feedback to employees on how organization view their (employee) performances;
  • Improve communication by compelling superiors and subordinates to hold periodic dialogue/ meeting and provide feedback;
  • Provide basis for reward decisions – merit increases, reassignment and expatriation
  • Generate data/ information upon which workplans, budgeting and HR Planning can be based
  • Inform job distribution/ redesign, job enlargement, career planning and development;
  • Provide a ready tool for evaluating the effectiveness of selection and placement decisions;
  • Identify training and development needs for individual employees and entire teams/ divisions within the organization;
  • Provide a good criteria for assessing the success or otherwise of previous training and development efforts
  • Help in determining salary related decisions;
  • Serve as a counseling forum;
  • Emphasize the strength and weaknesses of employees;
  • Improve motivation


Without mincing words, it must be stated that performance appraisal is key to the success of organisations as managers constantly make judgments about their subordinates based on performance appraisal and are expected to provide periodic feedbacks.

Note that performance appraisal system to be adopted by any organisation, could be predicated on its policy and developmental plans. There is no perfect method and several methods could be combined..

To make feedback a powerful instrument in performance appraisal and in improving the level of satisfaction, performance appraisal must not only be based on an objective criteria, but such criteria should have been jointly put in place and agreed between the supervisor and subordinate as employees who are involved in actually setting their own goals tend to perform at higher levels.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

Agolo Uzorka
Agolo Uzorka
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Salary Increase: Teachers Praise Buhari’s intervention

Posted by | October 1, 2021 | blog

The Nigerian Teachers Union (NUT) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts to restore the glory of Nigerian teachers.

The union’s general secretary, Dr. Mike Ike-Ene, delivered the eulogy at a symposium organized by the Ministry of Education on Thursday in Abuja.

The symposium was part of the activities commemorating the next World Teachers’ Day 2021 with the theme “Teachers at the heart of the recovery of education”.

Ike-Ene, who was represented by NUT member Okoroafor Okechukwu, noted that efforts to conclude work on the 2020 promise to teachers by the president were commendable.

He also praised the guarantee provided by the Federal Government that the implementation of the improved salary structure for teachers, extended years of service for teachers, assignments and other incentives would begin in January 2022.

According to him, updating incentives will go a long way to repositioning the teaching profession, as well as giving teachers the confidence to compete globally.

“If the years of service for teachers, for example, are increased and sustained to 40 years of service or 65 years before retirement, there will be a huge benefit.

“In addition, increased motivation increases the momentum, ego needs of teachers and encourages them to focus and treasure their work.

“The teaching profession deserves its place of honor in attracting the best brains.

“Where attractive conditions exist, the lost glory of the profession will undoubtedly be recovered.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that President Buhari, on the commemoration of World Teachers’ Day on October 5, 2020, approved a special salary scale and special pension plan for teachers.

He also said that the Trust Fund for Tertiary Education (TETFUND) would begin to finance teaching practice in universities and colleges of education.

In addition, he promised to secure provisions for the rural employment allowance, the science teacher allowance, and the special allowance.

The president also promised to sponsor at least one refresher training, the construction of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, and the reintroduction of the scholarship.

Other promises are the expansion of the annual awards for teachers and presidential schools and the payment of stipends to students of bachelor of education and automatic employment after graduation.

As part of the effort to make the promise come true, the president issued a letter in June about a bill to raise the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65.

The bill also seeks to extend the years of service of teachers from 35 to 40 years.

Meanwhile, relevant stakeholders are working on other incentives, which are policy matters, to ensure their implementation by 2022. (NAN)

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HR Analytics and Metrics: The Corresponding Benefits

Posted by | July 11, 2021 | blog

HR Analytics, People Analytics and Workforce Analytics are all same terms interchangeably used. HR Analytics is about using data to make better business decisions; it is a data-driven approach geared towards managing people at the workplace.

Many HR professionals have variously defined it and they have been unanimous in their definitions. It is “the systematic identification and quantification of people drivers of business outcomes”. “HR Analytics is a data-driven approach towards HR Management“. “it is the quantification of people drivers on business outcomes”. It measures why something is happening and its impact.


Again, Workforce Analytics is about analyzing people data to answer critical questions about people in your organization. For instance, What is your annual employee turnover? Or What percentage of your employees are likely to resign their appointments from your Company in the next six months? These questions can only be answered using data.

HR Analytics starts with an opinion and data helps to confirm the opinion. Thereafter, we compare the data and make valid judgments. This is where metrics come in.

HR Metrics are measurements used to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of HR policies – they compare different data points. For instance, if last year’s labour cost was 10% and it is now 15%, it then means that it has increased by 50%. Metrics measure the difference between numbers and compare different data – they don’t show you the cause. Measures or metrics without analysis has no true value.

It is a fact that HR Departments are very good at collecting data (for example the Performance Appraisal) but how much of these data are put into use?! A lot of them remain unused. As soon as organisations start analysing these collected data, they are involved in HR Analytics.

HR Analytics assists HR professionals in making data-driven decisions to attract, maintain, develop and motivate the workforce and improve ROI; enables managers make better business decisions, create conducive and better work-environment and maximize employees’ productivity.

What I have learnt as a Consultant over the years is that applying HR Analytics changes how Companies do business and add values to the business. it helps organisations identify different levels that they can turn better decisions. In effect, when HR Analytics is well utilized, it creates positive impact on the bottomline.

Truly, Talent Analytics is connotative and more often used in the academic environment, while workforce analytics is more used by software providers whilst assisting in workforce planning. People Analytics and HR Analytics simply refer to the statistical analysis of people data. Of these, HR Analytics is more globally used and popular according to RS Research and ranks highest in Google search while People Analytics ranks second. Although, People Analytics is increasingly becoming popular because HR Analytics is becoming overused and everything referred to HR data is now being referred to as HR Analytics!

Again, the term HR analytics is very narrow because it only refers to Human Resources. Ideally, analytics go beyond HR as it includes financials, and other data. Infact, HR department sometimes don’t have the skill-set requisite to carry out data analysis hence it requires professionals with experiences in IT, Finance and other related data analytical areas.

Whether you are looking at performance, calculating productivity trends, employees’ turnover, reviewing ROI or engaged in long-term workforce planning, you are involved in studying and analyzing people. HR Departments have focused on people-related matters that transcends Human Resources for decades.

Without mincing words, the responsibility of managing people in the workplace has always been a shared responsibility between the business and HR. An attempt to distinguish between HR Analytics and People Analytics appears to be a bit difficult because it is a matter of semantics. Rather, we should focus on the value that analytics bring or adds to the overall business performances by improving the overall decision-making process.

HR Analytics Benefits


  • It changes the way people are managed in a significant way as you no longer rely on emotions, gossips etc in decision-making;
  • Helps HR professionals in making informed data-driven decisions and also tests the effectiveness (HR output) and efficiency (input) of HR policies and interventions;
  • Engenders better compensation, incentive and drives employee performance
  • Minimises the incidence of making decisions based on intuition
  • Promotes better employee development and improves engagement
  • Identifies causes and its impact on the business;
  • Tracks the effectiveness of HR metrics on HR business outcomes;
  • Provides answers to very salient questions;
  • Enables better workforce planning
  • Points out the effects of metrics on business performance
  • Helps create a business case for HR interventions, moving from operational partner to strategic partner;

HR departments these days simply focus more on reporting employee data but this approach is outdated in today’s data driven economy. Mere keeping records is not sufficient to add strategic value. The data should be turned into information and the information into insight. Turning data into insights enables HR to be more involved in decision making at a more strategic level and adds value to the organization, enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness.

I must state at this juncture that any monies spent on general business analytics delivers multiple values in return.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

HR Analytics and Metrics: The Corresponding Benefits
Agolo Uzorka
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Succession Planning and The Accruing Benefits

Posted by | June 16, 2021 | blog, Career Tips / Blog

Employees of an organisation

Succession Planning – When your plan is to retire in the nearest future, for whatever reasons, then there is that need to carefully plan for your successor, so as to protect the values of your organization and limit the incidence of vacuum creation in its general performances.

As the business owner of your organization over time there would have been several things that have been very dependent on your personality, skills, and decision-making. To ensure that there is no gap nor breach but continuity and seamless transition, there is that choice to ensure that a proper succession plan is put in place to engender and foster continuity when you exit the business, when you so desire, without negative effects on the business operations.

What is Succession Planning?

“Succession Planning is the process of identifying high-potential employees, evaluating and developing their skills and preparing them for advancement”. Succession planning is about planning towards transition of leadership positions which includes recruiting new talents or training employees of the organization to successfully takeover roles of exiting employees. It is an important aspect of talent management process.

Succession plan in other words describes and clarifies the succession process and it is developed as an overall strategy for the entire business; it spells out roles thereafter, the responsibilities of teams that will be involved, the manning levels, structures and functions of every position.

Human Resources Department of organisations are most times saddled with the responsibilities of searching internally or recruiting external candidates that are right for the position with the right culture-fit. Sometimes, organisations groom potential employees internally to replace exiting employees.

A lot of organisations hardly engage in this and sometimes informally. According to a 2019 article in Forbes, two-third of companies have no formal succession plan. It is supposed to be a task that organisations evolve as it is designed to curtail the unforeseen and unexpected absences of employees who occupy key roles in the organization. In most organisations talent’s growth and development are accelerated and development plans are put in place for them.

In succession planning, there is need to have a clear understanding of the organisation’s long-term goals and objectives. It is equally important to identify high-potential candidates, talents within the organisation and their respective developmental needs and requirements and also determine the workforce trends and predictions.

Identifying a Successor:

When considering a successor, these are some of the steps you take:

  • Write out the job description: describe the functions and responsibilities inherent in the job;
  • Person description: identify skills, interests and abilities required to perform the job;
  • Draw up list of candidates: their experiences, qualifications and career history. This is made easier if the potential successor is an employee or family member. In this wise, you have to be more objective in your plan and choice;
  • Identify skills-gap and training needs;
  • provide development plans and monitor performances.

Benefits of Succession Planning:

Succession Planning:

  • provides means of identifying key roles, employees with the right skill-mix and positions requirements to fill within a given time;
  • ensures that vacuums are not created in key positions in organisations thereby always creating stability in business operations;
  • provides meaningful developmental opportunities;
  • acts as reward to employees for dedication, commitment and long-service to organisations;
  • gives insights to management on the future constitution and makeup of the organistation.
  • assists reduce costs on recruiting and enables organization manage recruitment in-house;
  • provides data for management decision-making.
  • reduces labour turnover and allows for continuity.

In succession planning you should ensure that you discuss with as many people as possible who would be affected by the plan; consult widely and seek opinion so as to get reassurance and reduce misunderstanding amongst stakeholders, gain confidence and explain the essence of the succession plan.

You also require to have a time-frame for the transition process. What is the timeline for training of your successor, resignation of the current job-holder so as to avoid a succession plan that is timeless which could also lead to loss of key accounts.

Succession planning could also be complex if not well handled more especially if you don’t know the right steps to take. Seek advice from experienced professionals, consultants, lawyers, colleagues, friends who have a good understanding of the subject matter, whose experience may be relevant.

Choosing a Successor:

In choosing a successor you must do proper person-evaluation – you should look critically at candidate’s:

  • commitment to the business ideals;
  • ability to develop further;
  • leadership qualities and interpersonal skills they have to motivate others;
  • how independent they can operate and how appropriate etc.

Common Mistakes in Succession Planning:

There are common mistakes made whilst carrying out succession plan and these are some of them:

Reacting to crisis: Some are reactive and wait for crisis to occur within the organisation before hurriedly engaging in succession planning. This is not supposed to be so. It is advisable to engage in succession planning whilst the business is still in good stead, and profitable as it allows for smooth transition and gives good range of options instead of rushing into it, trying to ameliorate the situation and sometimes compounding the already compounded situation.:

Taking the Wrong Path:

In succession planning, you should be open-minded in your decision-making so as to objectively select a good successor. Don’t rush into putting your relations, children, son in the position just because he is heir-apparent … “I want my child to continue from where I stop”. These are undue sentiments we get involved in and it has led to the fall of many businesses! Sometimes they (relations) have different plans, very different from yours! You should be more concerned about the ability to run a successful business and the effects the decision would have on long-serving employees. The answer to this is to allow for good time to do a wider consultation with relevant staff and business partners.

Consulting an outsider who understands your business and the market will also suffice as he would be in a better position to independently identify the best hands to succeed you and also make recommendations; he is positioned to give an objective judgement on qualities of employees you could select as your successor.

Holding on to position because you feel you are indispensable may be detrimental to the organization. This is the worse you can do to your business. Don’t wait till it is too late and even when you leave don’t interfere in the business except if the business is truly failing and its in dire need of your assistance.

I understand letting go of power may be a bit difficult but if succession plan in properly put in place and executed accordingly, you should be confident that the business will be on a good pedestal and it will do well.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited (www,

Succession Planning and The Accruing Benefits
Agolo Uzorka

Termination of Employment

Termination of Employment contract is one of the most difficult aspects of Human Resource Management, depending on the side of the divide you are. It is one assignment many HR Managers or whoever that manages the assigned role of workforce management deplores because it is a negative role, but a difficult aspect of the job that must be executed. This was one of my albatross as a Human Resource Manager, when I worked in one organisation because the Managing Director always used it wrongly as a threat to employees which should not be – it could be very demotivating!

According to Wikipedia, “termination of employment is an employee’s departure from a job and the end of an employee’s duration with an employer. Termination may be voluntary on the employee’s part, or it may be at the hands of the employer, often in the form of dismissal (firing) or a layoff”.

“Termination of employment refers to the end of an employee’s work with a company. Termination may be voluntary, as when a worker leaves of their own accord, or involuntary, in the case of a company downsize or layoff, or if an employee is fired” – Investopedia.

Termination of employment according to Oladosu O. in his book, The Nigerian Labour and Employment Law, “is the bringing to an end the employment relationship”. It is the severance of relationship between the employer and employee.

Termination of employment could occur from either the employer or employee but should meet the written terms of the contract. The employer nor the employee is neither under any obligation to give reasons for the termination of employment contract.

You should know that Section 11 of the Labour Act in terms of contract of employment, provides for a compulsory issuance of notice or payment in lieu of notice by either party. Section 11(6) of the same act provides that “the right”to notice may be waived by ether party to the contract of employment by a payment in lieu of notice“.

Be reminded that contract of employment may not always be a written document; all that is required is that parties involved should reach an agreement and abide by the terms of engagement.

The termination of employment and dismissal brings the contract of employment to an end. The law on termination and dismissal in Nigeria is built around Common Law.

Factors leading to termination of Contract of Employment:

i). Expiry of Contract of Employment: at the expiry of fixed term contract for which the employee services may no longer be required, termination may be the next option;

ii) Mutual consent/ agreement: this could be occasioned by retirement or may be a “constructive dismissal”, a situation where employee is advised / forced to resign by the employer due to some irreconcilable differences.

iii). By notice e.g.

  • Resignation
  • Dismissal
  • Redundancy (when an employer ceases to carry on the business)

iv). Breach of contract, necessitating the employer to dismiss the employee without notice.


a). willful disobedience of lawful order, evidencing total disregard for the terms of contract and utter disrespect for constituted authority;

b). dereliction, abandonment or desertion of duty;

c). serious negligence or prolonged incompetence;

e). misrepresentation or falsification of information supplied in any official document;

f). on the receipt of unsatisfactory report(s) from the previous employer of the employee on probation;

g) giving out or divulging confidential information about the company’s trade secrets to a third party or person not entitled to know;

h). conviction for felony or any other criminal offence by a competent court of law;

i). dishonesty, misconduct or any act likely to bring the company’s name into disrepute or ridicule;

j). frustration emanating from the death, illness or imprisonment of employer or employee.


The Webstar’s Dictionary and Thesaurus defines dismissal as the act of removing a person from office. Nigeria Law refers to dismissal as the determination of a contract of employment due to the employee’s misconduct and it is carried out summarily without advanced notice nor payment in lieu of notice. Employers adopt this to erring employees in cases of gross misconduct. In most situations, it takes immediate effect and it is the sole right enjoyed by the employer. The principle of fair hearing and natural justice must apply in such situation.

Dismissal does not only include the termination of an employee’s contract by his employer; it is also ending a fixed term contract without a renewal on the same terms.

Secondly, it is the termination of employment by the employee where the employers conduct forces him/ her to do so. This is referred to as “constructive dismissal” significantly precipitated by employer’s breach of contract, signifying that the employer no longer wants to be bound by one or more terms and conditions of the contract. The employee may decide to leave immediately depending on the gravity of the breach and ability to meet up with such conditions and responsibilities that appertains thereto (if any) to such actions.

Dismissals vary as follows:

Summary dismissal: This is when the employer dismisses the employee without the required notice period and as such, the employee may also not be entitled to payment(s) – entitlement(s). This occurs and can only be justified if the employee has committed a serious breach of contract otherwise he or she could seek redress in a competent court of law.

Unfair dismissal: An employee may approach the National Industrial Court to bring claim if he/she believes that he/she has been unfairly dismissed. The onus will lie on the employee first to prove that he/ she has been dismissed; and the employer’s responsibility at this point will be to prove that the dismissal was fair.

Wrongful dismissal: The employee can lay claim for wrongful dismissal if he/ she can prove with evidence that the dismissal was without justification as he/ she has not breached any part of the contract. The employee will also have to prove that it was not with appropriate notice and that that was ignored by the employer, thereby suffering losses as a result. The employer will be liable to wrongful termination in the Court of Law.

If wrongful dismissal can be proved, the employee may be able to claim some damages resulting from loss of earnings payable during the notice period or balance of wages due under fixed term contract.

In dismissing an employee, the employer is not justified except there were some serious offenses.


Resignation is a form of termination of contract by notice. Contracts are expected to specify notice periods. Be that as it may, termination of employment during probationary period carries minimal notice period or none, depending on several variables – position, company policy, reasons for resignation etc. Notice may be waived, or payment made in lieu of notice.

Employees may resign appointment for any number of reasons, personal or occupational which could be a reflection on the management style, company’s culture, harassment, increased work hours, new work location etc.

When an employee announces his/ her resignation, verbally or by letter, it is pertinent for Management to find out reasons why he/ she is leaving through the exit interview so as to make possible adjustments, where necessary.


In managing termination of employment, the Human Resource Manager and Management generally should consider how the factors above apply in a given situation, depending largely on the individual concerned, the responsibilities of the incumbent job holder, cost of replacement in terms of time and finance, public perception and corporate image, company’s policy etc.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka Eugene, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited, a front-line Human Resource Company, providing world-class services to a wide-range of clients (

Termination of Employment
Agolo Uzorka Eugene

Comments Off on MTN Nigeria Workers to Commence Strike over Inhumane Treatment, others

MTN Nigeria Workers to Commence Strike over Inhumane Treatment, others

Posted by | February 10, 2022 | News

Workers of MTN Nigeria are preparing for a strike over alleged inhumane treatment from the telecommunications company, with their union issuing a 14-day ultimatum starting February 10, 2022.

Workers under the union, Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) said MTN Nigeria has failed to agree to workers terms.

It was gathered that the network provider’s workers are demanding discriminatory remuneration, mutually negotiated exit benefits, and retirement benefits.

According to the president of the PTECSSAN, Opeyemi Tomori, the federal government’s intervention in previous requests fell on deaf ears, hence, the imminent industrial action,

MTN Nigeria said the condition of service in its company policy will remain unchanged despite the agreement signed at the ministry of labour, Tomori said, explaining that it negates their deal to negotiate previous benefits.

To drive their demands home this time, Tomori said Nigeria Labour Congress will join the protest which will start from February 23, 2022, and this industrial strike will disrupt the operations of MTN Nigeria.

“As daunting as those issues raised back then were, it was the firm belief of our union that the collective bargaining agreement, if negotiated in good faith and signed off by both parties, would go a long way in addressing the concerns of the workers in the organisation.

“Unfortunately, the company has remained adamant, insisting that all the workers’ conditions of service as stated in the company’s policy must remain so and cannot be negotiated”, the President of PTECSSAN said.

MTN Nigeria has, however, stated that it is not aware of the imminent strike.

Source: RipplesNigeria

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The Ten Keys To Business Success

Posted by | December 23, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Aliko Dangote

There are ten critical areas where your ability to think largely determines the success or failure of your business. The greater clarity you have in each of these areas, the better decisions you will make and better results you will achieve.

Key Purpose

What is the purpose of a business? Many people think that the purpose of a business is to earn a profit, but they are wrong. The true purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. Fully 50 percent of your time, efforts, and expenses should be focused on creating and keeping customers in some way.

Key Measure

The key measure of business success is customer satisfaction. Your ability to satisfy your customers to such a degree that they buy from you rather than from someone else, that they buy again, and that they bring their friends is the key determinant of growth and profitability.

Key Requirement

The key requirement for wealth building and business success is for you to add value in some way. All wealth comes from adding value. All business growth and profitability come from adding value. Every day, you must be looking for ways to add more and more value to the customer experience.

Key Focus

The most important person in the business is the customer. You must focus on the customer at all times. Customers are fickle, disloyal, changeable, impatient, and demanding-just like you. Nonetheless, the customer must be the central focus of everything you do in business.

Key Word

In life, work, and business, you will always be rewarded in direct proportion to the value of your contribution to others, as they see it. The focus on outward contribution, to your company, your customers, and your community, is the central requirement for you to become an ever more valuable person, in every area.

Key Question

The most important question you ask, to solve any problem, overcome any obstacle, or achieve any business goal is “How?” Top people always ask the question “How?” and then act on the answers that come to them.

Key Strategy

In a world of rapid change and continuing aggressive competition, you must practice continuous improvement in every area of your business and personal life. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach, said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” I have found that business coaching is an easy way to continuously improve yourself, your business, and your life.

Key Activity

The heartbeat of your business is sales. Dun & Bradstreet analyzed thousands of companies that had gone broke over the years and concluded that the number-one reason for business failure was “low sales.” When they researched further, they found that the number-one reason for business success was “high sales.” And all else was commentary.

Key Number

The most important number in business is cash flow. Cash flow is to the business as blood and oxygen are to the brain. You can have every activity working efficiently in your business, but if your cash flow is cut off for any reason, the business can die, sometimes overnight.

Key Goal

Every business must have a growth plan. Growth must be the goal of all your business activities. You should have a goal to grow 10 percent, 20 percent, or even 30 percent each year. Some companies grow 50 percent and 100 percent per year, and not by accident. The only real growth is profit growth. Profit growth is always measurable in what is called “free cash flow.” This is the actual amount of money that the business throws off each month, each quarter, and each year, above and beyond the total cost and expense of running a business.

Action Exercise

You should have a growth plan for the number of new leads you attract and for the number of new customers you acquire from those leads. You should have a growth plan for sales, revenues, and profitability. If you do not deliberately plan for continuous growth, you will automatically stagnate and begin to fall behind. Growth is not an accident; so you must plan and map out your growth plan if you want your business to see a bright future.

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Brian Tracy

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined.

Comments Off on Nigeria Police Officers’ Salaries Go Up by 20%, N1.2b for Payment of uninsured Benefits

Nigeria Police Officers’ Salaries Go Up by 20%, N1.2b for Payment of uninsured Benefits

Posted by | December 16, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the increase of Nigeria Police officers’ salaries by 20% of their current earnings and it takes effect from January 2022. It also approved the review of the police duty tour allowance to 6%, as well as the release of N1.2 billion for the payment of uninsured benefits.

The Nigeria Police

This was made known by the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingiyadi to state house correspondents on Wednesday after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the renovated Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.

Comments Off on 10 Effective Tips to Instantly Boost Your Resume

10 Effective Tips to Instantly Boost Your Resume

Posted by | December 13, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

10 Effective Tips to Instantly Boost Your Resume

Have you been on the job hunt for a while now? And, perhaps, despite submitting application after application, you’ve still not had any luck. 

We know the process can begin to feel disheartening, but don’t give up just yet. By making a few simple tweaks to your resume, you can seriously increase your chances of landing your dream role. 

Here are 10 tips you can use to instantly boost your resume and boost your chances of success: 

1. Cut It Down 

Your resume should never be longer than two pages, but if you can cut it down to just one page, that’s even better! 

Recruiters don’t have much time to read through each individual application, so you should aim to get your key selling points across as concisely as possible. Just cut out any unnecessary information or fluff and aim for a short, sweet, and punchy document. 

2. Ditch the Clichés 

Recruiters read hundreds of resumes and are faced with the same cliché phrases time and time again. 

 The likes of “Always gives 110%” and “Determined go-getter with an amazing work ethic” might sound impressive, but they prove absolutely nothing to recruiters.

 So, ditch these overused buzzwords and focus your resume on hard facts, achievements, and skills instead.

3. Add Facts and Figures 

Showcasing your achievements on your resume is a great way to prove your value, and the best way to do this is by adding facts and figures. Quantifying your achievements shows how you can add real impact to an employer.

 For example, rather than merely stating that you’ve got digital marketing skills, you could say, “My SEO strategy increased traffic to the company website by 34% in six months.”

4. Remove the Jargon 

While you might be clued up on all the industry-specific terminology, acronyms, and jargon, you should avoid using these too frequently in your resume. 

Remember, the recruiter or HR personnel reading your resume might not understand what these mean and, therefore, won’t understand how they add value. 

5. Utilize Bullet Points 

Bullet points can be helpful for breaking up big chunks of text and aiding the readability of your resume.

Use them to list your key skills and responsibilities in your employment history section, as well as anywhere else you feel it’s appropriate. 

 This will make it far easier for the recruiter to navigate through the document and digest the information. 

6. Simplify your Design 

You might think that choosing a quirky or bold design will help you stand out, but overdoing it can be quite distracting and take the focus away from the all-important written content.

Therefore, it’s best to simplify your design, so it’s easier for the recruiter to scan through and find all the information they need. 


7. Perfect Your Top Quarter 

The top quarter of your resume is the first thing a recruiter reads and should contain a punch professional summary and core skills list.

Be sure to spend time perfecting these sections – if recruiters don’t like what they read, they might move straight onto the next application.

Aim to make it short, snappy, and attention-grabbing. These two sections should put forward your key selling points, capabilities, and achievements and entice the reader to read further.

8. Focus on your Hard Skills 

While soft skills (teamwork, communication, flexibility, etc.) certainly have their place in the workplace, it’s more important to showcase your hard skills on your resume. 

Hard skills (coding, speaking a language, medical knowledge, project management, etc.) show the employer you’ve got the technical skills required to succeed in the role. 

For this reason, try to prioritize space for your hard skills and, where possible, back them up with qualifications, certifications, and examples to show recruiters why you’d be a good fit for the position. 

9. Tailor Every Resume 

Every resume you submit should be tailored to the specific position and company you’re applying to. To do this, research the company before you begin writing and use the job description to help inform your resume content.

Your aim should be to match the job requirements as closely as possible. Every sentence in your resume should prove your suitability, while anything that’s totally irrelevant to the role should be deleted.

10. Ask for Feedback 

Lastly, if you’re feeling disheartened and can’t understand why your resume wasn’t successful, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback. 

Most recruiters will be happy to oblige, and this can help you to improve for next time. So, get in touch with the recruiter for the last role you applied for and politely ask for some constructive feedback. 

Then, adapt your resume to suit. Continue to do this for each role you apply for, and you’ll consistently improve your chances as time goes on!

Written and contributed by Andrew Fennel

Comments Off on Unemployment in Nigeria: Causes and Recommendations

Unemployment in Nigeria: Causes and Recommendations

Posted by | December 8, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Unemployment in Nigeria: Causes and Recommendations

UNEMPLOYMENT refers to a “situation when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work” – Investopedia. It is a term “referring to individuals who are employable and actively seeking a job but are unable to find a job”. In other words, unemployment is when able-bodied persons, who are willing to work, can’t find jobs, thereby do not have a source of income nor a means to put food on their tables. It is a state of joblessness and when an economy is performing below capacity.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put unemployment rate in Nigeria at 33.3%

More than half of Nigeria’s labor force are unemployed or underemployed.

A third of the 69.7 million-strong labor force in Africa’s most-populous nation, Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed, according to the Nigerian definition. Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed – Source: Bloomberg.

Less than 50% of Nigeria’s labor force are fully employed – Source: National Bureau of Statistics                                 

“Nigeria’s jobless rate has more than quadrupled over the last five years as the economy went through two recessions, casting a shadow over the efforts to implement policies to drive growth and create jobs by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration”.

The number of people searching for jobs will keep increasing as the population growth continues to outpace output expansion. Nigeria is expected to be the world’s third most-populous country by 2050, with over 300 million people, according to the United Nations.

Jobs Crisis:

With a declining output, firms are constrained to employ fewer workers as they produce fewer goods. This is sometimes not the fault of the unemployed but the resultant effect of an under-performing economy – a situation leveled against the masses by the economy.

Although there could be some exceptions where some persons or individuals have chosen not to work because they are from rich backgrounds. It must be noted that our society does not promise its teeming publics, including youths, jobs on graduation from tertiary institutions.

Lagos, Nigeria

Types of Unemployment:

Unemployment can be grouped into broad categories: voluntary and involuntary unemployment.

Unemployment is referred to as voluntary when the person leaves his/ her job willingly in search of another job and it is involuntary when a person is relieved of his or her job and constrained to go in search of another job.

Unemployment is a key economic indicator which signifies the ability or inability of workers to easily gain employment to contribute to the productive output of the economy.

The word “unemployment” is sometimes misunderstood. It does not include people who stopped job search due to different reasons e.g. leaving work to pursue higher education, disability, retirement or the likes but able-bodied men and women who are willing and waiting to return to their jobs after a break occasioned by discharge etc. People who want to work but are actively not searching for job can’t be classified as unemployed.

Here is formula for calculating unemployment rate = Unemployed people  x 100

                                                                                         Total Employed

The Unemployment Rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the total number of the labor force, and then multiplying it by 100%.

Some causes of Unemployment:

The following are some causes of unemployment:

  1. Corruption: Corruption may find it difficult to leave Nigeria because it has eaten deep into the fabrics of the people and it has become entrenched in the society. We may live longer with this virus, periscoping the current situation, from the local to federal government level, the situation remains the same – corruption.

Government officials who are expected to supervise/ implement and oversee projects thereby create jobs, connive to embezzle the funds meant for capital projects; they resort to providing reports and pictures of non-existent and “unexecuted’ projects. Infact, they engage in varied nefarious activities to deny the masses the dividends of good governance. They also go to the extent of fixing funds meant for civil servants’ salaries and arrears into bank accounts and collecting the accruable interests upfront thereby again, making civil service jobs uninteresting and demotivating.

This has made it difficult to maintain the current workforce talk less of employing new hands. The effect also, is that current employees are over-worked and no fresh ideas are injected into the system and this is one reason why the Nigerian civil service has remained unproductive.

2. Unemployability and Lack of Useful Skills: This is another cause of unemployment. It is a fact that most of our Nigerian graduates lack useful skills at graduation –  they do not possess skills that could make them employable. Nigerian Universities are partly to blame as they have contributed adversely to this by failing to flow with the trend. They have continued to use syllabuses designed in the 1970s when the universities were founded and have failed to upgrade and the effect of this has been monumentally devastating!

Again, the current educational system as inherited from our colonial masters, Britain and it does not support our plans for self-reliance and growth. The system has only taught us how to read, write and solve Arithmetic; it has built us to be job seekers and not creators – always dependent and not independent.

The graduates are not impacted with far-reaching skills and life-changing modern thoughts and ideologies that could transform the Nigerian societies and make them compete favorably with their peers from other climes. They have failed to empower graduates with salable skills that could stand them out after school and their minds are fixated to the extent of seeking employment for the same general jobs. In this wise, only government parastatals and agencies can employ and absorb them as they may not require any particular skills unlike the private sector which looks at available skills and contributions that would be made by the job candidates.

This poses a great challenge for Nigeria. I have experienced this as Human Resource Consultant whilst trying to recruit graduate trainees for a client in the Engineering sector. It was difficult to fill the vacancies as I could hardly get suitably qualified candidates for the position and the client was not willing to hire and train as this was expensive in terms of finance and time.

In otherwise, some courses in the Nigerian Universities don’t empower graduates with skills which could impact their lives after school and such should be reviewed.

3. Mismanagement of the Economy: Utter mismanagement of the economy through the misuse of the country’s resources has crippled the national economy and this has had negative effects on employment. It is a fact that the country’s wealth is the people’s wealth, because when the country’s economy booms, the citizens feel the impacts. When the industries are doing well, demand for labour goes up and vis versa. With Nigeria’s dwindling economy, unemployment is growing at a geometrical pace.

4. Poor Investment Climate: Poor investment climate is another factor that has impeded employment. Government everywhere in the world are expected to create an enabling environment for sustainable growth. An environment where the private sector is highly inhibited by poor infrastructure, anti-investment laws, multiple taxation etc job creation would remain a mirage. Nigeria as a case study, has discouraged investment through multiple taxation system etc. Running a business in Nigeria is expensive!

5. Unfavourable Entrepreneurship Environment: The current Nigerian environment does not favour entrepreneurship. Individuals who intend to engage in entrepreneurship are not encouraged.   I have seen intending entrepreneurs with good business plans yet the banks would not support same with funds. E.g. getting funds from the banks by SMEs in the form of finance is near impossible and when possible at all, interest rate is in double digits and this could be suffocating and suicidal!

6. Poor Development Plans: Nigeria’s development plan is faulty. We are very busy establishing Universities, Polytechnics etc without commensurate plans on where to employ or absorb them when they graduate.

7. Inadequate/ Poor Infrastructure: Nigeria is a victim of this, where there is near absence of infrastructure or put mildly underdevelopment and it has affected business growth. Electricity, motorable roads etc as the few manufacturing companies don’t produce at optimum capacity and at a very high cost as they struggle to remain afloat. This in turn has limited the number of employees and has had negative effects on employment.

8. Population Explosion: Population explosion is one other factor that has adversely affected employment as the government of the day has got no plans on how to expand the infrastructure to accommodate the ever expanding population growth.

The current Nigeria’s population is put at 213,425,147 (as of Tuesday, December 7, 2021, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data) does not match the existing infrastructure as neither industries, good roads are springing up and universities keep churning out graduates daily.

Infact, Nigeria’s population increase does not have proportionate increase in employment opportunities created and this leaves a great part of the population unemployed.

9. Uneven Distribution of Social Amenities: the uneven distribution of social amenities has made unemployment worse, leading to rural-urban migration. Graduates and youths who would have naturally preferred to live in the rural areas, now migrate to cities and towns where there are social amenities, thereby swelling the population of the area and the unemployed.

10. Lack of Continuity in Government Policy: Government is supposed to be seen as a continuum – they come and go everywhere in the world and policies are expected to remain. But in Nigeria different governments come with different policies on employment only to be discontinued by incumbents. E.g at one point, Nigeria had National Directorate of Employment (NDE) which had great and lofty objectives. Years later, all it had done were jettisoned and the infrastructure and investments went down the drain. This is how it has continued to be!

11. Economic Recession and Pandemic: the world over, countries have been hit by economic recession at different times and the recent COVID19 pandemic worsened the situation as many organisations folded up and many lost their jobs.

12. Nepotism, Religious & Ethnic Sentiments: Rather than have competence as its yardstick, governments in Nigeria have given employment to their relations, cronies, their ethnic and religious stocks who might not be qualified for such jobs. This is a major reason why incompetence pervades all sectors of the Nigerian public sector and productivity is at its low.

13. Politicization of Appointments: This is the common practice in Nigeria where the party in power distributes job positions amongst her own ruling party not based on competence, leaving the best and most qualified hands unemployed. 

14. Negligence of Certain Sectors:  Certain sectors of the economy are highly ignored and neglected and this has precipitated the high unemployment rate e.g the agricultural sector. The Nigerian government has not truly encouraged participation in the agricultural sector as a sector that can generate employment. The sector has not been made attractive and it remains untapped.

15. Retirement Policies: The retirement policy in Nigeria’s public sector stipulates that the statutory retirement age is either 60 years or 35 years of service, whichever comes first and in the private sector, retirement age varies between 55 and 60 years and the factor of 35 years of service is not applicable.

The Pension Reform Act (2004) abolished the right to a gratuity and retirees no longer receive single lump sum payment as gratuity in addition to pension, a periodic payment, normally on monthly basis, for the remainder of the pensioner’s life. This is seen as unfavourable to employees and discriminatory against poorer paid employees in the civil service.

In this wise, employees in both the public and private sectors device all means possible to remain in service as long as they can as they are afraid of life after retirement. This act has kept fresh graduates away from the work environment whilst we have to cope with old and incompetent employees.


The Nigerian government can address the challenges of unemployment by:

  • truly and consciously fighting the hydra called corruption wherever it is, not by lip service;
  • reviewing the current educational syllabuses of our tertiary institutions to reflect and address our current challenges;
  • engage technocrats who are professionals in economic matters,
  • provide enabling and favourable business environment for businesses to grow and thrive;
  • create feasible road-map for economic development and growth;
  • population explosion should be effectively managed and optimally utilized to our advantage
  • social amenities should be evenly distributed to mitigate the incidence of rural-urban migration,
  • continuity in government should be encouraged;
  • merit and competence should be a yardstick for employment
  • nepotism, religious and ethnic sentiments and politicization of appointments should be discouraged;
  • agriculture should be well focused upon where many jobs could be created and
  • current retirement policies look into with a view to improving it.
  • digital options too can be exploited

With these recommendations, if strictly adhered to, unemployment will be reduced to a manageable level.

This is written by Agolo Uzorka, Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

Agolo Uzorka
Comments Off on How to Make Money Online (with complete guide)

How to Make Money Online (with complete guide)

Posted by | November 14, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Making money online is easy

We have dedicated this page to help you learn how to make money online. It is very important, because the world has changed. Everything now revolves around the internet. As a result of this, there are so many opportunities to make money online. So, if you want to learn how to make money online, stay in touch with this page because we will be adding more content regularly!

Table of Contents

  • Best ways to make money online
    • 1. Blogging 
    • 2. Freelancing
    • 3. Affiliate marketing
    • 4. Digital marketing
    • 5. Buying and selling websites or domain names
    • 6. Video blogging on YouTube
    • 7. Become a Facebook partner.
    • 8. Sell online course
    • 9. Drop Shipping
    • 10. Completing Surveys
    • 11. Online Trading
    • 12. Social media
    • 13. Sell books/ebook online
    • 14. Build websites
    • 15. Teach your native language and any language you are excellent at
    • 16. Buy and sell Bitcoin on Quidax
  • In Conclusion:

Best ways to make money online

You can make  money online in the following ways:

1. Blogging 

If you are looking at how to make money online, then blogging is one of the most reliable ways. The amazing thing about blogging is that, you can be blogging about what you love, build audience, become expert in your field and make money even while you sleep!

Anyone can be a blogger! It doesn’t matter if you are young or old. It does not matter your area of focus. The internet is without border, you can reach any part of the world with your blog. Whatever you write about, you will find an audience for it.

Becoming a blogger is very easy. All you need is open a blog, write about topics you are good and passionate about. It is important to focus on what you are good at. Connect your blog to social media like facebook, twitter and linkedIn, share your contents there and you will get visitors. Keep building visitors and good content.

As you keep blogging, more and more people will get to notice and follow your blog. The bigger the audience you build, the bigger the potentials! So in summary, blogging is about connecting contents with people who needs it. Let your readers trust you. Research your content before publishing. If your readers trust you, they will keep coming and telling their friends about your blog.

Once you have had enough contents and many people reading your blog. You can look for reliable ways to make money from it. One of the most popular ways to make money from blogging is Google adsense.

Google adsense acts like a middle man for bloggers. They get adverts from many companies around the world. Then they show these adverts (ads) on various blogs. And pay each blogger depending on how many views, clicks or engagement the adverts generate on the blog. All you need is to go to google adsense and apply, if your blog is accepted, they will start displaying adverts on it. Then you can start making money even while you sleep.

Here is a famous photo of a blogger who received Adsense Check for $132,994.97 back in 2005!

Google Adsense check

This photo has inspired many bloggers. From then, till now, a lot has changed. People make far more these days. And you can receive your money straight into your bank account.

You can also make money from your blog through affiliate marketing. It is about referring your readers to products or services and if they buy, you get a commission. We will touch that along the way. Keep reading.

Sponsored posts is another way you can make money from your blog. Companies and different entities will want to put a post on your blog to reach your readers. They will mostly write the content, send to you and offer to pay you money to publish it. You can charge from $100 per post to over $1000 per post depending on how relevant your blog is.

Also, you will also get companies, individuals and even government organizations who wants to place direct advert on your blog. From there you negotiate a price with them and if you reach agreement, you make a deal. You can make from $200 to over $10000 from just one direct ads depending on the relevance of your blog and the advertiser.

One more way to make money from your blog is to develop your own product and sale on your blog.  You can write a book or an ebook, or any product that is related to what you write about. Then you sell it on your blog. A lot of bloggers are beginning to embrace this, because it puts them in control. They get 100% of everything!

If you are ready to start a blog, and wondering how to, we have got you covered. It will not take more than 20 minutes to start! Read this article: How to create a blog in less than 20 minutes

Blogging is definitely among the best options for how to make money online for beginners.

2. Freelancing

This one of the most underrated ways to make make money online. If you enjoy writing, or you love graphic design, editing, reading, browsing Facebook, posting on Instagram and so on. You can make money with those skills! There is no way you should be worried about how to make money online because you have the answer already, become a freelancer!

There are people all over the world looking for writers, graphic designers. Looking for people to proof-read their works, people to manage Facebook page. People to post on their Instagram account and so on! So why not put yourself out there and make some money?

The beauty of freelancing online is that you can even be on your bed, as long as you have your computer with you, you are working and making money. And you can be in your room and work for people in different part of the world! Freelancing is an international business.

I was shocked the other day while browsing through upwork and I saw a PhD holder doing freelance work. As at that point, she has earned over $100, 000 writing articles! You will also see people who have no educational background beyond reading and writing but skilled at graphic designs or other aspect making over $10, 000 a month doing freelance work online. There is no barrier as long as you are good at what you do.

A freelancer
You can freelance from the comfort of your home and make money

First thing you should do is pick what you are good at! Doing what you are good is important. Then take every job serious, so you gain good reviews. Negative reviews are bad. When you do a good job, you get good reviews, and with Good reviews, more employers will sort for you and you can charge more per task or per hour. So, if you are skilled in anyway and looking for how to make money online, consider this option!

You can find freelance work from the following webistes: Upwork, fiverrFreelancer and more.

We have some tips for you if you are planning to go into freelancing. Read: How to make money as a freelancer online

If you are looking at how to make money online fast and how to make money online without any investment, then this is for you. All you need is your skill and there are opportunities across the web.

3. Affiliate marketing

When it comes to how to make money online, affiliate marketing is up there. Affiliate marketing has the ability to make you good  money, I mean big money. Affiliate marketing is simply about referring people to products and services, you get paid a commission if someone buys  or sign up through you. As simple as that.

The process is, you look for an affiliate network, sign up with them. Search for products or services that your friend or audience will like, then get a link and share it with your audience. If any of your audience ever click on the link and buys, you get a commission. Depending on what you choose to promote, commission could rise from, $20 to over $10, 000 per sale or sign up.

Affiliate marketing model
This is the model of Ebay partner network and basically how all affiliate network, works..

This is very good for bloggers. Because it gives you the opportunity to make money from your blog. Let’s assume your blog is about finance, you simply look for affiliate that relates to finance, promote it on your blog and posts, as your readers click on it and buy or sign up, you get paid! Make sure you only promote services and products that relates to your niche and will be beneficial for your readers. As a matter of fact, most bloggers use affiliate marketing as their primary method of making money from their blog ahead of Google adsense and the rest. This is very good and productive if your blog is in a good niche. There are niche that affiliate marketing might not necessarily thrive, niche like gossips, news.

If you have a big facebook page, twitter profile or Instagram page. You can sign up with an affiliate network, look for products that your followers will like and share on your page. As they buy or sign up, you get a commission. People do this for a living! Yes, I mean, people combine their love for social media with affiliate marketing to make good money. If you spend so much time on facebook, twitter, Instagram and the rest, why not consider making money from there too with affiliate marketing?

It does not matter what country you are, you can create a blog or social media page targeting a particular country and provide quality content on your chosen niche, then monetize it with affiliate links.

Why not head straight to popular affiliate networks to sign up and make money? They include: Commission junctionLinkshareAmazon Affiliate networkImpact RadiusEbay Partner networkShare a saleKonga AffiliateJumia affiliate and others.

If you need further reading, we have an advice for you: How to make money through affiliate marketing

If you are looking at how to make money online free or how to make money online without paying anything then affiliate marketing is for you. But you have to be ready to work hard though.

4. Digital marketing

This is one area that has not been fully utilized by people to make money online. Digital marketing is simply online marketing. It involves the use of blogs, social media, search engines and every available internet tools to promote a business online. That is it, as easy as that!

If you are so serious about how to make money online then consider giving this a try, especially if you are in an environment where businesses don’t build their presence on the internet. All you need to do is develop a digital marketing plan, approach small businesses and big businesses around you, offer to create awareness for their brand online and bring in more customers for a fee or commission. Depending on what works for you.

Digital marketing
You can make money as a digital marketer online from the comfort of your home

Handling digital marketing for business should be in steps. First if the business has no presence on the internet, build a website for them. Follow same steps you create a blog. If it already has, work on search engine optimization(SEO) to make the website more visible when people search for relevant keyword of the business. Then build social media pages on Facebook, twitter, Linkedin and other relevant social medias. Do some content marketing. Content marketing is writing targeted contents to boost the image of a business. Don’t forget email marketing. Create email marketing account for the business, where they can contact their customers, you get customer’s email automatically to the email list from website as they visit. Invest in optimized ads.

Read more, learn more and grow as a digital marketer.

If you are looking at how to make money online as a marketer then this is for you.

You can read our guide: How to promote your business and find customers online free

5. Buying and selling websites or domain names

Buying and selling websites or domain names is another popular way to make money online. If you have ever tried to register a website, you will realize that nearly all the names are taken. If you check, most of those names are not yet developed into a website, they have been bought and parked by individual for sale. These people are known as domain brokers.

They think of ideas and keywords for websites that companies or wealthy individuals will need someday, they register these domain names. And sell it later for big money to the companies.

It really works because they make lots of money from it! In 2010, was sold for $49.7 million! in 2007 was sold for $35 million!

While these kind of big money is a one off, if you are good with predicting future trends, you can hit it this big! New inventions are coming, if you can see it before others, register a domain name for it! New industries will spring up, like bitcoin did, if you can forecast it, register a domain name for it. And when they become a hit, you never know how much you can sell it!

You can register domain names at

Here is a list of the highest selling domains according to wikipedia.

Most expensive domains

You can also buy websites and sell them. This one requires good knowledge of what people want out there. All you need is go to, look for websites with potentials and low bidding or low buy it now. Buy them and resell them on same Flippa for a bigger money. People actually do this as full time job and are making money everyday flipping domains!

If you are looking for how to make money online flipping domains, this one is for you.

6. Video blogging on YouTube

This has to be among the best ways to make money online. If you fancy the camera, love talking, love the idea of being famous, not scared of so many people knowing about you  then you should not worry about how to make money online, get on Youtube!

All you need is to find a niche, an idea and make videos on them. You can decide to focus on make-up, football, movies, gossips, tutorials, politics, pets or anything at all you love! Just build an audience.

You can even upload music and videos that you have right to. Make compilation videos, comedy skits or anything at all that meets YouTube standard and upload! Understand your views. As more people watch your videos you stand a chance to make a fortune! This is a big industry and tens of thousands of people do this as full time job for a living and they are making big money!  Do you see those short videos you watch on YouTube and laugh uncontrollably? The owner of the YouTube channel is probably making thousands of dollars every month from it. You too can do it!

Video blogging
Video blogging on YouTube is a good way to make money online

People love videos! Humans love what they can see. These days, I like to think people watch more youtube than they watch traditional TV! With the Youtube Creator program you can learn, grow and make money.  You can make money from your Youtube Channel via Google adsense. Just integrate Google adsense with your channels and when people watch your videos, they will see ads. You can expect about $2 for every 1000 views. Now imagine having 2 million views on a video which is very easy when you become a guru! Checkout YouTube official guide: Learn how you can make money from Youtube from the official Google Youtube guide 

You can also make  money from your Youtube channel by advertising products that relates to your niche. Selling products yourself or even taking direct adverts!

Last year, Daniel Middleton made about $16.5m from his Youtube channel. This was very surprising because the year before, he was no where to be found on the top 10 earners!

This is definitely for you, if you are looking at how to make money online with videos.

If you want to really learn how to make money on YouTube, I recommend reading How to make money on YouTube (Complete Guide)

7. Become a Facebook partner.

If you do not know, you can actually become a Facebook partner and make good money from Facebook every month! Yes, understanding how to make money online with facebook is as easy as becoming their partner and providing contents. Facebook has a program called Facebook Audience Network Partner Program. 

If you are a video creator, a blogger or app devloper, facebook is willing to partner with you and create a mutually beneficial relationship where you make money from your Videos, articles and more while adding value to facebook.

The potentials of this is huge! Facebook is the biggest social network in the world with over 2 billion users! Imagine a partnership with them.

To apply for Facebook Audience Network Partner Program go here

If you are looking at how to make money online with Facebook, then  go for this

8. Sell online course

If you are very experienced or expert at a particular subject or skill, you can create a course online and sell it. You will make good money! There are so many people on the internet looking to learn new skills.

Whatever you are good at, whatever skills you master, you can teach people about it online and make good money.

A good course that you sell can earn you over $20, 000. That is when it is of top quality and people find it beneficial.

As you develop more courses and sell, you become a brand, and you may even get invited to different countries for training. It all begins with selling a course online!

To sell a course, go to or

Make sure you read: How to make money creating and selling online course

To sell a course, go to or

Make sure you read: How to make money creating and selling online course

Teachable statistics
Teacheable reports that over $100 million has been earned by instructors on its platform

If you are looking at how to make money online selling courses, this is for you.

9. Drop Shipping

Silently and gradually drop shipping is becoming the biggest way to make good money online. Drop shipping is easy and straight forward. You can make money even while you sleep. If you are really serious about how to make money online and ready to put in some work to establish something big with potential of massive returns, then this is it.

In drop shipping all you have to do is open an online store, go to big manufactures and suppliers such as Ali-express, Ebay and copy their products and items and put on your online shop. Promote your online shop for people to see. Once someone comes to your store and orders for the product, the item is shipped to them from the supplier and you get paid. As easy as that

If you open your online store with shopify, you will have the privileged to automatically copy products from Aliexpress, ebay and others into your store.

If you dont know how to create an online store, you will find this article very helpful: How to create online shop very easily with shopify

It has been reported that up to 30% of products sold online in 2017 was through drop-shipping.

Shopify dropshipping
Platform like shopify gives you the opportunity to excel as a drop shipper

Try this if you are looking for how o make money online daily, but first it will take lots of work to build the foundation to help you stabilize.

10. Completing Surveys

If you are looking for lazy way of how to make money online then this one is for you. All you have to do is answer few questions and earn money, recharge cards or gift items.

Research community use online survey to gather information to better their product. Research is very important for companies so they can know how best to channel and develop their product, that is why they pay people to get their opinion.

The money you will make here will be for past time. It is also possible to make good money as we have read some reviews. Anything is always possible.

The major obstacle is that, most online survey sites is restricted by countries.

For example, if you are in Africa, your best bet will be Ysense and SwitchedOn

PaidViewPoint is another option. They really pay! And you also get to refer friends and earn $25 when they withdraw. They are available worldwide.

Toluna is another popular and dependable online survey website you should try. They have many users and big clients. They are available almost in every country.

SurveySavvy is also a very renowned online survey website that actually pays. It is available world wide is a good option too. It is available to every country not just USA and top wealthy countries alone. With PointsPrizes, you can join and make money from anywhere in the world. Founded in 2016, they have over 1 million users. Apart from surveys, you can also make money watching videos and doing daily poll. Once you gathered enough points, you can decide to redeem cash or via bitcoin or gift cards.

List of Survey websites that accepts most worldwide participant include: Swagbucks, Global Test market, PrizeRebel.

If you are looking at how to make money online free then this one is surely for you but it may not make you rich, you never know though.

Read more on this: Best online survey websites

11. Online Trading

Warning: Please note that this is a very risky venture. You can lose all your capital. You may put in money and gain immediately and try again and lose it all. There is no guarantee, so proceed with caution.

Online trading is one of the long-standing ways of making money online. It has the capacity to turn out big returns if you are good at it but it is high risk. This is only for people who are not afraid of risk and who are using spare money to trade.

This involves trading online from Forex to Bitcoin and all forms of trading.

When it comes to online market trading, the number one choice is Deriv. One of the reasons it is preferred is because it has a copy trader, which allows you to see and copy the trading pattern of top successful traders. Another reason is preferred is because there are over 4.5 million users worldwide. That is a signal of strength.

This is for you if you are looking at how to make money online trading.

12. Social media

If you are a social media regular and you are wondering how to make money online, the solution is right there in front of you. Beyond posting, commenting and having fun on social media,  do you also know you can make money from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and the rest? While it is possible to make money directly on platform like Facebook through the Facebook Audience Network, it is also possible for you to make money from all social media through a carefully planned strategy.

For you to make money from social media. You need to have a strategy. It requires commitment and consistency. People are making good money from social media. There are two things you need, you need to build good follower-ship on social media and you need to be active in groups (pages) that relates to your area of interest.

Social media
You can make money online from social media

You need to pick a niche that you will focus on your social media  and join groups and pages that relates to that niche. It could be fashion, gaming, cars and anything at all. But have a primary topic so people know you for this and brand can approach you directly, you never know.

Next step will involve deciding how you want to proceed to make money from social media accounts. There are many options for you.

  • Short-links: This one of the most dependable ways to make money on social media especially of you have many followers. This method is pretty easy! All you need to do is look for a link or story you want to share on your social media, go to one of the URL shorteners, put this link there and shorten it. Then copy the shorten link and share on social media. As people click on the link you make money. Let me explain, let’s say you see a news story on CNN website you want to share or a good fashion product or a link to breaking news, it could be anything , just go to the url shortener website, shorten the link, copy the shorten one and share. When people click to see the news or whatever you are sharing, you make money. Those news you read from social media, people are probably making money from it! You have to register with the companies that provides these services. Here are the best picks and you can click on them to go register and make money from social media: Ouo, LinkShrinkAdfShortest.
  • Affiliate Marketing: You can post products or services of companies that relates to your niche on your social media profiles and get paid each time someone makes a purchase through your link. If you are looking at how to make money online in a big way, this one has that potential depending on what product or services you promote. Some offer big commissions. You can find those companies easily via Affiliate networks like, and more. Remember to read our guide on affiliate marketing.
  • Sell your product: You can choose to sell your own products if you have any. Market them on social media pages. If you do not have products, you can create an online shop, copy products from big suppliers and put in your online shop. Then post these products on your social media, whenever anyone orders, the supplier will ship to the buyer and you get paid. Don’t forget to read our guide how to create online shop easily with shopify.
  • Partner with brands: You can always approach brands for sponsorship or to place direct ads on your social media pages. Websites like Tapinfluence will give you opportunity to partner with brands.
  • Sell your social media accounts: You can decide to sell your social media accounts and make money. People do this a lot. Website like Viral Accounts will help you sell your accounts.

Certainly this one is for you if you are looking at how to make money online with your social media accounts.

13. Sell books/ebook online

If you love writing and you are searching for how to make money online, well, it is time you look at your writing skills again. You can make big money creating and selling ebook online! Ebooks are electronic books which can be read on computer and handheld devices. You can also decide to publish traditional books.

If you are confident of yourself and you have great story to tell, great concept to share or anything to add value, it might be time to create that ebook/book online and make money.

There are many success stories of those who have made it. One of them is a 26-years old who made millions of dollars from a single ebook.  She was living in poverty and struggling to survive until one day she set up a store in Amazon and decided to start writing. And she used her social media profiles and word of mouth to market the book. It turned out good, she was shocked by the outcome. Millions of dollars. You can read her story here.

To sell ebook online, you need to have a good idea, then publish and market them. You can use your social media pages and word of mouth to do the marketing. If you have a few penny to spare, run some Facebook or Google adsense ad.

Here are list of places you can publish your Ebook/books online and make money: Amazon KindleLuluCreateSpace and others.

14. Build websites

You can build websites for business and make money. A lot of business do not have online presence. You can offer to build them website for money. Thanks to technology, you do not need to know about coding to build website. Just to go ThemeForest, buy a theme, upload it on WordPress and customize it. You can even register a lifetime membership of MyThemeShop and have access to many themes you can use to build websites.

15. Teach your native language and any langue you are excellent at

If you are looking at how to make money online and you can speak your native language and any other language fluently, then you can make money online from that. You should also have a passion to teach and impact. Thanks to the internet, there are millions of people out there interested in learning different language. You can teach them and make money! Very easy!

Teaching online
You can teach online and make money

If you are interested, go to italki and register, teach and start earning. There are over 3 million people there waiting to learn.

16. Buy and sell Bitcoin on Quidax

Quidax is a platform that makes it easy for people to make money from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. The truth is that Bitcoin and other leading one of the best ways to make money online.

When Bitcoin suddenly became very popular, a lot of people were expecting it to phase out but after many years, Bitcoin is still doing very good. Many countries are now accepting Bitcoin. A lot of merchants and shops are accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.

This can only mean that an investment in Bitcoin has the potential to make you reach. But the problem might be understanding how to trade and make money from it. That is where platforms like Quidax come in. All you have to do is Sign up with Quidax and you are on your way trading and making money.

You an read more on this: How to start investing in Bitcoin

In Conclusion:

Learning how to make money online is a continuous process even if you are making income already because new ways spring up everyday. You have to be up to date. Whatever direction you choose, make sure that you update yourself on a regular. There are many resources online like this page.

Note: We will keep updating this post always to include new ways to make money online. Bookmark it so you can check back later. You can also sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date or click here to follow us on facebook and Click here to follow us on Twitter

Abel Ekene Internet scientist and blog expert. Loves writing, researching and
helping people reach their dreams. Speaker and authour. Follow me on Twitter @mfonabel

Comments Off on Why Start-ups Fail

Why Start-ups Fail

Posted by | October 30, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

It’s not always the horse or the jockey. by Tom Eisenmann

From the Magazine (May–June 2021) Kalle Gustafsson/Trunk ArchiveSummary.   If you’re launching a business, the odds are against you: Two-thirds of start-ups never show a positive return. Unnerved by that statistic, a professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School set out to discover why. Based on interviews and surveys with….

Most start-ups don’t succeed: More than two-thirds of them never deliver a positive return to investors. But why do so many end disappointingly? That question hit me with full force several years ago when I realized I couldn’t answer it.

That was unnerving. For the past 24 years, I’ve been a professor at Harvard Business School, where I’ve led the team teaching The Entrepreneurial Manager, a required course for all our MBAs. At HBS I’ve also drawn on my research, my experiences as an angel investor, and my work on start-up boards to help create 14 electives on every aspect of launching a new venture. But could I truly teach students how to build winning start-ups if I wasn’t sure why so many were failing?

I became determined to get to the bottom of the question. I interviewed or surveyed hundreds of founders and investors, read scores of first- and third-person published accounts of entrepreneurial setbacks, and wrote and taught more than 20 case studies about unsuccessful ventures. The result of my research is a book, Why Startups Fail, in which I identify recurring patterns that explain why a large number of start-ups come to nothing.

My findings go against the pat assumptions of many venture capital investors. If you ask them why start-ups fall short, you will most likely hear about “horses” (that is, the opportunities start-ups are targeting) and “jockeys” (the founders). Both are important, but if forced to choose, most VCs would favor an able founder over an attractive opportunity. Consequently, when asked to explain why a promising new venture eventually stumbled, most are inclined to cite the inadequacies of its founders—in particular, their lack of grit, industry acumen, or leadership ability.

Putting the blame on the founders oversimplifies a complex situation. It’s also an example of what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error—the tendency for observers, when explaining outcomes, to emphasize the main actors’ disposition and for the main actors to cite situational factors not under their control—for example, in the case of a failed start-up, a rival’s irrational moves.

Putting scapegoating aside, I identified six patterns of failure, which I describe fully in my book. In this article I’ve chosen to focus on two of them in greater detail, for two reasons: First, they’re the most common avoidable reasons why start-ups go wrong. I’m not interested in clearly doomed ventures with no chance of success or even promising start-ups that were felled by unexpected external forces such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather, I’ve focused on ventures that initially showed promise but subsequently crashed to earth because of errors that could have been averted. Second, the two patterns are the most applicable to people launching new ventures within larger companies, government agencies, and nonprofits, which makes them especially relevant to HBR readers. I’ll explain each pattern more fully, illustrate it with a case study, explain when it’s most likely to occur, and suggest ways to steer clear of it. (To learn more about the other common reasons for failure, see the following sidebar.)

Four Other Patterns That Doom Start-ups

False positives. Early-stage entrepreneurs often misinterpret signals about the market demand. Beguiled by an enthusiastic …

Good Idea, Bad Bedfellows

As I’ve noted, VCs look for founders with the right stuff: resilience, passion, experience leading start-up teams, and so forth. But even when such rare talent captains a new venture, there are other parties whose contributions are crucial to it. A broad set of stakeholders, including employees, strategic partners, and investors, all can play a role in a venture’s downfall.

Indeed, a great jockey isn’t even necessary for start-up success. Other members of the senior management team can compensate for a founder’s shortcomings, and seasoned investors and advisers can likewise provide guidance and useful connections. A new venture pursuing an amazing opportunity will typically attract such contributors—even if its founder doesn’t walk on water. But if its idea is merely good, a start-up may not become a talent magnet.

Consider the case of Quincy Apparel. In May 2011 two former students of mine, Alexandra Nelson and Christina Wallace, came to me for feedback on their start-up concept. I admired both of them and was impressed with their idea, which identified an unmet customer need: Young professional women had a hard time finding affordable and stylish work apparel that fit them well. Nelson and Wallace, who were close friends, devised a novel solution: a sizing scheme that allowed customers to specify four separate garment measurements (such as waist-to-hip ratio and bra size)—akin to the approach used for tailoring men’s suits.

Following the lean start-up method, Nelson and Wallace then validated customer demand using a textbook-perfect minimum viable product, or MVP—that is, the simplest possible offering that yields reliable customer feedback. They held six trunk shows at which women could try on sample outfits and place orders. Of the 200 women who attended, 25% made purchases. Buoyed by these results, the cofounders quit their consulting jobs, raised $950,000 in venture capital, recruited a team, and launched Quincy Apparel. They employed a direct-to-consumer business model, selling online rather than through brick-and-mortar stores. At this point I became an early angel investor in the company.

Kalle Gustafsson/Trunk Archive

Initial orders were strong, as were reorders: An impressive 39% of customers who bought items from Quincy’s first seasonal collection made repeat purchases. However, robust demand required heavy investment in inventory. Meanwhile, production problems caused garments to fit poorly on some customers, resulting in higher-than-expected returns. Processing returns and correcting production problems put pressure on margins, rapidly depleting Quincy’s cash reserves. After Quincy tried and failed to raise more capital, the team trimmed the product line, aiming to simplify operations and realize efficiencies. However, the business lacked enough funding to prove out the pivot, and Quincy was forced to shut down less than a year after its launch.

So why did Quincy fail?

Quincy’s founders had a good idea. The venture’s value proposition was appealing to target customers, and the business had a sound formula for earning a profit—at least over the long term, after shaking out the bugs in production. The team had credible projections that customers in priority segments, who’d accounted for more than half of Quincy’s sales, would each have a lifetime value of over $1,000—well in excess of the $100 average cost to acquire a new customer. (Quincy’s out-of-pocket marketing costs were kept low by social-network-fueled word of mouth and enthusiastic media coverage.)

Were Wallace and Nelson simply poor jockeys? Temperamentally, their fit with the founder role was good. They were sharp and resourceful and had complementary strengths. Wallace, who was responsible for marketing and fundraising, had a big vision and the charisma to sell it. Nelson, who led operations, was deliberate and disciplined. However, the founder team wobbled in two important ways. First, unwilling to strain their close friendship, Wallace and Nelson shared decision-making authority equally with respect to strategy, product design, and other key choices. This slowed their responses when action was required. Second, neither founder had experience with clothing design and manufacturing.

A broad set of stakeholders, including employees, strategic partners, and investors, all can play a role in a venture’s downfall.

Apparel production entails many specialized tasks, such as fabric sourcing, pattern making, and quality control. To compensate for their lack of industry know-how, the founders hired a few apparel company veterans, assuming that they’d fill multiple functions—as jack-of-all-trades team members do in most early-stage start-ups. However, accustomed to the high levels of specialization in mature apparel companies, Quincy’s employees weren’t flexible about tackling tasks outside their areas of expertise.

Quincy outsourced manufacturing to third-party factories, which was not unusual in the industry. But the factories were slow to meet production commitments for entrepreneurs who had no industry reputation, required unusual garment sizing, and placed small orders. This meant shipping delays for Quincy.

Investors also played a role in Quincy’s demise. The founders had aimed to raise $1.5 million but managed to secure only $950,000. That was enough to fund operations for two seasonal collections. Before launching, the founders had correctly assumed that at least three seasons would be needed to fine-tune operations. Quincy had some traction after two seasons but not enough to lure new backers, and the venture capital firms that had provided most of its money were too small to commit more funds. Furthermore, the founders were disappointed with the guidance they got from those VCs, who pressured them to grow at full tilt—like the technology start-ups the investors were more familiar with. Doing so forced Quincy to build inventory, burning through cash before it had resolved its production problems.

In summary, Quincy had a good idea but bad bedfellows: Besides the founders, a range of resource providers were culpable in the venture’s collapse, including team members, manufacturing partners, and investors.

Could this outcome have been avoided? Perhaps. The founders’ lack of fashion industry experience was at the root of many problems. It took time for Wallace and Nelson to master the complexities of apparel design and production. Without industry connections, they couldn’t leverage their professional networks to recruit team members or count on past relationships with factory managers to ensure prompt delivery. And without an industry track record, they had difficulty finding investors willing to bet on first-time founders.

An ideal solution would have been to bring in another cofounder with apparel industry experience. Nelson and Wallace tried to do this, without success. They did have some advisers who could offer guidance—but adding more would have helped. In a postmortem analysis, Quincy’s founders also concluded that they could have sidestepped operational problems by outsourcing their entire design and production process to a single factory partner. Likewise, rather than raising funds from venture capital firms, they could have sought financial backing from a clothing factory. A factory with an equity stake in Quincy would have expedited its orders and worked harder to correct production problems. Also, the factory owners would have known how to pace the growth of a new apparel line, in contrast to Quincy’s VCs, who pressured the team for hypergrowth.

Many entrepreneurs who claim to embrace the lean start-up canon actually adopt only part of it, neglecting to research customer needs.

Quincy’s troubles shed some light on the attributes that may make start-ups vulnerable to this particular failure pattern. Entrepreneurs’ lack of industry experience will be especially problematic when large, lumpy resource commitments are required, as they are in apparel manufacturing: Quincy’s founders had to design a multistep product process from scratch, and revising such a process is disruptive once it’s in place. Another factor was ever-shifting fashion trends; the founders had to commit to garment designs and then build inventory for an entire collection many months before it went on sale.

With such challenges, learning by doing can result in expensive mistakes. Compounding the pressure, investors prefer to mete out capital one chunk at a time, waiting to see if the business can stay on the rails. If the start-up stumbles or stalls, follow-on financing may not be forthcoming from existing investors, and potential new investors will be scared off. Pivoting to a better solution isn’t feasible when it requires large amounts of capital along with weeks or months to see if new approaches are working. In that situation entrepreneurs have no room for big errors, but a lack of industry experience makes missteps all the more likely.

False Starts

I have long been an apostle of the lean start-up approach. But as I dug deeper into case studies of failure, I concluded that its practices were falling short of their promise. Many entrepreneurs who claim to embrace the lean start-up canon actually adopt only part of it. Specifically, they launch MVPs and iterate on them after getting feedback. By putting an MVP out there and testing how customers respond, founders are supposed to avoid squandering time and money building and marketing a product that no one wants.

Yet by neglecting to research customer needs before commencing their engineering efforts, entrepreneurs end up wasting valuable time and capital on MVPs that are likely to miss their mark. These are false starts. The entrepreneurs are like sprinters who jump the gun: They’re too eager to get a product out there. The rhetoric of the lean start-up movement—for example, “launch early and often” and “fail fast”—actually encourages this “ready, fire, aim” behavior.

The online dating start-up Triangulate experienced this syndrome in 2010. Its founder, Sunil Nagaraj, had originally intended to build a matching engine—software that Triangulate would license to existing dating sites such as eHarmony and Match. The engine would automatically extract consumers’ profile data—with their permission—from social networks and media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Netflix. The engine would then use algorithms to pair up users whose tastes and habits suggested that they might be romantically compatible. But VCs wouldn’t back the plan. They told Nagaraj, “Come back after you’ve signed a licensing deal.”

To prove to potential licensees that the matching engine worked, Nagaraj decided to use it to power Triangulate’s own dating site, a Facebook app that would also leverage the rich user data available to Facebook’s platform partners. VCs now showed interest: Nagaraj raised $750,000 and launched a dating site called Wings. The site was free to use and earned revenue from small payments made by users who sent digital gifts or messages. Wings soon became Triangulate’s main event; the licensing plan went on the back burner.

Kalle Gustafsson/Trunk Archive

Wings automatically populated a user’s profile by connecting to Facebook and other online services. It also encouraged users to invite their friends to the site as “wingmen” who could vouch for them—and provide a viral boost to the site’s growth. Less than a year after launching Wings, however, Nagaraj’s team abandoned both the matching engine and the wingman concept. Users found more value in recommended matches that were based on potential partners’ physical attractiveness, proximity, and responsiveness to messages—criteria routinely employed by existing dating sites. The wingman role, meanwhile, was not delivering hoped-for virality and made the site cumbersome to navigate. Furthermore, many users were uncomfortable making their dating life an open book to their friends.

A year after launch, Wings’ user base was growing, but user engagement was much lower than expected. As a result, revenue per user fell far short of Nagaraj’s original projections. Also, with limited virality, the cost of acquiring a new user was much higher than his forecast. With an unsustainable business model, Nagaraj and his team had to pivot once again—this time, with cash balances running low. They launched a new dating site, DateBuzz, that allowed users to vote on elements of other users’ profiles—before seeing their photos. This addressed one of the biggest pain points in online dating: the impact of photos on messaging. On a typical dating site, physically attractive individuals get too many messages, and other users get too few. DateBuzz redistributed attention in ways that boosted user satisfaction. Less-attractive individuals were contacted more often, and attractive users still got plenty of queries.

Entrepreneurs should conduct a competitive analysis, including user testing of existing solutions, to understand the strengths and shortcomings of rival products.

Despite this innovation, DateBuzz—like Wings—had to spend far more than it could afford to acquire each new user. Lacking confidence that a network effect would kick in and reduce customer acquisition costs before cash balances were exhausted, Nagaraj shut down Triangulate and returned $120,000 to investors.

So why did Triangulate fail?

The problem was clearly not with the jockey or his bedfellows. Nagaraj had raised funds from a topflight VC and had recruited a very able team—one that could rapidly process user feedback and in response iterate in a creative and nimble manner. Weak founders rarely attract strong teams and smart money. This was not a case of “right opportunity, wrong resources,” as with Quincy’s failure. Rather, Triangulate’s demise followed the opposite pattern: “wrong opportunity, right resources.”

A clue about the cause of Triangulate’s failure lies in its three big pivots in less than two years. On one hand, pivots are foundational for lean start-ups. With each iteration, Nagaraj’s team had heeded the “fail fast” mantra. The team also followed the principle of launching early and often—putting a real product into the hands of real customers as fast as possible.

But there’s more to the lean start-up approach than those practices. Before entrepreneurs begin to build a product, lean start-up guru Steve Blank insists, they must complete a phase called “customer discovery”—a round of interviews with prospective customers. (See “Why the Lean Start-up Changes Everything,” HBR, May 2013.) Those interviews probe for strong, unmet customer needs—problems worth pursuing. In Nagaraj’s postmortem analysis of Triangulate’s failure, he acknowledged skipping this crucial step. He and his team failed to conduct up-front research to validate the demand for a matching engine or the appeal of the wingman concept. Nor did they conduct MVP tests akin to Quincy’s trunk shows. Instead they rushed to launch Wings as a fully functional product.

By giving short shrift to customer discovery and MVPs, Triangulate’s team fell victim to a false start—and turned the “fail fast” mantra into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the team members had spoken to customers at the outset or tested a true MVP, they could have designed their first product in ways that conformed more closely to market needs. By failing with their first product, they wasted a feedback cycle, and time is an early-stage entrepreneur’s most precious resource. With the clock ticking, one wasted cycle means one less opportunity to pivot before money runs out.

Why do founders like Nagaraj skip up-front customer research? Entrepreneurs have a bias for action; they’re eager to get started. And engineers love to build things. So entrepreneurs who are engineers—like Nagaraj and his teammates—often jump into creating the first version of their product as fast as they can. Furthermore, at the risk of stereotyping, I’d offer that many engineers are simply too introverted to follow Blank’s advice and get out of the building to learn from prospective customers.

Founders without technical training also fall victim to false starts. They hear repeatedly that having a great product is crucial, so they bring engineers on board as soon as they can. Then, feeling pressure to keep those expensive engineers busy, they rush their product into development.

The good news is that false starts can easily be avoided by following a structured, three-step product design process.

1. Problem definition.

Before commencing engineering work, entrepreneurs should conduct rigorous interviews with potential customers—at which they resist the temptation to pitch their solutions. Feedback on possible solutions will come later; instead the focus should be on defining customers’ problems. Also, it’s important to interview both likely early adopters and “mainstream” prospects who may be inclined to purchase later. Success will hinge on attracting both groups, whose needs may differ. If their needs do vary, entrepreneurs will have to take the differences into account when formulating a product road map.

In addition, entrepreneurs should conduct a competitive analysis, including user testing of existing solutions, to understand the strengths and shortcomings of rival products. Likewise, surveys can help start-up teams measure customer behaviors and attitudes—helpful data when segmenting and sizing the potential market.

2. Solution development.

Once entrepreneurs have identified priority customer segments and gained a deep understanding of their unmet needs, the team’s next step should be brainstorming a range of solutions. The team should prototype several concepts and get feedback on them through one-on-one sessions with potential customers. Most teams start with crude prototypes, reject some and iterate, and then refine the ones that seem promising, gradually producing “higher fidelity” versions that more closely resemble the future product in functionality and look and feel. Prototype iteration and testing continue until a dominant design emerges.

3. Solution validation.

To evaluate demand for the favored solution, the team then runs a series of MVP tests. Unlike the prototype review sessions during step 2—conducted across the table with a single reviewer—an MVP test puts an actual product in the hands of real customers in a real-world setting to see how they respond. To avoid waste, the best MVPs have the lowest fidelity needed to get reliable input—that is, they provide no more “looks like” polish and “works like” functionality than are strictly necessary. Early MVP tests may take things further, assessing demand for a planned product through a Kickstarter campaign or by soliciting letters of intent to purchase from business-to-business customers.

Success with the product design process may require a shift in the founders’ mindset. At a venture’s outset many entrepreneurs have a preconceived notion of the customer problems they’ll address and the solutions. They may fervently believe they’re on the right path. But during the product design process, they should avoid being too emotionally attached to a specific problem-solution pairing. Entrepreneurs should stay open to the possibility that the process will uncover more-pressing problems or better solutions.

Maintaining Balance

Of course, there is no way for founders to know which deadly trap they may face as they launch. Familiarizing oneself with these two dominant failure patterns can help. But so too can understanding why they afflict start-ups so frequently.

Part of the answer is that the behaviors that conventional wisdom holds make a great entrepreneur can paradoxically increase the risk of encountering these failure patterns. It’s important for an entrepreneur to maintain balance. Guidance based on conventional wisdom is good—most of the time—but it shouldn’t be followed blindly. Consider the following advice given to many first-time founders and how it can backfire:

Just do it!

Great entrepreneurs make things happen and move fast to capture opportunity. But a bias for action can tempt an entrepreneur to truncate exploration and leap too soon into building and selling a product, as I’ve explained. When that happens, founders may find themselves locked prematurely into a flawed solution.

Be persistent!

Entrepreneurs encounter setbacks over and over. True entrepreneurs dust themselves off and go back at it; they must be determined and resilient. However, if persistence turns into stubbornness, founders may have difficulty recognizing a false start for what it is. They likewise may be reluctant to pivot when it should be clear that their solution isn’t working. Delaying a pivot eats up scarce capital, shortening a venture’s runway.

Bring passion!

A burning desire to have a world-changing impact can power entrepreneurs through the most daunting challenges. It can also attract employees, investors, and partners who’ll help make their dreams a reality. But in the extreme, passion can translate into overconfidence—and a penchant to skip critical up-front research. Likewise, passion can blind entrepreneurs to the fact that their product isn’t meeting customer needs.


Because resources are limited, entrepreneurs must conserve them by being frugal and figuring out clever ways to make do with less. True enough, but if a start-up cannot consistently deliver on its value proposition because its team lacks crucial skills, its founders must decide whether to hire employees with those skills. If those candidates demand high compensation, a scrappy, frugal founder might say, “We’ll just have to do without them”—and risk being stuck with bad bedfellows.


Rapid growth attracts investors and talent and gives a team a great morale boost. This may tempt founders to curtail customer research and prematurely launch their product. Also, fast growth can put heavy demands on team members and partners. If a team has bad bedfellows, growth may exacerbate quality problems and depress profit margins.

. . .

It’s fashionable in start-up circles to speak glibly about failure as a badge of honor or a rite of passage—just another phase of an entrepreneur’s journey. Perhaps doing so is a coping mechanism, or perhaps failure’s ubiquity inures those in the business world to its true human and economic costs. I’ve counseled dozens of entrepreneurs as they shut down their ventures. Raw emotions are always on display: anger, guilt, sadness, shame, and resentment. In some cases the founders were in denial; others just seemed depressed. Who could blame them, after having had their dreams dashed and their self-confidence shattered? In my work I try to help people come to terms with failure, but I can tell you that at ground zero, there’s no way to avoid the fact that it hurts. It also can destroy relationships. When they founded Quincy Apparel, Nelson and Wallace vowed not to let conflict over the business threaten their close friendship. But after clashing over how to wind the company down, they weren’t on speaking terms for two years. (Their relationship has since been repaired.)

Failure also takes a toll on the economy and society. A doomed venture ties up resources that could be put to better use. And it acts as a deterrent to would-be entrepreneurs who are more risk-averse, have financial obligations that make it hard to forgo a paycheck or face barriers when raising capital—which is to say, many women and minorities. To be sure, failure will (and should) always be a reality for many entrepreneurs. Doing something new with limited resources is inherently risky. But by recognizing that many failures are avoidable and follow the same trajectory, we can reduce their number and frequency. The payoff will be a more productive, more diverse, and less bruising entrepreneurial economy.

Editor’s note: This article was adapted from the book Why Startups Fail: A New Roadmap for Entrepreneurial Success, by Tom Eisenmann (Currency, 2021).A version of this article appeared in the May–June 2021 issue of Harvard Business Review. Read more on Entrepreneurial management or related topics EntrepreneurshipStart-ups and Business failures

  • Tom Eisenmann
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