YOUR QUICK GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING STOCKS

 

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I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful      – Warren Buffet

This is a famous quote from Warren Buffet’s book, titled ‘Think like Warren Buffet’ where he was practically giving advice on how to become a wise investor. A quick glance through various search engines on the words investor, investment and invest automatically brings up words such as stocks, shares and shareholders. Talking about financial investment and knowing how to invest wisely often times involves dealing with stocks. Now for some of you, you probably have come across the word before and perhaps know certain things about what it entails, while for some other people, you are not so acquainted with it. We are going to be brushing up on what stocks mean and take you on a quick tour on understanding how stocks works.

So what is a stock? Stock simply means a share in the ownership of a company. In simpler terms, it means being one of the owners of a company. Owning stocks in a company means you are entitled to its earnings (which is the amount of money that particular company has earned during a specified period) and assets (refers to an element of economic value belonging to the company and which is expected to produce a benefit in future periods). You might have come across words such as equity and shares, they both mean the same thing as stocks. Now let us delve further into what owning a stock means. Owning a stock or shares in a certain company means you own a part of that company. So the higher the shares you own in that company, the corresponding higher percentage you own in that same company.

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Now for regular folks like you and I, owning a share in a company, let’s say for example, Pepsi, does not mean we can go into any of the company’s outlets and begin to order the staffs around, and sorry to ‘burst your bubble’ again, it doesn’t also mean you get free pepsi cola drinks whenever you want at any of their outlets. It doesn’t really work that way. What it technically means is that you own a piece of every trademark of that company, buildings, furniture, equipment and also, earnings of that company. Your entitlements are majorly two things; the earnings and voting shares. Earnings has been simply and briefly explained earlier on, while voting shares simply means the particular shares that bestows the shareholder with the right to vote on matters of corporate policy making as well as electing those who will constitute the board of directors.

The proof of your ownership of a particular stock is the stock certificate. It is a swanky piece of paper which ideally represents your stock. Several years back prior to the emergence of portable computers and internet services, stock certificates were almost always in the possession of the owners of the stocks. This was the medium which stocks were being traded. To buy or sell your shares in a company, you must have your stock certificate with you as this serves as the proof of your ownership. But today, you don’t have to have your stock certificate physically with you as it is electronically stored. This makes it safer to keep and easier to trade with. Having learnt what a stock certificate means, the next thing you should know are the types of stocks.

There are basically two main smorgasbord of stocks, Common Stock and Preferred Stock. The common stock is the most likely type of stock you would have heard, read or watched being talked about. Majority of stockholders deal with this type of stock. It basically means what we’ve been talking about; having a part in the ownership of a particular company with a claim to its profits and also with the ability and opportunity to participate in voting in members that will constitute the board of directors. With common stock, you also get to be paid dividend (a distribution of a company’s earnings to its shareholders) depending on the amount of profit the company is raking in. Preferred stock is a ‘special’ type of stock where shareholders are assured of a fixed dividend. The stock also doesn’t have the same voting rights as the common stock. In short, it differs from the common stock mainly in two ways; having a fixed dividend as opposed to the variable dividends associated with common stock and also, not having the same voting rights.

We’ve discussed what a stock is, the meaning of stock certificate and likewise the major types of stocks. Now let’s talk about how people make money by investing in the stock market. When you buy a common stock, you have two major source of generating income. The first way is through dividends as we talked about earlier. This is when the board of directors of the particular company that you have invested in decides to pay you a certain amount of money as part of the profit they made. This is usually proportional to the amount of shares you have in that company. So basically, you get a higher dividend than someone with a lower amount of shares in that same company. You should also know that there is no rule that says a company must compulsorily pay you dividend, although a lot of companies do. Secondly and most importantly, you can generate income by selling your shares at a higher rate than they originally were. For example, you buy 1000 shares at a company at the rate of N20 per share. This means you have N20,000 worth of shares invested in that company. As the company grows and becomes more profitable with the aid of a good management team, great product or service and exceptional marketing skills, potential investors and regular folks see this as a good investment and likewise invest in that company. Gradually, the naira per share value of that company will rise, let’s say to N100, so automatically your naira worth in that company becomes N100,000. You can decide to cash out your N100,000 by selling your shares to an interested buyer through a broker (an individual or a firm behooved with the role of matchmaking buyers to sellers and vice versa).

Trading of stocks is done through an exchange, which is an avenue for buyers and sellers of stocks to meet and discuss the price of the particular stock involved. There are two types, the physical exchange and virtual exchange. The physical exchange involves a trading floor where transactions are carried out. You might have seen something similar depicting this in a movie or news channel, where men and women wearing suits or jackets waving their hands up and yelling out certain words and numbers to each other. The other type, which is the virtual exchange, involves trading electronically. There are virtual brokerage firms that allows the investor the liberty and comfort of trading from anywhere they want through the use of mobile devices, tablets or computers. The exchange can be compared to an e-commerce site such as Konga, which links up buyers to sellers and vice versa. In Nigeria, the stock exchange is known as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) while in the United States, the major stock exchanges are the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), NASDAQ and AMEX (American Stock Exchange). The NYSE is an example of the physical exchange; while NASDAQ is a virtual exchange where trading is done electronically with no floor brokers or any central location. London houses the popular London Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is the major stock exchange in Hong Kong while Brazil is home to BM&F Bovespa.

Let me conclude by indulging you on the reasons why companies issue out stocks to individuals or institutional investors. You ever wonder why these companies will want to share ownership of their companies and subsequently share their profits? The reason is that at some point every company needs to raise capital. They might need to raise capital for a big and extensive project they are working on, to expand their business or simply to service off a debt. So instead of going to the bank to get a loan to fulfill the capital need of their projects or expansion plans, they sell off a certain percentage of their company. This works well with the companies as they are not required to pay back any debt or interests incurred on the debt. When a company decides to sell out part of its company to the public for the first time, it is called an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Individuals and institutional investors buy shares during the IPO of some companies in the hope that those shares will be worth more than they originally were after a while. This is where the distinction comes between the two entities Primary Market and Secondary Market. The primary market involves buying shares from a company during its IPO, while in the secondary market, investors trade previously issued shares/stocks. When people refer to the stock market, most of the times, they are referring to the secondary market.

Balogun Oluwafemi

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The Cycle of Workforce

The Cycle of Workforce
I know most of us have been in a particular seminar, lecture, workshop or training in which a speaker once tried to motivate and encourage you to be a leader and not a follower, to be your own boss and not a servant. I myself and including most of you readers have been once or more in this kind of lecture or motivational forum.
Years back when I started hearing these speeches about being a leader and not a follower, a boss and not a servant, what mostly went through my thoughts was; who will then be the servant? Who will do the petit jobs such as a messenger, house cleaner, security guards and such jobs as that? Back then I didn’t understand much then as I do now, and even now I don’t understand much as I would in the future. All these speeches and lectures concerning the concerned topic are actually true and are not far stretched.
What it means is what I personally call ‘The Cycle of Workforce’. This is a phenomenon in which the total workforces of an Organisation, a Company, State or a Nation are in cycles. I know it is impossible not to have jobs such as security guards, cleaners, messengers, garbage clearers etc. What you should make sure is you not turning these jobs into permanent jobs. These jobs are just meant for you to serve and work for a specified amount of time pending the time in which you are building plans for your next move and steps in life. You use the time you work in such jobs to save some extra cash, to plan ahead such as to enrol in a creative and quality educational institution if it so pleases you, to gain experience and skills in some field and then to meet and connect with people in your own little way. With this, you set goals and time limit in which you plan to work in such jobs and when the time comes for you to move on, make sure you are disciplined enough to opt out and quit the job.
Don’t ever be satisfied with your status quo and trust me, a lot of people, even your close friends and family members might question your judgement and decision. You don’t need to start defending and arguing about the decision that you have made or that you are about to make, just keep quiet and save the energy to build that which lies ahead of you. The road might not be smooth initially and might even get tougher with time, but I assure you as you stay on course with dedication of your time, energy, resources, skills and efforts, you will eventually breakout of the dark loom of obscurity into limelight.

Balogun Femi

 

HOLYFIELD’s DONATION… HOAX OR TRUE?

 

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Just getting back from a trip yesterday afternoon, I decided to take time to rest while watching TVC. Flashes of several news making the headlines were highlighted by the news anchor, but I was subtly interested in the one showcasing the pugilist Evander Holyfield donating cash in the amount of three million dollars ($3,000,000) to Lagos State. The money is meant to be used to buy health equipment for health facilities for some of the hospitals in the State. I was bewildered to see a legend like Holyfield come to Lagos State and extend a philanthropic hand to the health sector. This appeared unequivocally as a magnanimous deed, one that should be truly appreciated. Watching on, I saw the great Nigerian ‘Machiavelli’ Tinubu standing beside the Legend while Governor Ambode was also not too far away. At this point, the curious side of me became partly conscious as to what was going on, something wasn’t right and was a little off, but seeing that I needed sleep, I decided to allow the byzantine thought pass.

Waking up this morning, I had a discussion with a friend and talked much about the three million dollars Holyfield donated to Lagos. The math just wasn’t adding up. How will Holyfield who as of April 2017 was valued to have a net worth ranging from five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to one million dollars ($1,000,000) make a three million dollar donation to Lagos State, Lagos o. His net worth is one million dollars at its best, and that is not even liquid cash. Fifteen years back, there won’t even be any need for this write up as the Legend was making a buck load of money. It is estimated that he made about $230 million in his career as a boxer. He had several endorsements and money was flowing in a quotidian manner. He even purchased a mansion that spanned about 230 acres and had 109 rooms in it. The mansion was being serviced and maintained with a whopping $1 million every year. He was ‘celebrity-wise’ rich back then and could afford to donate as much as he wanted, but in today’s reality, Holyfield cannot afford to donate $3 million. Logically, the man doesn’t even have that amount of liquid cash with him.

That Holyfield is broke isn’t news, it is a trite statement people in the United States are used to. This was the same man that was being threatened of imprisonment if he failed to pay his child’s support, an amount equivalent to $300,000. Baba simply couldn’t afford it. He also failed to pay $6,000 as child support for his 10 years old son. His mansion was auctioned off when he couldn’t pay for it again as he was in severe debt crisis. The Pugilist also failed to pay an amount of $550,000 for services rendered for a landscaping job done for him in Utah. When it got worse for him, he decided to sell off 20 pairs of his fight gloves, his Olympic bronze medal, championship rings, about 20 math robes and short, including his victory belts. This is all just to say that ‘Baba is broke’ (babu kudi). So, what is the true story behind his donation to Lagos State?

 

University Education, Do I Really Need It?

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-Helen Keller upon enrolling in a tertiary institution and after spending some time there as a student commented that she was so overwhelmed with school work that she didn’t have time to engage in solid thinking-
****************
If you are in school, college or in a University and you think in your mind that the reason you are there is so that after you graduate your life will make meaning, or you will become successful due to the degree or the certificate that you will earn there; then absolutely you are mistaken.
I have come to define University and most especially a West African University as ‘An Institution which enslaves youth for about 4 to 6 years and during that period they are made to believe that they cannot do nor achieve anything until they are released from this prison of the mind’’. What makes a man goes beyond the certificate that he gets from a College or a University no matter how prestigeous that college or University is. It is now clear to me that Informal education is one of the significant ways that makes a man. Education is all around us and most importantly WITHIN us. It is not to be sought out in any man made institution. I know of great achievers whose works or achievements were not attributed to the University or the Institution they attended.
Now am sure some of you may start misquoting me and reading the ‘’thinking-within-the-box mind set’’ to what have just said. Yes you are to obtain your college degrees and university certificates, but this is just for you to avoid societal prejudice hence to have a good platform before the society wherein you can display your enormous gifts and contribution to the human race. Never for once think that you are in school to make a living. If you get carried away by this thinking you might actually be trying to make a living in life rather than to make a life.
Education is all around us and it is simply exposure and knowledge as the old saying says that ‘knowledge is power’’. Let us imbibe the right mind set and start thinking outside the box. We should be a nation of thinkers and not followers of thinkers as a friend of mine use to say. We are nurturing youths who are now merely followers rather than innovators and concept starters. When was the last time that you as a person sat down all alone to think deeply and to come out with ideas and concepts on how a particular thing around you should be done better, instead we are just wallowed in that prison of timidity and complacency allowing other people to come up with ideas for us. I think the problem is in people not wanting to sacrifice the time, energy and passion to engage in solid thinking. Martin Luther King Jnr once said; that one thing that people find it hard and difficult to do is to engage in serious and solid thinking. People don’t just want to sacrifice to do this
I truly and honestly don’t believe in formal and standardized education, and I will stand and defend this belief anywhere. The only time that I can begin to believe in Nigerian educational institution will be when a proper institution will be built and created to allow the imaginative thinking of students, an institute which will allow students to dream big, one which will culture inventors and innovators rather than old world and old regime followers, an institution that allows students to experiment with ideas and imaginative thoughts rather than following what the old and present generation has laid down and an institution which is built with a proper Research & Development unit.
Balogun Oluwafemi

Picture courtesy of 123rf

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Who is Bolaji Sparks?

٭٭SPΔRKS CLASSIC GEAR٭٭(3)

     fashion is the most beautiful thing after nature

–  Bolaji Olumoh (a.k.a Bolaji Sparks)

The name Bolaji Sparks which is linked to the now popular fashion brand known as Sparks Classic Gears has been on the trend for some time now. Many wonder who Bolaji Sparks really is or what Sparks Classic Gear really is all about, as you might have seen the tag on their branded cloth somewhere or with someone close to you.

Bolaji Sparks is the fashion genius and entrepreneur behind the popular fashion brand known as Sparks Classic Gear. A lot of his brand aficionados know of the brand name but don’t really know the genius behind it. I’m about to reveal it to you and quench all the suspense that has been built up. Bolaji Sparks as the nickname goes is actually Habib Bolaji Olumoh,  a 23year old(come this April)  fashion entrepreneur and genius, who happens to be  the C.E.O and mastermind behind the brand Sparks Classic Gear. I have had opportunities to meet with this rising business man and fashion aficionado several times and even had an interview with him recently which  led to the birth of this blog.

He started his early schooling in Ilorin but later moved to Lagos while he was still in Primary 3. In his own words; ”Growing up in Lag was kind of cool but not much fun as I had to stay indoor most of the time even though I had the Lagos orientation in me”. He then attended Home Science Primary School to complete his primary education and coincidentally, one of his favorite artist, Olubankole Wellington a.k.a Banky W to be specific, also attended the secondary school but at different times. Upon completion of his primary school, he proceeded to Ronik Comprehensive School for his secondary school education, but as an unintentional routine and habit that he took up, he changed his secondary school as he relocated back to Ilorin and then completed his schooling in Sapati International School. He told me during the interview; ” that was at first the worst thing that I felt ever happened to me, but God blessed me with that move as Sapati International School became my then new home”. He went on to tell me that Ilorin wasn’t bubbling like Lag but it was like everybody was one big family.

On asking him if Sparks Classic Gear had always being on his mind or he accidentally stumbled upon this idea in his university days as the like of Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O of Facebook did in his own university days at Harvard. He was quick to dismiss this and said that it had been his long time dream even though he had not come up with the brand name then. He said in his own expression ” I’m a big fan of Sean Combs a.k.a Diddy who owns Sean John and Jay-Z owner and C.E.O of Roca Wears. I used to dream of wearing my own brand” .

Bolaji Sparks is a fashion enthusiast who loves the glamour of the fashion world and quoted; ”Fashion is the most beautiful thing after nature”. Starting up with the fashion brand wasn’t easy at the initial stage as he did not get all the required support that he needed then. He had to sacrifice his time, his personal savings and allowances to make wears. He also had to deal with school timetable and his parents. When I inquired about what or who kept him going during this trial period, he commented; ”God kept me going from day one”. This reminds me of a particular personal expression I left on twitter some days back quoting that the period before success emerges are usually the most trying and difficult ones. He said then he had few people who believed in him,but the brand name was spreading in Unilorin and even Ilorin as a whole. The strong phrase of ‘winners don’t quit no matter what’ erupted from his lips strongly and this phrase also lies in concordance with General Pype’s song Victorious Man.

People who have inspired him and who he sees as role model include Dbanj and Aliko Dangote and above all, he honours God and sees Him as his source of inspiration and motivation. When I asked about where he sees himself in like ten years, he replied by saying he sees himself in a better position than he currently is. He has only one regret in life which is him not having started the fashion brand earlier but still acknowledges that God’s time is the best.

He hopes to combine his law practice together with his fashion biz and is a believer of having multiple streams of income. During his free time, he spends it with his family, plays soccer with his guys, listens to music and also thinks of more innovations to bring to the fashion world. He is a fashion tycoon in the rising and he’s a must-to-meet person as you will love his personality.

To personally get in contact with him, hit him up on his twitter account @iam_sparks

Balogun Femi (@Balogs5)

٭٭SPΔRKS CLASSIC GEAR٭٭(5)

Awesome topic

Gigaom

In Silicon Valley and the tech world, building a startup is almost seen as a rite of passage. Working at a startup is commonplace: not just acceptable but venerated. That culture has brought a lot of innovation and perhaps a few silly ideas to the world, but sometimes it’s worth it to step outside that bubble to see what can be learned from cultures in other entrepreneurial enclaves.

I had such an opportunity at the Toy Fair in New York last week during its Launchpad section. It featured roughly two dozen entrepreneurs who built a prototype toy and a website, and paid $1,900 for a 6-foot long table at the show. Several people showed off board games, figurines, including the above pictured Obos, and a variety of other items waited for a distributor or a buyer to discover them.

While talking to eight of the assembled entrepreneurs I realized…

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The Cycle of Workforce

Workforce

The Cycle of Workforce

I know most of us have been in a particular seminar, lecture, workshop or training in which a speaker has once tried to motivate and encourage you to be a leader and not a follower, to be your own boss and not a servant. I myself and including most of you readers have been once or more in this kind of lecture or motivational forum.

Years back when I started hearing these speeches about being a leader and not a follower, a boss and not a servant, what mostly went through my thoughts was; who will then be the servant? Who will do the petit jobs such as a messenger, house cleaner, security guards and such jobs as that? Back then I didn’t understand much then as I do now, and even now I don’t understand much as I would in the future. All these speeches and lectures concerning the concerned topic are actually true and are not far stretched.

What it means is what I personally call ‘The Cycle of Workforce’. This is a phenomenon in which the total workforces of an Organisation, a Company, State or a Nation are in cycles. I know it is impossible not to have jobs such as security guards, cleaners, messengers, garbage clearers etc. What you should make sure is you not turning these jobs into permanent jobs. These jobs are just meant for you to serve and work for a specified amount of time pending the time in which you are building plans for your next move and steps in life. You use the time you work in such jobs to save some extra cash, to plan ahead such as to enrol in a creative and quality educational institution if it so pleases you, to gain experience and skills in some field and then to meet and connect with people in your own little way. With this, you set goals and time limit  in which you plan to work in such jobs and when the time comes for you to move on, make sure you are disciplined enough to opt out and quit the job.

Don’t ever be satisfied with your status quo and trust me, a lot of people, even your close friends and family members might question your judgement and decision. You don’t need to start defending and arguing about the decision that you have made or that you are about to make, just keep quiet and save the energy to build that which lies ahead of you. The road might not be smooth initially and might even get tougher with time, but I assure you as you stay on course with dedication of your time, energy, resources, skills and efforts, you will eventually breakout of the dark loom of obscurity into limelight.

Balogun Femi

(Business Consultant)

Image courtesy of sheelamohan/freedigitalphotos.net