4 Ways To Build Your Business Brand

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The importance of building a business brand can not be overemphasized, it really can be considered just as important as setting up the business itself.

We share 4 tips to help effectively build a business brand.

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1.Define Your Brand

To build a great brand, you need to first define that brand, know what it means, what it stands for and what concept or idea you want to equate it with. To define your brand, you can start by writing down all characteristics that describe what you want the brand to be or represent, and the exact way you would like the brand to be perceived. Once you have the list, you can progressively fine-tune it to enhance your brand and make it stand out from competitors. In the end, the list should give a clear understanding of what your business is capable of doing, what it should be known for and how it should sell products and/or services without compromising its values.

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2.Encourage Your Employees To Be Brand Ambassadors

There is no better way to build a brand than to have your employees as brand ambassadors. It is important for your employees to understand the business brand, know what it stands for and embody what the brand stands for. This is because your employees are likely going to be the ones having direct interactions with the customers or clients, and if these employees don’t fully grasp what your business brand is about or what it represents, the customers or clients are unlikely to do so as well. As a business, be sure to keep your employees ‘engaged and informed’ about your business brand, train them to understand the business brand and encourage them to support the brand message in their interactions with customers or clients, and even in their interactions with each other. You can them reward them for acting in the brand’s best interests by way of incentives.

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3. Think of Your Brand as a Person

This will help significantly in brand communications and positioning. Thinking of your brand as a person will help to guide the methods and manner you communicate your brand to the general public, especially target customers. This is because seeing your brand as a person helps to give it a personality, and this personality will determine how your brand will behave in different situations. It also determines, based on that personality, how best to communicate with the general public, and helps develop beliefs, values and purposes that further define that brand and how it relates with the public and target customers.

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4. Be Consistent

Consistency helps to reinforce the character of your brand. It makes your brand seem focused and less clumsy to the public, and further helps to clarify your offerings so customers know or have an idea of what exactly to expect from your business. Additionally, it helps to establish the authenticity of your brand and build trust in your brand. Creating a brand guide can help with brand consistency. A brand guide will help to establish guidelines for your brand and ultimately keep your entire business on the same page.

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Five Things To Consider Before Expanding Your Business

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Entrepreneurs are decision-makers. They take decisions on the path or direction to drive their business. One of such decisions they have to take is when to expand their enterprise. Whether you get it right or wrong, your conclusions will have a groundbreaking impact on your business. Obviously, you do not want to get such a key decision wrong and join the approximately 70% to 80% of startups that fail within 5 years in Africa. As such, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares the things you have to consider before expanding your business.

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1.A clear strategy

The strategy is laying a clear roadmap ahead for the company to achieve its vision and mission. Without this, your expansion may be a totally foolhardy risk.

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2.Stability of your financial report

You should look to the data contained in your financial reports to determine the viability of an expansion at the current moment. The reports should show increasing profits, a firm handle on salary payment and good control over purchasing expenses.

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3.Relationship with customers

The truth is most companies in their early days do everything to keep their customers happy, and during their expansion phase, they fall apart in terms of customer service. Take this opportunity to build a rapport with your target group to win them over to your side. This is essential if the relationship is strained. If you cannot keep your customers happy, you really have no business expanding because there will be endless complaints which will not only ruin the reputation of your business but can also lead to business failure when you start losing them.

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4.Effectiveness of your workforce

A business depends on a well-trained, effective workforce to handle day-to-day activities. If you can rely on your staff to do their work tasks in an efficient manner, no matter what conditions throw at them, you are ready to utilize this essential resource to expand your business.

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5.Funding

Funding is perhaps the most important. Without capital, the business expansion will be near impossible. One trending way to get funds is through venture capitalists or serial investors who are willing and ready to invest in viable businesses. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of them by pitching to them. If your pitch is endorsed, they will pump money into your business and you can then expand.

7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do To Stay Motivated

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Making the decision to become an entrepreneur is a fearless step from being an employee of a business to the leader of your own business. One of the first challenges they are likely to face is that they no longer have line managers to set goals and deadlines for them. Therefore, the responsibility of inspiration and motivation becomes their personal task. This is where some entrepreneurs fall short. As such, these insights will help them stay motivated.

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1.Set goals and values

Entrepreneurs must have personal goals and core values. They must write them down, read them daily and even memorize them. These should serve as a regular reminder about their purpose for becoming entrepreneurs.

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2.Have a plan

Running a business without a plan can easily make them lose focus. They should evolve both short-term and long-term plans. This will help them have a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish and how they want to achieve it.

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3.Have a ‘me’ time

Entrepreneurs are very busy people. As such, it is possible that they will be consumed by work.  So, they should endeavour to set personal time during which they get out of the rut.

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4.Think of themselves as captains

Entrepreneurs are the captains of their ships and nobody will navigate that ship for them except they do. So, they should take solace in the fact that they own the business and they have to make painstaking efforts to run it.

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5.Connect with other entrepreneurs

This is not to say that you need to copy what others are doing. Instead, share ideas and get to know what keeps them motivated. This will definitely make them feel like they are on the right track with the support of other like minded entrepreneurs.

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6.Reward themselves

Being a business owner does not mean they should not reward themselves. As such, they should be prepared to reward themselves for accomplishing their set goals.

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7.Sleep

They should never underestimate the value of a good night sleep for personal motivation. A night of sound rest will re-energize them and significantly boost performance.

The application deadline for Ola Ndi Igbo 2017 has been extended by a month!

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If you know anyone who has always dreamed of showcasing their innovations and inventions to potential investors and the public, they are in luck as the application deadline for the 2017 Ola Ndi Igbo Inventors and Innovators Fair has just been extended!

Entries were supposed to come to a halt today but the organisers has announced that there are now a month more to get your application in the running.

The Inventors and Innovators to participate in this event will be drawn from South East indigenes and residents. Indigenes of the South East must not be resident in the South East to participate, but non-indigenes must be resident in the South East to participate.

The new closing date is Saturday, November 18th. Log on to http://www.olandiigbo.net to apply.

It’s pretty exciting!

Ola ndi Igbo is a biennial convention of Ndi Igbos with the vision of celebrating our global best. The theme for the 2017 Summit is: ‘Revitalizing the Can-do Igbo Spirit: Showcasing Innovations and Inventions from the South East.’

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Despite the legacy of the Igbo people in education, science, technology and innovation, and the pivotal role that they have played in technology, innovation and inventions in Nigeria, the South East continues to struggle with high rates of unemployment, especially among youth and limited internally generated income to drive social and economic development in its five states – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

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In addition, the large and accomplished Diaspora populations in the United States and the United Kingdom are relatively disconnected, and the most successful citizens are not engaged in philanthropic and community development initiatives in the South East. As a result, the region continues to struggle with a relatively weak civil society and a non-profit sector that is unable to raise funds to scale high impact initiatives.

Hence Ola Ndi Igbo has provided a platform to foster a community of individuals of Igbo descent who are proud of their heritage and are committed to working collaboratively to promote the social and economic development of Ndigbo.

The event is slated for the 18th of December 2017 in Enugu State. For adverts and sponsorship, contact Rita on 09092403119 or rita@southsaharan.org

 

 

Continue reading “The application deadline for Ola Ndi Igbo 2017 has been extended by a month!”

Meet Malik Ado-Ibrahim – He is set to Introduce Electric cars into Nigerian market by 2018

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Malik Ado-Ibrahim is the chairman of Nigus Enfinity, an indigenous firm which is set to introduce electric vehicles into the Nigerian automobile market in 2018 and a local assembly plant for electric vehicles in 2020.

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Ado-Ibrahim said several countries across the world have set targets for the ban of petrol-fuelled vehicles with India targeting 2030, and the United Kingdom, 2040.

He said Nigeria and Africa need to look inward to be at the fore of the automotive revolution or risk becoming waste bin for banned vehicles from other countries.

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Ado-Ibrahim, who was the first African to lead the Formula 1 Team global race car competition in 1999, said his firm is already building a 100 megawatts (mw) solar power plant in Katsina and another in Adamawa state.

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According to him, the company has also partnered with Build Your Dreams, a Chinese firm, to import electric vehicles at affordable costs from 2018.

“We are also working with BYD to get a local brand and start an electric vehicle assembly plant for Nigeria from 2020. Gradually we will move to an EV with the African DNA starting in Nigeria,” he said.

In June, Elon Musk had unveiled the world’s cheapest electric car, which was priced at N11 million.

5 Key Things Investors Are Looking For In A Startup

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It is a known fact that entrepreneurs bootstrap when starting out because of limited finance. This is one of the main reasons why less than 50% of them survive the first five years in the market. To take your startup to the next level, entrepreneurs are regularly searching for venture capitalist and investors to invest in their businesses. Of course, startup investors desire innovative companies to invest their monies. However, they won’t drop a dime if they do not see the following things highlighted in your startup.

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1.Strong leadership teams

To secure startup investor funding, show that you have smart, strategic, and successful leaders. You must show the competency of both your company founders and leadership team. So, endeavour to leverage your leadership team’s professional experience for increased investor interest in your startup.

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2.Clear ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is the time needed to recoup the initial expenses invested in a business. Most startups aim to achieve this within the first one year of operations, but in certain sectors, it takes considerably longer due to high entry costs and low-profit margins. Would-be investors are aware that quite a number of startups that receive venture funding are unable to immediately make returns. As such, they want to see some real evidence that within a particular period, they will begin to get these returns.

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3.Consumer interest in your product

Investors want to know that your product has a future in the marketplace. So, the onus is on you to show them proof that it has a market niche of its own and consumers are interested in your product.

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4.Transparency

Transparency is important to increase investor trust in your business. No startup investor wants to enter a deal when they do not feel like they have all the facts. Be open and honest about the state of your business, the challenges you are facing and how you plan to surmount them.

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5.Growth potentials

Investors do not want a company that will be stagnant. They want to invest in startups that will thrive and eventually provide a return on their investment. Therefore, your business should be built with scalability and growth in mind.

Introducing the third edition of Ola Ndi Igbo Fair – 18 December 2017

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After previous successful editions in 2013 and 2015, Ola Ndi Igbo (Jewels of the Igbo people), the leading initiative dedicated to honouring and celebrating individuals of Igbo descent who have distinguished themselves in their profession on a global stage, will return for its third edition on 18 December 2017 in Enugu.

The theme for the 2017 Summit is ”Revitalizing the Can-do Igbo Spirit: Showcasing Innovations and Inventions from the South East.”

This year’s edition seeks to provide an avenue where local innovations and inventions from the people or residents of South East Nigeria can be showcased, provide cash incentives for innovators and inventors for more creative endeavours, harness local alternatives to local problems as a solution to the recession, and provide an avenue for networking opportunities between innovators, potential investors and the general public.

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Mrs Oby Ezekwesili presenting the Innovation Marketplace Prize to Obinna Ukwuani in the 2015 edition

There will be a cash prize for the best innovator/invention, while the best 20 Inventors/Innovators will also have their capacity built in branding, marketing, running a business and financial management.

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Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili presenting an Award to Nnaeto Orazulike

Ola Ndi Igbo Fair, a biennial summit established by a group of passionate, credible and committed young Igbo Professionals in Nigeria and the Diaspora, is organized by the South Saharan Social Development Organisation with the aim of fostering a community of individuals of Igbo descent who are proud of their heritage and are committed to working collaboratively to promote the social and economic development of Ndigbo.

Breaking of the Kola

The first Summit was held at the Civic Centre Lagos State in 2013 and inspired a range of initiatives to promote development in Igbo land including the creation of an entrepreneurship and vocational training centre for youth in the Southeast, a soul searching summit titled “Olu Ndi Igbo and a business training programme for Igbo traders in markets across Nigeria.”

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Dancers and Choir performing at Benefits Concert

The 2015 edition took place in the South Eastern city of Enugu with the theme: Leveraging the power of entertainment, media, technology and education for changing paradigms and future realities.

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Veteran musician, Bright Chimezie, rolled back the years with his Zigima sound

This edition will welcome submissions from Africa and around the world, and will feature an ambitious program of talks and events in partnership with international and local institutions to broaden the reach of the fair and further diversify its portfolio of exhibiting and promoting innovations and inventions that are connected to Ndi Igbo and Igboland.

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Chigurl and Nkem Ifejika of BBC were the hosts in the 2015 edition

Works of art such as poetry, short stories, artistic paintings and sculptures, as well as basic research reports and observation records shall not be accepted.

Deadline for submission of application is on 18 October, 2017. Interested participants should visit www.olandiigbo.net for more information and to complete the Application form.

For adverts and sponsorship, contact Rita on +234 (0) 9092 403 119, E:mail Rita@Southsaharan.org or info@olandiigbo.net

#TheAdventuresOfMuna Officially Launches Tomorrow

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Get ready for the launch of the #TheAdventuresOfMuna, a book designed to teach your kids safety tips through short stories authored by a seasoned safety personnel and advocate, Ugochi Obidiegwu, for your kids, wards and loved ones.

ABOUT THE BOOK

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Ugochi Obidiegwu is the author of the “The Adventures Of Muna”. She owns The Safety Chic brand

Muna is your typical 7-year old African girl – happy, expressive and boisterous. Her day is filled with activities which have the potential to cause her harm, and so she needs a safety guide. Adventures of Muna is a collection of short stories about a typical day in Muna’s life and the safety habits she must learn in order to have an injury-free day. This kid-to-kid safety guide tackles various aspects of children safety, from preventing falls and handling strangers to surviving fires and using the roads safely. It passes the child safety message with simple language and familiar characters so that your child will both learn and remember.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE AT THE LAUNCH

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This book launch will be one with a difference. Your purchase would ensure that an indigent child will also have access to the book. Therefore for every single book you buy, a child somewhere in Nigeria (Abia, Kaduna, Ekiti, Port Harcourt etc.) will get a book for free. Isn’t that “awemazing”?

Release Date: 16th September, 2017
Venue: Sahara Reporters, 13 Isaac John, Ikeja GRA
Time: 2pm prompt

Preview and purchase the Paperback format here https://www.amazon.com/reader/1522078029…

And get the Kindle format here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074S6MJ63?ref_=k4w_ss_dp_lp_ip

7 Things Nigerian Students Can Do While ASUU is On Strike

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It has been a few years since students in Nigerians had to deal with long-term strikes; and just at the moment we thought the era of students having to stay an extra 2 to 3 years in school due to unnecessary strikes by championed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was over, they strike again.

It certainly felt like Deja Vu when the National President Of The Union, Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi, announced this on Monday at a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU in Abuja that there would be an indefinite strike and that during the strike, there will be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of the union’s branches across the country.

There is some value in ASUU going on strike. They hope that issues such as payment of fractions/ non-payment of salaries, as well as Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); refusal to release the operational license of NUPEMCO; and the non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 Pension Reform Act with respect to retired professors and their salaries, will be sorted.

It is easy for affected students to get into a lazy mode, where they sit around doing nothing or just meshing the entire time into one long continual nap fest…wasting valuable time and making no positive strides in their life all through the period of the strike.

If you are one of the affected students and you are wondering how you could possibly make this “indefinite” time worth your while, you may want to consider a handy list of helpful suggestions.

1.Start a Business
There is no age too young for becoming an entrepreneur. Use this period at home to start a small business. You could either sell products or render a service. The good thing is that you do not necessarily need a large capital to get yourself started. You also have the social media as a very important promotional tool.

You could start a home cleaning service or food delivery service…there are so many options.

Managing a business gives you a lot of opportunities to gain a lot of experience with will be beneficial when you eventually conclude your studies.

2.Learn a new skill
You finally have the time to learn a new skill. It could be photography, jewelry making, learning to play an instrument like the saxophone or guitar, baking, writing and producing music or playing a sport like football, tennis or volleyball. Take the time to learn it and get really good at it. Not only does it give you an edge and provide opportunities for a side hustle, it will help build your self-confidence and give you value for time invested.

3.Enroll for a professional certification course
The university might be closed but there are other avenues for learning. You can enroll in short courses online or for professional classes that will grant you certain qualifications that may become relevant in future. Even if you do not have the money to pay for these courses, you can go for free ones on portals like Coursera or Edx.
You don’t necessarily have to get a certificate; the idea is to acquire new knowledge that will be relevant to your career goals or aspirations.

4.Get a job
While you are at home, you might as well make a little money. Get a job as an intern or assistant in an office or company. You can even get a job as a paid apprentice at a salon or creative studio. Even more, you may decide to go for something freelance like writing or blogging.

The beauty of the internet is that you can get connected to so many job opportunities without necessarily breaking a sweat. The money made may not be the kind that will set you up for life, but it may be enough for extra chills…and then again, working would be fun and educational. You learn the value of time and money and attain the essence of work ethic and work culture.

5.Volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the society or just do some good with your time. You can volunteer at NGOs or religious organizations, where the aim is to help others and better the society.

You could also get involved in a number of empowerment programs tailored for young people where certain skill-sets you possess may be needed.

There is a measure of accomplishment and sense of fulfillment that comes with serving humanity. It also exposes you to great opportunities like training, travel e.t.c.

6.Travel
There is never a bad time to travel. As a student, you may not have a lot of resources available for long leisurely trips, but you can visit another state within the country or just other cities within your state. Travelling can be fun and educational at the same time for students.

It is also a great way for students to learn more about the world around you and open yourself to alternative cultures tradition and lifestyles. You could travel to other African cities or continents if you can afford it or you have a sponsor as well. The important thing though, is that you keep your ear on the ground while on your travels, so you are well informed when the strike is called off.

7.Attend seminars and personal development events
The period at home maybe offer a great opportunity to improve on your social skills. Attend conferences and seminars as well as events. It does not have to be professional or vocational seminars or events. It could be events that offer opportunities to explore your hobbies or just enjoy yourself. Also, it offers opportunities for networking and exposes you to new connections. It could be book readings, slam poetry competitions, meetups, concerts e.t.c

The truth is that being on an “indefinite” strike sucks; however, being positive about how you spin it, could make the time really worth your while. Can you think of other ways students can engage themselves pending when ASUU calls off the strike?

SIX USEFUL CAREER BUILDING TIPS FOR GRADUATES

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Building a career can be exciting, it can also be stressful and sometimes frustrating. Having the knowledge of what to do right when building a career can help to significantly ease the whole process.

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  1. Start Building Your Network Early

Remember the age old saying, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’. While this doesn’t prove true every time, there is a still a truckload of truth in it. As a young graduate, it’s important to start building your professional network early. Make connections with people, whether physically or on social media, get their contacts, relate with them and see where it leads you. Also, be willing to reciprocate any help you intend to receive from these people, so you won’t seen as self-serving.

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2. Build Your Career on What You’re Passionate About

The honest truth is that your interest in whatever you’re not passionate about will fizzle out sooner than you expect. Yes, initially the business might be bring in money and keep you satisfied for a period, but soon after you’ll become tired, restless and eventually go in search of career fulfillment. So why don’t you just start early? Find what you’re passionate about doing and learning, figure out how to monetize it and build your career around it. But if it’s money that you’re passionate about, then by all means, you’re free to go after it. The crux of the matter is for you to build your career around whatever you’re passionate about.

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3. Find The Right Company

It’s a well known fact that because of the employment situation in Nigeria, trying to be patient enough to search for the right company to work for might be impractical, but you should try as much as can to do so. This is because finding the right company to work for, goes a long way in helping to build your career in the corporate world, especially if you don’t intend to become an entrepreneur. You don’t want to end up working for a company that will waste the best years of your corporate life without impacting your life, helping you grow or expand your opportunities in any way. Making the mistake of working for such a company can unfortunately end up being irredeemable, so you need to be careful to find and choose the right company to work for.

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4. Don’t Let Failure Devastate You

You just shouldn’t. This is because as you build your career many doors will be shut against you before one opens, and this doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or you’re a failure, it just means that you should learn from your mistakes, get better and keep trying until you breakthrough (and you’ll learn that eventually, you will breakthrough). As long as you keep trying, no matter how many doors are closed against you, not all doors will; if you don’t give up, a door will eventually be opened to you. It’s just a simple fact of life. So, perseverance, grit, determination and commitment are very vital to building a successful career.

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5. Have a Plan

How can you build something without a plan? That question sums it all up. Even though things might not or most likely will not work out exactly according to your plan, have one nonetheless to guide you. You can make adjustments to the plan as life happens, but don’t abandon having one. There is no way to successfully build a career without a plan.

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6. Have a Support System

Whether family or friends, have trusted loved ones that will make up a support system to help encourage you when things inevitably get tough. This will go along way in helping you keep your footing, continue moving forward and successfully build your career even when things get tough. If you’re not good at discerning those you can trust, then hire a career coach or psychologist to help you with this. You can also consider seeking help from religious support systems, if you’re comfortable with it.