Quazar & Akoma – Connecting the hearts of Ghana

Along with our client UT Bank Ghana, we have just celebrated the launch of a project very close to our hearts : Akoma. We are honoured to have been a part of this beautiful initiative – creating real change for the women of Ghana.

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UT Bank Launches “Akoma”- connecting the hearts of Ghana.

Accra, November 18th, 2014

On the eve of the Global Women’s Entrepreurship Day, UT BANK launches “Akoma”.

Women need to be appreciated. They seek trusted sources of information to help them make important decisions about today and the future. They need the ability to network with the right calibre of people for the everyday situations they find themselves confronted with. They are inspired by the untold everyday success stories of the average woman.

Akoma is the platform inspired by UT Bank for likeminded women to give them information, help them network, share ideas and be motivated for success.

The platform gives women the opportunity to Connect with peers and leaders alike to learn from each other.

It enables women to Engage and be provided with tools to support and grow their person, family, businesses and every other aspect of their lives.

It provides the opportunity for women to Inspire one another with relevant experiences and insight to enhance their total wellbeing. It is the place where real empowerment can take place.

UT Bank has been serving the SME market over the years, constantly evolving to provide innovative solutions to meet changing needs of the informal sector. Women-owned businesses represent a large underserved market.  Over the years, we have realised that women’s needs extend beyond financial expectations. Akoma gives UT Bank the opportunity to meet these needs more comprehensively.

  

What is Akoma?

Simply put, THE HEART.

Just as the heart pumps oxygenated blood and nutrients for the body to function excellently, Women are the center of society and pumps life into families, businesses and every core fabric of the society.

An Akoma Woman is a transformed woman, the precursor to a transformed society.

UT Bank invites all women to start a conversation by signing onto the Akoma platform on www.akomalink.com or by joining a learning community throughout the country.

Call 02030 AKOMA (02030 25662)

 

About UT Bank

UT Bank Ghana Limited, commenced business as a finance house in 1997. It evolved from a lending company to a publicly owned Universal Bank, with shares listed and actively traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange. It was awarded Bank of the Year 2011 and Most Respected Company in 2012.

UT Bank has positioned itself as the leading bank in SME banking and seeks to change the face of banking in Ghana through fast, efficient and respectful delivery of service, maintaining its key mandate of providing ‘a loan in less than 48 hours’. It is one of the fastest growing banks in Ghana, providing innovative customer-oriented products with focus on SMEs.

 

 

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Asokoro Island Breaks Ground

An auspicious day for one of our favourite clients!

Ground has officially been broken on the Asokoro Island project. The formal handover took place onsite on 4 November, attended by Asokoro Island directors, management and staff. Also present at the proceedings were luminaries from across the spectrum including VIP’s from local government, the commercial banking sector and members of the press.

The Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah (OON) spoke on his vision for Asokoro Island and what this prestigious development will mean to the international investor market and most especially to the people of Nigeria.

Following press interviews, the Chairman made the formal handover of the site to the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe, with the gift of a ceremonial shovel.

The Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah (OON) hands the site over to the contractors, Dantata & Sawoe

The Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah (OON) hands the site over to the contractors, Dantata & Sawoe

From left to right: Paul Marais, Executive Director Business Development. Markus Wenz, Project Manager Dantata & Sawoe. Nasiru Dantata, Engineer. Suleiman Yahyah, Chairman. Abdulkarim Ahmed, Project Bankers – Keystone Bank. Shirley Alu, Sales Manager – AIL

 

As construction of the Showroom and Phase 1 infrastructure commences, we congratulate the Asokoro Island team as their groundbreaking vision for African living truly does “break ground”!

 

The Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah (OON) with Dr Sunny Okosun, Deputy Director FCDA (representing the Honourable Minister FCT)

The Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah (OON) with Dr Sunny Okosun, Deputy Director FCDA (representing the Honourable Minister FCT)

 

Looking for a CFO

Asokoro Island Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer
The Asokoro Island Group of companies is one of the leading property and Investment companies in Nigeria. The flagship property, Asokoro Island, is a world-class lifestyle destination endorsed by some of the worlds Richest men and Women and the worlds most exclusive brands.
The rapid growth of Asokoro Island has created a wealth of career opportunities at our corporate offices. If you are looking for a dynamic career with significant earning potential and tremendous advancement opportunities, you’ve come to the right place.

Asokoro Island Group (AIG) is currently seeking a Chief Financial Officer to join the Executive team in Abuja, Nigeria. Reporting to and partnering with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will play a critical role in developing and implementing the strategy for The AIG. As a member of the senior leadership team, the CFO will be an advisor to all stakeholders, evaluating and assisting them with their financial plans and economic modeling. She/he will be responsible for overseeing all fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities for the organization, in conjunction with the board of directors and the finance, audit, and accounting teams.

Responsibilities:
• Assess organizational performance against both the annual budget and long-term strategy
• Develop tools and systems to provide critical financial and operational information to the CEO and make actionable recommendations on both strategy and operations
Engage the board finance, audit, and accounting teams around issues, trends, and changes in the operating model(s) and operational delivery
• Assist in establishing yearly objectives and meeting agendas, selecting and engaging outside consultants (auditors, investment advisors)
• Oversee long-term budgetary planning and costs management in alignment with strategic plan
• Develop finance organizational strategies by contributing financial and accounting information, analysis, recommendations to strategic thinking and direction, establishing functional objectives in line with organizational objectives
• Establish finance operational strategies by evaluating trends, establishing critical measurements, determining production, productivity, quality, and customer-service strategies, designing systems, accumulating resources, resolving problems, and implementing change
• Develop organization prospects by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities, projecting acquisition and expansion prospects, analyzing organization operations, identifying opportunities for improvement, cost reduction, and systems enhancement, and accumulating capital to fund expansion
• Develop financial strategies by forecasting capital, facilities, and staff requirements, identifying monetary resources, and developing action plans
• Monitor financial performance by measuring and analyzing results, initiating corrective actions, and minimizing the impact of variances
• Maximize return on invested funds by identifying investment
opportunities, and by maintaining relationships with the investment community
Report financial status by developing forecasts, reporting results, analyzing variances, and developing improvements
• Ensure timely and accurate monthly, quarterly and year end accounting close and preparation of internal and external financial statements
• Act as business partner to ensure operational success and to help build the business model, implement tactical and strategic initiatives, and support the company’s performance and growth strategy
• Drive multi-departmental process improvements through the implementation of operational best practices
• Understand annual budgeting and monthly (revenue) forecasting process, through building flexible and accurate models, supported by detailed financial analysis and development, and tracking of key performance indicators
• Ensure full IFRS compliance for all key controls in the area of responsibility
• Drive the process, Capital Raising, Acquisitions, and Divestitures Requirements:
• Master of Business Administration preferred
• 10+ years of progressively responsible experience for a major company
or division of a large corporation
• Private Equity experience highly preferred
• Mature and proactive, with evidence of having worked as a true
business partner to the CEO of a multi-divisional organization
• Strong analytical skills and experience translating a strategic vision into
an operational model
• Past experience successfully partnering with IT staff to manage critical
financial management systems
Effective communicator at all levels in the organization, with strong oral and written skills and a willingness to share information
• Creativity, with experience funding activities in ways that both cover costs and generate operating margins
The successful candidate can expect the best of ex-patriot packages including:
• Significant monthly US$ based salary – circa $10,000
• Accommodation plus car and driver
• Health care
• Regular flights home

In the first instance please contact linda@quazar.co.za to register your interest and include a copy of your CV. Initial and final interviews will be carried out in South Africa.
Quazar Marketing Communications cc – 021 701 2371

Building a vision for a Nigerian first

Nahco Airport Free Trade Zone is  a first for Nigeria: a groundbreaking trade concept set to stimulate business growth and economic development in the region.

Quazar has been involved with this revolutionary project from the early days, most recently developing a Vision and a set of Values to help guide the team and the process as the business takes shape.

A full board meeting and strategic session was recently hosted by Quazar in Cape Town; the beautiful surroundings helping to inspire creative, forward-thinking discussion.

The extended Nigerian team and professionals from IDI in Ireland (experts in successful Free Trade Zone development) were in attendance.  A clear set of objectives emerged from this session, and actions were set in motion.

Teamwork at Buitenverwachting: FZC, IDI and Quazar

Teamwork at Buitenverwachting: FZC, IDI and Quazar collaborating for success

 

Quazar have developed the identity, logo, and collateral that will define the look and feel of the business as it becomes a reality.

The product offering is currently being developed; from there, Quazar will be instrumental in developing the go-to-market strategy and campaigns that will drive the success of the project.

As well as local and international research and facilitation of strategy sessions, Quazar has offered support in the definition of the company’s –

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Identity and Logo Development

The Free Trade Zone will create a new dynamic for central and west Africa – and we are delighted to contribute towards realising the vision.

Asokoro Island – the jewel of Abuja

It has been an amazing journey so far for the team at Asokoro Island.

Providing a prestige lifestyle and combined use facility of the highest calibre in the heart of Africa – Abuja – was the vision of the Chairman, Suleiman Yahyah.

This vision has come to life with the help of quality designers and architects, culminating in a successful “soft launch”, which produced 47 commitments to phase 1 in one evening. The future is bright!

Quazar has had the pleasure of being involved with this project, helping to develop this vision and a set of values for the team to believe in and live for themselves.

We assisted the team in defining their customer segmentation, developing value propositions, understanding their product and building their confidence. This growth in skills and confidence contributed towards the phenomenal success of the soft launch event.

Asokoro Training

Quazar & Asokoro Island sales team

 

The sales team, comprising individuals from Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, with an array of experience and expertise, are recognising the strength within themselves, and understanding how these skills can best be combined within the team.

A strong, unified and innovative team is developing – contributing to the success of Asokoro Island and the team as individuals.

To date, Quazar has provided training, guidance and direction in defining Asokoro’s –

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Value Propositions
  • Customer Segmentation

As well as providing:

  • Sales Training
    • Prospecting
    • Qualifying
    • Presenting
    • Closing
  • Team Building

It has been a true pleasure working with this amazing team and we look forward to the future with them.

Working with the Giants of Africa

In Africa we have true visionaries changing the landscape that is Nigeria.

A world-class lifestyle destination, Asokoro Island is located among undulating hills in Abuja’s most exclusive district. Combining panoramic views of the area’s lush and biodiverse landscape, with unparalleled residential and recreational facilities, it offers residents and visitors alike a unique perspective on Nigerian living.

Asokoro Island is a unique integrated development that will feature its eco-friendly credentials ideal for business, private and diplomatic residence and for work, play and leisure.

Even the Giants of Africa agree: Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man, recently stated that Asokoro Island is “world class that will reshape the Abuja landscape”.

Asokoro Island

A dream of legendary and accomplished businessman, Suleiman Yahyah, Asokoro Island is set to become Africa’s business and travel destination of choice.

Quazar is extremely proud to be associated with this prestigious venture. Quazar has recently been engaged to work with the Asokoro Island team in coaching and mentoring their marketing and sales teams from across Africa, offering our experience and insight, to take Asokoro Island to the world!

We look forward to being part of changing the landscape and global perception of Nigeria as a business and pleasure destination.

For more about Asokoro Island, visit the website http://www.asokoroisland.com.

To get in touch with the Quazar team, contact us here.

 

Creativity… Judge, Jury and Executioner

Creativity works in mystical and often perplexing ways. Whilst “creatives” have been made to believe they view the world differently from their left-brained counterparts, the truth is we all have the ability to see the colours of the rainbow. We might just see different versions of them.

Whilst sipping on a glass on spicy Merlot in one of Cape Town’s trendiest yummy mummy spots, I was intrigued and humbled by the sense of creativity displayed. An elderly man creeping on all fours, taking photos of the gravel pathway, a young boy practicing his karate skills on his unsuspecting victim, the ever-welcoming oak tree, and the mommies pushing their prams adorned in the most unusual combinations of high-end couture. It dawned on me that creativity is in the eye of the beholder; there is no right or wrong, as long as we are honest with ourselves.

Being part of the “creative industry”, I am often subjected to adverse opinions, negativity and down right rudeness. That is just a matter of fact. However, I have realized that to become the most creative and inspired version of myself it is important to see the world through my own eyes, after all, who else will see my world better than, well, me. I don’t want to become an industry norm; I don’t want to paint the town red, I would prefer my town to be in shades of teal and turquoise. Of course in a working environment, you have to take clients, briefs and colleagues into account, but that does not mean you should lose yourself in the process, it just means you need to work with them in mind.

So although we are all energized through our own personal stimuli, I have come across a few pointers that can help least inspired become invigorated.

 

  1. Daydream – let your mind wander to the darkest and lightest places it wishes to go. When you let your mind break free from theproverbial chains that surround it, it has the ability to allow your inspiration to go wild.
  2. Look around you – take it all in. The colour of the carpets, the sounds, the smells. People watch. Ask questions – be curious, examine. Stand for one minute and just observe.
  3. Enjoy your own company – take time to meditate, sit quietly, and get in touch with the inner workings of you.
  4. Look for a silver-lining – learn to turn the negative into positive. Art, music, novels etc are often formed from the most heart-breaking stories.
  5. Live – go out there and experience life to the fullest. Seek pleasures and experiences, explore. Take risks.
  6. Fail elegantly – fail and fail again. Its how you grow. “Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece in Einstein’s creative genius.
  7. Follow your passion – forget about external reward and recognition, be motivated by your desires and beliefs.
  8. Restrict yourself – some of the greatest ideas were a result of the creator placing limitations on themselves… think minimal words, fewer colors and less ingredients.
  9. Exercise – Albert Einstein said of the theory of relativity, “I thought of it while riding my bicycle.” Exercise clears the cobwebs of your mind and allows you the pleasure of those aha moments.

Go on, get out there and find your inspiration. Karate kick a tree, drape yourself in dots and stripes, free your mind from criticism and find that which makes you a little more cheerful, a little more colorful and a little more eager to start your day.

 

 

Read about our Marketing & Design philosophy here

 

 

 

12 Things on Brand

12 things I’ve learned about marketing a brand

 

  • Sometimes out of the box wastes money – don’t do it just because its out of the box.
  • Understand the value:  the “why” of your product – if you express that your market will get you and stay with you.
  • Sometimes your market isn’t who you think it is – allow your customers to teach you about your own value. Learn to Listen!
  • Packaging is everything!
  • The strategy is critical but make sure you implement the strategy. Most often the strategy and implementation have no relation and you wonder why you failed!
  • We live in an age of information overload – choose your moments to engage carefully, make them count.
  • Create a moment for the memory book!

 

Speak to who I am – not what I am!

  • Marketing without meaning – has no long term survival.
  • In the age of removed relationships – find a way to connect with me as a person. Show real interest in me!
  • Your brand is no longer yours, it belongs to your customer – make sure they guide the ship well – always deliver on your promise!
  • Make sure you LOVE what you do, if you don’t it shows up in the brand experience!

 

Read more about Quazar’s Business Strategy offerings

Read more about Leeanne Cape

Motivated by money?

We operate in a worldwide Capitalist paradigm that looks unlikely to be shifted to Communism anytime soon (much to Karl Marx’s chagrin) and in this paradigm we believe that everyone is motivated my money.

This is particularly true of sales incentives and financial target based bonuses but we are all operating in this paradigm and I guess that 95% of us are not actually motivated by the money alone. We value so much more in our employ that we group together to call ‘job satisfaction’.

 “Men and women want to do a good job, and if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so.” – William Hewlett

Hewlett Packard as a company was an early adopter into the theory that recognising effort and involving your people in what was going on was a greater motivator than just the money alone. Even before Hewlett, Franklin Roosevelt commented “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

Creative, involved interaction recognised for the role and the success that comes from it motivates way beyond money. The work done by a group of behavioural economists including Stephen Levitt (Freakonomics) and Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational) looks into this. Ariery has carried out experiments on the efficacy of money motivation that make great reading and watching (TED Talks or Youtube).

 What’s the answer?

Probably a combination of reward and recognition and not just all of one or the other. Great to have financial rewards for success but recognition, involvement, feedback and contributing to creative effort go along way to creating ‘motivated’ employees.

If profit in business is an indicator of our success then bonus and commission are also a reflection of our success – to make us successful help us, guide us, coach and involve us not pay us or threaten us for failure.

In our own endeavours we are often in place looking at a business as a whole and during this process something that comes up again and again from the ranks is a ‘lack of communication’ – translated this is actually a lack of involvement. All of these organisations have newsletters, intranets, memo’s, stand-up-meetings etc but the end result was not the desired outcome, they want to be involved in ‘creative effort’.

As managers, leaders and business owners somewhere in our psyche we believe that we are the only ones to have ideas and strategy. Our experience is that so much comes from down the line.

Last month at the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, it was explained that across Audi there were 45,000 suggestions for improvement of which 35,000 were put in place.  I am certain that Management alone would not have seen 1,000 ideas let alone 45,000.

Involving the team as important for motivation as bonus and commission schemes and can be far more productive – what the balance is I don’t know.

It is really all about your business, what you do and why?

Check out:

Dan Ariely – http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work

 

 

 

 

What is Human Capital to you?

We are blessed to operate across so many different countries with diverse cultures mostly in Africa but in Europe and the United States as well where the term Human Capital means so many different things to different people.

At Quazar, Human Capital is all about the development of talent as opposed to the management of Human Resources.

Paul drives our Human Capital output and his passion and purpose is ‘realising the talent in others’. Sounds kind of airy-fairy but as Paul notes “we all have the ability to be or do whatever it is in life that we want to do but in so many cases our socialisation and ego have driven down our own belief in our talent.

Developing people, whether though training, coaching, mentoring, advising or consulting is about exposing our people to the best of knowledge and ensuring that they are inspired to action.  How are you inspiring your teams to action?  If you are struggling to inspire yourself to action, change, betterment then it will never happen in your organisation, section, department or among your colleagues.

If we can ask the right question then we are on the way to getting the right answer and these nearly always come from within. Sometimes a quote will resonate with you and remind you that you are not alone – these two arrived in my inbox today:

 “One of the most difficult things is not to change society, but to change yourself.” – Nelson Mandela

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – Arthur Ward

We often demand of our society (business) to change without first changing ourselves and then we do it without inspiring teaching.