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Top 3 Kitchen Design Trends

Here are the top 3 kitchen design trends you might want to consider:

gray kitchen

Gray is the New White

While white cabinets continue to be tops, gray is the shade to break white’s top spot. The right coat of gray might be all you need to refresh the look of your kitchen. It creates an atmosphere of style and luxury, relaxing yet exciting.

 

black and white kitchen

Classic Black and White Palette

The appeal of a black-and-white kitchen never dies. Combined, these two colors are an unstoppable force of interior design perfection for homeowners everywhere.

integrated kitchen living spaces

Integrated kitchen-living spaces

As home layouts continue to change in response to the times, the home design focus has swung significantly towards the open plan concept for sure.

Want Innovation? Stay Curious!

Curiosity they say kills the cat; maybe the Stone Age cat but certainly not the 21st century one. Curiosity actually nourishes the 21st century cat.

In the 1600s, the punishment for being an “innovator” was getting your ears chopped off. You were seen as a troublemaker simply because you challenged the status quo.

The secret to innovation and creativity is curiosity. We must realize that without the question why, there would be no “how”. This serves as a catalyst to great discoveries.

All great inventions first dropped as ideas, and all ideas were generated through inquisitiveness, curiously and urge to know more about things in the world around us.

Since curiosity is a stepping stone to innovation, here are a few ways to help your curiosity skills:

  1. Read widely and follow your interests
  2. Listen without the aim to judge
  3. Polish your mind with the minds of others
  4. Be willing to ask dumb questions
  5. Put a lot of ideas and facts in your head: Don’t rely on Google
  6. Be an expert who is interested in everything
  7. Listen

innovative entrepreneur 2

These Real Estate Challenges Require Government’s Urgent Intervention

In 2015, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) identified Real Estate as one of the fastest growing sectors in the Nigerian economy, having an undeniable potential to drive economic growth.

With a projection of 10% annual growth and   a contribution of  N2.11 trillion($9.6 billion) to the economy’s rebased GDP which stood at USD 510 billion for 2013, the Real Estate sector was seen as viable. Nigeria possesses all the key factors for real estate investment and growth; a burgeoning middle-class population, growth in consumption and rapid urbanization.

However, with the current economic situation, Real Estate like every other sector has been negatively impacted, dampening the property market transactions to 70 per cent, hereby hindering growth.

According to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Real Estate Services in the 3rd quarter of 2016 grew by 2.56 %, lower by 6.62 % points than the growth rate reported for the same period in 2015 and higher by 0.44 % points compared to the preceding Quarter.

Apart from the decline in oil prices, weak performance of commodities and geo-political conflicts which led to recession, there are other vast challenges facing the sector that require urgent intervention:

Non-availability of Cheap Funds (Limited Source of Funding)

Real Estate is one of the most capital intensive forms of investment and its biggest challenge in Nigeria is scarcity of cheap development funds. Access to finance remains a great problem to developers, prospective clients and homeowners. Nigeria’s rate of home ownership is one of the lowest in Africa at 25% and this is due to lack of a robust mortgage financing system.

Financial institutions such as the commercial banks commit relatively small parts of their funds to property development at a very high interest rate up to 20%. This consequently drives property prices in a variety of ways.

The high interest rate is one of the major factors affecting the realization of affordable housing in Nigeria. The higher the interest, the high the lease or cost of acquiring the property.

Due to the recession, the situation got worse with little or no funding for real estate development in the country for developers.

Solution

  1. Long term debt financing and reduced interest rates.
  2. Pension funds are a very important factor in the overall investment market and more of this should be allocated and invested into real estate market. Real estate investments provide long-term opportunities for pension funds.
  3. More public/private partnerships and joint ventures.
  4. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria needs to intervene directly in housing construction by providing finance to designated building construction companies.

Land Registration and building approval Process

Second on this list is Land registration and building approval process. This is a major turn-off for potential Real Estate investors.

The cumbersome and costly process could take up to 6 to 24 months depending on the title and type of construction, with an average of 12 procedures thereby causing unnecessary delays.

Land and property acquisition must be less difficult for the sector to grow rapidly.

Solution

  1. The traditional manual process of registration should be automated online to reduce paper work and timelines. When this process is more accessible, it becomes easier and more attractive.
  2. Amendment of Land Use Act.
  3. Registration and approval process should be simplified.

Irrepressible fall of Naira

The economic impact of the fall in exchange rate has increased the cost of importations. Uninspiringly, the Real Estate industry is dependent on foreign importation for the raw materials and equipment used for construction, therefore the value of Naira remains a great factor. The dollar has tripled against the Naira in less than 3 years and the devaluation has contributed largely to the fall in Real Estate figures.

The unstable and incessant fall of our currency results in a loss for most developers thereby reducing trust in the sector and scaring investors away.

Presently, there is already a drastic drop in demand in the Real Estate sector which has resulted in a glut in supply.

Solution

  1. Review of recent forex policies
  2. A standardized exchange rate.
  3. Real Estate transactions should be in Naira and not foreign currencies.
  4. Promotion of locally produced construction materials

7 C’s of Effective Communication in Business

I remember when I was about 7 years old and my Mum sent me on an errand to buy a bottle of groundnut oil. I came back with a bottle of groundnut and as you can imagine, it wasn’t funny at all.

This single event made me realize how important effective communication is. How it enables us to better understand and connect with the people around us, allows us to build respect, trust, resolve differences and foster environment where problem solving, caring, affection and creative ideas can thrive.

There are four main types of communication: written, verbal, nonverbal and visual.

In business, effective communication is quite crucial.  It is so important that it plays a critical role in product development, customer relations, and employee management . To establish good business communication, it helps to have a blueprint of the 7 C’s of effective communication.

Below are the 7 C’s of effective business communication

Concise

In business it pays to get to the point quickly. Effective business communication uses concise and straightforward language that gets the point across completely and in a manner that encourages efficient action.

Complete

Plan your business communication carefully so you get all of the information to your recipient the first time. If you leave out important information in your initial correspondence that will cause a series of problems that will take time to repair.

Conversational

According to communication coach Ric Phillips, writing on the Evan Carmichael website, it is important to present your information in a conversational tone that invites interaction, rather than a confrontational tone that can cause an argument. Effective communication presents the information in a manner that is not emotional but instead professional.

Clear

With a business communication, you sometimes get only one chance to make your point. If your information is misunderstood, you may not have the opportunity to correct it before it escalates into a problem. When you present your information, be sure to do so in a clear voice that allows every word to be understood.

Considerate

When speaking to business associates or customers, always open the conversation to questions and clarifications. When you finish a statement, allow a moment for the other person to ask a question before you go on to your next part. When you answer a question, be sure the answer is understood before moving on in the conversation.

Confidence

An air of confidence in your conversation helps add credibility to your information. Present your data with a clear and commanding tone that indicates that you know the subject you are speaking about and that the information being presented is valuable.

Check

Always check your data and facts before giving a business presentation of any kind. You may have useful ideas, but if they are accompanied by incorrect information, the power of your ideas is lost.

Reference: Notedesk

7 ‘Suit Rules’ All Men Need to Know

Rule #1

As a general rule, a Black Formal shoe will go with nearly all suit colors. However, you can make more of an impact if you go for a brown or tan shoe when wearing either a Navy/Blue or Light Color suit. You should match your shoes to the color of your suit using this rule:

Black Suit = Black Shoe
Charcoal Grey Suit = Black Shoe
Light Grey Suit = Black Shoe or Brown Shoe
Any Shade of Blue Suit (Navy, Powder Blue etc.) = Brown Shoe or Black Shoe
Brown Suit = Brown Shoe

black shoe

Rule #2

Your belt should be fairly thin and should be the exact same color as your shoes. Black and Brown (including different shades of brown such as tan) are preferred for a corporate look.

shoe

Rule #3

If you’re going for more formal business attire, opt for a double-button, notched lapel jacket.

double breast

Rule #4

Always unfasten the buttons on your suit when you sit down. NO exceptions

open button

Rule #5

Your tie should JUST reach the waistband of your trousers or the center of your belt buckle.

tie level

Rule #6

Your sleeve cuffs should be exposed to half an inch. For a harmonious look, try to match the visible cuff length to the amount of collar that is visible at the back of the neck.

cuffs

Rule #7

Never wear a Backpack with Suit, opt for a nice briefcase or a messenger bag.

backpack

 

 

10 Tips for a Powerful To-Do List

Your to-do list can be your biggest asset but can also be a liability, if not properly managed. The aim is to stay productive, efficient and effective at the end of the day.

Here are 10 Tips for a Powerful To-Do List:

  1. Consciously prioritize – Categorizing tasks into low, medium, high, and top priority tells you what needs to be done first.
  2. Set the urgency – When does the task need to be done? Today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now. Tasks that need to be done today would be higher on your list than those that need to be done in a week
  3. Determine the effort involved – Sending a quick email to a friend or co-worker is easier than creating a report. The differences in effort for these tasks are important to note. Categorizing a task as easy, average, hard, or brutal really gives you insight. For example, complete brutal tasks if you have a ton of energy and feel productive, and easier tasks when you feel you’re having an off day
  4. Use technology to help you – Time management software is a great way to stay organized. There are a ton of options out there, and a lot are affordable or free. I recommend only using one or two. Too much technology can actually make you less productive.
  5. Assess spontaneous tasks critically – Here’s how it plays out. Someone contacts you and says,”You need to do this now! It’s urgent.” Is it really? Or is that person just trying to put themselves at the top of your to-do list. Be sure to critically assess the importance whenever you’re given a spontaneous task. Run it through the priority, urgency, and effort test. That way you can be deliberate about what gets added.
  6. Segment projects into tasks – One of the most valuable skills on this planet is the ability to take a project and break it into manageable tasks.
  7. Review and edit the list throughout the day – The to-do list is a living, breathing document that can change at any moment. It is a direct reflection of who we are because it controls what we do. Review it throughout the day and edit it as needed.
  8. Review and assess progress – You should schedule a time at the end of the day to assess your task list. Why did a task take longer than you thought? Why was a task so easy then you thought it would be hard? This self-evaluation helps you understand your workflow.
  9. Include calendar events – Cross-referencing your to-do list with your calendar will help you find the time gaps where you can get stuff done.
  10. Make time for your life– Be sure to add fun activities and hobbies to your to do list. For example, I add rock climbing to my list because I love it. You should do the same for what you love to do.

Source : timemanagementninja.com

 

Top 3 Construction Trends in 2016

Change is indeed constant. Although combining yesterday’s rules with today’s trends might be a tough task, technology is constantly evolving and changing the landscape of many industries.

The construction industry is rapidly shifting to meet the needs of the modern society. This can be attributed to the urge for smarter homes as well as sensitivity to the effects of global warming.

In construction, the materials used play a vital role in the quality of your end product. It is one of the most important decisions you will have to make.  The doors, electrical systems and equipment, surface finishing, furnishing, metals, carpentry, windows, you just have to be certain on the sustainability of these materials.

As the world moves from the conventional way of building houses but still strives to maintain the same if not a better experience, here are the top 3 construction trends in 2016.

Solar Energy

Installation of solar panels on the roof a building generates free power at no cost. The reason for rise in popularity is quite obvious, the cost of electricity continues to soar. Making it one of the top trends in 2016.

solar panels

Green Buildings

This is also known as green construction or sustainable building. The need for energy efficient and environment friendly processes throughout a building’s life cycle keeps growing;  from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

It also has a low impact on the earth.

Green Building 2

Modular Designs

Modular designs and the use of prefabricated building materials are not new in construction but it is gaining popularity again. It is a faster and smarter method of building and has become hot in the industry.

Modular buildings are usually stronger than conventional constructions because each module is engineered to independently withstand the rigors of transportation and craning onto foundations.

modula design 2

Love it Up Guys: Best Gifts for Valentine

February 14 just has a way of reminding us of the roses, cupid’s arrows, chocolates, Victoria’s secret , flowers and  cards. Although I think love should be expressed daily.

As believed, this is when you need to spill your best lyrics, put forward your best foot, say the nicest things and give the best gifts. Everything is just on the high!

Guys, I mean, you shouldn’t give out an oversized T-shirt after receiving a 24k gold wrist watch, hehe!

Although Valentine is not just for lovers, here are a couple of gifts that will make this  a very memorable one for your Woman:

  • Beauty products (One she loves of course)
  • 12 long-stemmed red roses with ginger vase and chocolates
  • Lugano 40mm rose gold watch
  • 5 L’eau by Chanel
  • Rebecca Minkoff Large Moto Drawstring Crossbody Bag
  • Wellness Tea Gift Set
  • New Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker (Ladies love the #fitfam)
  • Vans Classic ‘Slip On’ Sneakers in Wild Dove Suede
  • What I Know for Sureby Oprah ( Don’t freak out guys, it’s a book)
  • Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarer 50mm Polarized Sunglasses
  • Gold plated sterling silver bracelet
  • Simple Sugars Scrub Gift Set
  • Drybar ‘Buttercup’ Blowdryer
  • Gold Beats by Dr. Dre Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Oh, I forget to mention: Cut your coat according to your cloth!

 

 

A Good Recession? It’s up to You!

The word ‘Recession’ could mean a lot of scary things. For the urge of common words, it synonymizes with hardship, inflation, and many more. But in more technical terms, recession means a period of significant economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters. The major cause of recession is inflation, but then a lot of factors could be responsible for inflation.

The man on the street might not even know what GDP is, but he knows life has just become so miserable.  The cost of living has tripled, there’s power shortage, loss of jobs, decline in real income, increase in unemployment rate and the list is endless.

Some scholars believe recession or economic downturn is a critical period in wealth transfer, either to individuals, startups or organizations.

However, the only way out of recession is investment, and more investments.  Although trust is often lost in the economy during recession, investment during this period saves the idle production outputs and hence sustains the production activities. This creates more jobs, increases wages and profits.

Every cloud they say has a silver lining, ‘no matter how thin’. Recession  is always a memorable one, either for the good or bad reasons. How can we take advantage of the problems and challenges of the weak economy?

These suggestions will not only help you defeat the recession but will also ensure you come out better and more financially stable.

Invest in real estate NOW

Generally, there’s a drastic reduction in buying power during a recession. This often increases the negotiation power in the purchase of goods and services.

Smart investors always take advantage of the state of the economy, whether strong or weak. It will be more profitable eventually if investments are made in real estate during an economic downturn. The value of land assets is low during this period and is likely to appreciate after recession.

You could purchase homes that have dipped below market value and have become very affordable due to damage to the property or the need for a quick turnaround.

There are several great deals in the market at the moment, take advantage! Keep monitoring the market landscape for opportunities to pick up high quality assets at discounted or promotional prices.

Track your finances daily and save

Tracking your daily expenses will help to cut back heavily and reduce unnecessary spending.  This is applicable to organizations as well as individuals. As an individual, you can conduct daily, weekly and monthly assessments.

No one should be spending more than they need to right now.

Below are some excellent ways to save money in a recession:

  • Draft monthly budget and stick to it
  • Transfer idle money to fixed deposit
  • Source extra income
  • Little or no debts

Become an innovative Entrepreneur

Innovation is critical during a recession. The good thing is that constraints can aid or enable innovation. Where there are problems and challenges, equal opportunities exist. Experts believe the best time for startups is during this time.

Businesses that address the basic needs always thrive in a recession.  Counter-cyclical businesses do well in economic downturns, since demand for their products and services continue regardless of the economy.

Simply set out to create value.

Below are a few tips on innovation:

  • Surround yourself with inspiration and not demotivation.
  • Try solving problems.
  • Keep imagining.
  • Write down all that you have imagined.
  • Fuel your creativity.
  • Access your assets.
  • Take actions.
  • Don’t stop.

 

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