My entrepreneurship journey started rather abruptly, it started out of necessity for survival, and my future was dependent on it. Before my journey started, I have always envisioned the freedom and a life time of fulfillment owning my own gig could bring. I desired satisfaction and well being that accompanied being the “Boss”. Admirers and…
My entrepreneurship journey started rather abruptly, it started out of necessity for survival, and my future was dependent on it. Before my journey started, I have always envisioned the freedom and a life time of fulfillment owning my own gig could bring. I desired satisfaction and well being that accompanied being the “Boss”. Admirers and wannabe entrepreneurs’ will look up to me for mentorship, inspiration, business idea opinion, life time experiences and write ups like this.
I knew one day I could be one, as events would naturally unfold as I enjoyed my comfort zone, probably after settling down and having kids with the love of my life, a fat bank account to my name, life insurance policy, medicals for my family and a robust pension plan to retire into. I had it all figured out in my mind.
Life is not always what we assume. Good and bad things happen to everyone. It’s a blend we must all embrace to the wholeness of life. A well-paying job was what I intensely pursued.
Shortly after youth service, I got a job at an investment house but I was placed as a temporary staff for a period of three years with a salary starting at 25,000 Naira and eventually received the long awaited offer letter for employment.
This job was rewarding in every sense of it both in prestige, career advancement and remuneration. It paid my bills, enabled robust savings, catered for family and I still had leftovers to throw around. Two years after, my trip up that corporate ladder was cut short.
After seventeen years of what it seemed as a jolly cruise from Southampton England to the New York of our dreams, the company hit an iceberg. It had difficulties explaining its accounts to the regulators as irreconcilable financial posts to the shareholders and the public were false.
The management was replaced and termination letters handed out to the entire staff by the new owners. I believe you can mentally create the events that unfolded afterwards.
This development was devastating and gloomy as I barely got married nine months earlier. It wasn’t good news at all, anyone who has experienced a job loss would feel the same way whether you are just starting out as a young graduate or approaching the retirement mark. Leaving employment involuntarily is disheartening.
I informed my wife and parents about the sad development and we decided a way forward that same week off course after receiving a dose of counsel and encouragement.
Starting a business was the first liberating step as I have always nursed the idea but now I have the support of my family which was a green light to move ahead.
I tried to tap into my experience in business while in university. While at school, I started a mobile telephone center business for students off campus which failed woefully. The business barely survived a month as I paid all revenue generated from phone calls as salary to my only staff.
I eventually lost the mobile phone to the state’s task force officials and that was the end of that business venture. That was naivety and poor business planning on my part. This experience was not worth tapping any lesson worthy of note. Starting off a new business at this stage in life bearing in mind my present job loss meant failing all over again, so I thought.
Well I chose to forge ahead and not to dwell on my past experiences and gave entrepreneurship another chance.
With a seed capital from my father, he prayed for me and released me into the world of business like an eagle releases her eaglets from the mountain top to learn to fly for themselves.
The confidence that gave me encouraged me further to go and succeed as my future depends on it.
I started out trading petroleum products for a very close friend and mentor Oliver Mbaogu. He was indeed very helpful and patient. I’m so grateful to him as he taught me the essentials of the business as one could encounter fraudsters in your quest to get help.
I registered a company and sold his product while I invoiced in my name. Once the customer pays, I transferred the payment back to him.
This arrangement worked as it helped me get and build my clientele base. At the back of my mind I really wanted to own a truck as this would enable me run the business properly and profit as well.
As I continued in the trade, I searched intensely for a peddler truck to buy for my own supplies. The price of trucks at the open market was rather too expensive for me, I couldn’t afford it, even if I did, that would mean investing my whole seed capital into a single purchase.
That wasn’t reasonable. I prayed and searched further, I made as much contacts as I could, In my search, I ran into dudes that asked me to pay a certain huge sum into an account as advance payment before inspection at Customs office in an undisclosed location.
I took to my heels as I knew these were swindlers as they continued pestering me to make the payment before another buyer indicates interest and buys it off. I eventually switched off my phone when they continually raided me with calls.
My search continued even online for other alternatives, I spoke with some of my suppliers and veterans in the trade giving them a price range in mind.
As Napoleon Hill will say “Whatever the mind can conceive the mind can achieve” The reality of my desire started to crystallize two months after my encounter with the swindlers. I saw a deal online close to the amount I had, my ice was beginning to crack, I knew I could convince the owner of the peddler truck I saw to give it away at the amount I had.
The truck looked deteriorated on the outside. I decided in my mind that I would buy it if the engine was sound. That was my criteria for considering it. I immediately put a call to him and we started talking.
He rejected my offer at first but conceded a month later. I arranged for an inspection and traveled out of town to see it as it had been parked in a garage 85 km away from Lagos. I just had to rely on the instincts of my technician who accompanied me. After he checked, I received a good report that the engine was okay.
This was just the first step. I went further to verify the extent of bodily repair job required to bring it up to standard. This included the chassis check, replacement of six tires, flow meter service, calibration head & rear lights change, and other contingencies.
After factoring in all these costs. I decided that I would make a 75% payment to the owner to balance up in two weeks. That was a huge risk as I related with the owner’s agent who consciously assured me of he and his principal’s genuineness.
Well the truck is currently in my company’s possession as the risk I took paid off not to leave out the encouragement and support of my wife throughout the searching period. The truck still remains a valuable asset in our business. We have in turn added another vehicle afterwards.
My ice was fear, the moment I made that payment, I knew the barrier was removed, that I could assess my desire.
I desired a truck so much that I would keep admiring different trucks along the roadside, garages and any other place I could find them. The mental picture was so strong. There was a connection with the resources I had at hand and the object I wanted to possess. God through His infinite power brought me in contact with my desire and this is just the beginning.
Many other business successes came afterwards. As a business, we are not where we want to be and we are not where we used to be. Your dreams can come alive again, however be ready to work it out. These are a few steps you can take to break your ice:
You have to know what you want, it starts from the mind. Until you can visualize or imagine what you desire in life, you cannot call forth those desires into existence. No man can do that for you. Great achievers are great visionaries.
Have a plan
This is not to say you should come up with graphs, projections and all sorts. Great achievers learnt to keep their plans simple and logical.
There’s no point coming up with plans that are ambiguous with the aim to impress. The simpler and clearer it is, it becomes easier for you to communicate those plans to yourself and your team.
There’s no point proceeding from the known to the unknown if you don’t believe you will make it. No doubt, obstacles will set in, failure at some point could emanate. This shouldn’t deter you once you believe.
You are not alone
To go fast, you go alone, to go far, go with others. This means you should look for partners, associates, friends to encourage you because there will be downtime. You should not be a lone ranger. It’s dangerous.
Record your progress
Take time to document your progress. In project management, I use a tool known as Gantt chart to track my project’s development and speed.
This enables me keep to project completion time. You need to know when you are going in circles, when you are taking one step forward and three steps backwards.
No matter how frozen ice can be, it has its melting point. You will wait longer if you decide to wait for it to melt. Go ahead and break that ice.
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