A real-life situation got me thinking innovatively about road transport business – Frank Nneji (Founder of ABC Transport Plc)
Prof Pat Utomi starts the book with the reminder that failure is an opportunity to learn lessons that will prevent more failure so that one can Faulk but rise again.
I find it interesting that school appears designed to make you hate failing, to resist it like a plague such that, it affects many young people’s self esteem when they are tagged ‘failures’ at one subject or the other. Even at home, kids are given relishes that makes them feel stupid for asking questions or for going things the wrong way.
Children soon learn not to try to do things by learning and wait only to be told or shown the ‘only way’ to do these things. As adults, this perpetuates the same behaviour in the work environment and also in the new home, where expectations are to know it or and to show the only way things should be done, of course with no questions asked.
In my opinion this is folly. And the author takes us on a journey to share his lessons a from mistakes. Jack Ma of Alibaba has said if he writes a book, it will be about the mistakes he has made and not his successes as he made those mistakes which lead to his success. Olawale of LandWey has also site’s history many failings that ultimately led him to realize the pattern of success and lead to his breakthrough.
Mr Nneji talked about building confidence in business from being able to try things, fail, learn and try again till he would make money from solving people’s problems. He answered the question about whether an entrepreneur is born or trained.
The author acknowledged he wrote the book to benefit young entrepreneurs. I quite like that he did this. I see it as a better response to the question ‘how did you build your fortune’?
The prevalent answer is often ‘It is God’. Now while The Lord has His place, there are clear steps that one can take to build a business and that’s is why I love this book. Mr Nneji launches into the business works right after school to the Mockery and chagrin of a number professionals at the time.
He agrees that there is a place fo experience but he also got some of that working before he gained admission to the university to study biological sciences and also from buying and selling goods.
He spoke of his decision and failure to switch to a business course but decided to learn business outside of school as an alternative. What is most instructive is how he identified his area of expertise and started his business there.
He got jobs outside his area of expertise form his clients who were comfortable with him, and he proceeded to investigate and research into same.
He kept identifying gaps in the market, needs of his customers and the fact that they were not even aware or/and understood their needs. Mr Nneji decides to fill these gaps and proceeded to identify competitive advantage from it and create alliances to that end.
He talks a lot about his penchant for curiosity and asking the questions
Why is this so?
Why can’t we do things better?
Why is this down this way and not another way?
What if I can find another way?
Thinking like this creates the intrapreneur or Enterpreneur that creates solutions and offer value in a way that makes people want to give money in exchange for that solution. That is they key to success.
Nneji discusses the issue of getting buyers as an Enterpreneurs, the issue of selling on credit and dumping stock with others. The Enterpreneurs success is never complete until the goods and services are received and money exchanged for same. He subtly refers to the understanding of the consumer’s behaviour as he make effort to sell his wares.
To succeed in business, Nneji write a lot about the place of convenience, sacrifice and peer pressure. The need to have a Tv, like his friends had, even when he could afford it but decided to prioritize his business to ensure success. It is no different today, with social media, family, friends and colleagues putting you under pressure to look, act and have certain things to fit in. He talked of most Enterpreneurs and employees getting their money and embarking on a spending spree. The fear of failing was, as he said, also a major propellant, even more than the hope of success. Nneji stood his ground as the hunger for success in his business was more than the desire his friends had.
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