3rd June, 2013
Welcome to the next in the series of the personal finance column we started last year. It is almost impossible to believe that we have been together for this long. Incredible! More than ever before, I have come to believe very firmly in the saying that he who asks for direction would never miss the road. I am pleased with and appreciative of the level of feedback I have got from perceptive readers of this column from as many angles as you can imagine.
Your comments and observations have been helpful in shaping the complexion of the current series. Some of the readers suggested that we should throw our nets far and wide to bring mentors from different backgrounds who can share insights on the steps they took to get to where they are currently.
We have done that and our promise is that we will bring them one after the other so that you can have a robust pool of knowledge from where you can pick nuggets for personal use. Some also want an open interaction both with me and the people I talk with. We are working out the modality to make that happen.
One reader also wondered if we must bring only millionaires as guest mentor going by the name given to the column. By our definition, a millionaire is not necessarily only that person who is worth a million naira when you subtract his assets from his liabilities. Our guest mentors would include successful individuals in all areas of endeavour that we can identify the business they are involved in to create their wealth. You are also free to suggest names that you think we can include in some of the series for the future.
The modality for this series will be a bit different from the first series. We will accommodate a lot of feedback mechanism on every principle we are sharing. Our mentor has promised to work with us to make this series very exciting and engaging. As part of making sure you participate , a blog is also being created to enable us discuss every topic we are treating so that people can share their personal experiences as they apply each of the principles.
By requests from many of readers who had given feedback on the column, we would also attempt to give some assignments so that people can apply the principles shared. I believe very strongly that learning alone is not enough, there has to be practical application of knowledge gained for it to make sense.
Just before I introduce our new mentor (remember you are part of the process), I must express deep gratitude for the openness and cooperation of our first guest mentor on this column. He has continued to inspire with the exploits he has continued to make locally and abroad. Against all odds and amidst still competitive bids, he was able to buy a massive hotel in the United Kingdom and I understand that he is already causing some jitters there.
Just of recent too, he was also given a banking license in Ghana and has promised to give it everything it takes. More than that, apart from the fact that he has given us a challenge to practise what he has shared with us, our mentor has promised to make himself available any time we need his opinion on any issue. Besides, once we are satisfied that we are well grounded in the foundational principles he shared with us, he has given his word to start the advanced session with us. May I then request that we give him resounding applause!
Our current guest mentor is an individual I have tracked since 1976 and it has never ceased to amaze me how he has managed not just to remain relevant in his area of passion but how he has been able to turn his passion into a massive business empire. Getting him for an appointment had been particularly difficult because of his extremely hectic schedule. I had placed a tab on him for months and he remained elusive until a mutual friend took it upon himself to pin him down for the first appointment. It was a very fascinating encounter. One other reason I am excited is because he is in the creative field and there is this belief that creative people can hardly run business successfully. Happily our mentor is not only still living his passion, he has made a good business out of it:
Amongst other accomplishments he has thriving schools; he is heavily into real estate; he has created many profitable and highly successful television programmes that are making waves locally and abroad; he is member of Vision 2020 Committee; and he is also a holder of MFR conferred on him by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
While we were having preliminary chat, I noticed that our mentor was busy with drawing something on a piece of paper in front of him. He eventually gave it to me to have a look. He had just created a comic series in less than five minutes. Our mentor said: “I can say that my gifts came with me from my mother’s womb. I mean it. I started to draw funny things. At about the age of eight, I started to notice that I could draw without any formal lesson in fine art. Besides, I also discovered I could play musical instruments and a bit of acting. I found myself simultaneously with three talents that I was very good at without any formal training”.
“Eventually”, our mentor said, “I had to settle for the drawing aspect because that was the only talent I had a platform to express but I have been able to mobilise the two other talents to further push my drawing talent beyond what was initially possible”.
I am very sure you would find the insight shared by our mentor on how he has been able to transit from being just an artist to a well groomed businessman. First he believes that any skill can be learnt unless an individual is not interested in paying the price. He also believes that challenges and obstacles are part of the credentials for success but the trick “is to focus on the fruits, and not the challenges.
Our mentor also talked about the role of a spouse in business, the strategy for starting any project and taking it to the very top and how individuals can turn their passions into money. I can’t wait to share with you the first principle he shared with. Catch ya.