In my submission a fortnight ago, I emphasized on the need to retire early from paid employment which may eventually lead to retiring wealthy. Retiring early in itself is a process to the astounding goal which is for us to be financially independent. We all want to be financially buoyant in order to be able to take care of our responsibilities and live a decent life. But retiring early alone can only lead to, but not a guarantee for, becoming rich or wealthy unless certain formidable steps are taken.
The richest black man alive, Mohammed Aliko Dangote, has listed what one might refer to as Dangote’s Ten Commandments On Money. I have read several works on financial prosperity including a classic, The Science Of Getting Rich, by Wallace D. Wattles and published in 1910, but none has provoked a better and deeper thought or as practicable as Dangote’s submissions. By reading from his treatise and other sources, I have been able to sieve the following points:
- Go into a business for which you have passion. This is most important and is the reason why it comes as first point. Quite a number of people go into certain businesses or vocations probably because they noticed that some friends or colleagues are into such and are thought or seen to be making good fortunes. They want to replicate the success. Nothing could be more damaging. You are created unique. The fact that someone is successful in one business or area of life does not automatically translate to your own success even if you toe the same line. Why your passion is key is that when things go wrong, or you are facing the storm, your passion for the vocation— in the face of apparent difficulties, will keep you going, not looking back until success is achieved.
- Start small: one of the reasons why many will never start any business or vocation is their not wanting to start small. When you ask them why they have not yet started their long-held dream of going into a business, they give you a list of excuses among which are what they think they must do to start business: need for fat bank account, waiting for an uncle to help with cash, renting a shop or office in highbrow area, having enough money to pay retinue of staff, need of a car to move around to suppliers and customers etc. They fail to see that big things always start small. Like a big Iroko tree which was once a sprout, big businesses should, and, or must start small. Why? Starting small makes it possible for you to be at the top of the business with your meager resources. It guarantees your ability to take charge without having to rely on anyone, because no one will be ready to assist you. Most importantly, starting small will make it possible to withstand the inevitable turbulence which all businesses go through at inception, without having to close shop.
- Sell or charge fees below the competition with equal or better quality. Another reason for starting smaill is that while you can produce same or even better quality of products or services as your competitors, your resource deployment will be extremely lower compared to those of the bigger companies that have been there before you, with high wage bills as well as other costs of production. Your lower prices or fees will definitely attract higher patronage than the bigger companies.
- Look for needs to satisfy: No matter how passionate you are about a service or product, if it does not satisfy a need of majority of the people, it does not worth the while. Transportation and property businesses thrive in Lagos; catering services thrive in manufacturing complexes and industrial estates, etc. You are in business to satisfy need and not to make money. Making money is the end product or reward for your ability to satisfy needs of people. Where most entrepreneurs get it wrong and fail is when they put money at the forefront of their entrepreneurship. They will never make the money, because it is the urge to make quick profit that will drive them and people will see through them. But if you put service and satisfying needs at the front burner, you will definitely make the money because people are always ready to pay for quality good products and services that satisfy their needs. Toyota brands are examples.
- Do not be discouraged by initial rejections: professional marketers know this for certainty that rejection is an inevitable part of business success. They therefore take rejection as part of the processes of success. If you are introducing your new product or service, it is inevitable that it will face initial rejection. How you handle the rejection, positively or negatively, is what determines reversing the trend. Do not be discouraged. Rejection should, in fact, encourage you to dig deeper especially on what really your prospects want in your product or service delivery that will attract them to you. Never ever take rejection as personal. Their reasons for rejection may be in your pricing, product quality or packaging, etc. Knowing what they want will encourage you to improve upon the product or service. The rejection may not even be due to the intrinsic nature of your product or service but because of the prospects’ loyalty to existing products or services. Your introducing this new service or product to them might have been seen as attempts at dragging them away from what they perceive as “the best” as at that time. You will need patience and innovativeness to attract them to your side. Coca-cola, I understand, sold only 25 bottles in its first year.
- Constant Innovation: no matter how good your products and services are or you think they are, do constantly innovate or improve on them. Have what is called inspirational dissatisfaction all the time. It is a positive angle to being dissatisfied with the status-quo. No matter how high your products or services are praised, do never think you’ve reached that stage where you can stop adding value. Know for sure that competition is always tailing you from behind. And immediately you get satisfied by thinking you’ve gotten to the zenith, you get caught and overtaken by the competitions. Look at the GSM industry: each of the brands constantly innovate not only to get at your purse, but also to beat competitors in getting the best of the market.