How I Could Have Become Richer Than Femi Otedola – STANLEY G. JACK

I was eleven years; and I already wanted to become a billionaire – even kids understand the taste and power of money. As a kid, I couldn’t own a filling station or fuel tanker or establish any sort of factory, I began selling kerosene in coke and beer bottles (it is wrong to put kerosene in coke and beer bottles – I didn’t know that then) to poor villagers who couldn’t afford very much. I would buy from the only wholesaler in my village, then repackage in smaller quantities. Just like that I was in business – an oilman. This was 20 years ago.

Femi Otedola is a billionaire, known as the “biggest diesel and kerosene marketer” in Nigeria; once on the Forbes’ list of richest person in the world. That’s awesome, considering that he’s what some would call “New money,” having not inherited any wealth from his ancestors. His wealth has just been about less than 18 years old. Imagine what a man could achieve in a very little time if he keeps doing what he’s doing. And that was where I got it all wrong.

I quit my oil business seven days after start-up success, because my elder brother said so, and threatened to confiscate my ‘products’ if I didn’t shut down – so I sold the business and shut down; if only I had remained consistent and continued my kerosene business till date, I may have grown to be bigger than Femi Otedola or at least, I could’ve become his biggest competitor in the distribution of kerosene in Nigeria.

Most people are today like I was many years ago; they keep shutting down and never follow through their works and dreams. They give up and go to sleep instead of keeping faith and persevering. You never know what your little business would achieve in 10/15 years time if you don’t give up on it; you never know.

At some other time I began a home-delivery laundry service; I had read ‘Start Small Finish BIG,’ by Fred DeLuca co-founder of Subways. He was a teenager when he teamed-up with his father’s friend to start his business. They set a vision for themselves that in ten years they would have opened 30 branches of the Subway restaurant. Many years later they not only surpassed their vision they had over 1500 branches around the world. I was inspired after reading that book. So I began the laundry service and set a target to own about ten branches within Port Harcourt in 3 to 5 years. The business kicked off successfully, I began at home with just 95 naira, few months later we had an office and all, then I made some business blunders and my partner quit, then I lost our office accommodation and the business failed. Then I quit. I should have stayed to rebuild the business; it wasn’t so much about a laundry service as much as it was about creating a network of laundry shops in the city of Port Harcourt and expanding to other parts of Nigeria and subsequently building a recognizable brand; that would have been awesome. The vision for a brand was the ultimate goal. I lost that goal, I quit. The idea was that if 30 laundry shops became possible, 150 would have become possible – and more. There is nothing like building a brand (branding is not just for big businesses only – small businesses and individuals can (and should) be branded)

So here, I have an advice for you, and this is how you can make 2014 a great year. Think BIG and don’t give up on the goal you have set for yourself. There would be challenges. Things may not always go as planned; nevertheless, you must be determined and never give up. Keep moving forward. Keep doing something every day toward your goal(s). Learn more. Do even more. There is no secret to life. Success is all about discipline; the discipline of consistency. Therefore, whatever you do, or plan to do, keep doing it. And keep learning better ways to do it better. Once you quit you fail. Don’t do like I did. Don’t quit – imagine what I could have built in twenty years! Imagine the headline: “Stanley G. Jack, #601 richest person in the world.” That would have been awesome, right?

The views expressed above are solely that of the writer and not necessarily that of or its associates. 

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