Don Ebubeogu

In one of the Sundays I visited Club 007 (La Bella D’Salute Cafè) in Shoprite, GRA, to promote Alita Sparkling Wine, I met a young man who came in a convoy of cars, and who graciously joined our VIP table with his friends, after the proprietor explained to him that the VIP was reserved for people who are going to drink Alita Sparkling Wine that night.

Among the retinue of friends that came with him was a young man in black suit, black goggle, black shoe and white shirt, who perpetually had his hand inside his suit jacket. I was told he is his security detail, a member of the dreaded DSS.

The dude made it a point of necessity to let we mortals sharing the VIP table with him to know that we were lucky to be there, he bought more bottles of the wine which we all shared together, but he consciously made sure he alone gives order for opening of any of the bottles. We caught the unspoken rule and played along, always praying for his benevolence whenever we exhaust the ones he opened.

He took complete control of the table and sometimes commanded us to stand up and dance with him. A command I was unwilling to resist when I calculated what I have saved after ordering my first bottle I took with 3 of my friends. He even gave us Salads.

The drinks relaxed and loosened all of us. The phoney DSS took some glasses of the wine and forgot his role. The last time I glanced his corner he was dancing without his jacket, completely forgetting that our “Chairman” may be in danger. He even went to the toilet without recourse to “Our Oga”.

The above narrative is a classic illustration of how not to be a successful Entrepreneur. Those long convoys with attendant costs, the unnecessary security detail and the time they spent to create that character, the hunger to attract social relevance and command undue respect from the society, negate the principles in which successful Entrepreneurs thrive.

Entrepreneurs are people who start their own business. They are not afraid of embracing risk, manifesting ideas, and making major innovations that change how others do business. While anyone who starts a business has a bit of the entrepreneurial spirit, true entrepreneurs are distinguished by vision, passion and more importantly, discipline.

I personally believe that in business, if your goal is to make money, being an entrepreneur is probably not the best thing you could do.

Entrepreneurship is not a job or lottery draw, it is a journey that requires dedication, diligence and hard work. There is no grater success than having the timeless values of faith in your business. Business gets tiring when your sole purpose is to make money, but chasing your dreams excites you more and sustains your energy.

Building a vision that encourages longevity and sustainability happen naturally when you work on becoming the best version of yourself and serve others. Zig Ziglar said, “you can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want”. This is not a gospel according to St. Luke, what Ziglar said is a guiding principle of a successful Entrepreneur.

A successful Entrepreneur is not your regular “Street Boy” or “A Guy Man”, he is the typical “Juu Man” who takes one step at a time, listens to his instincts, trust himself and more importantly develop a forward-looking mentality. He has no time to create a false life of himself to impress society. He competes only with himself. He is his own critic.

The ability to shy away from distraction and focus on building your business is a sure way of making money. Reinvesting that money guarantees a sustainable successful business.

I’m an entrepreneur by choice. When my brother and myself started, we had a vague idea of what Entrepreneurship was, we didn’t realize the commitment it entails in terms of energy, emotional endurance, financial discipline, societal pressures and impact until we saw failure staring at our face.

Entrepreneurship is amazing in so many ways but also tough too. It tests you in ways you never imagined and insist on the fiscal disciple. Last year, 8 years after one of our staff packed into his private house, we packed into ours. For others, our action may be seen as self-denial, but in the spirit of entrepreneurship, reinvesting in the business guaranteed the houses. Just like the Monk and the Hood analogy.

Entrepreneurs should know the difference between necessity and commodity. Buying things you don’t need just to impress others and investing in your business to grow others are two different philosophies.

Start-up Entrepreneurs must avoid or reduce conspicuous consumption of depreciating assets. Reinvesting capital in your business is allocating scarce resources to a mission that will likely appreciate in value monetarily while also allowing you to grow professionally and respectfully.

Don’t be in a haste to make money, so that money will not define your success. There is so much more to gain building a business or brand. Entrepreneurship game is often hostile in the sense that it has a preconceived image of flashy cars, gold chains and huge mansions, while we always forget the journey, which is the most important part of the success story.

Live for yourself and not for others. Define yourself and don’t let others define you. Determine what is your success. Success has no universal meaning.

Don Ebubeogu is the MD, Tiger Foods Limited and immediate past President of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA)