Dr.Emmanuel-Sunny Ojeagbase, Chairman, Complete Communications Limited, Publishers of Complete Sports, came from unusual quarters (a recruit in the Nigerian Army) about four decades ago and launched a solo campaign that catapulted sports stories into the front pages of The Guardian Newspapers, a fever caught quickly by other newspapers in the country.
Significantly, too, Ojeagbase has also shattered the usual refrain that â€˜journalists do not make good entrepreneurs,â€™ having created a successful media company which he started with just N6,500. The company has been around for over 33 years now. But here is the best of all: Ojeagbase has also created a â€œfactoryâ€ – Success Attitude Development Centre (SADC), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) run with his wife and business partner, Esther, where they â€œmanufactureâ€ millionaires. Evidence: Akin Alabi of Nairabet; Oyeleke Toye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Instant Web-Net Technologies Limited; Samson Olatunde of Business Impact; Princess Efe Imiren, CEO, ServiceForts Group; and many more. His life lessons, shared below are laced with uncommon wisdom. Enjoy.
God/Spirituality: Recognize that GOD is your only Source.
It took a while before this vital lesson sank in me. I was the type that was always depending on another man, what the Bible calls â€œthe arm of flesh,â€ for my needs. Once, I recall telling my wife: â€œI am going to see Mr. So and So. If he doesnâ€™t assist me with the money we need, then we are done for.â€ That was how deeply I trusted man to be my helper. I didnâ€™t know better then. And, as it was usually the case, man always proved that he didnâ€™t have the capacity to meet all my needs. Only GOD does.
Since November 1997 when I made a U-turn and rededicated my life to Christ, I have enjoyed peace in every area of my life. I became totally debt-free and financially free.
I confidently recommend to anyone reading my Life Lessons to embrace GOD as their only Source. You will never regret doing so.
Money and Investment: Refuse to spend more than you can afford.
Some people find this difficult to do. And they end up living a miserable life. By not consuming all your income, no matter the pressure, I mean you should always stay within your budget, which must be tailored to what you can afford. Some people, if at all they have a budget, spend way above it out of their own weakness, or because they are under pressure from their peers.
When I turned 50, our business wasnâ€™t doing well. Cash flow was tight, and we had creditors breathing down our necks. I knew there was no way I could comfortably splash money on a party on that occasion.
Instead, I invited 25 couples to a birthday dinner I tagged: â€œThe Closest 50 People In My Life.â€ I didnâ€™t have to pay for an event venue. We had a hall at SADC that could barely hold the 25 couples that I invited. Total budget: N150,000.00. Not a kobo of it came from our struggling business. And life continued normally afterwards.
By the time I was 60, I could afford to host 1,000 guests at my birthday party. And we did. Most of the guests didnâ€™t remember, that 10 years earlier, I wasnâ€™t even able to host one-tenth of that figure. Taking steps like this has helped me to keep my head above water.
Personal Development: Make quality investment on life essentials.
Lifeâ€™s essentials are the things that keep body and soul together here on earth and guarantee secure passage to eternity with the Christ. Having a personal relationship with GOD, maintaining good health, having peace of mind and becoming financially free – these things rank high on my priority list. And they kept me awake as a young man growing up. I was always working at figuring out how to have these life essentials. These things are always on top of my mind all the time. I am not surprised that GOD has blessed me with them. So, desire them and work hard to get them with the help of GOD.
Wealth creation: Create avenues for giving back.
Apart from providing for my family, one other compelling reason that should guide your pursuit of wealth is to give back to the community where GOD blessed you. This was our motivation when my wife and I co-founded Success Attitude Development Centre in 1995 and made the commitment to channel part of what we earn from our publishing business to run it. We have maintained that empowerment vehicle.
The mission of the NGO is to raise and nurture successful entrepreneurs. To the glory of GOD, SADC/SuccessDigest has produced many millionaires today who are creating jobs and helping the Nigerian economy to grow.
Business: Create a structure to make your business outlive you.
Before we went into business, my wife and I knelt before our opened Bible and said a simple prayer to GOD. The prayer consisted of three important parts. The first was that GOD should establish the business, prosper us through it, and make it to survive us. The second component was that those who come to work with us in the business and those who sell our products should prosper also. And the third part was that GOD should always replenish the pockets of those who buy our products.
I believe that it is GODâ€™s answer to our prayer that informed the business running on autopilot today. I stopped managing Complete Communications Limited on a day-to-day basis since December 1997. That I am not currently on the ground because of my ill-health does not make any difference. The company has highly resourceful, loyal and focused managers, led by Mumini Alao, the Group Managing Director. And, of course, we have a structure in place that any new manager could easily follow and fit into our system.
Health: Itâ€™s not a clichÃ©: health is wealth!
You have heard it over and over. Your good health is your most precious asset. Until you lose it, you will never get the full import of that statement. I should know. I have battled with ill-health on and off for 15 straight years, starting from May 2002. And this is not an exaggeration.
I have a single reason for making that disclosure. To persuade you, if youâ€™re not already convinced, that you should seriously pay attention to your health. If you really love life and are determined to live it to the full and fulfill your destiny, that is the smartest thing you can do to achieve that goal.
I donâ€™t have enough space here to share with you how I got sick in 2002, and how GOD has kept me alive despite dozens of close calls with death. I am already detailing that in a book I pray to GOD to strengthen me to present to the public in December this year.
Donâ€™t joke with your health. It will stunt your growth if you have a dream for a great future as I do. I really canâ€™t say much more than that now. The Bible says we should forgive our offenders. That is a good admonition to heed.
Build a strong tie with your family.
I have always believed in investing in my family. The reason is because I realized early that a time would come when I would need them more than they would need me.
What I didnâ€™t know was that the time would come sooner than I anticipated. In 2012, I took seriously ill. And for five straight years, my wife practically left everything to care for me. I have asked myself on many occasions: what if we were not close?
Let me re-emphasize it: donâ€™t neglect your family so that they donâ€™t ignore you when you desperately need their support. And, let me tell you the absolute truth, you will surely need them someday.
Perspective on failure
Failure is sometimes unavoidable. At one stage in my life, I used to fear failure. But not anymore. I know now that when I fail in something, I have just learned one of the ways that what I failed in wouldnâ€™t work. I dwell on it long enough to learn all the lessons I could, and move on without any regrets. The only thing I wouldnâ€™t do is to repeat that same mistake.
What one problem/issue keeps you awake in the night, something you worry about constantly?
To be absolutely frank, there is none. And there is a reason for that. I have learned to give all of my worries, call it burdens, unto my Lord and Saviour. And He has been bearing them for me.
What one or two embarrassing mistakes/decisions you made, that you would not want your children or proteges to repeat
Not many will agree with me on this. But I once seriously thought of marrying two wives. I thank GOD that I got rid of that fantasy. I would have regretted it all my life if I did. I wouldnâ€™t want my children or proteges to even think about it.
1. Best pieces of advice you have ever received and from who or where?
My great mentor, Alhaji R. A. Adejumo, of blessed memory, told me as I was starting my entrepreneurship career that I must keep a good record of every financial transaction in my business. â€œA business without record,â€ he warned me, â€œis not a business. That advice has saved me from many embarrassments.
I got the second great advice from Bishop David Oyedepo in one of his ministrations. He said when you discovered that you were on a wrong path in life, the best decision to make a U-turn regardless of how far you had gone. Every bus stop is a wrong one on a wrong journey path.
I have held on tenaciously to this wisdom ever since the first time I heard it from him. And it has saved me a lot of Naira if not Dollars.
2. Four sources of information that have shaped your life most:
1. The Bible
2. Seven Laws of Success, by Herbert W. Armstrong
3. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
Books authored by Kenneth E. Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland; Pastor E. A. Adeboyeâ€™s Open Heaven and Bishop David Oyedepoâ€™s ministrations.
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