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ENLIGHTENED WEALTH BUILDERS CREATE OPPORTUNITIES OUT OF CHALLENGES
CONVERSATION WITH MY BILLIONAIRE FRIEND
“Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard if you but dig for them”-Russell Conwell
One question that has kept coming from readers that need to be dealt with is what some have described as contradictions. Some have found it difficult to settle with the fact that most times what present themselves as problems also present themselves to discerning wealth builders as opportunities to create solutions which when systematised become avenues for wealth. My first Billionaire Friend had dealt with the issue in the past but many have still expressed doubts over what they term as contradictions.
This edition examines some situations and circumstances in which problems have been transformed into opportunities and wealth.
Here we shall be discussing searching and discovering, existing opportunity gaps in human needs and creating successful brands to exploit and satisfy such discovered opportunities; gaps in human needs, for building wealth. Put differently, wealth is thus created through discovering commonly hidden but existing gaps within human unsatisfied needs, exploiting the opportunity around those unsatisfied needs and creating successful brands out of the products and services that are discovered from the search for unsatisfied human needs around us.
“There are no exceptions to this wealth-building rule; it does not matter where you are from, your religion, your complexion. Once you comply with the rule, you will become wealthy beyond your imagination. This is the same principle successful people you read about, practise, and the billionaires that yearly make Forbes’ list, employ to build phenomenal wealth”.
“These are people that have been able to discover one unsatisfied human need and have exploited and built brands, products and services that have been able to satisfy this particular need. People don’t understand that wealth-building opportunities show up daily around them in the forms of problems, challenges and complex human difficulties, but instead of praying to God to show them the wisdom to solve the human problems around them, they hop from one country to another looking for wealth building opportunities that exist in abundance in their homeland. How tragic!”
“Sometimes I wish that many who sold their God-given businesses and travelled to the so-called advanced countries to become second-class citizens were able to lay hands on the Russell Conwell classic, THE ACRES OF DIAMONDS. They would have discovered that in the backyards they abandoned, there were acres of diamonds waiting to be mined. I have travelled widely and I have seen brilliant individuals from different African countries, professors, surgeons, journalists, bankers driving cabs, washing dead bodies, and doing all manner of crazy things abroad in the name of looking for wealth. Such people cannot be truly happy no matter the impressions they give you. They have uprooted themselves from where God planted them to be solutions providers, stars, employers of labour and gone to increase the wealth of other countries with their brains”.
“It is the height of insanity when an African professor leaves his country to become executive assistant abroad to a white guy that has no school certificate and to nationals of other countries who cannot even communicate well. This calls for weeping. When a country allows its best brains to risk their lives through seas, mountains, deserts and other dangerous routes to foreign countries to become second-class citizens in countries built by human beings like them, rest assured that this is a tragedy of monumental proportion”.
THEY ARE EVERYWHERE…ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO REALISE THEIR TRUE WORTH AND COMMIT THEMSELVES TO PUSHING THE ENVELOPES
For the reason of space, we shall limit our examples of globally-acknowledged wealthy people to only five individuals: Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, amongst many others. These five wealthy people searched for and discovered unsatisfied human needs, and successfully exploited, created and built their brands with products and services which are satisfying hitherto unsatisfied human needs.
Let us start with Bill Gates. Bill Gates is a 66-year-old American, with a wealth of about $130 billion, who built his wealth by creating his Microsoft successful brand. He discovered and developed his uniquely successful software which has become the generic fulcrum of world information technology. William (Bill) Henry Gates built wealth by founding his software development company, along with his partner Paul Allen and building his globally successful software brand to explore and satisfy a huge undiscovered opportunity that was idly waiting to be explored regarding the human need for information technology. He built his fortune as the chief executive, chairman and chief architect of the Microsoft Corporation, which IT brand, that blazed the trail in information technology of our world. He stepped down from the day-to-day running of Microsoft in 2008 and from being chairman of Microsoft’s board in 2014. He left the board completely in 2020 to focus on philanthropy. He went into investing in corporations, warehousing his investments in Cascade Investment LLC.
Another example is Elon Reeve Musk, who is exploiting the huge opportunity gap in rockets, spacecraft and electric vehicle technology. He started by first creating his X.com and PayPal brands. He then sold his PayPal brand to eBay, which fortune provided the major fulcrum for his humongous wealth. He is currently exploiting and creating brands to satisfy the wealth-generating opportunity gaps, in human inevitable future needs for electric cars and rockets for exploring the earth’s outer space. His electric cars are the pioneers of electric cars in the world.
Again, we have people like Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is a very old man of about 90 years of age but still kicking in the investment world. He is called the Oracle of Omaha. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway. He started by exploiting the opportunity gap in textile manufacturing and building his successful brand. He thereafter veered into investing in blue chip companies through courageously differing prevailing investment trends. He thus built his wealth by exploiting the unique opportunity in his sound trend analysis of the financial position of corporate entities and investing in well-chosen stocks, against differing prevailing investment trends.
Coming home to Nigeria, there were decades, when cement manufacturing in Nigeria, was monopolised by West African Portland Cement and hugely augmented by imports. Indeed, some of us still recollect the time when our ports were blocked and we had some major blockade of our Lagos, Apapa port, with ships loaded with imported cement for Nigeria. It took the dexterity of late Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, to decongest our Apapa port.
Aliko Dangote saw the huge unsatisfied opportunity gap in the local production of cement in Nigeria and went into creating a successful brand of his, in locally producing cement, eliminating cement importation by Nigeria and expanding his brand into some 13 other African countries. His brand is also currently exploiting the unsatisfied opportunity gaps in food, sugar, tomato paste and very soon, refined petroleum. Dangote has thus built his wealth of about $12 billion from exploiting and satisfying the unsatisfied needs of Nigerians and other African cement with a successful brand.
Femi Otedola, also discovered and exploited the unsatisfied opportunity gap with his brand, in the supply of diesel and has since built wealth around this and expanded into corporate equity investments. Thus, in general, wealth can be created and built from discovering, exploiting and creating successful brands by satisfying existing unexploited opportunity gaps in human needs around us. Indeed, Nigeria is a country with numerous unsatisfied opportunity gaps, which are waiting to be exploited for satisfying burning needs. Nigerians need to take advantage of these yearning unsatisfied needs around them, to build wealth, by discovering such opportunities, exploiting them and creating successful brands out of these unsatisfied needs.
NIGERIA IS BLESSED INDEED, WE ARE BLESSED!
Indeed, Nigeria is a country with numerous opportunity gaps waiting to be satisfied. Let’s briefly look at how to identify opportunities in Nigeria.
HOW TO DISCOVER THE OPPORTUNITIES
We discover the opportunity gaps in human needs, by scanning our environments through conducting market research. These opportunities are hanging there around us, waiting to be discovered and exploited by those who seek them. Knowledge is required for such a discovery and exploitation of the unsatisfied need opportunities. A typical example is Warren Buffett. At only the age of seven, out of family financial frustrations and challenges, he borrowed a book to read. The book is titled: 1000 ways to make $1000. From reading that book at that age, it fired up the determination, hidden talent, commitment and zeal, that created the multi-billion dollars wealth, of about $60 billion, for Warren Buffett, who at some 90 years of age, is still investing in trend-defining investments and building wealth out of it.
There are opportunity gaps all around us, that need to be discovered and it is people who discover such opportunity gaps that grow to build successful brands, create jobs and build wealth for their nations. Governments also earn income through taxes and FOREX from these.
COMMITMENT TO LEARNING AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT ENABLES YOU TO SEE OPPORTUNITIES
Not all eyes see; not all ears ear and not all minds perceive. But when you commit yourself to developing your mind, you will begin to accurately interpret events around you and why God positioned you right where you are now. When your mind is not developed, you simply pass the opportunities (in the form of problems and challenges) and go to your imams and pastors to pray those problems out of your life. Ten years ago, did you ever hear any word such as Zoom? Zoom became prominent during the lockdown period when people could not move around, yet they had to communicate. The owner had been nurturing this idea for years before the lockdown period. So, when the opportunity came, he seized it with both hands and legs. Today the owner is a multi-billionaire. That is how enduring wealth is built.
Spending money on personal development enlightens your mind to see opportunities that fly all around you. Step out of your comfort zone; make mistakes but get back on your feet again and soldier on. If your mind is not developed, you will not see those opportunities when they come because, in most cases, they disguise themselves as problems. Have you not observed that while many Nigerians are jetting out of the country permanently to other countries, nationals of other countries are trouping into Nigeria to exploit the incredible opportunities that abound in Nigeria? We now have garri yam flour made 100% in Nigeria, packaged and resold to Nigerians by the Chinese. Nationals of other countries are establishing modern factories, producing goods from here which are then re-routed. That is why the Bible says that a lazy hunter does not roast his catch.
HOW DO I KNOW THE NEED TO STICK TO IT?
Again, knowing the need to stick to is dependent on how developed your mind is, whether you have done some diligent survey and analysis of your market, the quality of your methodology and the outcome of your market searches. The mind needs to be developed by reading, learning, travelling and in the process, acquiring the instinct, knowledge and skill, to know which unsatisfied needs are commercially viable for sticking with. However, one may make mistakes at the start of one’s wealth-building journey and thus start and fail a few times. But it would not matter, once eventual success is attained. It is not how many times one failed, but how many times one rose after every such failure. There should be no pretence about assuming that once a need has been discovered and is being exploited, then it would be successful. This is generally not so. Some needs are discovered, exploited and eventually found not to be commercially viable or not within one’s competency or the market size eventually turns out to be lower than anticipated, etc. However, whatever one does in this sphere, one must begin with a thorough feasibility study where one is solid enough to finance such a study. But where one is not
financially solid enough for such a thorough study, then one can carry out a rudimentary study of his own, towards eventually building a successful brand out of the identified unsatisfied needs.
WHEN YOU SPOT AN OPPORTUNITY AND BUILD A PASSION AROUND IT THROUGH DEADLY COMMITMENT UNTIL IT BECOMES A BRAND, THEN YOU HAVE BECOME AN ATM!
When you have pushed a particular concept to the level of becoming THE BRAND in that area, then you can name the price. Are you aware that there are some people from recognised successful brands, who can walk into any shop without having any cash, and they can still buy whatever they want on personal recognition? Someone said that you become a brand when your first name is sufficient: people would supply the surname. When you mention Bill, Warren, Elon, Jeff and co, people will supply their surnames. But it takes a deliberate process to build an outstanding brand. Brands are built by investing in positioning products and services as the best in meeting the unsatisfied needs of consumers. This investment must be continuous in positioning the brand as the best for satisfying consumer needs through branded products and services, at all times. A good brand requires continuous investments and continuous monitoring of its life cycles, at all times. A typical example here is the Coca-Cola brand which has survived as a brand for decades in satisfying man’s needs around the world, for their different products. Successful brands require continuous investments backed by solid marketing skills.
SOMEONE ONCE SAID THAT NIGERIA IS A COUNTRY WHOSE LAND FLOWS WITH GOLD AND SILVER, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, PEOPLE STAYING THERE CAN NOT SEE THESE GEMS.
Nigeria is a great country with a lot of challenges, but out of these challenges are hidden unexploited opportunities that can be harvested into building wealth. Nigeria is not different from other countries that Nigerians run to. Some people helped to rebuild their countries into what they are, where Nigerians are running to.
On a general note, many Nigerians who stay within Nigeria, do not live by borrowing. Many of those we look up to in other countries live on loans, credit cards, mortgages and debt
instruments. Whereas the average Nigerian takes his time to eventually build his wealth with little or no accrued debts. Yes, the size of the wealth you may build in Nigeria, may not be as huge as what you can build outside Nigeria. For instance, the size of the wealth of Aliko Dangote is $12 billion, whereas that of Elon Musk, is about $230 billion. So, the wealth magnitudes are different, but how much of the wealth do you need, beyond satisfying your living needs, some extravagancies and helping humanity? Many globally acknowledged billionaires, with humongous wealth, are ending up being the world’s greatest philanthropists. A typical example is Warren Buffett, who has given out 99% of his wealth to charity. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many other multi-billionaires have also given out large percentages of their wealth. Hence, after building wealth, we should be conscious of the needy around our world. We should use the extra wealth beyond our needs and that of our family in the pursuit of philanthropy. Philanthropy is the major way to serve God Almighty by satisfying the needs of orphans, widows, and deformed and ailing members of society. Huge unexploited opportunities exist in Nigeria, begging to be identified and exploited. Therefore, Nigerians do not need to travel out of Nigeria to be wealthy. Travels for wealthy Nigerians, are limited to enjoying holidays, touring heritage sites and expanding their horizons. They identify and build successful brands to exploit the huge available opportunities in Nigeria. They build their wealth in Nigeria and are proud of what their country is offering them. We should do the same in helping to develop our country, and contribute to making our country better, than running down our country and staying abroad.
HERE IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
In summary, building a successful brand requires knowledge and skill which are obtainable from reading widely and learning. Brand building is a profession, handled by marketers with expertise in that field. There are many marketing and advertising companies that can help to build brands. We cannot and should not do everything by ourselves. We need experts to help us to build brands. Even with that, we still need some good knowledge to take quality management decisions for success.
See you next week