In the light of recent happenings in the nation, we have to wonder if truly anything good can come out of our country- Nigeria; but like in the Bible times, we will always have a few good things to be grateful for.
From the humble beginnings to the Global stage, we truly have some good to showcase and export from Nigeria. Our book for the month will encourage us to be among the few good people left to showcase Nigeria to the world.
AFRICA: RISE AND SHINE/ JIM OVIA/ FORBES BOOKS/ 2018/ 224 PAGES
The book talks about the early beginnings, the rise and rise of Jim Ovia and the Zenith Empire. If you are looking to get some scoop on the Jim or Zenith, you are in the wrong place. Like the author rightly said, he did not want to write a regular auto biography but a business book which would be useful to younger people especially with poor backgrounds to reach the heights he has attained and more.
The book has 30 short chapters with each chapter explaining a significant event or milestone reached in his business journey. Things that helped him make the decisions he made and values that are important to him. He even offered his own version of take-away for anyone who wanted a quick overview. With a signature red cover and glossy print you can tell that his taste for quality and his eye for proper branding is still intact.
He discussed on topics that explained how he started, grew and sustained/sold his businesses. He also talked extensively about his interest in giving back through different platforms especially through his foundation – The Jim Ovia Foundation. Education holds a special area of interest for him so you see more of his charitable works through those areas.
I will be reviewing this book from three levers;
STARTING OUT: Start local, grow GLOBAL. You need to do your research and ensure due diligence is carried out before starting any business or signing any deals. Branding should be well thought out to include future customers of up to 10 years.
GROWING THE BUSINESS: Understanding and re-enforcing the importance of customer service through the bank was one of the first steps taken to differentiate and solidify their business from others.
The customer is the most important visitor in our premises. He is not dependent on us, we are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work; he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business; he is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him, but rather he is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him – the Zenith prayer.
Another important way to grow the business is by actively seeking out new ways of doing things. Deciding to architecturally brand the physical locations for the Zenith branches was another turning point for the business. Being aggressive through the introduction and use of internet and other hardware was also a strategy for meeting Zenith goals & creating a presence in every state in Nigeria within the shortest possible time was definitely a thoughtful one which set them ahead of the competition.
SUSTAINING/ SELLING THE BUSINESS: Success breeds complacency so even when you are successful, you have to be disciplined enough to set and follow through new and bigger goals.
As you become successful, be ready to complain less about our poor or lack of infrastructure, and be prepared to build your own infrastructure to get to the heights you want to.
Finally, It’s okay to leave the good for the great. Visafone was good, but selling it was better – of course at the right price and add-ons.
Tosan’s take: I’ve heard so many times that being wealthy starts in the mind, but this book here just explains it. You get to understand the thought patterns of a billionaire in this same country that also has such a high rate of poverty. This reminds me of why I love reading, learning about people and from people even from a distance.