Forgive (that’s her name), with a specialised chin, was busy on her PC editing a manuscript for a client. I had just entered the office with a pack of food (fried rice, with fried chicken) and juice. Everyone else thought it was their quiche. I am told I rendered it ‘kish’, more of its sound than spelling. I had reluctantly promised my team of creatives, a bevy of four (4) ladies I pleasantly refer to us quadruplets, the day before that I will honour their request of French tarts laced with meat and cheese.
Well, it wasn’t as they had imagined. When I opened the pack, I just knew I could not consume everything inside. Having been trained by mum not to waste food (we did not have enough growing up), so we were very particular about mishandling food, hence we ensured nothing went to waste), I asked Forgive to get her spoon and join me.
She took the spoon, I suspected she became shy. But how? Intriguing, after taking the spoon? I laughed with her. She had started doing ‘Assiew ma)nk)’. To wit, ‘In law, let it go’, a phrase often used to suggest that someone turns down an offer they would have wished to accept. She even asked why I am not inviting the others but just her.
After strategic persuasions, including asking the remaining bevy of the quadruplets to pretend as if they were not looking, she took her first scoop then a bite of the chicken. Knowing where I had purchased the meal from, a local fast food joint. She quizzed, ‘‘what makes some businesses stay in operation for many years, while others just fizzle out after an initial boom?’’
I was probably hungry so I made a mental note to investigate her question later. It is an intriguing question I will certainly be glad to engage your perspective as well. Whiles I was in the act of persuading her to join and dine with me, her initial reluctance drew my attention to opportunities;” how we miss or seize them”.
I share three significant indicators:
- Moment of Truth
Forgive had her spoon. Always stay prepared for your next opportunity. You do not start training when your next gig comes. Preparation is remote; it is done ahead of an opportunity. Now is the right time to pursue a program of study and get yourself ready to tap into future career prospects.
By the time oil was discovered in Ghana, there were already people who had had education in oil and gas. These persons were ‘early reapers’ as they enjoyed the gains of the industry, ahead of all who now had to enrol for knowledge on the field. No one trains on the football pitch. The big stars of the football world we know of today did not start their fledging career today. They had been playing from childhood in backyard spaces modified as football fields for children. Most of them are big stars today because someone saw them playing with their friends or school and thought they had talent. They had been practicing for years.
I highlight the important business lessons of ‘elevator pitch’ and the ‘USP’. The ‘USP’ is your ‘unique selling proposition’. It is a marketing approach used to inform prospects of what distinguishes your business from your competitors. The concept of the elevator pitch is that you present the description of your business, product or service in a succinct way, perhaps as short as the duration you will engage someone on an elevator.
If your USP is well couched, it can be harnessed as an elevator pitch. The all-important message here is that, if you meet that game changer you have always been wanting to meet, and you have few minutes to deliver a pitch to launch your career or business into the glory you have been wishing, you will appreciate that many months of rehearsals, continuous studies and practice cannot be overemphasized.
Your moment of truth will always come. It is the occasion that will test your preparedness for the future you always dream of or leave you gnashing your teeth. When that destined moment presents itself, be sure that you scoop it.
- Keep Grinding
Forgive did ‘Asiew ma)nk)’. Sometimes, doubts and uncertainties kick in as you advance on your goals. Do not lose focus. Remain calm, you took the spoon for a purpose. Always remember why you started. Successful business leaders mostly share the stories about their journey and emphasize it usually was full of challenges, disappointments and unfulfilled promises.
The joy in the success is anchored on their consistency. How many years did it take Joe Mettle or Diana Hamilton to win artistes of the year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards? Former US Presidents Barack Obama and George Washington had to keep on pressing consistently in their dreams to become presidents, despite several impediments, till they succeeded.
Jack Ma is China’s richest man, with an estimated worth of $38 billion. The 55-year-old is the cofounder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba. It’s China’s biggest digital marketplace, responsible for an estimated 80% of all online sales in China. Ma started out as an English teacher, where he made just $12 a month. Harvard University rejected him 10 times, and he was turned down for jobs at an estimated 30 companies, including KFC. However, with the introduction of the internet, Ma saw an opportunity.
With no tech or business background, he founded Alibaba with the help of 17 friends in 1999. Jack Ma is not only involved in e-commerce. He is involved in a lot of other ventures that altogether make him the richest man in china, the top exporter of goods in the world now. Jack Ma’s secret? His consistency. You and I have no excuse. Keep ‘grinding’.
- Build on water
Forgive asked why she is the only one I am inviting. In fact, how many people could a pack of food feed? Unless she expected the miracle of five (5) loaves and fishes will be replicated, opportunities do not just drop to everyone.
When opportunity knocks on your door, please do not ask questions; seize it. Natural resources are not distributed equally. Some countries are blessed with gold, others timber and some cocoa. Some countries even depend on hydroponics to grow plants. The important lesson is to optimise what you have.
The land of Israel is known to be rocky and full of stones. However, they have used their land to the optimum, being the fourth-largest exporter of diamonds in the world as at November 2020 and has a 9.25% share of a global market that is worth US$116 billion annually. They also export pearls and other precious metals and stones (33 percent of total exports); electrical machinery and equipment, mechanical machinery and appliances, sound and TV recorders and reproducers and computer equipment. Israel was ranked 19th on the 2016 UN Human Development Index, indicating “very high” development. It is considered a high-income country by the World Bank.
Ninety kilometres west of Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana, Nzulezu, the famous stilt village, is beautifully built over water, harnessing Lake Tadane. Today, the village hugely attracts tourists and has been marked as a ‘World Heritage Status’ by UNESCO World Heritage.
Make the most of what you have, especially while you have it. Some opportunities are very seasonal. Lock them in while they exist. If all you have got is water, grow with it and build on it.
>>>The writer is a corporate trainer and professional ghostwriter assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles, and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via: [email protected]