Tony Aspire Kolawole is a Visionary, Traveller, Leader and Entrepreneur. Here are his Rules for Success.
1 ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
From the outset, I was involved in entrepreneurship. While I was on a teaching job after my secondary education, I could not survive with the low wage of the teaching profession, thus, I started supplying books to students as another stream of income. I could do this because I spotted a problem and created a solution. The problem was that most students did not have literature books and all I needed to do was to provide some for them.
Afterward, I went on to start a telecommunications company, Aspire Talknet, offering SIM swap solutions to people in my neighbourhood. We partnered with top network providers to aid our work. The rationale behind this was to help people find solutions faster, rather than going to head offices of these telecommunications companies at Ikeja and Surulere. This was how my entrepreneurship journey started.
2. GET STARTED WHEN YOU HAVE A DREAM OR VISION OR A GOAL
In 2015, I lost my telecommunications company because of changes in government policy. Things got hard and it was the same year I went into the real estate industry as a marketer. That period was not a season of wine and roses for me. It was time for hard work, but more importantly, the quest for survival was a goal. Well, I did not sell any property for months when I started as a marketer in the real estate business.
In December 2015, I drank Garri on Christmas day that period was a time of difficulty I had to allow my wife and kid to go have some delicious delicacy with my in-laws but that difficult moment has been a learning point and has transformed me to the person I am today.
3. SELLING AND CLOSING IS A VITAL HIGH INCOME SKILL FOR SUCCESS
I made my first sales. I was already in debt so the commission seemed insignificant. Nevertheless, in February of 2016, I made huge sales and my commission was in millions. Immediately I saw the alert, I knelt on the main road and raised my hands to praise God. I am sure some people thought I was crazy, but the craziness is still working for me till date.
4 EVOLUTION AND GROWTH
After I made my first millions from real estate, I started organising real estate marketing training events for aspiring realtors, and from a thirty-seater capacity, we rose to thousands performing realtors in a short time. He has metarmorphorsized from a Consultant to a leader and now as a Developer over time.
5. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
I read a lot and I invest in personal development. As a low salary earner when I taught, I spent most of my salary on books and this eventually shaped me as a person. I read myself out of poverty before coming out of it in physical reality. Reading also taught me good leadership skills, especially how to manage people and it is proving effective in the business right now.
6. INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE
Real Estate in Nigeria flourishes even in recession. When you buy real estate , it grows and can skyrocket within a short period. The huge Return on Investment (ROI) covers up for the devaluation of the Naira. Also, Rental income as a passive income is a very good investment. Finally, land banking is a good reason for Nigerians in the diaspora to invest in real estate.
7. RISK TAKING
I risked all my savings to start a business, I was not sure of anything. While I was still in paid employment, we moved from Ajegunle to Okokomaiko in Lagos State. On getting to Okoko, I told my mum I would not be going back to paid employment as I wanted to become an entrepreneur. She advised me against it but I took funds I had saved from teaching job to start my telecommunications business. I bought a land line when the phone just came out and started a phone call business. It took a while to pick up but it did. This time, I was an undergraduate at Lagos State University and before then, I already had an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) from Lagos State Polytechnic.
8. FACING HARD TIMES AND ENDURING IT
One of the major challenges of doing business in Nigeria is inaccessibility to capital to carry out major projects. Real estate companies outside Nigeria enjoy access to funds and the mortgage system works well for them, but here we struggle for funds. Banks and investors offer us loans with high-interest rates that are not realistic. Another challenge that we face is the high cost of property development due to the difficulty of getting skilled labour, building materials and proper documentation of properties. Bribery and corruption add up to the list. Most property developers have cut corners to get the property documentation for their properties. This, in turn, results in inflation of property prices. The government initiates a straightforward process of getting property documentation easily.
9. TEAM BUILDING
If your sales force is strong, it will help the business to stand in the face of financial challenges. we have a sales team that spans across the nation and beyond. In solving the challenge of getting skilled labour, we strive to work with skilful Nigerians instead of importing labour. Our partners ensure that they train them from time to time. We are getting fantastic results.
10. COURAGE, DETERMINATION AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Business is not as easy as it seems or as it is being painted. You need to have a lot of iron-clad determination, courage, and exceptional leadership skills.
STAY HUMBLE , STAY HUNGRY
Recently a key feature Most people mentioned about him is his humility as a person. He never looks down on anyone. He is very respectful and doesn’t allow his current status or position in his life or career get into his head and he has the hunger for greater success to always improve and get better with time.
Thanks for your attention.
Question for the day
What lessons did you learn the most from this rules of success.
Most of this were adapted from a recent Business day newspaper interview.