Every man and his dog has a business idea or two. The world is full of great opinionated thinkers and dreamers who, if rewarded for spewing out their ideas, would be in the same wealth league as Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook) and Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple). But they are not, and for good reason. Ideas are easy; turning ideas into things that humanity places value on and will pay for is the hard bit. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and co have earned the right to be called entrepreneurs because they did not just have an idea or two. They made their ideas happen! As Walt Disney once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
I met two talented and passionate individuals today, Winnie Awa and Ayomi Odupitan who had ideas and who have found the same road travelled by some of the world’s business greats. Winnie is a co founder of Antidote Street, an online black hair and skin products hub and Ayomi runs 3 companies one of which is Pytrops an online gadgets hub. The others, a Cab hiring service and an accountancy services firm. They have already won the first battle by pushing themselves onto that road and lending credence to Nolan Bushnell’s statement that, “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Is just getting on the road enough though? Who knows? Winnie spoke passionately about being able to do what she loved, in her case being able to make full use of her creativity. Her attitude is not dissimilar to Mark Zuckerberg’s who also believes that “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”
Two things in particular struck me about Ayomi. He believed passionately in starting small and wasn’t particularly straitjacketed by business plans. Sometimes you just have to start and see where the wind takes you but every ship needs a good compass and I have no doubt that Ayomi’s as he consistently reminded the gathering, was God.
My favourite moment was when Winnie shared a story on how she wants to get her company featured in a particular magazine. She has set a reminder to remind her to contact this company at regular intervals and has been doing so since August 2014! She will not accept no for an answer. Steve Jobs and other successful entrepreneurs showed the same tenacity as he once alluded to himself, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple.
Will there be heart ache, disappointments, difficulties, challenges and failure along the way for Winnie and Ayomi? Sure! The best basketball player who ever walked the face of the earth once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game’s winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan. A great not of the sports world but of the literary world couldn’t have put it better when he said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” Mark Twain, author.
Building up an entrepreneurial dream is like building layered Ghana salad.
The foundation must have depth and strength. My pastor once blurted out, probably in frustration, that if you want to take a 10 page wish list to God, then you better make sure your foundation in him is strong and deep enough to handle a sky scraper. If you know you have the foundations for a one bedroom flat then stick to a wish list of half a page.
Nurturing an entrepreneurial dream requires a degree of versatility, creativity, adaptability and resourcefulness. Even though I make Ghana salad often, the ingredients never remain the same. I make do with what I have available and never seem to recall exactly the sequence in which I build the layer but I always shoot for the same incredibly tasting outcome.
Now more about Ghana Salad.
I first attempted this salad only a couple of years ago when my 4 year old one and only God daughter, “Baby Tia”, and family visited. She is the most assertive and confident young woman you could ever meet. I must have been driven to absolute fear to make sure that that salad was top notch. It was and since then its become a must make on Christmas day and on special occasions when I really need to impress my guests.
In my last couple of attempts at this traditional Ghanaian salad recipe I substituted eggs (chicken) with quail eggs.
I will use both this time.
Add whole boiled quail eggs, slices of boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes