Some Lessons From The Beginning (Part 4):

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Excellence Will Always Get You Noticed

It had been quite a while since I sold my car to fund our working capital. My partner and I spent all our time just focused on our business. We worked long hours and drove around in a battered old pick up truck. We were totally consummate about our business. When I was not working, I was reading every book or article I could find on business, and business management; It was my passion.

Although my partner and I were both engineers, I had retreated from the engineering side to finance. The only numbers that interested me, then and now are financial numbers. I had come to realise that the most important thing in running a business effectively is through financial reports. This is when I started using the motto:

“It’s all in the numbers. Show me the numbers”

One day, I went to see a leading bank. Two years had lapsed since my first attempt at raising a loan. I submitted to them my proposal. The following day they summoned me. The head of the bank was present with his most senior deputy. They were both looking at my document. “Did you prepare this?” He was totally shocked by my presentation. He openly said to me, that he had never seen anything like it, and wished every manager in his bank would see it. “You have literally taught yourself banking, just to get a loan!” He begged me not to show it to another bank.

All that preparatory work had finally paid off: I got my loan….but I was already thinking beyond local banks…why not the World Bank?!

To be continued…

After Thought 1:

Lessons from the early days:
1. Acquire skills;
2. Hire the right skills, and pay them better than yourself;
3. Separate yourself from the business;
4. Pay yourself a salary. Don’t live off the business;
5. Stay focused on one thing, and master it;
6. Avoid conspicuous consumption;
7. Put the money back into the business.

After Thought 2:

“….the borrower is servant to the lender.”

I don’t like to borrow money, even from a bank, and I have always borrowed, as a last resort. As soon as I borrow, my focus is to try and repay that money as soon as possible.
When you do decide to borrow, you must be very clear in your mind why you are borrowing, and be sure you have considered other options to borrowing. Avoid borrowing too much money, and always repay. Never, ever default on an agreed payment date, no matter what, even if you have borrowed from friends.
God bless.

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