My flight from Lagos to Uyo was for 11am. My taxi driver was already at my hotel at 9am. So ideally, I should have been at the airport on time. When I do trips to Lagos, I stay in Ikeja so that getting to the airport won’t be that difficult.
But on this day, we got stuck in a lockdown traffic because of an accident. I missed my flight. I however wasn’t the only one who did. I spotted Mr. Jaja, a top entrepreneur in my city. He quickly recognized me.
“Essien, you missed the flight too?”
“Yes sir, I did” I said, some frustration in my tone.
Behind him was MD/CEO of a certain MLM organization, Deolu Akinyemi.Apparently, Jaja was in Lagos to see Deolu. We exchanged pleasantries and my mind flashed back to 2013 when I first met both of them at Jaja’s office in Uyo.
Jaja and Deolu have been friends for a pretty long time. In that meeting in Uyo, Jaja had some ideas to share with me. Deolu too.
“The entrepreneur gets capital from two quick sources”, Jaja said. “From the investor and from the customer”.
I remember taking down notes on my Samsung Galaxy tab when he made those statements.
“There are times customers give me money before getting the product from me”, Jaja continued.
Deolu picked up his thoughts and clarified Jaja’s statement. “Can you be so trusted that your customers give you money for the product before you make it available to them? Build your credibility. Trust is capital”
“Even investors invest in entrepreneurs that inspire trust”, Jaja added.
That seemed to make sense to me then. Even now. The quickest way to get money is to get money from your customers before they get the product or from an investor. What are you doing to grow your credibility? It just might come in handy when you need money for your business.
As we found a way to sort out our missed flight issues at the Murtala Mohammed airport, i couldn’t help but remember what these duo had taught me.
I’ll be teaching more at this month’s Mentorship program of mine. I’ll be sharing ways startups and social entrepreneurs can raise money for their projects. I’ll be joined by a friend Mr. Aniekan Usoroh . Keep June 17 in your diary. To be part of that program SMS “MONEY” to 08187133153. And a free seat will be reserved for you.