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Bamidele Onibalusi: 5 Essential Entrepreneurial Lessons from Buhari

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General Muhammadu Buhari has just been elected to be president of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

This is an historical event for so many reasons:

It is the first time an incumbent Nigerian president will be defeated in an election. The 2015 elections is perhaps the fiercest political contest ever witnessed in Nigeria, with many “analysts” predicting that Nigeria will not survive the 2015 elections.

For the first time, majority of Nigerians were united in their desire to put someone they had rejected not once or twice, but thrice into power.
However, I believe we can learn a lot more than political lessons from Buhari’s victory at the polls.

There are several essential business lessons you can learn from Buhari, and 5 of these lessons can make or break you as an entrepreneur.

Here are the lessons:

Don’t Ever Give Up
This is the fourth time Buhari will be contesting to be president.

Think about it. How will you feel if you went for a public debate and had to be judged by dozens of people; will you continue if you lost not just once or twice, but thrice?

Buhari contested in front of over 100 million Nigerians, and he lost thrice but he DIDN’T give up.

He could have given up after his first attempt in 2003, or his second attempt in 2007, or his third attempt in 2011 but he didn’t. Today, he has been elected as the president of the biggest economy in Africa.

Research has shown that 5 out of 10 businesses fail within 5 years of being started.

Just because your business idea or attempt at achieving something has failed doesn’t mean you should give up.

Unfortunately, unlike Buhari, you might have to try a lot more than 4 times. Even if it is 40 times, or 400 times, make sure you don’t give up.

Your Past/background Has Nothing To do With Your Success
Buhari’s success shows that true success often has nothing to do with your past.

Let’s face it, a lot of people were not happy with Buhari’s approach to government when he became Military head of state in 1983.

He has been criticized several times, with countless people telling him that he has no right to contest because of his past records. Several groups have even demanded an apology from him.

None of this matters, though, and as Buhari said, he can’t change the past but he can work on making the future better.

It doesn’t matter where you find yourself or what your past is; the past is the past, and what is most important is what you are willing to do NOW, and how you plan to approach the future.

You Need a Thick Skin to Succeed in Business
Think about it, what can be said that hasn’t already been said about Buhari?

People abused and insulted him in regards to his certificate, they said he was afraid and that was why he couldn’t participate in a debate and they tried to use his past to manipulate him.

None of that matters, though, and Buhari won’t let that get in his way. To succeed in business, you NEED to have thick skin.

At a point people will find something to use against to, no matter how ridiculous. Some will insult and ridicule you, but you have to endure.

Think about it, Buhari graduated from military college, took several courses abroad and became military head of state; he successfully contested thrice following due process, so why bring out the issue of certificate now of all time? It doesn’t matter whether what is being used against you is right or not, what matters is that you don’t let it break you. You NEED thick skin to succeed in business; this is not optional, it is critically essential.

Your Reputation is an Asset, Guard it With Your Life
If there’s one thing that was the turning point for Buhari this time around, it is his reputation.

Let’s face it, Goodluck Jonathan is one very strong opponent and even with majority of the populace thinking he would suffer worse defeat in this presidential election, he won over 40% of the votes which is impressive.

Buhari won against Goodluck Jonathan, despite all odds, not because of the people he surrounded himself with but mainly because of the reputation he has built over the years.

When you think about government in Nigeria, you think about corruption and profligacy until you get to Buhari; he doesn’t only have a reputation for not being corrupt, but he is widely known not to condone it.

If there’s one thing that convinced a lot of people to vote Buhari this time around, especially people in the regions that did not support his prior bids, it is his reputation for taking a strong stance against corruption.

The same rule applies for success as an entrepreneur.

For the most part, it might seems like it doesn’t matter but, when it really comes to it, the reputation you have built could make a whole lot of difference.

Also, according to Law #5 in Robert Green’s 48 Laws of Power, “So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life“.

When campaigning for the presidential elections became really hot, the opposition would have used any available evidence to smear the person of Buhari but there was nothing substantial that can be used to smear his reputation for being against corruption.

Once your reputation has been built, be sure to protect it.

It is Never too Late
We hear it all the time “it’s too late”.
If you ask a 45 year old lady why she hasn’t started a business, you’ll probably hear her say “it’s already too late” or “I am too old”.

Often, you will even find people in their twenties and thirties complain that it is too late to pursue some entrepreneurial ambition or life dream.

No, it is NEVER too late.

If Buhari became president at 72, after trying 4 different times and waiting for at least 12 years, then it is never too late for you.

If you’re reading this article, then you’re most likely not 72. So, ditch that excuse as it is no longer applicable; it is never too late to start that business. It is never too late to pursue that ambition. You can do it, now.

Bamidele Onibalusi is a Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur, as well as the founder of Effective Business Ideas, a blog that shares practical business ideas. He has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, as well as in several publications locally and internationally. You can follow him on Twitter via @youngprepro.

60 Comments

  1. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Lesson 001: Never surround yourself with vultures and praise singers, but rather go along with intellectuals. ‪#‎Nigeriadecides2015‬

    • Olaola

      April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      True lessons in the article above and in your list… and then, I had a lot to learn from Jega too, one was his calmness, everyone especially men (husbands) particularly need to learn that., with such calmness, rate of marriage failures would reduce drastically.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks, Olaola!

      Indeed, a lot can be learned from Jega; calmness and patience can make a whole lot of difference, even in business, and the way Jega responded during this period saved Nigeria from a lot of troubles.

  2. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Lesson 002: Never discard all criticisms, try and filter them wisely. ‪#‎NigeriaDecides2015‬

  3. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Lesson 003: Never disconnect from people that help up reach the top, you will surely need them when the going gets tough. ‪#‎NigeriaDecides2015‬

  4. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Lesson 004: Miracle, luck, and opportunity may elevate you, but it is responsibility that will sustain you. ‪#‎NigeriaDecides2015‬

    • Nahum

      April 2, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Nice one!! I like this particular lesson.

      To be honest, Buhari has taught us life lessons and not just business lessons. My other favorite is “Your reputation is an asset, guard it with your life”. Too many young people throw away their reputations for earthly pleasures and I always wonder what they will have to stand on when they are older. This is so true. Plus, “it is never too late”, I am in a phase where I will have to start all over again, work wise. I have been so worried but this statement has given me hope that it is never too late.

    • RIFF RAFF

      April 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      True dat. I have now seen the true colors of some double-mouthed, famished, so-called celebrities who practically sold their souls for dinners in Aso Rock and brown envelopes. If u want to do something, do it out of personal conviction. Don’t sacrifice values/convictions/common-sense for food and money. Come on! See how some of them have lost their credibility and have stained their reputations.Not because they voted the other party, but because of their hungry motives. Your motives say a lot about your values and what u stand for. SMH @ Mercy Johnson, especially. Very deplorable.
      And mind u, people hardly forget about such instances. They will use this to question your character or even throw it on your face just for fun.
      There is nothing that closes or opens doors like reputation/character. Nothing.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks, Nahum!

      As long as you are determined to make things work no matter what it takes, it is never too late to start.

    • ms.b

      April 2, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Nahum, from your comments on BN u seem to me a smart guy/gal. Don’t worry, u will make it, even better than b4. I started all over at one stage of my life also. Just be determined.

  5. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Lesson 005: Never under estimate the power of integrity and honesty, they are your defense in period of character assassination. ‪#‎NigeriaDecide2015‬

  6. Ifeanyi

    April 2, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Lesson 006: Don’t get intoxicated with power, it surely has an expiry date!#‎NigeriaDecide2015‬

  7. thathausachic

    April 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I’m gingered…….I will not give up.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Yes, you can do it. Don’t give up! 🙂

  8. @edDREAMZ

    April 2, 2015 at 9:21 am

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    If i dont like this article let me die and die.. Niceone and i love this very quote “”””Buhari said, he can’t change the past but he can work on making the future better.”””
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

    • Naija upgraded

      April 2, 2015 at 11:43 am

      That is what made me support him, i like people that take responsibility for their mistake. I wanted to vote Jona (lesser of two evil) until that moment at Chatham house and CNN when he did not deny his past.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Ha, no need to die Edwin. Hehe.

      Seriously, though, a lot of us fail to really move forward because we are worried about our past; this is especially true for Nigerians.

      As long as we are determined and focus on the future, the past doesn’t matter.

  9. K.A>G

    April 2, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Buhari story can simply described “as it can only be God”…the bible said in Ecclesiastes 3: 14 “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him”
    Permit my preaching, but i say a pray for us the BN family” i don’t know how long you have been trusting the Lord for that thing that your heart so desires, but i decree today that not only will the Almighty Lord Move in that matter but he will do it in a manner that even those that have mocked and laughed at you will declare with their mouth that this can only be the Lord (Read IBB comment on The Generals Victory).

    • Olaola

      April 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      AMEN!!!!!

    • Motunrayo

      April 6, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I Love that word ‘Trust’, the belief that things will get better. One of my favorite bloggers, Tuke Morgan of Tuke’s Quest did a Sax rendition of the hymn ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus’. The track has been on repeat since I got it off iTunes. I wonder why BN hasn’t done a post on it as she has written a number of articles for them. Oh well, Tuke Morgan’s Trust has restored my Faith, you might want to give it a listen

    • anonymous

      April 7, 2015 at 12:19 am

      Buhari is a murderer. There is no statute of limitations on murder and he should be immediately impeached, arrested and jailed. God says that murder is a sin that screams out to heaven for vengeance; also, in God’s eyes we can be guilty of someone else’s crimes by silence, by praising the crime, by consent, by counsel, by command, by provocation, by defending the ill done, by flattery, by concealment. So both Buhari and those who support him are due some grave punishment from God, of the same magnitude that Cain received for slaying Abel, King David received for killing Uriah the Hittite and Ahab and Jezebel received for killing Naboth.
      The Bible has spoken; so it is written, so it will be done.

  10. winneR

    April 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Remarkable write up.
    @ifeanyi, nice one also.

  11. annonymous

    April 2, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Do not give up

  12. Tawakalt

    April 2, 2015 at 10:54 am

    May God almighty help me get it right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Amen!

  13. cutechocbella

    April 2, 2015 at 10:57 am

    it was a nice read i must confess…splendid article!

  14. Ba

    April 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I can’t wait for his swearing-in pictures. I need to hang it in my bedroom, fill and build my spirit on it. Thanks Bamidele for your great thoughts.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      You’re welcome, Ba.

      I’m glad you liked the article 🙂

  15. Tkum

    April 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

    lmaooo… typical Nigerians! smh… ya”all are the real praise singers…. this same thing was done to President Jonathan at his victory in 2011…

    • NIRA

      April 2, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Yes, we praised GEJ in 2011, but not as praise singers.We were optimistic then that he’d do well, but he disappointed us. I know that BN readers never praise-sang for GEJ. We never failed to call him out on his very numerous failings, and we’ll do the same to Buhari if need be. Don’t get it twisted, our optimism is what drives us. It’s encouragement, not praise-singing.

    • NagosBigBoi

      April 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Absolutely! We hoped and GEJ disappointed. Our hope for a better country will not be killed by disappointments.
      As you said, I supported GMB, but he will see my red eye if he does not deliver after we give him time to fully get acquainted with the TRUE state of our country.

    • Reverse

      April 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      No mind them, everyone is now waxing lyrical!

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      I won’t call this singing Buhari’s praises; they are essential lessons we can learn from his journey to being Nigeria’s president. Also, let’s face it, he has one hell of a story!

      Indeed, I pray that Buhari is the change Nigeria needs at this time.

      A lot of people were excited when Jonathan was elected and many people made reference to his background and story then, but people are obviously not satisfied four years later.

      While I personally believe Buhari will perform, we have no choice but to wait and see what happens in 4 year’s time.

      That said, whether he performs or not, these lessons are lessons that can be learned from his journey towards being elected as Nigeria’s president. I believe they are invaluable for entrepreneurs, especially we young ones!

    • Kolaffy

      April 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      yes o, when we see achievement we will sing its praise, if he changes within the next four years we will stop singing

  16. niola

    April 2, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Life Lesson 07- Doggedness! Lesson 8- Choose your spouse wisely, then can either build or destroy you

  17. nnenne

    April 2, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I don’t agree with lesson two.
    Your past should matter, so strive to live right.
    Nigeria is the only place, where people with dubious past remain relevant and have the guts to run for public offices.
    That is why people misbehave. There are no consequences! !

    • Magz

      April 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Yes, our past matters but we should not allow it to define our future.
      I know ladies who got pregnant when they were teenagers who could have allowed that stop them from having a good education. Yes, we should strive to live right but then as humans we are imperfect, we should not stay down when we fall but rise up and always remember not to make the same mistake that made us fall the first time.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Yes, your past does matter and by all means please don’t squander it at a young age.

      However, it shouldn’t deter you from achieving success.

      In the Bible, David was basically neglected tending his father’s sheep yet he became King of Isreal; his past was as a shepherd boy, but it didn’t stop him from being king.

      One of Nigeria’s greatest, Pastor Adeboye, couldn’t afford to wear shoes for the first 18 years of his life; he has been named as one of the most influential men live today. That was his past, but he as now sat and dined with kings several times.

      Buhari’s past as military head of state made him widely hated, and he could have lost all motivation amidst criticism or the circumstances of his past. He didn’t, he is Nigeria’s president today.

      That’s what I mean about your past not mattering; if it isn’t bad, don’t spoil it. If it is bad, you can’t change it, so don’t let it weigh you down and stop you from achieving success.

    • Olori Tari

      April 2, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Your article. The responses. LOVE!!! How is this even hard to get? Brother, I’m seeing your name for the first time and I’m already a fan. I like you and I think you smart ^ ^ (lol I promise this is in no way a toast)

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 3, 2015 at 1:54 am

      Thank you, Olori! I appreciate your kind words 🙂

    • nnenne

      April 3, 2015 at 2:03 am

      Dear, in the developed world before you run for elections, you will be scrutinized. Someone who committed treason could never run for elections or pick up leadership positions here , no matter how much repentance he has.
      It sends a wrong message to the citizens.
      Even if you repent, you can serve society in other ways. That is the price you pay for your actions and it teaches others to stay away from such.

    • nnenne

      April 3, 2015 at 2:22 am

      How do you measure repentance? You need policies and protocols to make a society run.. You can not run a society with emotions and sentiments. Even if you are truly repentant, there are certain jobs and leadership positions you can’t take, if you are involved in certain things in your past. You could still serve your society in other ways. That’s the price you pay and it teaches others to desist from those activities.

    • anonymous

      April 7, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Buhari is a murderer. There is no statute of limitations on murder and he should be immediately impeached, arrested and jailed. God says that murder is a sin that screams out to heaven for vengeance; also, in God’s eyes we can be guilty of someone else’s crimes by silence, by praising the crime, by consent, by counsel, by command, by provocation, by defending the ill done, by flattery, by concealment. So both Buhari and those who support him are due some grave punishment from God, of the same magnitude that Cain received for slaying Abel, King David received for killing Uriah the Hittite and Ahab and Jezebel received for killing Naboth.
      The Bible has spoken; so it is written, so it will be done.

  18. jide

    April 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Lmao. Nigerians sha. I will resurrect this post 4 years from now when you start your “we no go gree waka” against Buhari

    • NIRA

      April 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      You need to understand something, we will definitely march against Buhari if he fails to deliver. We are praising and supporting him now because we are hopeful, and yes, we did that in 2011 with GEJ too. However, we will not fail to call him out if he fails us, just like we did with GEJ.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      There’s nothing to resurrect.

      This article says nothing about how Buhari will perform in office.

      Buhari has been elected president of Nigeria, that is the fact. His journey to being president – a serious/hated past, failure during 3 prior contests, etc. – is an inspiring one. So, whether he fails at performing his task or not, he is a success today by becoming the President of Africa’s largest nation.

      This article is about what we can learn from his journey to succeed at our own, nothing else; it’s not sharing any political view or support of any candidate.

      That said, if you became the richest man in the world today following a set of principles, and then decided to squander your money in a week or two, that doesn’t change the fact that you were at a point the richest many, and it doesn’t invalidate the principles that made you rich.

      I hope people, young people, see the lessons I’m trying to pass across in this article and not turn it into another political piece.

    • NagosBigBoi

      April 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      God bless you! Too many people do not step back from the politics and look at the issues without sentiments. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS.

    • anonymous

      April 7, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Buhari is a murderer. There is no statute of limitations on murder and he should be immediately impeached, arrested and jailed. God says that murder is a sin that screams out to heaven for vengeance; also, in God’s eyes we can be guilty of someone else’s crimes by silence, by praising the crime, by consent, by counsel, by command, by provocation, by defending the ill done, by flattery, by concealment. So both Buhari and those who support him are due some grave punishment from God, of the same magnitude that Cain received for slaying Abel, King David received for killing Uriah the Hittite and Ahab and Jezebel received for killing Naboth.
      The Bible has spoken; so it is written, so it will be done.
      Don’t be fooled by Buhari’s apparent success. Remember that Hitler too was apparently successful, but he was doomed. Communism too, to some people, was apparently successful but it was doomed to failure on one major premise – it denied the existence of God. Archbishop Fulton Sheen predicted its failure on this basis. Buhari will fail because he is an unpunished murderer.

  19. Moyo

    April 2, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Nice write up.

  20. lola

    April 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    @K.A>G, Amen.Persistent, patience, being optimistic and doggedness are keys to success.

  21. @SadiqSpeaks

    April 2, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    “If you’re reading this article, then you’re most likely not 72. So, ditch that excuse as it is no longer applicable; it is never too late to start that business. It is never too late to pursue that ambition. You can do it, now.” well said…. Every Startuper/Small Business Owner Should Take This Free Online Business Course….. t.co/aqC3iaIcL7

  22. Frances Okoro

    April 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Lesson on never give up resounded with me…
    no matter what happens, customer or nor customer, stay on the job!

    imperfectlyperfectlives.com

  23. Bamidele Onibalusi

    April 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    You’re welcome 🙂

  24. Chinma Eke

    April 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    One more: when you make it big, don’t waste money on celebrity endorsements, esp Naija celebs. They cant sell jack, as in; a pencil to a nursery school babe.
    Before this election, I argue this a lot with my colleagues in the advertising industry that Naija celebs are overrated, and I’m not convinced they really add value or boost any products sales. This has confirmed my hypothesis. With all the actors and footballers, etc, what did it fetch President Jonathan?
    Not hating or dissing, just my impression.

    • NagosBigBoi

      April 2, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      I agree with you totally on naija celebs not being able to convince peopl to buy stuff.
      I think though that what celebs are selling is “drawing attention to the product” or “buzz”. If we have two similar new products e.g. a machine that makes Efo Riro and company A gets an unknown Uche Aminu Adebayo to endorse theirs and company B gets Genevieve to endorse theirs. Genevieve would draw more attention to company B’s product and increase the likelihood that people will try it. However, if the product is useless, trying to use a celeb to get people to buy a useless product in an excercise in futility.

  25. Honey

    April 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Better late than never!

  26. David Adeleke

    April 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    It’s true, we must never give up. Truth is, it’s easier to give up sometimes, while other times, it’s easier to go on. The trick is to always have the long term goal in mind. That long term goal will always drive you on.
    Thanks for this Bamidele. I really appreciate your post.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 3, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Indeed.

      You’re welcome, David 🙂

  27. tunmi

    April 2, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    “Your reputation is an asset” YES!!!!! This cannot be overstated enough. Yoruba have an adage that says that a good name is better/more worthy than gold or silver. Buhari’s reputation certainly helped him. And so many celebs…it was truly unfortunate to see. Some I can say yes, it was because you believed in him. But for those who refused to acknowledge the ills that happened, chai!!! I still remember that NIS immigration scheme and that could have been my brother. The Chibok girls could have been my sister.

    And ackmowlddging your past is also important. Your past should not determine your future, so acknowledge that they happened and work to improve your life.

    • Bamidele Onibalusi

      April 3, 2015 at 1:51 am

      So true!

      I’m glad you liked the article 🙂

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