Mind Your Own Business: Ayokunle Adeleye’s entrepreneurship column

The POTENTIAL III: Minding Your Own Business.
I have since realised that youth can be turned to advantage, that
things are easier when one is young (contrary to popular opinion and
everyday observation); that when one is young, the ‘whole world’
typically rallies around to help, advice is easier to get and
experience, to garner, and the ancient argumentum ad misericordiam
holds sway. Ironically, that is when one is interested in camaraderie,
looking-good, feeling-fly, wasteful spending; rather than in
investments, digging-deep, taking-root, securing assets (land
other/more than cars).

I had therefore urged that we break forth, start our own businesses,
but realise limits, and stay safe. But I have also seen how that is
not the reason we are where we are (poor, jobless and thronging
ourselves to death; Boko Haram joblessly working on our National
security, sovereignty, and sanity; and the Government dutifully
procrastinating, denying, and politicking), how we indeed break forth
and set limits (that we do not court save conquer), how we are easily
quietened, silenced, satiated; for we quickly lose focus, loose grip
and, in not minding our business, place it in loos.

I have since discovered that youth is when many a potential is wasted,
that youth is many a potential wasted, that there is more to life than
potential; that, to succeed, the one with potential must invariably
mind his own business, however young it may be.

Every business has potential, since potential is the ability to do, or
to be. It is that inherent property of a thing that is converted to
work done once inertia is overcome. As this potential is proportional
to kinetic energy and hence momentum, one’s potential determines one’s
velocity; and one’s velocity itself determines one’s momentum.

Momentum, like potential, is very vital to life. It is the product of
one’s mass (one’s influence) and one’s velocity (the rapidity of one’s
achievements). It is a reflection of how easily one can knock down
obstacles, and a measure of how big that obstacle can be if one is to
prevail over it.

In youth, the common trend is for one to grow so much, and so tall, that
he acquires great potential (go to so many schools and acquire so many
certificates, so many degrees) and then break into a run (start a
career) with high velocity and momentum, and knock off many obstacles
both necessary and unwarranted; for one to be deceived by his momentum
and sheer velocity that there exists no obstacle too big, and no price
too high; for one to be deluded into thinking that all collisions are
elastic, that his momentum and velocity suffer no changes.

Likewise, in a starting a business, the common trend is to reduce
costs so much that one hijacks market, and consequently make so many
sales and so much profit that he begins to expand and sprout branches;
spend anything and buy everything just to announce that his kola had
been broken for him by a benevolent spirit; employ redundant staff,
squash competition by buying them over (yet if they were so good he
would not have been able to squash them), and finally lose focus and
diversify – after all, the typical Nigerian prides himself on numbers
as against efficiency.

However, as there are no perfect collisions – for as Newton had
observed, momentum changes upon collision and the rate of change of
momentum is proportional to the force applied – these incessant
collisions, distractions, soon take their toll: reduce one’s momentum,
velocity and efficiency. So that, in not minding one’s business, one
experiences a change in momentum, a deceleration, exerts force, and
knocks his opponent(s) into action – to one’s eventual detriment.

If only one had chosen his own path and stuck to it, if only one had
outlined his journey and set out in earnest, if only one hadn’t
allowed himself to be distracted, if only one had decided in his youth
what to do and stayed true to it, if only one was guided by
sustainability rather than population; then many a collision would
have been avoided, many a disaster averted, and many a business spared
to this day.

In 1974, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, was asked to speak to
the MBA class at the University of Texas at Austin…. After a powerful
and inspiring talk, the class adjourned and the students asked Ray if
he would join them at their favourite hangout to have a few beers. Ray
graciously accepted.

“What business am I in?” Ray asked, once the group had all their beers
in hand. Everyone laughed [as] most of the MBA students thought Ray
was just fooling around. No one answered, so Ray asked the question
again. “What business do you think I’m in?” The students laughed
again, and finally one brave soul yelled out, “Ray, who in the world
does not know that you’re in the hamburger business.”

Ray chuckled. “That is what I thought you would say.” He paused and
then quickly said, “ladies and gentlemen, I’m not in the hamburger
business. My business is real estate.” [Then] Ray spent a good amount
of time explaining his viewpoint.

In their business plan, Ray knew that the primary business focus was
to sell hamburger franchises, but what he never lost sight of was the
location of each franchise. He knew that the real estate and its
location was the most significant factor in the success of each
franchise. Basically, the person that bought the franchise was also
paying for, buying, the land under the franchise for Ray Kroc’s

McDonald’s today is the largest single owner of real estate in the
world, owning even more than the Catholic Church. Today, McDonald’s
owns some of the most valuable intersections and street corners in
America, as well as in other parts of the world.
*** As told in Rich Dad, Poor Dad.


It is never too late to nurture that business to health once again, to
focus, to be dedicated, to hold our destinies in our palms- as they
ought to be. It is never too late to shirk ourselves of these clueless
National Agenda; that a disease becomes an epidemic doesn’t make it
less a disease, it makes it much worse.

To eradicate joblessness and poverty, kith and kin that they are, stay
true to purpose (as I shall discuss in the next article in this
series, The POTENTIAL IV: Staying True): start your business today-
and mind it!

Ayokunle Adeleye.