Stella BIDA in conversation with Tony AJAH, Entrepreneur, Business Growth Strategist, Author
Summarised conversation transcript
This is a summary version of the conversation. More details, stories, and amazing insights are mentioned in the video!
Tony AJAH is an Entrepreneur, Business Growth Strategist and Author.
STELLA BIDA: Hi, everyone. Today we have a very special guest joining us from Nigeria, Tony Ajah. Tony welcome!
TONY AJAH: Thank you Stella for having me and thank you everyone that's connected right now.
STELLA BIDA: Tony is a Serial Entrepreneur, a Business Growth Strategist and he is the author of multiple business books. What I like about Tony is that he is a great leader of excellence, who actually not only leads for himself, but also brings along other people with him, with all that he shares.
Tony. I said a lot of things about you, but I'm sure that there are different facts of you that I've forgotten to mention. Is there anything else you would like to share?
TONY AJAH: I'm actually a husband and also a father. In everything I do, I express my entrepreneurial side in all areas of my life. Although it is not official yet, I offer mentoring sessions for young people who are transitioning from university to facing the real world, especially those who finish school, in Nigeria. A lot of people at that point are trying to discover themselves. I was in that position too. The victories I was able to achieve within that period, I also share and communicate them. I'm looking forward to officially announcing or setting up a platform as of next year for that aspect. Many of these young people have been reaching out to me, seeing what I do, through social media. Many ask questions, and seek for advice.
STELLA BIDA: It seems to be important for you to share what you have learned. What does it mean for you to invest to much time sharing what you know with others?
TONY AJAH: At a certain point in my life, I was trying to know which path I would take in life and it was a confusion. For some of us from Africa and Nigeria in particular, it is a very tough environment to grow up in. Advanced countries are used to document their experiences, their successes, their failures. People build up on each other's experiences, but here in Africa this is not a norm yet.
My drive is in seeing other people succeed, even when I don't know them. That's the way I'm wired from, since I’m young. I can't change the world, I can't change Nigeria. I can't change Africa, but I have the sphere of influence which can be an enabler at making changes. So we owe it to others, it is a point of duty to people to share with others so that they can live a better life, and avoid some of the mistakes we have made. I think that's it, there's no better way to create a better world other than this.
STELLA BIDA: One of the first business books you shared with me was Business Sense, in which you talk about the six senses of business. If you were to pick one sense, the most important one, which one would it be – especially during this Covid period?
TONY AJAH: The most important one is the first one, which says that “You are the business”. If our internal world is doing good, then our external world will follow. If our entire world is bad, our external world is bad too. It is like a mirror. Our business is just like a mirror of who we are. The Covid crisis is bringing some kind of adjustment or reset. It is bringing us back to a call that we are Human. Growing up discovering myself, I realised that the only way I can change the circumstances around me is by changing the circumstances within me. Changing my thought process, my mindset and my perception of life. If I’m able to align my thoughts, my mindset and my perception of life together, it is easier to attract and to manifest what I desire. So, "You are the business".
STELLA BIDA: What is the biggest lesson that business has taught you about being Human?
TONY AJAH: The biggest lesson is about being driven by a value of service. The best way to bring value is through selling. But if you are in business only to make profit, you will not last. So the greatest lesson I've seen is that the more I serve people, the more I get better serving people, the more my business grows. Find a way to serve people well through your product, make sure that it is meeting a need, and addressing the need in a way that when people look at it, it is a WOW.
STELLA BIDA: When you look back at your entrepreneurial journey, which experience was a challenge, but today is a “blessing”?
TONY AJAH: I’ve had several of these, and I talk about them in my latest book, “On Becoming An Entrepreneur”. There is a whole chapter dedicated to it, tied to the audacity of failure. I talk about my mistakes, my challenges, the rough times and then how they were able to refine me into who I am today in business. As a matter of fact I've had several business failures.
Most people talk about how they have succeeded. I’ve learned from people's failures and mines. It's never been an easy ride, but looking back I discovered that those things were not there to punish me, they were there to refine me, they were there not just to teach me what to do and how to do it, but to teach me what not to do and how not to do it.
STELLA BIDA: Let’s imagine that you have beside you, yourself, Tony, at 10 years old. What would you tell him?
TONY AJAH: I would ask him to be bold to make mistakes. In fact, the earlier we fail, the faster we become who we are. The earlier we fail, the faster we arrive at what we are created for. The earlier we fail, the faster we meet purpose. I wouldn't have known what it means to be courageous without my failures. This is what I also teach my kids.
STELLA BIDA: Is there anything you want to share additionally before we end this conversation, for somebody who is completely down and who has not yet discovered himself ? You talked a lot about self-discovery. What do we do if we haven't self-discovered ourselves yet?
TONY AJAH: In my book, I talked about my own my entrepreneurial dream, when I was a child and how it became a reality in the now. The first thing is about finding out what you love. Then find out how you can monetise it, and finally ask yourself how you can scale it. At last, ask yourself how you can get better doing it.
STELLA BIDA: Tony, thank you very much for making the space and time for being with us today.
TONY AJAH: It's always a pleasure. Thank you for having me, Stella.
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