Letters from HiZen
(This is the fourteenth letter in the series)
October 28, 2011
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This is Chuk. I am HiZen's First Born ( First Son ). There is a lot of responsibility on me as you can imagine. My father told me he made a promise to you, to share everything he knows about how he came
across a culture tool called Fast(in) and how it changed his life and the lives of those whom he was able to share his discovery with.
I was always an independent person ever since I was born. I am what you now call a "TYPE A" person with a Choleric Personality. I don't like taking instructions from people; I prefer to give instructions.
Ever since I was a little boy, I loved to be the leader in everything. In fact people who didn't know how to lead really irritated me.
People have often told me I wasn't the easiest person to get along with. You can imagine how a person of my personality and character would survive in an organization with different kinds of people, unless
I was the leader in that organization.
This was the reason why I couldn't hold on to a job for more than 10 months. I had to be my own boss, thus, I was going to start my own business and run a company the way a company should be run.
So, my contribution to all of this is to tell you how Fast(in) transformed my life as a BUSINESS OWNER.
I am sure you are already aware of the six culture rules by now.
F:- Facts, not just Opinions;
"Make sure what you know is complete and
A:- Ask the Right and Best Source;
"If they don't qualify, don't pay any attention to
S:- See in Systems;
"Know the story behind the story."
T:- Think and Act the Best Way;
"Respond to the situation instead of reacting to it."
I:- Inquire, Expect, Prepare, Move;
"Define the Game and know its Rules, if you want to play it."
N:- Never Assume;
"Check it again, you need to be sure."
It was a crazy journey I must confess, but it was worth it in the end. I had to humble myself to see what I truly was. The moment I was able to do that, it transformed everything.
Using Fast(in) as a business owner helped me to make millions. I dined with the high and mighty. I was given access to places I could only dream about. I got the respect I was always craving for.
All of this sort of got into my head and at one point I lost it, because it was happening really fast.
Anyway, when the time comes, I will tell you about all that. I guess the rule is I have to go back to how I was before I came across Fast(in), so here is a brief about myself.
I explained to you earlier that I was a very independent person and I couldn't hold down a job for a long time, so the only solution I could come up with was to start my own business and be my own boss
In an economy where business was everything there are ups and downs. The up side to it was that there was always money to be made, if you knew how to do the right thing at the right time.
The down side is, not every businessperson knows how to play fair. They want to win at any cost and they are willing to do everything in their power, ethically and unethically to win.
Although I had a goal driven personality, I believed in fair play and there was enough money for everyone. Unfortunately, other business people didn't believe in this philosophy of mine; due to this,
I suffered in their hands as competitors.
It took me a long time to find which area of business I wanted to go into. I had over 8 business interests; construction, banking, telecommunication, retail, insurance, consulting, transportation and entertainment.
I loved them all. You could say I sort of wanted to be part of everything.
Anyway, I said I would start with the one that seemed to be the easiest, required little money and skilled people to run it so I chose retailing.
Oh dear, was I in for a surprise!
There were dozens of retail outlets in my community and all of them sold practically the same thing, but hey, who cares? I was determined to beat them at their own game.
In order to prepare myself, I was going to immerse all my time and resources in knowing how to run a retail store successfully.
I subscribed to retailing magazines and read all I could about the retail giants of our time. Back then, it was JC Penny and WalMart. They seemed to be everywhere; if they could do it, so could I.
I gathered up all my savings and got some angel investment money from different former colleagues of mine, who believed in me and my dream to have a successful retail store.
I decided to set up my retail store at a near by building that was renting out commercial space for people like me who wanted to go into business.
To my surprise, there were 2 other people who wanted to set up shop there as well. That meant there would be three of us in that building. I had the ground floor and they had the First and Second Floor.
My mind was at ease though because we all sold different goods and items. I sold food items, the second one sold books and stationeries and the third one sold clothes and shoes.
It was a fair atmosphere for all, right?
Being a business owner was terrific, I finally had the liberty to do whatever I wanted. I didn't have to follow the rules of people any longer and I was going to decide when I did things. I was finally in control of my destiny.
However, there were some things I wasn't told about being a business owner:
I fell victim of the third one.
- Being a business owner meant I was at the mercy of the customer. It was what the customer wanted that I had to do. If I didn't do it, they would take their money elsewhere.
- The customer will never be satisfied. There is always something they would want in the future.
- There are many business owners after the same customer and they are willing to do anything to catch them and keep them from coming to you.
My business began to do extremely well and I was making good money. However, other people around the community began to notice how good my business was doing.
Within 13 months of being in the retail business, I had made back over half of the investment proceeding made into the business. Once it got to 18 months, my sales began to drop drastically. It was a shock.
I couldn't explain what was happening. I had the right goods at the right price, so I thought. By the 23rd month, there was barely anyone coming to buy from my shop.
What on earth was going on?
I decided to do some investigating.
I cant explain why I didn't notice this for a long time, but the two shops that were in the same building as mine had suddenly changed their products to food items. The same food items as mine!!!! What was even more shocking was, they both were selling the same food items AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE.
This now explained why people were going upstairs all the time. I actually thought the people upstairs were successful in the businesses they started out in. I didn't know they were stealing my customers from me.
How were they able to sell those goods at such a low price?
Where were they getting their supplies from?
I tried to complain to the owner of the building about what was happening, but he didn't seem to care. He just said, "Welcome to the World of Business."
I was really upset, how could they do this to me? I tried to lower the price of my goods as well, but I knew I would only be running the shop at a loss. To make a long story short, I had to shut down my business since I couldn't compete at the price they were selling their goods.
I had lost customers, I had lost money, I had lost everything.
I tried to explain to the angel investors what had happened, but of course they didn't understand. They all said I had a couple of months to pay back the money I borrowed from them, with the interest we agreed on.
I had to look for money.
I had failed in my first business and now I owed people money. There was only one person I could call and ask for money; my father. I went to a pay phone close by and called home. To my surprise, my father said he was trying to get in touch with me.
I couldn't tell him what had happened on the phone, I had to see him in person. My dad said I should come over during the weekend and we could have our talk. He said he had something to tell me as well.
So I made plans to see my dad that weekend. I wanted to ask him to loan me some money but my Dad was planning to give me something more valuable than money..
I'll tell you about it later,
Chuk (The Business Owner )
--- Copyright © 2011 HiZen-3 Ltd
This story is a series of letters written by Segun Cadmus, Manager, HiZen-3 Ltd, a company created to be the Ultimate guide in Culture Management at work and life. Please visit us at: http://www.hizenworld.com for more information about what we do.
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