(Biz tool Kits)
BY BRIDGET OLOTU
WARREN Buffett was born on August 30, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska. From a very young age, he displayed a keen interest and extraordinary talent in numbers and at the mere age of 11; he started buying shares in the stock market. Buffett bought three shares of Cities Service at $38 for himself and his older sister. The shares rebounded to $40 after falling to almost $27 and that was the time he sold them. However, after some time, the value rose to $200. He learnt one of the most important lessons of investment through this experience — 'Patience is a Virtue'. He graduated from high school but never wanted to go to college as such. On persistence from his father, he enrolled himself into the Wharton Business School. He stayed there for two years and then moved back home and got transferred to the University of Nebraska, teaching students twice his age. He tried to get into Harvard Business School, but got rejected because they thought he was too young! He moved to do a Master’s in Economics at Columbia University and there he found his mentor — Benjamin Graham.
After working here and there for some time, he was offered to work for Benjamin Graham as a security analyst. His fortune rose to $140,000. Thereafter, he began his own company, ‘Buffett Partnership’ and increased his capital wealth to $300,000 by the end of the year. At that time, Berkshire Hathaway was a small textile company in which he had invested. Buffett became the chairman of the company and with time and persistence he turned this small textile company into a giant investment vehicle that it is today. Buffett leads a very simple life considering his status. He absolutely loves Coca-Cola and burgers and is an ardent player of the game Bridge. He’s shown his generosity by donating huge chunk of his fortune to many helpful foundations, the biggest sum going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett is the second wealthiest man in the world by keeping to these fundamentals:
Can the business make more money?
Buffett’s concern before putting his money into any investment is whether the business can make more money. Is your business/investment in an industry that would soon fade off or is it in an industry that will continue to remain relevant to and needed by people?
Does the business have a protected niche?
Does your business have a core competence, something that will make money in good times and bad? Coca-Cola fits this picture. People will always drink sugared water regardless if plain water is better for them. Coca-Cola also has a trademark protected by law. Buffett likes this product because it is a legally protected brand. Because Coca-Cola is a well-recognised brand, protected and defended from pirates, this increases its intrinsic value. As a business, if you are not a brand, you’re a commodity. And commodities don’t get any protection, as there is ease in entry and exit. But brands have more intrinsic value, and to maintain this value, a brand has to be true to its message and customers.
Does the business budget its money and resources well?
This is another very important factor to consider. What does the financial statement of the company read? What is the vision of the management and what are their plans as they cut across every aspect of the business and the competition? What does the management of the company spend its money on and why?
Can the business be leveraged and expanded?
You can work so hard at building your business, but if you don’t know how to leverage your skills, talents and products/services, you’ll be paid peanuts. Once a product can be leveraged, Warren wants to know if it can be expanded. Warren says, “Every time someone in the world drinks a Coke, I make a little money.” Can that be said of your business?
Is it run by a team of smart, well-informed people?
Many businesses die because the owner shouldn’t run it directly at all. He should either be the chairman poring through the financial books of the company, advising or bringing his connections to bear on the operations, while allowing some bright minds handle the wheel. Bill Gates and Paul Allen did that to Microsoft and saved the software company from early death. You can do that to your business also by getting on board smart minds and sharp brains. This should also inform your investment decisions. Invest only in businesses run by smart and well-informed people.
This is what the school of buffettology teaches entrepreneurs and investors. You can read up more facts about this great man.
Olotu is the CEO/Lead Consultant, DEAIM Innovative Resources Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org
Developing your talents
BY AGBOLADE OMOWOLE
DEEP in every man's heart is a talent, which if discovered and groomed, can make the world a better place. Everyone is a gift to humanity and has the responsibility to something worthwhile for posterity. There is a story only you can tell. There are places only you can go. There are things only you can discover, if you learn to unravel the gifts in you.
Frank Edoho, the Akwa Ibom native and presenter of the famous television programme, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, made headway in his career by unraveling the talents in him.
To that extent, he says 'I speak with captains of industry, members of the diplomatic corps, and government dignitaries like they were my buddies and I get opportunities the way I wouldn't if I were still a faceless radio host.'
There is always a starting point. Edoho didn't just wake up one day and find himself presenting on the television.
He built his career from ground up, starting from his university days. He developed himself so much that he was called upon to compeer major events in his university like Miss UNICAL, among others.
Everyone can be somebody. In every country, we have the rich and the poor. The question is this: can everybody be rich? Can everybody be successful? Note that people become successful and fulfilled in life based on how they use their talents.
Start from the scratch. In developing your talents, you can start by examining the things you are good at. Once you know what you are good at, you can become better at it. A bank has the slogan 'Good... Better... Bank PHB'. The key to becoming successful in life is a continuous improvement in your areas of straight.
Develop yourself daily. It is easy to allow complacency. When you have achieved some level of success, you may be tempted to think that you have arrived. In reality, the only time you will arrive, is when you die. Provided you are alive, you can become better at what you do. Remember the axiom that says, "Success is the enemy of success."
Be a better person. Maintenance culture is a stagnant culture. Improvement is what counts. It is not good enough to obtain and maintain what you have obtained.
You can be a better business person. You can be a better spouse. You can be a better leader. You can earn more money. You can acquire more degrees. Open your mind to the endless possibilities that can make you a better person.
Here are three tips on developing your talents:
Understand Your Potentials: You are gifted at something. There is something that gets your attention. It could be a movie, a song, or a sport. What are those things that you find interesting? What are those things that you can do for hours without being bored or tired? What makes you happy the most? Write all the things you enjoy doing in a jotting pad. Take time out. A Hebrew text says that "In silence and comfort-ness shall be strength." Look for a serene environment where there will be no noise or disturbance. You can switch the light off, then pay attention to your heart desires. There may be something that your heart knows which your brain does not know yet. Search your heart.
Groom your gifts: Talents are irrelevant. Your talents do not make you a better person until you learn to develop it into a skill. Your talents are those things you can do. Training helps you to develop your talents into skills that benefit humanity. I could write, but I never made any impact until I trained myself to write. I had to groom my gift by reading books, attending seminars, receiving lectures and asking questions. I had to practice the art of writing effectively to reach out to the world. Today, from the e-mails I receive, I know that my articles have inspired many lives.
Make sacrifices. The concept of making sacrifices is all about losing what you have to gain what you don't have. Think of the shirts you wear to your office. They may not look attractive if you don't take pain to iron them. That is why some degree of pains will be necessary to achieve success.
Be consistent. In training to reign, you have to consistently improve your talent. Train your voice over and over till it becomes faultless if you want to be a musician. Go to field everyday to train if you want to be a footballer. Do at least one thing everyday; no matter how small, that makes your talent better.
Get a mentor: In Karate for instance, you will need to have a master. In school, you will need a teacher or lecturer. Likewise, in the pursuit of your goals, you will need a mentor. Just recently, I received e-mail from my mentor on the need to perfect the art of writing. A mentor will always be there to guide you not make some costly mistakes. A sage once counseled "When you know where you are going, the journey is short. When you know how to get there, the journey is shorter. When you know who is already there, the journey is shortest.
Fat for free
BY OMOLIGHO UDENTA
SHE raised her arm to stop the bike. He, the bike rider, stopped, took a long look at her and slowly shook his head before zooming off.
She sighed and though I could understand why she did, I felt that by now she should be used to reactions like this.
This scene repeated itself a few more times before, after about 10 minutes, she was finally able to get a bike to take her to her destination. She raised one really very large leg as gingerly as anyone with a leg as large as that could, over the bike.
She brought it down on the other side and sat down. The bike rider had fortunately braced himself for the impact and so was not thrown off the bike but the poor bike hadn’t any fore knowledge of what was about to descend upon it and so buckled under the weight of this extremely large woman!
The front tyres laughed at the predicament of the back tyres and watched as it got pressed closer and closer to the bumpy road.
The back tyres cursed the day it was packed in the consignment for Nigeria. Its senior brother had been fortunate enough to go the home of an American student living in Singapore and if the photos he sent via email were anything to go by then it would be safe to say that the guy was having a swell time! His owner was slim, and the roads were smooth which made moving on them sheer bliss.
He groaned as the woman adjusted her bottom, farted and then spat on the dusty road. The tyre breathed a small sigh of relief because at least she had reduced her weight by some 20 grams.
As they made off down the bumpy road, you could hear the shock absorbers of the bike crying out in protest. I hoped they would last the trip. I tried to estimate her weight. I guessed she would be at least over 130 kilograms.
IF she knows what was good for her then she had better never go to Peru where news reports state that Peruvian authorities claim to have arrested four members of a gang that specialized in selling to European labs fat obtained from dead humans!
The suspects informed authorities they were paid $15,000 for a litre of human fat! Now I have no idea how much fat can be obtained from a person with ‘regular’ weight but I am quite sure that a woman like this would give optimum yield!
I looked around, noticing that half the women here were, by ‘oyinbo’ standards, overweight, obese actually.
The rest of us were, ahem, considerably overweight. And the thing is, I suspect that many of us would very gladly donate our fat for free (via liposuction sha o) so we could be slim and slinky again!
It was most shocking to learn that one of the suspects told officials he had been committing the murders for five years!
Meanwhile, it was also reported that the gang’s fugitive leader, a 56-year-old Hilario Cudena, has been killing to extract fat from victims for more than three decades!
Seriously though, the thought that someone would look at and kill another human for fat, kidneys, a heart etc is sickening to say the least but we all know what some of us are capable of doing for money.
May God not let us go to Peru (whilst still fat/unless slim) and may Peruvian-fat-seeking-killers not come here. We have enough wahala avoiding kidnappers as it is.