Over the weekend last week, I had a speaking engagement in Ibadan. I was invited by the University of Ibadan Redeem’s postgraduate fellowship. I was asked to come and speak with them about the Christian Perspective to Investment and Business. Even though I was supposed to have two other speaking engagements on that same day, I decided to take advantage of the invitation to Ibadan to go a day earlier to see one of my mentors and board members, a business man with 10 digits annual turnover. This trip ended up being my best this year so far.
I had tried to reach him before now, but he had apparently traveled out of the country. I didn’t like the idea that we were going so fast with GFS and I hadn’t gotten his buy in. It was going to be a serious management presentation meeting, because if he isn’t aligned, GFS wouldn’t fly. I respect him that much. Our fathers say that we need not hide our nakedness from the people that will bury us when we die. What do you think?
I got to Ibadan at around about after 7pm on Friday, usually about the time I arrive. He was just heading home as well, so we planned to meet somewhere and go home together. We spent some time catching up a number of things, family talk, dinner, e.t.c. We did not start talking the business of the day until about midnight (usually the way it goes). By this time, we were awake alone and the analysis began. As if to set pace for the discussion though, shortly before we started our conversation, he got a phone call. The person on the other side was a mutual friend and was talking to him about certain investments he was making, and how his 1million units of shares in a particular blue chip company was doing. It was like he was being encouraged to invest more money into the stock market by his friends, the conversation ended up informing him that 3 of them would be coming to see him in Ibadan the following day. In my mind, I knew I had to be in that meeting.
Our own conversation started on the already set stage of the phone conversation. I took him through the objective, intent and action plan for GFS. As usual we went through the pros and cons together. We talked on till after 3am, quite early if you ask me, we were able to trash it all out satisfactorily. Summarily, here are a few points I took away from that meeting.
1. He sees a lot of potentials for FMC. Being the conservative person I know him to be, I was shocked when he seemed to support that it was an investment worth borrowing money to make.
2. The stock market in Nigeria is bullish right now, and is likely to remain so for the next 5yrs plus. This is because compared to other markets, share prices of even our blue chip companies are penny stocks. Convert these prices to dollars and the highest might be Nestle at slightly over $2. If you compare this with P&G shares costing $110 or Google shares that is about $535, you know that we have a long way to grow.
3. He believes that the entry price for FMC is too low. He says we should try and restrict membership to a minimum of 5 units. From his experience, he believes that people with small money are the people most likely to complain when the market is observing it’s normal downward trends. I explained to him that we have already gone public with this for month 1. He advised that effective next month, we should not take anything less than 5units.
4. He seemed to like the idea that FMC was not giving guaranteed pay. That we have made it impossible for ourselves to earn the normal international values we will earn except we do 150% annual turnover in year one (Normally you charge 20% of returns, but we are charging 50% of excess on Operating vision, which is 90% for now). He feels that we are stretching ourselves too thin, and doesn’t understand why we would “disfavour” ourselves so much. I explained to him that we went that high to get people interested since there were so many schemes promising unsustainable things.
5. He analyzed the various schemes with me, convincing me that most of them were not into what they claimed to be into. His arguments made sense. He also described the caliber of the people that will be taken advantage of. He also agreed that some will make their returns, but that it was not a way to build wealth. True to his words, there is no rich person I know today whose source was a scheme like this…of course, except the people organizing them…who we also don’t get to know.
6. He didn’t like the thought of guaranteed income. He felt it put much more pressure on one, than one needed. He advised me to be careful with GGR. He informed me that my name is all I have and I should protect it.
We went on to talk on specifics, which shares were doing well, where he was playing e.t.c. He also told me about an acquaintance of his who had made 156Million Naira this year alone. He also advised that I wait to meet with the three people coming the next day.
Of course you can bet, I waited. I learnt a lot from these young men as well, it was the formation of an alliance that would further prove vital to the success of GFS. I met with people who had hundreds of millions in the Nigerian Stock Market, and who knew where to put their funds. I sat down in silence, and listened and listened. We traveled down to Lagos together, and the discussion only ended when I alighted from the vehicle. One of them told me, “Deolu, you need to come over to my place more often, let’s talk about whats happening”…you bet!
I capped it up with a meeting with an investor friend the next day, wooow, it’s the eyes that look that see. All the high return thingies don’t do as well as the stock market, but they are not as predictable. I was informed of a foreign online market where you can make as much as 15% per month, but the whole portal can be gone in a day, and there’ll be nobody to hold.
Please note… that all registration forms not in, by the 20th of this month will only meet next months deadline. Also note that we are likely to adhere to all the advice you see here… particularly the one on limiting FMC to minimum of 5 units. We’ll let the first month go as is. The investment target we had for month one was N30 million and we have some to go, the interest level has be tremendous though. We can’t be small!