BY Emeka Obia
Mark twain wrote “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Action they say, is the proof of pursuit.
As you know, life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
I met this brilliant, energetic, humble young man at an event a couple of months ago. We got talking and I was so impressed to see how at a young age and in just 8 years he is able to accomplish a lot as an entrepreneur. A curious young man who began reading books at a very young age, developed an interest in business. And at age 15 he was already involved in various petty businesses. In college he sold watches to his fellow students and upon graduation he resolved to take the Bold step in spite of disapproval from family and friends to start up his own business. With faith he believed he could it, and today he owns his own company and has grown to become one of the major dealers of Shade Covers for Carports, swimming pools etc in Nigeria with Head Quarters in Uyo, Akwaibom state and branches scattered all over the country including Abuja, Lagos, Cross rivers, Owerri. He decided to carve out a niche for himself and at just 30 he has made a name for himself in the business and has received several awards already.
With an ardent sense of humour coupled with a classy and quite unique dress sense, Don is a simple man.
Meet Engr. Don Bassey, CEO Shade Cover Nigeria Ltd as he shares his Inspiring Story in this Q&A session with Emekatalks. *Enjoy
Tell Us About Shade Cover Limited, When Did You Start?
Shade cover started in 2004 but the brand name was registered in 2007 under the Corporate affairs commission.
What Is Shade Cover All About?
Shade Cover is the Brand name. We specialize in Carport/Shade Port, Danpalon, Landscaping. Pool/fountain, Building and Construction etc. So just like our slogan goes “its not just a shade”.
One Major Challenge Most Young People Face In Getting Into Businesses Is Starting, So Tell Us, How Did You Start?
Well, I would say faith is the word. I started with faith. First, I believed in myself. Like the cliché goes, the best way to start is to start. I knew it was time for me to start. I knew I had to make that decision. So I started. Just like that. [Laughs]
From What I See, this Kind Of Business Requires Huge Funding. How Did You Raise Capital To Start?
Sincerely i would be lying if i say it was an easy road because it wasn’t. Like Robert Kiyosaki said “The better you are at communicating, negotiating and handling your fear of rejection the easier life is”. So first I worked on my Communication and Negotiation skills. I started with return and investment. I would convince people on the need to purchase these products, then I would get the product on Trust from a South African Company, and I pay back as soon as the customer pays. I did this till I eventually settled and began importing the products myself.
Why Shades And Not Any Other Business?
I discovered a need in this part of the world and I decided to fill it. In other words i saw the need for people to have the product.
What Inspired You To Go Into Entrepreneurship?
I read a lot of books. I read stories of the richest men in the world, people like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Dangote of Dangote Group and several others. And I thought? If these people could make it, then why not me. Again, when I look at the likes of Cosmos Maduka of Cosharis Motors, Chief (Dr) Ade Ojo, Chairman of Toyota Nigerian Limited, and i’m always inspired to do more and achieve more.
Where You Discouraged From Going Into Entrepreneurship?
Oh yes, I was. EVERYBODY tried to discourage me. They were afraid of my failure, they tried to stop me. From friends, relations, family. Even my own parents discouraged me. It was really tough form me. But I knew what I wanted, and I defined it.
Having Achieved So Much In Just 8 years, What Do You Have To Say About Your Success So Far ?
Sincerely i have not yet started. I believe there’s so much to be achieved so I’m not carried away by what I’ve been able to accomplish so far. Rather I’m focused on the future.
How Would You Want To Be Remembered?
I want to be known and classified among the top most successful entrepreneurs in the country, And also a philanthropist who has made significant impact in the society and touched several lives. I know forbes would name me some day soon. [Laughs]
What Advice Do You Have For Young People and Aspiring Entrepreneurs Reading This Right Now ?
I want young people to know that they can work something out, if only they believe in themselves, over come the fear of rejection, stay focused and determined. I also want to encourage young people go into Entrepreneurship away from politics. This is because most young people today are engrossed in politics and white collar jobs, and I say its about time we create jobs for ourselves and for others as well. I’m sure we can.
Thank You So Much Sir For Your Valuable Time Spent In Talking To Us
It’s a pleasure.