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The Delivery Man

I was at a child dedication a couple weeks ago. As you can imagine, the guys at the event huddled up at a corner with our bottles of beer discussing guy things. The discussions ranged from the government to football to our businesses. One of the guys there makes furniture and has successfully done so for many years but now he is thinking of taking it more seriously, opening a business account and making a website etc. Someone asked him "What is your marketing budget?" I found this interesting because I actually never think of business in these terms so I was curious to know. "I do not have one" he replied, "I just keep getting jobs, so I have never advertised".

I chimed into the conversation, acknowledging that I just met Mr.Furniture man officially for the first time that night and telling him that his reputation preceded him. He had made furniture for several of my friends and he had a distinctive style that for every friend he made furniture for, I remember asking them who made their furniture and his name was repeatedly mentioned. The repetition burned his name into my mind permanently. I have never been in need of furniture since I have been back to Nigeria but it was just one of those marks on me he had made without ever knowing or meeting me. A mark branding him as a man who delivers. In conversation, he realized he made my girlfriends' dining table and I retold a story she told me of how he recalled the table to refinish it because he was not satisfied with the quality of the table. He smiled when I told the story, he remembered it.

On my drive home that night I thought about the conversations we had that night, I wondered what about Mr.Furniture man kept him getting jobs in such a harsh economy. Was it because he was just good at what he did? was he just lucky? was the hand of God intervening on his behalf? I think the answer is all of the above, but one thing that resonated with me was that he delivered. In the Nigerian market, this is a valuable characteristic of a business person.

There are many headaches in running any business, maintaining cash flow, paying bills, paying taxes, finding work, solving personnel issues and the list goes on, but I find nothing keeps me up at night more than my ability to deliver on a project. The reputation one gets from consistently delivering on solutions they promised is priceless in the true sense of the word, no amount of marketing budget can give you that reputation and that reputation opens doors that money and "connects" cannot open.