Coscharis CEO points the way to identifying opportunities, building enduring businesses

Cosmas Maduka, who built a multi-billion Naira Coscharis conglomerate from a seed fund of only N200 in 1976, has pointed the way to identifying opportunities, growing and building enduring businesses.

Maduka who shared how he created what is today an institution from just N200 he received from his uncle after an apprenticeship in 1976 advised many entrepreneurs to see problems in the society as opportunities instead of wasting their time complaining.
He spoke at the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria hybrid summit recently in Lagos on ‘Building for a scale.’

“Many people complain of challenges in the society but he said those challenges are opportunities. Every problem is a business, it depends on your mental attitude and the way you confront issues”. He said it is not enough to desire to be successful, but actions are needed.

The entrepreneur who has invested across many sectors including agriculture, automobile and banking told his audience that he was inspired to succeed because of hunger and determination as his father died when he was four years old.
He said life is about mindset. “It is not about the school you have been to, because everywhere you have been in life is a school. It is a matter of whether you want to learn or not”.

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According to him, the knowledge a business person applies in life is what sets him or her apart from peers, pointing that what makes a person is his belief system.
Stressing the importance of dreaming and following through, Maduka said a person cannot build a reputation on things yet to be done but by the things he or she has done. “People are not going to listen to you based on your potentials”, he said, citing Nigeria as a country of potential.

Interesting thing about dream is at first, it appears unattainable, but with dogged determination, unwavering commitment, and divine providence, every lofty dream can be achieved even in the face of daunting challenges. What is important, he said is to learn the patience to grow through the process and embrace the culture of hard work and commitment.

He said an enduring business is not a product of chance or unplanned leadership; they are characterized by a clear vision and a growth strategy through prepared and structured organization and effective leadership.
He said in business, there is no safety zone likened to the case of lion and gazelle in the jungle. “If you are not educating yourself and getting information, the brain will be dull”. He described the mind as a field, saying “if you don’t sow anything there, weed will grow. You must always think on things to do to stay ahead, and command relevancy in my life”.

To learn the discipline of building successful businesses, Maduka also advised entrepreneurs to have mentors. Cautioning that people should not look down on apprentice, he said apprenticeship is the best school for any young man as it teaches unprecedented discipline for the challenges of the future.
Maduka who said he is an advocate of apprenticeship said the major problem today is that the universities teach you theoretical knowledge but never impact something in you that is practical that can help you.

Apprenticeship teaches you many things but not in a formal way they do them in the university such as administration, inventory management, supply chain system, accountability, accountancy, research.
While underscoring innovation which he described as a new way to do things, he said to succeed in life, a person’s belief to succeed must be greater than the fear to fail.