10 Key Lessons From Lolu Akinwunmi’s ‘Skin for Skin’

by Muyiwa Akande

I love books. Especially the reading version. I’m still perfecting my writing skills though.

At times, I am tempted to believe reading books is one of my divinely-ordained goals. If the book is good and inspiring, I am game. If it’s a biography or an autobiography, I am good to go. If the focus is history, international diplomacy, management, leadership and faith, I am all for it.

As long as the book looks good, I will just submit myself to its flow without any reservations.

I stumbled on one last week. ‘Skin for Skin’ is the title of the book.

Author is Mr. Lolu Akniwunmi, Chairman, Prima Garnet Africa, a leading integrated marketing communications company.

It is an engaging book that highlights the struggle of a businessman (who made a decision to live his Christian belief in his business) trying to build a business in an environment like Nigeria where corruption, more often than not, determines who gets what or moves ahead of the crowd.

Despite these prevailing realities, he has run his business for 28 years without compromising the high ethical standards he set for himself at the beginning of his foray into business.

He shares his triumphs and low moments building and running the company that now has many subsidiaries and has worked for some of the leading brands in Nigeria.

Let me share some of the nuggets I gleaned from the pages of the book. They will be useful for those in business, but others can benefit as well.

1. It is possible to run a business in Nigeria without taking or giving bribe.

2. No 1 comes with dire consequences. His company lost many business deals because he refused to play ball. Many of the lost deals came at a time his company desperately needed such money. But he chose to go the path of righteousness.

3. Integrity is central to building a sustainable business.

4. Character, capacity and spirituality are great pillars to build a business on. Character has to do with integrity. Capacity is competence. Spirituality means dependence on God.

5. When you leave a company to start your own, resist the temptation to take along or target the business of your former employer. Don’t poach their staff also. Build your own team and client base.

6. Know your rights and don’t allow anybody (including partners or associates) to cheat you.

7. Have mentors who can guide you on the journey of life and entrepreneurship as well as dependable allies for peer reviews. Your mentors and peers would serve as your sounding board for your ideas.

8. Treat your staff and other stakeholders very well. Their loyalty and support will be critical during your low moments.

9. You can’t rule out deliberate sabotage and wicked back stabbing even from close associates. Learn how to deal with such.

10. There is always light at the end of every tunnel. You have the capacity to rise after every fall.

This book is highly recommended.

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