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26.04.2011 Feature Article

EVERY BIG THING STARTS SMALL: LESSONS FROM THE DATABANK STORY

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“For who has despised the day of small things?,”
Zechariah 4:10
In life, we are all going to have the opportunity to turn what we consider small into something great. Everyone has something which can benefit others. This could be a talent, skill, idea, or gift. Every big book started with an idea in the mind of a person and later translated into reality. If greatness were measured by the size of your idea, then Databank wouldn't be anywhere today.

I have read quite a number of stories of businesses that started on a small note, but the story of Databank drums home what it means to start small and end big. I believe the Databank story challenges the pessimists who think nothing excellent can be done by Ghanaians and in Ghana. Most of the stories which inspire us are from outside but this is from within.

I have five lessons I want to share with you after reading the amazing story of Databank in Ken Ofori-Atta's book. This book Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Values by the Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Databank is a compilation of his selected speeches, statements and writings.

The Principle Of The SEED
A little over 20 years ago, a seed was sowed by Ghanaian returnees from abroad. That seed has now born the fruit in the financial company called Databank.

At a time when Ghanaians living abroad thought of it unthinkable to settle here, Ken, Keli Gadzekpo and James Akpo (Togbe Afede) decided to say goodbye to the comfort of Wall Street and took the risk to sow that seed. They never had much. They borrow $25,000 and rented an apartment at Kantamanto (Accra) with only five workers. Where is your seed?

BELIEVE Lifts Your Idea
John Maxwell, America's expert on leadership, wrote in his bestseller Talent Is Never Enough that “Belief Lifts Your Talent.” Throughout his writings, one statement showed Ken's believe in Ghana: “Ghana has a destiny with greatness.” You cannot do business and succeed in a country without believing in it potential for greatness. Today, the economic indicators may show bleakness but no circumstance is permanent. I think what keeps the leadership of this bank in their exploits is the believe factor. I dare say, “Believe lifts opportunities.”

Success Attracts CHALLENGES
The rise of Databank hasn't been a journey of a bed of roses. Big success attracts big challenges! In the early days of its existence, one of their core team members left unceremoniously to establish another business of their kind. As if not enough, they have had situations where the State and the media came attacking them due to misunderstanding. The ability to confront your challenges is more important than the challenges which face you. Because challenges will never announce before they launch forth.

Stay FOCUS In Your Niche
The great Evangelist Billy Graham was once asked what he considered aside being a preacher. His response was stricken. He said, “When God called me as a Preacher, He called me for life.” That's the power of focus.

What magnifies an idea or a dream is your ability to focus on it with all your talent, skill and intellect. I am sure Rev. Graham believes he would not have succeeded in other things. And that was what the brains behind Databank did. From day one, it has been well noted for one thing: Helping instill the culture of savings and investments to build wealthy individuals. This fuels their passion and initiatives above all things. Greatness comes from being known for one or two things you are very good at.

GOD Still Runs Businesses
Having attained the feat of a great company in Ghana, Databank still recognizes the hand of Almighty God in its greatness. They give meaning to faith in God. They just paid heed to the words in the Book of Isaiah 1:19 that say that, “If you are willing and obedience, you will eat the good of the land.” Obedience commands God's blessings! Like the title of Zig Ziglar's book, they believe God's Way Is Still The Best Way.

I think individuals can take nuggets of wisdom from the Databank success story. The five lessons extended as Seed, Believe, Challenges, Focus, and God saw this story born and bread by Ghanaians. Each of us is going to go through such indicators in order to build what Jim Collins called Built to Last.

The problem with most of us is that we think we have to start big in order to end big. Apple Computers, manufacturers of innovative products such as iPad and iPhone, was started as something insignificant in a garage. But today it is influencing lives in the nook and cranny of the world. Take action on your seed idea now!

Meet You At The Top!
Author: Eric Otchere
Email: [email protected]
(The author is passionate about practical
Knowledge For Effective Living which will see
many Know, Do, and Give of their best in life.)

Eric Otchere
Eric Otchere, © 2011

The author has 13 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: EricOtchere

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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