HOW MEETING MOHAMMED DEWJI (MO) CHANGED MY LIFE

1:37:00 PM



"Life is about numbers ! Life begins with a number and ends with a number!" - Clarence Avant (The Black Godfather)

Hello Bongo Brains! It has been a while, hasn't? A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. It is amazing what can happen within just few months. A lot has changed and no one could have predicted that we could witness so much change within just few months and something tells me there is much more 2020 has in store. It is just my hope we are going to start experiencing good things for a change. Not to take too much of your time let me jump straight into the subject I wanted to share today. 

I started my business in the late 2014 from my living room. I was converting into a studio whenever I had I photoshoot and a lot of times the bedroom dubbed as a changing room for my clients. In 2016, Mo through his Foundation started Mo Entrepreneurship Competition and I thought it was a good opportunity to learn through the process and perhaps win the prize (10 million TZS).

Because my business was still on a start-up phase (barely over a year in operation), I didn't have much to show for it but I was confident that my business idea was valid and with a capital push from the prize I strongly believed it could make all the difference so I threw my towel in the ring. 

If I am not mistaken, it was said they received about 300 applications and luckily I was short-listed among 20 applicants that were selected to move to the next step of the competition.

Now this was a big deal to me because it reaffirmed my belief that my idea is valid and other experienced individuals in business also think so.


After the shortlist I was called in for interview with Mo Dewji and a jury of other people who were involved in the process. I was equally excited and scared because I wanted it so bad but I wasn't sure if I was ready to stand before the richest person in Tanzania and the youngest billionaire in Africa and pitch my business idea. When I got to his office there were few other applicants that were scheduled for the interview on the same date and we were directed to the boardroom. I had prepared a fancy power point presentation, I was ready to face the giant BUT something happened few minutes before they started calling us in for the interview.

Mo's assistant (Barbra) walked into the boardroom and cheerfully welcomed us. She informed us that Mo's schedule was very tight that day and that each of us will have only 10-15 minutes to pitch our idea and there was just no time to go through each applicants' presentation so we have to present without the PPT's. After all, it is your business that shouldn't be hard, right? You tell me

I entered the meeting room enthusiastically, greeted everyone and then the stopwatch started. I presented my business for about 5 minutes getting into the details about my vision which is focused on helping businesses with proprietary yet affordable advertising solutions and why that money would help take it to the next level. You can read more about my business and the work we have done on our website at www.brainbongo.co.tz . Then, Mo calmly interrupted me and informed me that he has gotten a pretty good idea about my business and wanted to ask a few questions especially about my finances (numbers). He asked about how much I pay for rent, how many people I work with, how much do I pay them etc. While answering these questions he was writing down on a piece of paper and I was getting that tense vibe like that one you see when someone speak to a therapist and the therapist writes down as you speak always wondering what they are writing.

I think our session exceeded the allotted time but I didn't notice the time passing because everything about it was exciting and equally challenging. He was asking very specific questions (a few that I wasn't fully aware of ) but I think I did my best and then he started speaking. He told me that numbers are the most important indicators of one's business performance and with them you can know if the business is going to fail or succeed. Also, it is important to know your number as a business owner. At any given time you should be able to know your revenue, your production costs, operating costs, profits margins etc. something that I wasn't fully aware of at the time. I was making a lot of mistakes, I thought I was doing better than I actually was and everything became clear that day. My life and business have never been the same since. Although I didn't eventually win the prize but I won something that day. I got a better understanding of my business, my finances from one of the most brilliant minds in business and that has paid me/saved me much more money than the prize ever could and for that I am forever grateful to Mo.















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