Many don’t know that the Grass To Grace story of this wonder boy of the property and real estate business was rough, with a lot of trials and error. City People can tell you more about his inspiring story. At the last Investment Seminar hosted by Lekki Gardens a few years ago, Richard Nyong talked about the mistakes he made while growing up in business and how he was duped.”
His company, GTRich Investment Limited started off as a consultancy firm (GTRich Consulting Limited) that taught people how to invest creatively in real estate. Between 2009 and 2011, GTRich Consulting Limited held a series of 2-Day courses in Lagos, Port-Harcourt and Abuja tagged from “ZERO TO BILLIONS” which had in attendance hundreds of participants seeking to glean from the wealth of real estate experience of the consultants.
In expanding its operations, GTRich Consulting Limited under its new name GTRich Investment Limited, moved into property development in 2010 with the introduction of Lekki Gardens. Since its inception in 2012, Lekki Gardens has developed new and better ways of adding that extra touch of uniqueness to its home offerings that has kept it one step ahead of other real estate projects.
Today, Lekki Gardens has to its credit various properties within the Lekki/Ajah axis such as the Lekki Gardens Schemes 1,2/3 and 4 and the much coveted The Horizon project all aimed at providing individuals, small and large families alike, luxury they can afford. In 2013, the company also introduced its Ikoyi Gardens & Mainland Gardens projects in the luxurious neighborhoods of Ikoyi & GRA Ikeja respectively as well as its pilot project in Port Harcourt, called Lekki Gardens, Port Harcourt.
All the estates combine premium residential homes and apartments estate in the heart of the Lekki Model City. The estates come with beautifully planned layout and outstanding facilities.
Why did he go into real estate? “Real estate is the greatest store of value. It is the place where everyone wants to be around the world plus Bill Gates. Ted Turner is the biggest real estate owner in the world. And he is big. You can’t keep money outside real estate, whether you like it or not.”
“The things we did before we went into it is we had to see fairly the profit patterns of this opportunity. If you don’t see profit, you can do it, forget it. We saw the profit pattern.”
“The second thing we did was to try to understand how we could participate. You must determine how you want to participate on that table before you have any show of it. We developed the capacity to execute. You can finish speaking all the English, if you don’t sit down and say this is how to execute to partake, with what you understand, no money for you, those are the 3 things we did.”
“What all these tell us is that we saw the opportunities and we prepared. The lesson I have learnt is that proper preparation prevents poor performance. It is one of my oldest sayings. Since I learnt that I prepare more for any thing before I get into it. So, preparing for success is even more important than the opportunity that we are all screaming about.”
“Let me tell you the 4 things we did to prepare for this opportunity. No.1 thing we did was to develop passion for business and the business. You need to have passion for business and the business. If you are going to start a business and the business start defaulting and the returns can’t match the salary every time, you are not for this business.”
I think we failed more than 7 times in our start, on this business. Most people don’t know that my first 6 to 7 projects were a flop, total flop, complete flop, big flop. But credibility wise and the willingness to withstand the pain is what has brought us this far. I am taking you into my project. I have been through a lot of challenges. I am talking of 7 projects with over a N100 million lost.”
“We have started doing this business for a while. Despite all these losses we said to ourselves there is still an opportunity. That is why we are here.”
“You must have a passion for business and for the business. Passion is more important than fashion. You must not do it because it is in vogue, you must do it because you are provoked. There must be something within you that says, I want to make a difference. That is what will keep you up in the night, trying to work these things out. That is what will make you stand in front of the bank when you have lost everything and you will say, look I will pay you back. I know I will pay you back. The past is not working but my fact is working. If you don’t have passion for real estate business, don’t do it please. Don’t do it for profit? What if the profit disappears?”
“When we first started, we didn’t know the game. The first N7 million we raised from our first seminar like this, people attended and they decided to give us money. Someone said Oh! Richard you sound good, I will give you this money, Go and do business. I did it myself. Till today I don’t have that money. Once we got the money. We gave it to one man to buy land for us. Story. We were stuck. What do you want to do? N7 million has gone till today. You started by asking people to give you N7 million. Now, you are N7 million in debts. But you have to do business.”
“That is what passion does for you. It keeps you going when everything is not working for you. It keeps you awake when everybody tells you, you are a failure.”
“Our biggest move into the big game was when we lost N57 million. Our income at that point was about N15 million. Total revenue, we were doing pretty well. And we were pretending to be big boys. And then somebody dupes you of N57 million, and publishes on paper that you are a thief. Now you have lost again. Are you going to pack up your bags and go home? Or you are going to stay and fight again? That takes us back to passion for business and the business.”
“Another principle that you need to learn about is, you need to have a fundamental basis of how business works. You can’t be a bad businessman and be a good real estate man. It is not possible. You can’t be a bad businessman and a good real estate businessman. How? You want to do business and you don’t know how to report your accounts. You don’t know how to sell a product.”
“You don’t know how to package a product. You don’t know how to raise money. You don’t know how to produce, deliver and you want to be in real estate. Let me tell you the truth. Your faith will hang in the air. You will keep copying others. I have seen that happen a couple of times. You must develop the capacity to do business. If you do not understand the fundamentals of how to do business, setting up shop, coming out every day, training people, you can’t survive in business.”