No be small: Message from the Morning Man

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Once upon a time, there were three friends. Two teachers and one writer. They loved coffee, and loved teaching people how to grind their own beans to make the rich, aromatic beverage. They decided to turn it into a small business, so each of them took their meagre savings and contributed $1350 each to open a small store where people could come and buy coffee beans, and they would teach the customers how to grind them and make rich coffee. To them, this was the culmination of their dream. They were happy to sell coffee beans for the rest of their days.

They hired a Marketing Director called Howard Schultz. Howard was different. He was full of ideas to expand and transform the business. He thought the company should make the coffee themselves and sell it to customers. The three friends didn't agree. They didn't want to go into the restaurant business. Schultz raised the money to open his own café, and with time, it started to grow.

Before long, he came back and bought the company the three friends had started, adopted their original name, and started aggressive expansion across the United States. That company's name is Starbucks, and today, it is worth over 80 billion dollars.

The story of Steve Jobs and Apple is known by so many. We all know he started his business in his garage. We all know how, at a point, he didn’t even have enough money to finish building his prototype. We also know that the Apple brand is now worth 741.8 billion dollars (as of May 2015).

We all know the story of Mark Zuckerberg. We know he started this as an identification and socialisation software for the students in his fraternity, while he was on Harvard campus. Today, some of you will read this message on his creation, Facebook, which is now worth 367.6 billion dollars.

My friends, we are surrounded by examples of people who started with nothing, but conquered the world, and the one thing they all have in  common is that even from the beginning, they never saw themselves as small.

Even in his dorm room, Zuckerberg visualised millions of people using his product, and built in the capacity for it to solve global communications problems, not campus ones. Howard Schultz saw a far bigger company than even those who started the business. And today, there are Starbucks shops on the corner of every major street in every major city in the world.

To achieve your dreams, you must be able to create something out of nothing. That means even when there is nothing in front of you, you must be able to see something there. You must have a vision that is stronger and more powerful than the limitations before you. Your dream must be bigger than your lack of capital, your lack of education or your lack of equipment. You can't achieve big things by thinking small.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I dream big, therefore I AM big.

GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!