“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts,” said the British politician, army officer, and writer, the great Winston Churchill.
It would appear that is the same philosophy which carried a small boy when growing up in the high density suburb of Glenview in Harare.
Trevor Chesa’s only wish was to become one of the biggest businessmen in the country largely because he thought he would have to wear smart casuals and not the big baggy formals that everyone else was wearing.
The reality check for Trevor Chesa only came when he failed his Ordinary Levels.
“I wrote my Ordinary Levels and failed. I repeated but I never got around to collect the results. What I learnt from my failure was that it was what I needed in order to be successful; a degree in common sense and perseverance,” says Chesa.
Now the 29-year-old Chesa has realised his dream of being a businessman. He is the owner of two companies; Dimanchie Properties and Novanta Car hire.
With a hesitant smile, he admits that his net worth is over $100 000. He has a fleet of over 11 cars which include Mercedes Benz S 300, Mercedes Benz SLK, Mercedes Benz C class, Audi A4 2010 version, Mercedes Benz E class, BMW 745 I (2006) , Mini cooper (2010), Mercedes Benz SLK (2006), Altezza, Subaru, and Citron (2004).
“I am not yet there but maybe I can inspire some kids who think they have hit the wall,” Chesa told BT Life, while emphasising on the necessity of teaching children the logic of business at an early stage.
“I firmly believe that children need to learn business early, I started selling sweets in primary school and that is where the whole business knowledge started. I noted that people don’t want to buy things with cash but if you give them on credit they will take the products, so I would give them sweets on credit and collect my money the following day”.
Another business perspective he learnt is outsmarting his business competitors. “When I was in Grade 6, I had my first real experience of competition. A new player started selling cheese. Because of the excitement around it I started experiencing losses. However, to deal with this, I bought all his cheese and added my own mark-up price,” Chesa disclosed with a smile.
He noted that the key to success is to make the best of every opportunity. “I got my first job at Ascua properties and I was the youngest in the company. Everyone at the company had a tendency of sending me to meet their clients and I took the opportunity to create my own database for future purposes.
” Once he had established a client database, his next move was to resign and start his own company. He bemoans the fact that most youths today are failing to make it in business because of pride.
“I went through it all selling vegetables and drilling concrete. I did most of the petty jobs that people look down upon and they shaped me into the person I am today.
“My biggest motivation is my wife; so my advice to all men who want to make it in business is not to marry a woman who does not like money. You will die poor because women are the biggest motivation for making money,” he said.
There have been heated debates about the necessity of education and its link to what the world sees as “success”. Some people insist that the type of education one gets is important. It can be formal education where you learn about physics and mechanics, or informal where you learn simple things like time management and self-discipline. We have the likes of Phillip Chiyangwa who is ranked as one of the richest men in Zimbabwe. He is an entrepreneur and self-made business tycoon who is also called the “Godfather of Black Empowerment”. Chesa said: “Chiyangwa is my role model. People may say a lot of things about him, but I get his business sense and I will gladly try to follow in his footsteps.
“In business, there is no success without failure. My motto is to try it first, because how can you say you have experienced a loss or will experience a loss when you have not tried it. We learn from our mistakes.” Odds do not define a person, otherwise how do we explain the success of Oprah Winfrey? She had hardships in her childhood, with no place to call a home. and suffered sexual abuse from family members and friends.
Now she has realised her dream of becoming a well-appreciated media mogul who is currently enjoying the status of being one of the richest African-descended people. Forbe estimates her net worth at US$2,8 billion.
We also have the late Steve Jobs who was rejected by his parents and adopted by a couple who did their best for him but could not afford to put him in college despite his intelligence and interest in electronics discovered at a young age. He persevered, sneaked into creative classes, and later became a co-founder of Apple Inc, and had a personal net worth of $10,2 billion.
“My past does not define me,” Chesa said, “it is what l do today and what l will do in the future that matters.”