Many enter into business and entrepreneurship with the hope of making it big and becoming multimillionaires, but the fact is only a few people actually do because not many have the resilience and tenacity for all that comes with owning a business.
Aliko Dangote, who has been named the richest man in Africa by the likes of Forbes and Bloomberg, is a typical example of what a visionary entrepreneur should be.
Best known for his cement, flour, sugar and pasta companies, even though work on his ambitious land project (including the largest single train refinery in the world, petrochemical plant, fertilizer plant, power plant and gas pipelines) that is 8 times the size of Victoria Island has gone substantially far, what many do not realise is that Dangote had certain business lessons he had to follow religiously to reach where he is today. Here are five top business lessons to learn from the billion-dollar business tycoon.
Trusting the Process
Many youths want to have overnight success stories but Dangote has said repeatedly in several interviews that it took him over 30 years to get to where he is today. Therefore, we should always trust the process and not expect magic in business, as it takes time and deliberate as well as tactical efforts for a sustainable business to grow to admirable height.
If you have followed through Dangote’s business journey, you will see how he took huge investment risks at different points in time. He has revealed in several interviews that his cement business was making more money than was needed to sustain it, so he decided to move from the downstream to the upstream sector of cement business. He has since invested in other businesses such as flour, sugar and other food processing products. His recent venture into refinery and the likes is a laudable move. As a business, you need to be bold enough to take certain risks in the name of expansion/growth, however, only do so when your business is at the level it can accommodate the demands of the risks.
Despite his immense wealth, many have wondered why he has not ventured into the Tech world as they believe that it is the next big thing. In response, Dangote said in an interview that some have been in the game for 17 years and he does not see any comparative advantage if he decides to venture into it. Instead, he has always advised entrepreneurs to do only what they understand and stated that he does not enter into any business unless his top managers fully understand it.
It is true that failure is not the end of life. However, will you risk your 5 million naira in a business that you have only a beginner’s knowledge in, when you have a family to cater for? For a lot of people, the answer is “No” but many still do this inadvertently.
Dangote started planning for a refinery more than 4 years before he started even building one. Planning helps to mitigate risks and avoid huge loses in business.
You may wonder why this is here. The truth is you may not be able to go far except you lend a helping hand to others around you. In a more corporate view, you need your stakeholders to be happy in order for your business to thrive, and one very effective way to ensure this is through philanthropy – giving willingly earns you warmth, respect and people’s attention. There’s never been a business that thrived without people.