No one ever said it was easy being an entrepreneur. Whether you're in the early stages of your statrup, just secured funding for your startup or you are ready for product launch, there will always be those three components when you ask yourself if this whole entrepreneur thing is worth it. Instead of giving up and throwing-in the proverbial white towel, this forum will help in giving you all the motivation you need to achieve your result.
I so much believe in the saying that states 'when you want to get to a place you have never been before, then ask someone who has been there' because you will get a proper guidance compare to just roaming about. Lets say for example you want to go to Abuja which is the capital of Nigeria, if you have never been there and you didn't ask for direction, it will take you a longer time compare to someone who asked for direction from someone who has been there before. We all aspire to be great entrepreneurs and there is no role model like Africa's richest man alive Alhaji Aliko Dangote. What are the business success secrets of Aliko Dangote? How did Aliko Dangote become a billionaire and the richest black man in the world?, all these are questions popping from our minds and to get these answers i advise you continue reading. In this post i will streamline some great points that helped Alhaji Dangote get to the level he is, most of these points were directly or indirectly given by him and some were collected from testimonies of his close associates.
Here is your answer to who is Dangote
Aliko Dangote is a business magnate, whose business acumen and aggressiveness send fear into the mind of competitors. He is the richest man in Africa, the richest man in Nigeria and the richest black person in the world. This humble billionaire currently sits atop one of Africa’s largest conglomerate, the Dangote Group.
On the 9th of March 2011, Forbes magazine declared Aliko Dangote the richest black person in the world with a net worth of $13.8billion. It’s also worthwhile you know that Dangote is the 51th richest man in the world as at 9thMarch 2011. But this was not so 25 years ago.
Born on April 10, 1957 in Kano, state Nigeria, to the family of Muhammad Dangote and Hajiya Mariya Sanusi Dantata. He had his primary and secondary education in Kano before he proceeded to Alazahar University, Cairo, Egypt to obtain a degree. If not for the degree, he would probably have been on my list of the richest school drop out billionaires in the world.
It was while working under his uncle, Sani Dantata that he found his passion and began developing his business skills. After developing his business skills and building his confidence, he got a lot a loan of N500,000 (approximately $3,500 today) from his uncle in 1977 to start his own business. Aliko Dangote was also given a deadline of three years to repay the loan but he repaid the loan in three months.
Aliko Dangote started business by trading in commodities such as sugar, rice, salt, pasta, cotton, millet, vegetable oil, cocoa and textile. In the course of running his business, he developed strong business ethics and principles. One of Aliko Dangote’s business strategies for succeeding in the commodity market was to develop a strong distribution network and make the delivery of his goods faster than that of his competitors.After gaining a strong hold on the commodities market, Aliko Dangote ventured into manufacturing and producing the same commodities he was importing. In an interview granted to a journalist by this billionaire, he stated that leaping from importation to manufacturing was his greatest business move.
Since he moved into manufacturing, Aliko Dangote has never looked back. His company (Dangote Group) controls over 13 other companies with most of them acquired through strategic mergers and acquisitions. In celebration of his 50th birthday anniversary in 2007, he commissioned a one billion dollar factory (Obajana Cement Factory), which happens to be the largest cement factory in Africa.
Image Credit: Getty Images
I give you Top 5 Secret to learn from Dangote
1. Manufacture; don’t just trade
Aliko Dangote started business as a trader of commodities; he gathered business confidence and experience as he grew. In an interview granted, he openly admits that one of his greatest business moves was moving from being a trader to being a manufacturer. He summed it up by saying,
“Manufacture, don’t just trade. There is money in manufacturing even though it is capital intensive. To achieve a big breakthrough, I had to start manufacturing the same product I was trading on; which is commodities.”
I am an advocate of manufacturing because it does not only improve your business status, it also helps you give back to your community and country; with respect to job creation and economic development.
2. Sell cheap, give quality and don’t kill the competition
To build a successful business, Aliko Dangote emphasizes the importance of selling quality products at affordable price. Selling quality products at an affordable price helps in increasing customer’s loyalty. With respect to competition, Dangote has this to say;
“Don’t kill the competition. Competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.” – Aliko Dangote
“There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: make the best quality goods possible at the lowest price possible, paying the highest wage possible.” – Henry Ford
3. Start small but dream big
“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote
4. Have connections and pray for a big break
The next small business success secret is business connections. Aliko Dangote is respected for his strong network of business and political connections. You can build your connections and strengthen your network in the business world by increasing your corporate social responsibility, signing joint ventures and partnership deals, forming strategic alliances, attending business events and parties, making political donations and paying courtesy visits to those at the helm of affairs.
To survive in business, you must strengthen your business connections and network. And most importantly, you must pray for a big break. Big breaks are very vital to entrepreneurial survival. In fact, I can hardly point to any successful entrepreneur that wasn’t thrust upwards by a big breakthrough.
Bill Gates had his big break when he negotiated and signed a deal with IBM.
Aliko Dangote had his big break when he secured a license to import cement. Oprah Winfrey had hers when she started Harpo Studios Productions and acquired the full rights to her shows; “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Li Ka Shing had his during a riot period and he began buying properties at rock bottom prices.
Larry Ellison had his when he secured a deal to build database software for the CIA.The list goes on and on.
So if you really want to take a giant stride in business, you must not only pray for a big break; you must seek it out and be prepared for it when it comes
5. Give back to those who made you
I hope you are conversant with the saying that goes “no man is an island.” You can never get rich alone. There have to be contributing factors and individuals you will need to leverage upon. Dangote believes in the principle of “give and it shall be given unto you.” Just as stated above, one of the small business success secrets is this; you must give back to those who made you.
“No man becomes rich without himself enriching others.” – Andrew Carnegie
Now who are those who made you? These are individuals or entities you leveraged upon to get to the status you are now. They are those who gave you a helping hand when you needed it most. They could be those who gave you business contacts, connections and encouragement. They could be business associates, political associates, investors, loyal customers, good suppliers, political associates, your employees, business team, business partners and so on.
To succeed in business, everything around you must smell business. That is to say you must think business, dream business and live for business. It’s all about the entrepreneurial spirit. The same spirit that kept Warren Buffett in the game even at old age, the same spirit that drives General Electric even after the death of its founder; Thomas Alva Edison.
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