If you want to launch a market-leading business, learn to think like some of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Launching a business is tough. It will take longer than you plan, cost more and be lonelier. Successful start-ups are as much the result of the right attitude as planning, business acumen, market timing and funding.
Here are five lessons from top African entrepreneurs and leaders.
Entrepreneurs are leaders
You might still be a start-up, but you need to convince clients, employees and even funders that your vision is worth following, so adopt a leadership mindset from the moment you launch.
The best decision you can make is the right decision, the second best decision you can make is the wrong decision and the worst decision you can make is no decision. The most important point is that leadership is more important than being right or wrong. People will accept mistakes as long as they trust that you will lead them.
TBO Touch might be one of the most popular personalities on radio today as well as an entrepreneur and brand ambassador, but he grew up in Sharpville. He reached where he is today by focusing on the steps leading to where he wanted to go, instead of allowing the goal to scare him. “Never measure the mountain until you get to the top,” he says.
“Everything looks big and daunting until you realise how easy it is when you get to the top. Nothing is impossible with the right attitude, and will to try.” How do you get there? By embracing all your experiences – even the tough ones. Everything is a learning experience and will eventually add value to your journey.
Motivational speaker, philanthropist and adventurer Braam Malherbe believes that people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. The bigger the dream and the higher your purpose, the more people will want to support you. “The dream is followed by goals that start the step by step process to reach that dream,” he explains, so make sure you have that foundation. But you can’t dream big and just expect results. You need to plan well, take all risks and potential disruptions into account, and mitigate them.
When Manny Rivera launched Planet Fitness in 1996, he told everyone he was going into competition with The Health and Racquet Club. It didn’t matter to him that they had massive funding, corporate support and a big roll-out plan, and he had no money, no credit record and no surety. But he had a vision, and that was all he needed.
He bought a small gym in Benoni and agreed to pay the owner R50 000 a month for ten years. From there, he had a base to launch his brand. By the time he had three gyms he convinced discovery to include his brand in their Vitality programme. He didn’t care that he was still small; he wouldn’t stop calling until they took a meeting, and gave him a chance. That’s the power of self-belief, dreaming big, and not taking no for an answer.
Be disciplined and focused
Generally, successful people are doing things that other people don’t want to do. They are waking up at 5am, going to the gym, putting in the time to read. If you know you are doing the hard things and not the nice things, you are probably on the right track. Where you put effort in is where you will see the rewards. Of course, this takes discipline, dedication and focus. If you are disciplined, you not only follow through on any promises or commitments you have made, but you give yourself the time and space for self-development.
Author: Staff Writer