In Nigeria and beyond, the business magnet and richest man in Africa, Alico Dangote, is a household name. The Kano-born and Chairman of Dangote Group, has consistently proven that it is possible to achieve success once you are determined, focused, hardworking and vision-oriented.
The man who started business in the 60s trading in household commodities, has grown his business to be one of the world’s most recognised, respected and successful brands.
The multi-award winning business guru was born on 10th April, 1957, to a very prominent business family and as at June 2015, his net-worth stood at US $18 billion.
He had an interview with Forbes Africa correspondent Peace Hyde, where she uncovered the businessman’s most challenging day in business
The online magazine, Nigerianmag.com, publishes 15 things learned from the interview. Read and be inspired.
1. Did You Know?
The Dangote group was established in 1978 and currently operates in 18 countries in Sub Saharan Africa including Nepal.
2. Failure is a part of business
Even the most successful entrepreneurs fail every now and then and Dangote is no exception. After beginning a textiles business in the 1990’s, the company had to shut down and let go of almost 6400 workers.
3. Never be Afraid to think Big!
As Aliko Dangote puts it “We think big and we roll out very big” and that is probably one of the main reasons why he has amassed the level of wealth he has.
4. Never rely on one product and one market
From being a trading company Dangote has diversified into several industries including banking, frozen fish, textiles, rice, cement and now oil refinery. As Dangote says, the diversification is good for business because there is no business that is 100% safe.
5. Make sure you understand the type of business you are entering into
“The most dangerous thing for an entrepreneur to do is to actually go into a business that he does not understand fully”, says Dangote. So for all the budding entrepreneurs reading this, make sure you do sufficient homework.
6. Be Patriotic
An important investment strategy for Dangote is to look at what areas that can move Nigeria forward and add value to the people of Nigeria. It pays to love your motherland.
7. Never compete with anybody
“I think it is mainly to see how impactful you can be to humanity instead of chasing money”, according to the mogul. Dangote believes that African’s are the only ones that are going to make Africa great and move Africa forward. So strive to make an impact in any business you do.
8. Soil Problems
Dangote’s worst day in business came when they decided to start the first cement plant and found out that they built the 5 million ton capacity on the wrong soil which threatened to destroy everything the company had invested in.
9. Hide from the competition
To prevent other companies from knowing what they were doing, Dangote decided not to do a feasibility study on the soil before building. As he puts it, they wanted to hide from the competition. Moral of the story, learn to keep things close to the chest.
10. Keep an eye on the numbers
Avoid cost overruns because that is the fastest way to fail. Dangote managed to get a consortium of banks to raise about $470 million to help them release cash flow. This is one of his top advice to budding entrepreneurs.
11. Nothing is impossible
One of Dangote’s mantra and a plaque he keeps on his table, Dangote believes that anything you put your mind to, you can achieve.
12. Be very focused
According to Africa’s richest man, it is important for young people to be very focused, understand what they want to do and also understand the type of business they are going into.
13. Do not spend your projected income
“It is better to let the money come in first before you spend your income”, says Dangote. So for those of you have already booked your holidays before the money arrives in your account, cancel your plans.
14. Social Life and Business do not go together
According to Dangote, if you want to enjoy life, make the money first. You cannot have it all so you choose, the clubs or the office?
15. Believe in yourself
According to Dangote, he is on a trajectory and he will get to the top no matter what. It is extremely important to believe in yourself as a young entrepreneur even when it seems no one else does.
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