10 Inspiring lessons from Aliko Dangote – richest man in Africa
Dangote, a Nigerian and the most richest African, attended Al-Azhar University Cairo, Egypt where he studied business studies.
Business studies generally involve theoretical, and perhaps also practical, coursework in how to manage a company, construct a business model and generally run a business. They may also involve the study of accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and/or supply chain management.
One may probably say that Dangote would not have done so well in business as he has done if he had not gone to an Egyptian University to study business studies. But wait, there are many Nigerians who have studied the same course in Harvard University which was ranked the best University in the whole wide world. Many of them ended up as mere employees in poor firms.
Then, what were the secrets behind Dangote’s success? The following are the top ten inspiring things I have learnt from Dangote:
1. Manufacture; don’t just trade
Dangote advised “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.”
2. Build a brand, and don’t destroy it
He also said “To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities.”
3. Sell cheap, give quality and don’t kill the competition
Another saying by Dangote is “Don’t kill the competition. Competition is healthy for
businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.”
4. Start small but dream big
In one of his speech, Dangote said that “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.”
5. Have connections and pray for a big break
I agree with the idea that business connections is a great business success secret. Aliko Dangote has a strong business network and political connections. I also agree that 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, you can build your connections and strengthen your network in the business world.
6. Believe there is money to be made in your country
Money can be made anywhere including in Nigeria. In many war torn countries, many Nigerians could still be found struggling to make money. Why suffering themselves and risking their lives there while there are many opportunities in their country. While some rich Nigerians are busy investing in other countries and investing no tangible thing in Nigeria, Dangote is busy investing and making billions of dollars in the country. Dangote said ”let me tell you this and I want to really emphasize it…nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.
7. All work and less play makes Jack a rich man
“I enjoy myself a lot but I derive more joy in working. I believe in hard work and one of my business success secrets is hard work. It’s hard to see a youth that will go to bed by 2am and wake up by 5am. I don’t rest until I achieve something.” – Aliko Dangote
8. Give back to those who made you
Dangote and any reasonable person does this. I would also say that you should also give to those who did not contribute anything to your success. This boosts your popularity and your business as well.
9. Obey the laws of the land
Yes many people in Nigeria today made their money through wicked and corrupt means but that does not dismiss the idea that it pays to be law abiding. Dangote, the richest man in Nigeria and Africa is not known to be in any illegal business.
10. Business must flow in your blood
Dangote said “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets (sugar boxes) and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”
To cut it short, I would say that in order to be successful in any business, you must take that business as your hobby. The number ten must be the greatest secret behind Dangote’s business success because it summaries the other 9 lessons.