Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s leading businessman, and CEO of has over the years been an example for aspiring entrepreneurs across the continent.
He started his business in 1977 with the small capital he received from his grandfather. Today, that little capital has built a business empire called the Dangote Group, the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa and on his part, Aliko Dangote has grown to become and , with a net worth of $15.7 billion.
Like every other aspiring entrepreneur and business person, you’ll wonder how he made such outstanding success.
Here are a few lessons you can learn from the business mogul:
1. Don’t Just Sell, Build a Brand
According to Aliko Dangote, “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, which I diligently built in the course of my trading”.
As a business person, your focus should not be on just selling products or services alone. Sell brand. Sell trust. That`s how to make money from your business. In whatever you`re selling or producing today, one of your primary goal should be to be getting loyal customers, loyal creditors and loyal employees and partners.
You can do this only through the quality of your products or services, your honesty and consistence. If this is done right, and you are going into a bigger business or industry, people who have trusted your name automatically trust your new product. This is why people would buy whatever new product Dangote pushes to the market.
2. Start small
In one of his speech, Dangote said, “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.”
Everyday a thousand business dreams die unborn because the dreamers lack the courage to take the first step in great faith.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs wait for the golden moment when they have enough money before launching their businesses. Many want to be sure of everything before they launch themselves unto their business goals.
Aliko Dangote started very small with seed capital provided by his grandfather and built a world class conglomerate in less than twenty years. He did not get any guarantees in 1977 when he started as a mere trader.
A major drive to business success is the willingness to launch into the direction of your business goal like Dangote did, even when our preparation may not be complete.
As an entrepreneur, you must always look out for hidden opportunities that would enable you multiply your business offering. This means constantly being creative. Through creativity, Dangote opened a floodgate of opportunities.
Dangote’s business interest covers diverse sectors, including cement, oil and gas, flour, sugar and textiles. These businesses are also not restricted to Nigeria, but span across Africa.
After some years in his importation business, Aliko Dangote transformed into a producer of the products he was importing. In one of his statements, he revealed that changing from an importer to a manufacturer has so far been his best move. The move produced Dangote Group, an organisation that controls over 13 companies.
4. Don’t Kill the Competition
According to Aliko Dangote,“Don’t kill the competition. Competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.”
As an Entrepreneur, devise ways to skilfully stay ahead of competitors.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.
Over the years, he has skillfully devised creative and unorthodox means of staying ahead of competitors. One of these is through price crashing. Dangote has thrived sufficiently through dropping prices of major commodities like sugar, cement, salt and flour. Through this, he has created a near monopoly in several key commodities in Nigeria.
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