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1. Most African Entrepreneurs Never Prepare for Business.
For most people, business is what they accidentally came across. Most people never thought of running their own business. Instead, they were planning to be a high-paying employee.
Most people only started thinking about business after spending some years searching for job and found no meaningful one.
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Now you see one of the reasons why most people who started business in Africa never succeeded. How can you win a battle you never prepared for? Business is a battle. It`s hard. it`s tough. It requires a tough minded person to win in the game of business. No. i`m not saying all these to discourage you from your entrepreneurial vision. I am only saying this so you`ll understand what you are in to.
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To be candid, life generally is hard, so nobody should be surprised that business is tough. What is the solution? Anybody who is willing to be a successful business owner has to prepare his/her mind for the challenges of the business world. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘If I have six hours to cut down a tree, I will spend the first four hours to sharpen my axe”. Preparation is very important for any battle you want to win. But how can you prepare? Give me a minute.
2. Africans hate to read book.
Another reason why we have only few successful business owner in Africa is because Africans hate to read business books. An average African never read 5 books except those that school compelled him/her to read.
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The best way to get yourself prepared for the business world is to read good business books, attend meaningful business seminar (not get rich quick) and stay connected with a financial blog like this you`re reading from. Unfortunately, our culture hates “wasting” time on books. We prefer to spend time on football, movie and some other useless T.V shows… but never books.
I have this truth to tell you… knowledge is the key to business success.
Take for instance, i`m presently competing in a particular business. After some research I found out that there are two major competitors I have to win (though there are others, they`re weak).
I started spying the businesses of these competitors that I want to beat. Within few weeks, I have discovered some of their big weaknesses. You guess the major weakness I discovered about them?
They lack some important business skills and know-how. Since I have discovered this weakness, I started working on how to win the market and push them away from the market. That is what happens all the time.
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As a business person, you have two major areas you have to study and study well. First, general business skills, marketing, negotiation, leadership, branding, cash flow management, etc. You as well have to study much about your specific business. Whether you`re into product creation or you`re selling services, even if what you`re planning to start a simple, little business there are so much you`ll have to learn, if you want to be successful. Cultivate a reading culture. Read good business books attend good business seminars, follow this blog.
3. Most Africans are fearful and cowards.
Yes, Africans have strong bones, but you can be sure that we lack strong heart. Most people in this our continent are fearful. They fear risk and failure. For some people who tried and start businesses, many of them run back after some defeats. There is no way we can have many successful business owners this way. For you to be successful in business, you really need a lion heart. You will make mistakes. You will lose money. You will fail. Your ability to continue in the fight of the business world is what will determine whether you will be successful or not. Winston Churchill said, “Success is moving from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm” it`s easier to see the giant business owners today and assume that they were “lucky”, but that`s not true. They fought to get to that place.
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-Prepare your heart.
-Read good business books and articles.
-Be determined to succeed and you will.
Stephen Afolabi is a seasoned business consultant. He blogs at African Business Classroom. You can reach him on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org