Many Nigerian entrepreneurs start the journey with hopes of being like or better than Aliko Dangote, the business magnate and richest man in Africa. From starting as a trader to a manufacturer of acclaim, Dangote is a role model to many entrepreneurs and rightly so.
In separate interviews, Dangote has been asked what advice he has for young and starting entrepreneurs and he has always obliged. Herein are a few replies he has given when asked for tips for young entrepreneurs.
In an interview on Forbes TV, Dangote, who has over ten subsidiaries and is present in many countries, said young entrepreneurs, once they get on the road to being business owners, should stay focused. They should not give up when challenges come up nor stop believing in their dreams.
Speaking of challenges he faced during his own entrepreneurial journey, he emphasised the importance of being focused on what we as young entrepreneurs want, and to understand deeply what we do.
According to Dangote, in order to be successful one must be tough, persevere, and master the art of managing his/her finances
Only Invest In What You Completely Understand
In an interview with MTV Base in 2012, Aliko Dangote expressly stated that he does not venture into any business he does not completely understand.
This should not be seen as advice against investing or taking chances on start-ups. It should instead be seen as cautionary. Yes, people invest in things they barely know nothing about and make huge returns. But they are the exception, not the rule.
It is important to carry out thorough feasibility studies before putting your money into any business or venture. Much as there is no definite assurance of success, you should make sure you edge your chances as well you can.
Do not spend what you do not have
“I advise entrepreneurs not to spend their projected income. They better have the income first before they spend it,” Aliko said in the Forbes TV interview.
This is very important. Many a business has bitten the dust because the business owners felt they had “arrived” and made decisions based on income they expect to make. Business decisions should be made using only what is available and not what would come. This is because the projected income might arrive late or not at all, leaving you in a precarious position.
Separate your social life from your business life
“Social life and business do not actually go together. Be very serious, and focus.” He then continued to say “If you want to enjoy life, then you will not be able to work… There are always better things, make the money first – then you can enjoy yourself.”.