Why African Entrepreneurs Must Get It Right

WhyAfricaEntrepreneurship is a hot topic globally – and Africa is part of the action. That’s why the 6th Global Economic Summit (GES) in Kenya has the U.S. President, Barack Obama, involved. That said. What’s the role of the average African entrepreneur in all these?

One role is to: do good business that builds the community.

On the policy level, we expect key positive changes in the business environment due to the GES. But ultimately, the entrepreneur has to have the skill, scope and attitude required to maximize the benefits of policy.

In Africa, entrepreneurship has to go beyond money making because for Africans, the stakes are high. Now, doing business is about development, building prosperous communities and actually moving the continent forward!

The entrepreneur must realize that Africa’s socio-political and economic advancement depends on her business activities.

For too long, poverty, disease and wars have defined the African landscape – but that is changing. Young entrepreneurs in Africa must recognize this rare opportunity to rewrite the continent’s history and take full advantage of it.

In Africa, business is a development tool – and considering our history, we have to do it differently.

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Don’t be fooled, Entrepreneurship isn’t Personality

abex_img1The prevailing notion of the entrepreneur is the go-getter, fast-talking, outgoing, people-person who shrewdly cuts deals. This person is usually an extrovert, hardly an introvert. For many, they’re unable to describe the art of entrepreneurship beyond this personality trait.

This is a costly misconception.

At the core of entrepreneurship are principles and policies that will help anyone build business systems. I repeat: anyone – quiet, loud, calm, or in-between personality – anyone.

Fortunately, we have enough proof in the corporate world to confirm that successful entrepreneurs come in every personality trait imaginable. They all thrive because each one, personality irrespective, found the principles that make business work.

Every pilot knows that they have to comply with the laws of aerodynamics to enable them fly. Likewise, entrepreneurs have to adhere to the principles of entrepreneurship and the laws of money in order to succeed.

The principles make the professional. That’s the real deal, not personality. No doubt, it helps to have certain personal qualities to help you; however, professional endeavors are built on laws and principles.

As you refine your personality, find the laws that govern entrepreneurship, apply them and success won’t discriminate.

Should Every Idea Be Sold?

Forming Attachments Layers Merged 750My first book will never be published.

It’s a manuscript of over 34000 words written within a 30day burst of inspiration – many years ago. It was my first attempt at a full-length book and I don’t want it commercialized. It’s for me, not the public.

At first, I thought I wanted it published, but later realized that I didn’t want to share it. Apparently, this behavior isn’t unusual; creative minds – writers, artists and songwriters – experience it.

The Vault is where the profusely creative singer/songwriter, Prince, stores some of his works. BBC reported that, “…if Prince was to die tomorrow, he has so much unreleased music, he could release an album a year for the next 100years…” He records and simply puts them away.

What’s his plan? We’re not sure. He’s in no hurry to make them public – we may never hear the works. But the songs are finished and kept away.

In the creative process, you’ll discover ideas that are just for you and for some reason you feel no pressure to share. It’s okay to share these ideas when you’re ready and if you don’t want to, it’s fine.

Say it: “I Was Wrong”

contemporary-artworkIn certain communities, getting older means that you’re supposed to know ‘everything’- it’s an unwritten rule, a common notion.

It’s worse if you’re an elder or a leader, folks get shocked if you show that you don’t know – you’re expected to know. It’s shameful not to know.

Sadly, the ‘know-all’ attitude doesn’t work well with people today. Folks are smarter, more sophisticated and exposed than you think – and can easily call you out on your bullshit. It’s hard to manipulate people these days; they see right through your act.

Hence, if for some reason you were wrong, made a poor judgment, messed up or missed it in anyway, your best bet would be to own up and admit you were out of line.

As a CEO, it’s now harder to lord it over your management team. In the 21st century, effective leadership entails that you get comfortable with admitting your mistakes and then seeking ways to make amends.

You don’t know it all – not even with Google at your disposal. On that note, you’ll make mistakes; we all know that you will – and that’s OK!

Value The Process, Enjoy The Journey

Blue-Abstract-painting-by-Simon-Brushfield1Life is rooted in processes. Every aspect is intended to go through stages. We start as babies, then grow and evolve.

Likewise, our ideas are subject to processes. You think it, and then you’re thrown into a tunnel of mixed rationales. You plan, meet people, seek resources, start, almost fail, fail, start again, barely succeed, eventually succeed, start again…get a new idea… and every step is designed to grow an aspect of your mind.

While going through the motion, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to get fixated on the struggles and pain of birthing an idea and that’s not the point.

This is:

The process of an idea is designed to make you better – someone who increases in quality – in an area. Folks who understand this embrace the process because the reward is worth the pain.

The successful is frequently asked for the secrets to success. That’s easy: process! The ups, downs, small and medium wins, setbacks, fights, big wins, joys, sorrows…the unique cocktail that life gives each one.

Richard Branson’s process is the real secret to his success. Oprah Winfrey, President Barrack Obama, Anthony Robbins, Warren Buffet…YOU! Everyone is made by process.

The Art of Waiting

ArtOfWritingMy confession:

Waiting is one of my least favorite things. I do it only when necessary, otherwise, I don’t see the point.

But life thinks differently. That’s why it schedules periods of waiting – when all we can do is: chew on ‘patience pie’.

If waiting is part of life’s reality, can we get better at it? Yes we can!

How?

One: Identify The Gains

If I must wait as part of life’s process, I can’t wait for nothing. Now, I ask myself: what do I want to get out of this wait? What benefits do I want to leave with by the time its over? Once I was put on hold by life and I decided to write three books. That was my take out.

Two: Every Wait Ends

This is an invaluable mental poise. For you to survive the waiting process, you must understand that every wait comes to an end. It’s a law.

Three: Get Busy

Waiting doesn’t mean that we sit around doing nothing. We’re in a process that requires that we change focus – not be inactive. While you’re waiting, create something. Put your mind to work.

The Price Loved Ones Pay for Entrepreneur’s Dream

LovedOnesIn modern culture, the successful entrepreneur is a hero. This person has achieved wealth despite the odds. She’s celebrated in the media and displayed as a beacon of hope.

But, she didn’t do it alone.

Many people played vital roles in her success story – especially loved ones. Folks sacrificed at every stage to make the entrepreneur’s dream come true. They’re seldom celebrated, but they exist.

The entrepreneur’s dream will put loved ones to the test. Colleagues, family and friends labor in love to help the dreamer’s idea.

Sometimes the price is high and process – exhausting, for those who have chosen to love the dreamer. Spouses and children (on occasion) get a raw deal – doing without the one with whom they wish to spend more time or sacrificing in other ways. It can be crazy.

I encourage every entrepreneur to acknowledge and always appreciate this group for their love, prayers, support, tears, encouragement, courage – and strong belief in the dreamer’s dream.

Thank them often for not giving up on you. Appreciate them for staying in your corner – and if no one will mention their name or celebrate them, you do it.