What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in Africa?

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A few days ago at my campus, I saw a poster of an Entrepreneurship club. They were calling for new members. Of course being a want to be a business person I joined the club and diligently attended every meeting. There were students who already had their business going and other struggling to start theirs and those with a vision of starting theirs. I guess we can all tell where I fall.

On one Saturday the club held a forum where they invited a successful entrepreneur as a speaker. During the forum, we were asked how many regard themselves as successful business people. Everyone who had an ongoing business stood up. We were again asked how many are successful entrepreneur? Nobody stood up. This got me thinking who exactly is an entrepreneur? And what does it take to be called a successful entrepreneur?

 Being an entrepreneur is more than just having a great business idea. It not just a common word.

It’s a title.  A hard-earned title that requires dedication and persistence. Entrepreneurship is a process where an individual or a group comes up with a new business idea, initiative or a project; takes the role of the leader and drives the project to greater heights through exposure, business ventures, acquiring and deploying necessary resources and embarking on business risks with a vision and purpose for their business.

An entrepreneur is an initiator, the driver and the one accountable and responsible for his or her project.

Even after defining such a title what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? No one was born an entrepreneur neither does anyone wakes up one day and earns that title. It is more of a learning process that takes time, energy, resources, and results. Anyone can be a successful entrepreneur. Regardless of their age, status, gender or locality.  It starts with:-

  • Coming up with a business idea
  • Developing a business plan
  • Getting financial and material resources
  • Obtaining human resource
  • Providing leadership ( Responsibility and accountability)
  • Experiment different business opportunities
  • Keeping your eyes on the price.

Anyone interested in this venture should be committed and self-driven.  In most cases, self-drive is associated with one’s inner passion to achieve something. Being passionate is more than just wanting something. It is more like craving for something, willingness to learn and overcome obstacle just to get what you want.

I call it an obsession

To be successful out here you need to be unstoppable and obsession is a necessity. Some characteristics of a successful entrepreneur are:

  1. Disciplined enough to take the initiative every day that gets them closer to their goals.
  2. Self-confident and self-motivated
  3. Open minded to learning new skills, knowledge and take positive advice
  4. Always focused on their work wherever they are.
  5. Risk takers. Willing to take new ventures that are prospects to their business growth
  6. Willing to work with other people and employ new ideas that contribute to the growth of their business.

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Being in charge of all spheres of your business not to mention being responsible for employees might be quite challenging. It’s like a roller coaster. There are difficult and easy times, smooth and stuck in a rut moments, profit and losses, happiness and disappointment just to mention a few; but for successful entrepreneurs, they stay put.

They might get shaken, fall a couple of times but what makes one stand out is the number of times they get themselves back on track. Michael Jeffrey Jordan (is a professional American basketball player, Olympic athlete, businessperson, and actor) once said

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

You have to put in the work, you cry it through and shake off the dust. Tap into that inner energy and avoid procrastination. Deep down we all know what we need to do to get what we want. Discipline yourself to just do it.

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