Aliko Dangote is a billionaire and unarguably the richest man in Africa, at least for wealth that can be traced, according to several online media including Forbes and Bloomberg.
He is best known for his cement, flour and sugar companies, even though he is currently working on an ambitious project on land that is 8 times the size of Victoria Island.
The project includes a crude oil refinery which is set to be the largest “single train” refinery in the world (the largest refinery is owned by Reliance Industries in India), petrochemical plant, fertilizer plant, power plant and gas pipelines.
However, what many do not know is that Dangote had certain principles he had to follow strictly to reach where he is today. The principles include:
1. Long-term thinking
Many youths want to have overnight success stories but Dangote has said repeatedly in several interviews that it took him over 30 years to get to where he is today. Therefore, we should always trust the process and not expect magic in business, as it takes time for a sustainable business to grow to admirable height.
Dangote has also revealed in several interviews that his cement business was making more money than was needed to sustain it, so he decided to move from the downstream to the upstream sector of cement business. Recall that Dangote was a pioneer in cement manufacturing; before then, cement business only involved importing, bagging and selling.
Despite his immense wealth, many have wondered why he has not ventured into the Tech world as they believe that it is the next big thing. In response, Dangote said in an interview that some have been in the game for 17 years and he does not see any comparative advantage if he decides to venture into it. Instead, he has always advised entrepreneurs to do only what they understand and stated that he does not enter into any business unless his top managers fully understand it.
It is true that failure is not the end of life. However, will you risk your 5 million naira in a business that you have only a beginner’s knowledge in, when you have a family to cater for? For a lot of people, the answer is “No” but many still do this inadvertently.
Dangote started planning for a refinery more than 4 years before he started even building one. Planning helps to mitigate risks and avoid huge loses in business. Legendary investor, Warren Buffett, has repeatedly said, “Never lose money.”
Many might wonder why this is here when they want to spend lavishly on themselves and family members alone. The truth is, you may not be able to go far except you lend a helping hand to others around you. At least if you are a Christian, you will agree with me that Proverbs 28:27 says it all. However, you need to do this with wisdom.
Dangote Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Africa.
This articles was written by Charles Effiom Etim