Aliko Dangote, the richest black person in the world has remained a household name in the world of wealth and business both in Africa and beyond. He sent his fellow billionaires tripping in February 2015 when he increased his net worth by a million in less than 24 hours. In fact, he is one of the world’s billionaires who are epitomes of business success. According to Forbes 2015 List of World’s 500 Richest, he is the #67 richest and in Africa’s 50 Richest, he has been the #1.
Howbeit, the fact remains that success in whichever field of life’s endeavor never comes by magic; one must work for it! You must have heard about, known or even been a constant admirer of this business tycoon. Maybe you would love to be like him, or even surpass him in business success. But how far have you gone to find out facts about how he made it this big?
In case you’ve never made any effort or you’ve made only little effort towards discovering the secrets behind Aliko Dangote’s success, it’s not too late. Here, we bring you the 10 most powerful money-making secrets Africa’s richest man has to share.
1. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The days of humble beginnings have lots of roles to play in determining the type of businessman you’ll be in later years. Dangote did not just become a millionaire overnight, he served someone. Aliko worked for his uncle, Sani Dangote. It was during these years that he diligently and humbly garnered the basic skills and competencies that set the foundation for who he is today.
2. START SMALL AND GROW WITH LOTS OF PATIENCE
Another secret to becoming a millionaire according to Dangote is starting small. Don’t wait until you have all the money or everything you think it’ll take. Start off with the basic resources available to you and then dream big. Mind you, it takes a lot of patience to get there. It might take years or even decades, but that is not what matters most. What matters most is keeping your dream alive and staying focused, you’ll surely get there. This is what he has to say about gradual success:
I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.
3. ESTABLISH CONNECTIONS; WAIT FOR A BIG BREAK
Every strong business establishment must have utilized lots of connections and networking to get where it is. Aliko Dangote is recognized today for his strong network of business and political connections. You too can build your own connections and strengthen your network in the business world by doing some or all of the following: increasing your corporate social responsibility, signing joint ventures and partnership deals, forming significant associations or affiliations, attending business conferences, making public donations, and paying courtesy visits to the big heads in the society.
While doing this, you should fervently hope for fortune to strike – an opportunity for a business breakthrough because all these things help to bring you to the limelight, thus, paving way for opportunities. Almost all business successes were facilitated by one streak of luck or the other. Aliko Dangote had his own stroke when he secured a license to import cement.
4. GO FOR ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES
Essential commodities are one of the goods that make the most sales even in the midst of strong competitions. This is one of the ideas that enabled Aliko Dangote to hit his fortune. Based on his success story, it is best to trade in essential commodities, goods that satisfy the basic needs of life. This is because they are ever in steady demand all around the year.
Dangote trades on essential commodities like Cement, Sugar, rice, pasta, salt, cotton, millet, cocoa, textile and vegetable oil. Look at your society and find out those commodities that cater for basic needs and if you keep other rules, you’re on your way to success.
See: 10 Most Profitable Businesses in Ghana
5. MANUFACTURING PAYS BETTER
Aliko Dangote once testified that the best move he has ever made in his business was when he switched from importation to manufacturing. He disclosed that he started manufacturing the same goods he was previously importing and trading on. These were his very words:
Manufacture, don’t just trade. There is money in manufacturing even though it is capital-intensive. To achieve a big breakthrough, I had to start manufacturing the same product I was trading on; which is commodities.”
6. BE FOCUSED – BUILD A BRAND
The need for focus in business can never be overemphasized. It is very vital as it is one of the forces that keep the businessman going up the ladder. You do not need to be good at everything. It gives the best returns when you put in your best in a particular area than when you spread your resources into diverse channels. The major thing that helped Dangote was that he focused on his major area of competence.
In addition to being focused is building an unbeatable brand in that area of specialization. Aliko Dangote so much believes in the power of branding that he built an unrivaled brand. Here’s what he once said about building a brand:
To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities.
7. POSSESS THE SPIRIT OF BUSINESS
We will not override the fact that some certain traits are inborn. However, this should not be a source of discouragement or excuse for not succeeding in life because everyone is born with all it takes to succeed. True, some people have business flowing in their blood. They have this entrepreneurial spirit such that all they think, say, do is all about business. But since determination makes virtually every goal possible to achieve, you can still key into this way of life whether it is inborn or not.
8. WORK, WORK, WORK REAL HARD
More work, less play is actually one of the core principles that got Dangote where he is today. You must sweat before you are rewarded, you must forgo some pleasures to earn the treasures you desire. This is how he put it:
I enjoy myself a lot but I derive my joy from working; I believe in hard work and one of my business success secret is hard work. It’s hard to see a youth that will go to bed by 2:am and wake up by 5:am. I don’t rest until I achieve something.
9. CREATE VALUE
If you want to become an established successful businessman, your number one aim should never be money. It is true that money is very important and even indispensable but that should not be your end. If you make money your end, you may make it but you’ll hardly be established, you’ll possibly fade away with time. Dangote was bent on adding value to the life of people. If his aim was just money-making, he may have been satisfied with importing cement because he made fortune out of it. But in other to achieve his mission, Dangote had to go about establishing factories all over the country and even beyond, providing thousands of employment opportunities. Once asked what he’ll love to be remembered for, Dangote gave this reply:
After my death, I want to be remembered as Africa’s greatest industrialist.
10. PAY THE COMPETITION PRICE
Another very important business strategy that made Aliko Dangote what he is today is that he knows the way around a healthy competition. He used selling quality goods at more affordable prices than his competitors to gain a huge customer loyalty. This, however, requires some sacrifice. And you will only be able to pay this price if money is not your major aim. One of Dangote’s popular quotes is:
Don’t kill competition; competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you the entrepreneur on your toes.