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Every BIG thing started small...

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You don’t need to have an MBA or attend business school to succeed in business. Almost all the knowledge and information you require to start and succeed with your small business is available for free in the real world. Afterall, up to 70 percent of Africa’s top entrepreneurs who run successful businesses today never attended business school. In this article, I will share with you five basic but very important concepts you must understand if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur or business person. These concepts will help you to easily digest business opportunities and allow you to start making smart, informed and practical business decisions. The best part is, these concepts will help you to think, talk and act like a modern entrepreneur. All of the concepts you will learn here are important. I think I would consider this a basic, mini-crash course in economics and business rolled into one.
It is likely that more than 60 percent of you reading this article who live in urban areas had milk in their breakfast this morning. Milk is one of the richest sources of animal protein for humans and is contained in almost everything we love from powdered milk and cheese to ice cream and yoghurt. On a continent where cows are abundant, it remains a shocking reality that Africa currently does not produce enough milk to meet its own needs. Despite having more than 10 percent of the world’s cattle population, Africa contributes less than 3 percent to global milk production but spends more than $500 million every year on milk imports from Europe and North America, while thousands of its cattle farmers remain poor. This article explores the huge potentials of milk in Africa and two inspiring success stories of a Senegalese entrepreneur and a Nigerian milk business that are already exploiting the opportunities in milk production on the continent. I shall also reveal the 3 key ways to make money in Africa’s milk market and 5 things you must consider if you want to be successful in Africa’s milk industry.
In my first book review article in May, I pledged to read one book on entrepreneurship and business every single month and share the knowledge gained and lessons learned with you. The book I’m about to share with you for the month of June is the second in my series. Last month, it was The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson; a truly inspiring and amazing book! That book scared the hell out of me and inspired me a great deal at the same time. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely should. This month, it’s another classic book: ‘100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Sucesss by Brian Tracy.’ It’s indeed a very powerful and eyecatching title but it’s not one of those books you just read once, and never read again. No. This is one of those books every entrepreneur should have in their library. The laws of business success contained in this book are true, tested and timeless. It was very difficult for me to choose just ten out of the 100 powerful laws in the book to share with you in this article. The ten laws in this article resonated with me the most and I’m sure you…
In Africa, up to 70 percent of people who regard themselves as ‘entrepreneurs’ do not own a registered business. How can anyone say they own a business when it doesn’t really and legally exist? For some of these people, it’s just plain ignorance; they don’t know or understand the importance of a getting a business registered. The others, who aren’t totally ignorant, just choose to avoid the upfront cost of registration when they start their business. If you have been running an unregistered business for sometime, this article will give you five reasons to regret your action/ignorance. However, if you plan to start a business soon, the reasons in this article will prevent you from missing out on the benefits of a legally registered business. I have taken the time to do quite some research for this article and will present the the legal concepts in a very simple manner with real life examples and scenarios you can relate with. By the time you’re done reading this article, you should know exactly what you need to do to register your business.
Can you imagine a day in your life without soap? You’re right, it’s unimaginable! Soap plays such basic roles that are hard to ignore in our everyday lives. Everybody uses soap; both rich and poor people. No matter its size, form (solid or liquid), scent, colour or price in the market, all soaps are made to help us do three very important things: bathe our bodies, wash clothes and clean anything! On a continent with over one billion people and the fastest population growth rate in the world, Africans buy millions of soap bars every day. The variety of soaps on the African market includes both international and local brands that appeal to different consumer budgets, tastes and choices. This article explores the potential of a small (homemade) soap making business and shares the stories of two successful local African soap brands. I have also included a basic tutorial course in soap making that will help you to hone your skills as you get ready to exploit the lucrative opportunities in the soap business.
There often comes a time in your business when it feels like you have hit a ceiling. Some businesses grow up to a certain level and then just stop.  In such circumstances, you may notice that your sales are not increasing; no matter how hard you try. This often doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your business; you just need to think differently. Economists and marketing experts like to call it ‘market saturation’, a term which means that the demand and potential customers for your products or services may have reached their limits within your area. So, how can you get out of this ugly situation? This article reveals three tried and tested strategies you can apply to break through the ceiling, double or triple your sales and grow your business again. I shall also share a real life example of a local business (owned by a friend) that has successfully used two of these strategies to increase its sales and return the business to a growth path. Unless you’re comfortable with the current size of your business and don’t plan to grow it any further, you would love this article!
Successful entrepreneurs are always learning. They seem to understand a basic truth that many of us often neglect - the human mind is a muscle. Yes, and like every muscle in the human body, it needs continuous (mental) exercise to develop. Successful entrepreneurs invest money, time and effort to develop their mind muscle. And one of the cheapest and most effective ways they do this is by reading books that contain invaluable wisdom and deep knowledge. When last did you read a book that brought you closer to your entrepreneurial dreams? Every month onwards, I plan to read one life-changing book and share the lessons I learn with you on this blog. “The Slight Edge” is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. It contains some of the most simple but highly effective lessons that, if followed, will surely lead anyone to success. There are many lessons in this book but I shall only share with you the top 7 that resonated with me the most.
The furniture business continues to boom as the demand for home and office accommodation grows across Africa. When people move into a new home, they need a bed to sleep on, wardrobes for their clothes, chairs, a dining table, sofas, kitchen cabinets and all kinds of furniture. Like our homes, offices also buy a lot of furniture too. Africa’s growing economy and its large and rapidly growing urban population are some of the reasons why the furniture business is experiencing good times on our continent. In this article, I shall share with you the inspiring stories of two entrepreneurs in two different African countries who started small in the furniture business and have now built hugely successful ventures. This article also explores some of the reasons for the growth in the furniture business across Africa and shares a couple of tips to help aspiring entrepreneurs to start and succeed in the furniture business on the continent.
Everybody loves chocolate. Hundreds of years ago, the Greeks referred to chocolate as the ‘food of the gods’. It’s a highly demanded luxury product and an impulsive treat for millions of people around the world. No wonder the global market for chocolate and cocoa beverages is now worth over $100 billion (and growing) every year. Although the developed and fast developing countries (especially in Europe, Asia and North America) consume over 90 percent of the chocolate produced every year, chocolate largely exists because of Africa. This is because up to 70 percent of cocoa, the major ingredient for making chocolate, is grown and harvested in Africa! Yes, you’re right; no Africa, no chocolate! Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon are our continent’s largest producers but there is still unexploited potential in other West and Central African countries that are also well suited for cocoa production. This article explores the interesting opportunities for African entrepreneurs in cocoa production and trade which would benefit from the explosive global demand for chocolate in the near future.
I’m sure you would have heard the notorious statistic that nearly 80 percent of small businesses that start today may die within the first 18 months. This is both a sad reality and a mindblowing suicide rate by any measure. I call it ‘suicide’ because most small businesses actually kill themselves without knowing it. Entrepreneurs and small business owners often form bad habits and make harmful decisions that ensure their businesses don’t survive. Don’t get me wrong; a business can fail for several different reasons. Some of these reasons are external (like a bad economy) while many of them are internal (you and the way you run the business). Sadly, poor financial management is one of the biggest internal reasons for business failure. This article looks at five common finanical mistakes that small businesses make in Africa. If you already run a business, no matter how small, you may already be guilty of a few.  Let’s find out what these mistakes are…
I’ll be devoting this article to the most disgraced, overworked and unappreciated guy in the whole world. Failure has helped to build vast fortunes around the world and is the secret habit of many successful entrepreneurs, athletes, politicians and celebrities. For all the work he does, failure hardly gets as much media attention as success which totally steals the show. There appears to be a thick smoke of conspiracy that prevents us from truly appreciating the value of failure. Everybody thinks failure is that bad and evil guy to be feared and avoided. Interestingly, failure holds the golden keys to the success that many of us desperately wish for. Failure has been totally misunderstood for hundreds of years.  In this article, failure reveals 7 secrets about his personality that successful people do not often tell us. Hear him…
Africans have valued and used spices for centuries. Spices are a common ingredient in many dishes across our continent and we love them for the rich flavor, colour and taste they give our food. They play such an important role in our daily lives that it’s difficult to imagine our world without spices. The spice business is a multi-billion dollar global industry and a significant source of revenue for several countries in Africa. In 2012 for example, Ethiopia earned over $700 million from spices and related exports. Almost every country in Africa produces spices but most of it is consumed locally. This article features Senai Wolderufael, a successful African spice entrepreneur who was recently featured in Forbes Magazine. The rest of this article explores the spice industry and opportunities that entrepreneurs like you can exploit in this lucrative but often overlooked business.
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