Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Nigeria, the richest in Africa, and the 65th richest man in the world according to Forbes list for June 2022. He currently has an estimated net worth of $20.2 billion, and is approximately $13 billion richer than the second richest man in Nigeria; Mike Adenuga.
Since he launched his business empire: Dangote Group in the year 1977, which originally started as a trading firm, the business has grown to be the largest conglomerate in Africa. Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Flour, Dangote Cement, Dangote Pasta, and Dangote Transport Company, are all divisions of the Dangote Group.
In 2021, he launched the Dangote Oil Refinery which was hailed as the largest industrial project in Africa. In February 2022, he announced the completion of the Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN), following his partnership with the parent company of Peugeot; Stellantis Group.
From all angles, Dangote is a successful businessman. There is a saying that goes:
“To be successful in any journey, look at the lives of those who have gone before and learn from their experience”.
What can Business Owners and Entrepreneurs learn from Dangote?
It is Never too Early to Start
In an interview once, Aliko Dangote shared that he started his career in primary school by selling sweets to his classmates. It was this desire to trade that pointed in the right direction and influenced his decision to go to business school. What entrepreneurs can learn from this, is that it is never too early to start. Identify your area of interest and develop yourself in it.
Training is Important
Too many people venture into a particular line of business without proper training, because it is lucrative. That is why many such start-ups crash early. Even though Dangote came from a family tree of wealthy businessmen, he knew the importance of training and underwent it as soon as he realized his interest. Dear entrepreneur, it is not enough to have an “eye for business”, it is important to take up relevant courses.
Start Small, Then Expand
After obtaining a degree in Business Studies and Administration, Dangote borrowed some money from his uncle; Sanusi Dantata to start an importation business. He would import rice and sugar from Thailand and Brazil, and re-sell them in Nigeria for an increased price. Applying the things he learned in business school to his trade, he was able to repay his uncle the NGN500,000 loan in 3 months. He did not waste too much time basking in his success instead, he expanded his business and ventured into cement trading.
Dear business owners, there is always room to grow. Don’t remain in the same status for long; always keep an eye out for opportunities to grow and expand your business.
Invest in Potential
When Dangote saw that he could get more out of the importation business, he built up plants to produce the things he previously imported, hence the birth of the Dangote Sugar Refinery. He also invested in his cement business by building a cement manufacturing company. All these added to the increase in his net worth, and currently, Dangote controls at least 83% of Nigeria’s cement production.
Networking is Crucial for Success
Do not limit yourself to connecting with only successful people in your niche, network with business gurus in other fields and collaborate with them to launch projects.
Collaboration grows a Business faster than Individual Efforts.
You know that saying: together everyone achieves more? It is more than just a saying and Dangote is proof. The Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN) was birthed from Dangote’s partnership with Peugeot’s parent company. He also started Dangote Transport Company by collaborating with the ministry of transportation. Reach out to companies in fields you would like to explore and propose a collaboration. It is a sure catalyst for growth.
Dangote once shared “We always reinvest our profits back into the business”. That is most likely how he managed to top the chart as the richest Nigerian man every year for the past 10 years. Dear business owner, invest in other industries of potential, and whatever is left, invest back into your business.
It’s Okay to take Loans from the Bank
The biggest challenge to business growth is funding. That’s why banks have the loan option. Always have a payback plan before you apply for the loan though; it’s okay to take loans from the bank as long as you can pay them back.
Weigh Risks Before you take Them
To succeed in business, you must always be willing to take risks. However, weigh the risks before you take them, and be careful not to make bad decisions. Plan ahead of time and always have a backup plan.
Now, Dangote’s story is not a grass-to-grace one, he came from a family of wealthy businessmen and had access to ample funding. However, business owners can learn from his doggedness, “don’t stop until you get to the top” mentality, and his burning desire to expand and grow.