Recently, three African billionaires- Aliko Dangote, Strive Masiwiya, and Tony Elumelu shared the principles that have guided their business success and wealth-building over the years. Let’s take a look at what each person had to say.
Dangote, the world’s richest black person, believes in investing and reinvesting money in profitable ventures rather than spending on things that don’t generate wealth or promote his businesses.
Over the years, he has maintained the principle of investing all his money back into his businesses rather than spending or keeping money idle in the bank. His money principles have materialized into a successful business conglomerate with up to thirteen different companies – cement manufacturing, sugar refining, salt & seasoning, fertilizer, infrastructure, tomato farming, rice farming, automotive, refinery, energy, petrochemicals, training academy, and polysacks.
Here are some of his popular quotes about business and wealth:
“Dangote is different from most Africans who keep most of their money in the bank. At Dangote, we do not keep money in the bank, we invest all we have and we keep reinvesting.”
“I only enter a business that I can fully understand; I don’t venture into a business that is not clear to me.”
“I only enter a business where I can become the number one, or at worst, the number two.”
“A lot of people, even the younger ones need to be very careful. One of the biggest issues with us African is that, we spend our projected incomes. Once you start doing business and the business starts doing well, rather than for you to keep reinvesting into the business, you start spending money and thinking that the profit will continue to come. There are ups and downs in business, so you need to be much focused. Luxury things take up your time, which will make you not to focus on your business. I don’t have any holiday home anywhere, I don’t have a house anywhere else, but I know people who are working for me, they have a house in London, but I don’t.”
According to the richest person in Zimbabwe, he learned most of his business principles from his mother, who taught him and his siblings how to save money, remain content with one’s resources, and always reach out and interact with others. Masiwiya has maintained the principles he learned from his mother and used them to developed a business mindset that guides him to this day.
“Your Attitude Sets Your Altitude – there is nothing gained by complaining; never complain and never allow yourself to feel bitter, because you feel you are not being treated well by others. Always show respect and gratitude.”
“You Must Save – the capacity to save money and live within one’s means is extremely important. Even when things are good, don’t behave as though there is no tomorrow. Have the discipline to save from whatever little you get, even if it is a dollar. Whenever I have seen people fail in business, sadly, I usually find that they were not disciplined in this basic and foundational area of success. Saving must be a culture; friends, you must develop a savings culture.”
“Be Frugal With Your Money – avoid showing off or attempting to impress others.”
“Avoid Borrowing Money – relationships are incredibly precious because they are hard to come, and one sure way of breaking a relationship is borrowing money and failing to pay back. If you do borrow money, then be quick to pay it back, but don’t make borrowing a habit.”
Tony Emumelu, one of Africa’s foremost financial experts, entrepreneurs, and philanthropist has for years supported the entrepreneurship drive in Africa through his foundation. He continually admonishes young people to develop a savings mindset and financial discipline through one of his famous sayings:
“If I don’t save when I earn one dollar, I would not save even if I earn $1 billion.