Chris Kirubi with Virgin Group's Sir Richard Branson
Chris Kirubi is a complex man. One of Africa’s richest and most successful businessmen, he’s that rare blend of Donald Trump, Jeffrey Sachs, Richard Branson and American music star DJ Khaled, in African skin. In business, he’s got the cunning and clout of Trump, the economic intellect of Sachs, the rebellion of Branson, and the musical inclinations of hip-hop act DJ Khaled.
Here’s the reason why: In between running one of Africa’s largest privately held business conglomerates, delivering countless keynote lectures during frequent international economic gatherings, writing a weekly business column for a daily newspaper and mentoring young Kenyan entrepreneurs, Kirubi still finds time to make cameo appearances in Kenyan hip-hop videos, movies, and even hosts a rock show on Capital FM, a Nairobi radio station he owns. He’s the DJ!
Kirubi sits atop one of East Africa’s most successful business empires. His business interests are varied and far reaching. He is the chairman and founder of privately-held Haco Tiger Industries, East Africa’s largest manufacturers of some of the continent’s leading consumer brands in stationery, personal care and home care products. He also owns the International House, one of Nairobi’s landmark skyscrapers, and holds the largest stake in Centum Investments, a leading private equity firm listed both on the Nairobi and Uganda Stock Exchanges, among other holdings.
The Harvard-trained tycoon is one of the most tech-conscious and social media-savvy businessmen on the continent. He keeps a Twitter and Facebook account, blogs frequently, and was reportedly one of the first people in Kenya to own an iPad.
I actively follow the wealthy tycoon on his Twitter @ckirubi, where he gives his largely youthful followers tips on business, success and life.
Here are ten business success tweets in his own words, unedited:
“One of the ways I believe you can find meaning of your life is by creating a strategy that you can use through your journey. You need to keep the purpose of your life, front and center as you decide how to spend your time, talents and energy. Remember that without a purpose, life can be hollow.”
“Visualize your past victories while visualizing and anticipating future victories. Planting the seeds of positive expectancy in your mind is the best way to reap.”
“One of the most important lessons that has made me be a better employer and businessman is pointing out people's strengths. I have come to learn that the praise of others may be of use in teaching us, not what we are, but what we ought to be. Enjoy your afternoon.”
“If you understand an idea, you can express it so others can understand it. However, if you can't explain it, you don't really understand it; and you cannot invest in a business you don't understand. So friends, do your research well and understand the idea or concept you want to execute before investing in it.”
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day...but because I want to achieve my purpose and make a difference in society, I will stop focusing on the frightful things I see when I take my eyes off my goals and instead fix them there. With that said, I'm off to my meeting.”
“One of the most important lessons I have come to learn over the years is that you can't do today's job with yesterday's methods and be in business tomorrow. You must keep learning new methods and ways of doing things to keep abreast with the world's ever changing trends.”
“Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight. Every winner has scars....The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will-power to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.”
“Whatever opportunity you decide to take should be in line with your vision. When I look at the opportunities that come my way, I often ask myself, will it add value to a business or individual? If I cannot add value or contribute to some sort of growth then I will not take it.”
“To prosper soundly in business, you must satisfy not only your customers, but you must lay yourself out to satisfy also the men who make your product and the men who sell it...So if your not doing too well in business, you should consider the above.”
“One of the most important lessons I have come to learn over the years is that you can't do today's job with yesterday's methods and be in business tomorrow. You must keep learning new methods and ways of doing things to keep abreast with the world's ever changing trends.” -Mfonobong Nsehe for Forbes
Over two decades ago, Strive Masiyiwa took the Zimbabwean government to court in a grueling five-year legal battle. Masiyiwa had been planning to launch his own mobile telecoms company, but the government, which claimed it held an exclusive monopoly to manage and operate telecommunications in Zimbabwe,was desperately trying to thwart his ambitions. After the High Court ruled in favor of Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean tycoon went on to build Econet Wireless, a leading Pan-African mobile telecoms company with operations across Africa, the U.K and New Zealand.
Today, Econet Wireless is an investor’s delight. It is easily Zimbabwe’s most successful corporation. It is Zimbabwe’s largest mobile telecoms firm, with a subscriber base of over 6 million. Its profits for the year ended February 2011 stood at over $145 million and the Johannesburg-headquartered company has operations in Burundi, Lesotho, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana and Rwanda. Econet has a market capitalization in the region of $600 million.
Strive Masiyiwa, the unassuming and soft-spoken founder of the telecoms giant, is the richest person to emerge from Zimbabwe.
You can glean important business and life lessons by taking a close look at what made Strive Masiyiwa a successful billionaire telecoms tycoon.
1. Identify A Human Need And Reach Out To Meet It
According to Masiyiwa, this is the most sure-fire way to succeed in business.
In 1994, 70% of Africans had never heard a Telephone ring. People all across Africa desperately needed a reliable and cost-effective means of reaching out to their loved ones and associates wherever they were in the world. That was a human need. Masiyiwa, as a young engineer set out to change that. He had the technology to do it and access to substantial resources. “We didn’t wake up and say we wanted to make billions of dollars; we said we wanted to extend telecommunications to all the people of Africa,” Masiyiwa stated during last year’s commencement address to graduating students of Morehouse College. If you reach out to meet the needs of the people around you, you will wear the crown.
2. Be Patient And Relentless; Never Give Up
Few people are as patient and as relentless as Masiyiwa. In 1993, when Masiyiwa set out to establish Zimbabwe’s first independent mobile telecoms network, he encountered stiff opposition from the Zimbabwean government. The Zimbabwean Post & Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) – a government-owned entity held a monopoly over the telecommunications business in the country and the corporation was vehemently opposed to granting Masiyiwa a mobile operating license. The Government threatened to prosecute him if he dared to proceed with his venture. Masiyiwa took the battle to court, and the case lingered for close to five years. It was a slow and long process, but Masiyiwa never gave in. Of course the government tried to subdue and frustrate him, but Masiyiwa was resolute. He was determined to challenge the government’s monopoly of telecommunications services in the country and was keen to launch his own mobile telecoms network. His persistence paid off. By 1997, the court ruled in his favour and Masiyiwa was able to launch Econet wireless. Develop a tough skin; be relentless, and be patient. Success hardly occurs in a split second; you need to learn to wait for your moment
3. Work Hard And Stay Focused
This is a no-brainer. Nothing good in this world comes easily, least of all, success. You may have identified a need and possess the most brilliant business ideas. You may even have the praying spirit of Jesus; but if you are lazy you’re doomed to fail. Success requires hard work. Masiyiwa works long hours every day and has cultivated the requisite discipline to be focused. Work Hard And Stay Focused!
4. Pray Hard
“God will do nothing except you pray; and you have to be clear what you want”- Strive Masiyiwa
This might sound like illogical business advice particularly if you’re an atheist. But according to Masiyiwa, a devout Christian, prayers are essential for success in business. Masiyiwa has stated countless times that when he was battling the Zimbabwean government in court for the right to operate a mobile Telecoms license, he prayed fervently. While the court case lingered, Masiyiwa prayed for victory. Even though it took four years, Masiyiwa’s prayers were eventually answered. Employees at Econet and people close to Masiyiwa confirm that the tycoon never takes any important business decision before first going on his knees. Judging by Econet’s raving success, Masiyiwa’s prayers actually work. Prayers may work for you as well.
5. Give Back
What you give comes back to you ten-fold. Masiyiwa is Zimbabwe’s biggest philanthropist. Along with his wife, Tsitsi, Masiyiwa is a co-founder of the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered privately funded Christian charity which sponsors the education of over 28,000 Zimbabwean orphans. Apart from providing scholarships to these children, the organization also provides food packs and healthcare for them. Masiyiwa funds the trust from his own personal resources with support from Econet Wireless. The Universe seems to have rewarded his generosity with brilliant success and a $600 million fortune. - Forbes
South Africa is without a doubt a land of opportunities as far as business is concerned. Support is given to those youth who want to venture into business. Running what type of business remains a personal choice. The franchising industry regularly likes to remind us that being a franchisee is a safe and potentially very profitable career. While this may be true, there are also downsides. We look at the best and worst aspects of being a franchisee:
1. A Well Known Name Can Lead To Big Success: Working under a well-known brand name such as Nandos or KFC has obvious benefits for franchisees. There is increased security for your enterprise, not only are you following a tried and tested format, you can also benefit from the bigger bank balances of the larger corporations when it comes to funding for improvements.
2. Ongoing Help And Support: Once you take up your franchise, your franchiser won’t simply wave you goodbye and let you run their brand into the ground without a word of advice. As well as training programs and first-hand support, most franchisers help find and retain customers and assist with setting up accounting or stock control systems.
3. Defined Territory: Franchisers carefully choose the location of their outlets to gain the largest possible amount of custom and to avoid treading on each other’s toes. Also, unlike starting a business from scratch, many franchisers can afford prime trading premises.
4. Greater Access To Finance: If your franchiser is reluctant to part with vast amounts of cash for your start-up costs, there is no need to panic, banks will be happy to help you out. As a franchisee, you are looked upon more favorably when it comes to bank loans.
1. Initial And Continuing Fees: Franchisers will charge new franchisees a lump sum to startup a business using their brand name. Many will insist that you purchase most of the materials you need from your own pocket, and some will demand that you have a certain amount of working capital before you are even considered to be a suitable candidate.
2. You Do Things Their Way, Not Yours: As mentioned before, each franchisee will gain training and guidelines on how the business should be run. Although this is a helpful leg-up into running your own firm, after your franchise is established you may feel your entrepreneurial creativity is somewhat restricted.
3. Other People’s Decisions Could Sink Your Franchise: The lack of actual control you have over your franchise means that even if you run a profitable outlet, you could still lose everything if your franchiser makes bad business decisions and the firm fails.
4. You Cannot Escape Hard Work: If you take on a franchise under the impression that the franchiser will do all of the hard work for you while you sit back and watch the money roll in, you will be in for a nasty shock. Working weeks of 60 hours or more are not unheard of among franchisees attempting to get their business off the ground. -Youth Village, SA
For the best possible people who can fit within your culture and contribute in your organization is a challenge and an opportunity. Keeping the best people, once you find them, is easy if you do the right things right.
These specific actions will help you with recruiting and retaining all the talent you need. Here are ten tips for better recruiting.
Improve Your Candidate Pool When Recruiting Employees
Companies that select new employees from the candidates who walk in their door or answer an ad in the paper or online are missing the best candidates.
They're usually working for someone else and they may not even be looking for a new position. Here are steps to take to improve your candidate pool.
Invest time in developing relationships with university placement offices, recruiters, and executive search firms.
Enable current staff members to actively participate in industry professional associations and conferences where they are likely to meet candidates you may successfully woo.
Watch the online job boards for potential candidates who may have resumes online even if they're not currently looking.
Use professional association websites and magazines to advertise for professional staff.
Look for potential employees on LinkedIn and in other social media outlets. Bring your best prospects in to meet them before you need them.
The key is to build your candidate pool before you need it.
Hire the Sure Thing When Recruiting Employees
The authors of The Human Capital Edge, Bruce N.
Pfau and Ira T. Kay, are convinced that you should hire a person who has done this "exact job, in this exact industry, in this particular business climate, from a company with a very similar culture."
They believe that "past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior" and suggest that this is the strategy that will enable you to hire winners.
They say that you must hire the candidates whom you believe can hit the ground running in your company. You can't afford the time to train a possibly successful candidate.
Look First at In-House Candidates
Providing promotional and lateral opportunities for current employees positively boosts morale and makes your current staff members feel their talents, capabilities, and accomplishments are appreciated. Always post positions internally first.
Give potential candidates an interview. It's a chance for you to know them better. They learn more about the goals and needs of the organization. Sometimes, a good fit is found between your needs and theirs.
Be Known as a Great Employer
Pfau and Kay make a strong case for not just being a great employer but letting people know that you are a great employer. This is how you build your reputation and your company brand. You'll want the best prospects seeking you out because they respect and want to work for your brand. Google, who frequently tops Fortune's Best Companies list, for example, receives around 3,000,000 applications a year.
Take a look at your employee practices for retention, motivation, accountability, reward, recognition, flexibility in work-life balance, promotion, and involvement.
These are your key areas for becoming an employer of choice.
You want your employees bragging that your organization is a great place to work. People will believe the employees before they believe the corporate literature.
Involve Your Employees in the Hiring Process
You have three opportunities to involve your employees in the hiring process.
Your employees can recommend excellent candidates to your firm.
They can assist you to review resumes and qualifications of potential candidates.
They can help you interview people to assess their potential "fit" within your company.
Organizations that fail to use employees to assess potential employees are underutilizing one of their most important assets. People who participate in the selection process are committed to helping the new employee succeed. It can't get any better than that for you and the new employee.
Pay Better Than Your Competition
Yes, you do get what you pay for in the job market. Survey your local job market and take a hard look at the compensation people in your industry attract. You want to pay better than average to attract and keep the best candidates. Seems obvious, doesn't it?
It's not. I listen to employers every day who talk about how to get employees cheaply. It's a bad practice. Did I say, "you do get what you pay for in the job market?" Sure, you can luck out and attract a person who has golden handcuffs because they are following their spouse to a new community or need your benefits.
But, they will resent their pay scale, feel unappreciated, and leave you for their first good job offer. I have seen employee replacement costs that range from two to three times the person's annual salary. Did I say that you do get what you are willing to pay for in the job market?
Use Your Benefits to Your Advantage In Recruiting Employees
Keep your benefits above industry standard and add new benefits as you can afford them. You also need to educate employees about the cost and value of their benefits so they appreciate how well you are looking out for their needs.
Treasured currently by employees is flexibility and the opportunity to balance work with other life responsibilities, interests, and issues. You can't be an employer of choice without a good benefits package that includes standard benefits such as medical insurance, retirement, and dental insurance.
Employees are increasingly looking for cafeteria-style benefits plans in which they can balance their choices with those of a working spouse or partner.
Pfau and Kay recommend stock and ownership opportunities for every level of employees in your organization. I like profit sharing plans and bonuses that pay the employee for measurable achievements and contributions.
Hire the Smartest Person You Can Find
In their recent book, First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently (compare prices), Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman recommend that great managers hire for talent.
They believe that successful managers believe:
"People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough."
If you're looking for someone who will work well with people, you need to hire an individual who has the talent of working well with people. You're unlikely to train missing talents into the person later. You can try, but then, you are not building on the employee's strengths which 80,000 managers, via Gallup's research, highly recommend.
The recommendation? Hire for strengths; don't expect to develop weak areas of performance, habits, and talents. Build on what is great about your new employee in the first place.
Use Your Website for Recruiting
Your website portrays your vision, mission, values, goals, and products. It is also effective for recruiting employees who experience a resonance with what you state on your site.
Do create an employment section which describes your available positions and contains information about you and why an interested person might want to contact your company. A recruiting website is your opportunity to shine and a highly effective way to attract candidates today.
Check References When Recruiting Employees
The purpose of this section is to keep you out of trouble with the candidates you are seeking and selecting and the employees you currently employ.
You really need to check references carefully and do background checks.
In the litigious society in which we live (don't even ask me what percentage of the world's lawyers reside in the United States of America) you need to pursue every avenue to assure that the people you hire can do the job, contribute to your growth and development, and have no past transgressions which might endanger your current workforce.
In fact, you might be liable if you failed to do a background check on a person who then attacked another in your workplace.
Conclusion: Start With These Recommendations
Each organization has to start somewhere to improve recruiting, hiring, and retention of valued employees. The tactics and opportunities detailed here are your best bets for recruiting the best employees.
These ideas can help your organization succeed and grow, they create a workplace that will meet both your needs and the needs of your potential and current superior employees. - The Balance
About 1,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana are expected to benefit from a new business incubator project initiated by Stanbic Bank Ghana.
Known as Stanbic Business Incubator, the project is aimed at building strong SMEs to help accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.
The Head of Emerging Payments at the bank, Mr Patrick Quantson, told graphic business after an entrepreneurship conference on Wednesday, August 22 in Accra, that the business incubator initiative was open to SMEs in the country.
He observed that a strong SMEs sector was important for the growth of every economy, advanced or developing.
Contribution of SMEs
In Ghana, more than 90 per cent of all registered businesses fall in this category with a similar proportion of the industrial sector making it into the category.
The sector is essential for several reasons including creating jobs, supporting the agricultural and primary commodities sub-sectors and also generating foreign exchange for the economy when a good chunk of the SMEs build up competitiveness and capacity to play in the global or regional marketplace.
Mr Quantson said the Stanbic Bank as an organisation had identified the need to develop and nurture SMEs for them to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
“The business incubator project which is to serve as a corporate social responsibility arm of the bank.Therefore, we believe that there is a huge room for SMEs to be supported in order for them to contribute towards the growth of the country,” he added.
He observed that the business incubator project was expected to operate on five strategic pillars which includes ideation, incubation, acceleration, value chain, and financial inclusion.
The entrepreneurship conference exclusively organised for women by Stanbic Bank in partnership with Lionesses of Africa, a corporate women’s group in Africa,On the theme, “Powering a new era of women’s entrepreneurship in Ghana,” encouraged women entrepreneurs to take pragmatic actions to improve their fortunes.
The Founder of Lionesses of Africa,Ms Melaine Hawken, urged women entrepreneurs in the country who were operating SMEs to embrace best practices to strengthen their operations and compete with their peers to take advantage of the recent enormous investor interest in Africa as the destination for businesses in the near future.
“Our SMEs should embrace good corporate governance, treat business as a science beyond their interest in the bottom line – profit and loss – to the employment of tested management strategies and human resource development,” she stated.
“For our SMEs and businesses to be ready for the competition, we need to define our businesses the way international bodies such as the World Bank, the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) define SMEs,” she told business entrepreneurs.
She said holding up themselves to those high standards for SMES, as pertained in the advanced world was the only way local businesses could stand neck to neck with their counterparts wherever they came from.
Source: graphic.com.gh Picture Credit: Youth Village
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