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It takes a lot of guts an tenacity to be a successful entrepreneur in Africa. With poor electricity, the exorbitant cost of internet and the near-impossible access to funding any successful entrepreneur you encounter in Africa probably has a long trail of failed businesses behind him or her. So what do you need to become a successful African entrepreneur?
Patrick Bitature, the Ugandan telecoms mogul is a successful African entrepreneur who made his fortune in Africa. The founder and chairman of the Simba Group of Companies, an East African conglomerate, he began his first business selling sugar when he was only 13 years old and according to him, tried so many businesses and failed at so many businesses before things finally took off. With interests in media, telecoms, energy, real estate and lots more, Patrick Bitature is one of the wealthiest people in Uganda. In an interview with CNBC, he talked about his journey as an entrepreneur and shared some tips as well. Here are five tips we picked up.
Patrick Bitature’s Tips on becoming a successful African entrepreneur
Aim for congruence
Mr. Bitature described congruence as that place where you have all the factors working for you. According to him, getting there is about forming the right habits. The key point in reaching congruence is when “you have got an address, you have built a reputation to be reliable and you deliver and when you can’t, you are there to tell them…”
Be open to opportunities, but stay focused
Where the entrepreneur is different from others is that she sees opportunities where most people see challenges. What separates a successful entrepreneur from others is the ability to remain focused on what is important. There are so many good – GREAT – ideas and opportunities but at the beginning, you can only do one thing at a time.
Don’t be afraid to fail, but pick yourself back up
Bitature did not just wake up one day and begin a telecoms company, he actually started from owning a video shop and before then, he had tried all sorts of things that did not take off. That story if very familiar to most entrepreneurs in Africa. You try all sorts and some look like they’re taking off, but then they fail. Successful entrepreneurs do not give up; they keep trying until they are able to find structure.
Make sure you can scale
This is where so many entrepreneurs lose the plot – the ability to scale. You cannot be a successful entrepreneur anywhere if you cannot scale. When Bitature began to scale, that was when the magic began to happen. His advice…
“I got focus on some things, things that I could do well and I could scale and the magic is in scaling – if you can scale something without losing out on the quality or service or product, then you can do very well.”
Focus on the needs of your customers
As any successful business person knows, it is all about the customers. The way to truly becoming a successful African entrepreneur is to focus on making your customers so satisfied with your products or services that they keep coming back to you. As Patrick Bitature puts it:
“When you find you have been making so many people happy and it is value for money and they are satisfied – they will come back to you again – that is what I wanted, that is what was driving me.”
“If you look at life as about satisfying customers, satisfying needs, trying to do things better than the competitors, you have to raise the bar.”
Source: CNBC Africa