The theme of this series has been:
How do you turn your small business into a very large business?
I have spoken about how businesses like Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks, were started. The founder of Walmart, started what we would call today, “a flee market”, and yet he turned it into the world’s largest company, by sales, with annual revenue of nearly $500bn. The guy who built McDonalds began with what we would call a “hamburger joint”; and as someone said recently, even today, anyone can make a better hamburger than McDonalds, at home (certainly one that tastes better!), and yet it is a $30bn sales, global business. I spoke of a street corner coffee shop, called Starbucks, which is now a $15bn revenue company.
A few months ago, I met one of the richest men, in America, and he told me about how his father, started a business delivering goods with a small truck; they are still in the same business: delivering goods with a small truck, except now they have tens of thousands of small trucks, delivering goods countrywide.
There are three fundamental points, I’m trying to convey to you, in this series:
- It really does not matter what business you are in. You need to get out of your head the notion, that there are areas that make more money than others. A young friend from Nigeria, said to me, he does not have enough money to get into the oil business. So, I asked him, “what is your problem? Go start a flee market, only don’t stay a flee market. Use the Internet, and build an Alibaba!”
- Building a big business, is a function of management skills: yours, and those you manage to bring around you. It has nothing to do, with how small you start.
Be “management conscious”.. Remember, I said earlier, “it is the X-Factor”!
- The capacity to invent something is a great blessing. If you are able to invent something, and patent it; this is really great, and you must be applauded. In business, it is not all you need, and it may not even be enough. What you need is to develop a capacity to be “innovative”; even with the most mundane things around you:
These are the guys that take a “hamburger joint”, and turn it into McDonalds; a coffee shop, and turn it into Starbucks!
– Can you be challenged to look at a Kombi (Matatu), and find a way to create an “Uber” (one of the fastest growing businesses in the world today)?
– Can you look at a corner kiosk and visualise it, as a Pan African retail business?
– Can you look at the waste in your city, and imagine yourself, creating a business, that will be a global giant? Some of the most successful, global giants, began by collecting rubbish. And today, they have gleaming offices, with tens of thousands of employees… But they are still rubbish collectors.. And making billions!