VENTURES AFRICA – Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has more than one job. So does Patrice Motsepe and Globalcom founder, Mike Adenuga. How about you? How many businesses do you have? Is it better to focus all your energies on one enterprise?
The phrase ‘Jack of all trades master of none’ doesn’t apply to the modern entrepreneur. Success in one field can branch out into other areas.
If you’ve achieved success in one field, why take the risk of attempting the same thing elsewhere? There’s a possibility you could lose focus and damage your current business.
Well there’s a number of reasons to take that risk:
- Multiple Income streams. Why make a million from just sugar when you can make another million from flour as well (à la Dangote).
- One product can help another. South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, owns a soccer team – this presents multiple opportunities for him to promote his other companies i.e. kit sponsorship, TV coverage during games, etc.
- Expanding the brand. In Nigeria, Mike Adenuga’s Globalcom is a multinational telecommunications company. It reaches consumers in a number of ways through its, mobile, telecommunications, and cable operations. Each individual unit of the spiralling Globalcom business strategically helps to build the other.
A true entrepreneur is always testing ideas/services/products. This can lead to multiple ventures being launched.
Of course there’s always a danger you could overstretch yourself and end up with a tangled web of unconnected businesses and ideas. One could argue that wearing different business caps can dissipate your focus. It’s hard to manage one enterprise let alone several. And where do you put your energy if business one is flourishing but business two is struggling? Do you cut your losses in business two and focus instead on business one or instead try to repair the damage to the failing business in the hopes you will have two successes on your hands?
These are difficult questions but what I seek to argue in this article isn’t the idea of simply having numerous unconnected businesses. But instead, having interconnected enterprises that support each other. The same way that the moguls listed above uses various parts of their empire to improve the overall business.
To conclude, I believe that entrepreneurs should multi-task, multi-brand, and multi-launch ideas. Nobody knows which idea will work best or be the most profitable, so try and make them all work by identifying synergies between each idea. You never know, you might hit the sweet spot and find true success.
Image via ThyBusinessMan.