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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Traits of Being an Entrepreneur

In case you've check the term entrepreneur in the thesaurus book, you'd probably discover that it indicates "one that arranges any business, an enterprise typically with substantial gumption and risk." Currently the word entrepreneur is worn out that it appears like everyone from home-based moms, towards the local tattoo artist, is declaring as being one. The reality is that as elaborate as the term maybe, anybody can possibly be an entrepreneur.

Business people could be of any shape, measurement, age range, nationality or maybe faith. Commitment, the willingness to lead and the passion to succeed are what make an entrepreneur becomes an entrepreneur. World's most successful entrepreneurs share certain characteristics. Outlined below are some of the attributes which can help an individual establish if you tend to be an entrepreneur.

Good Focus – Having great focus is one of the attributes a true entrepreneur has. No one or nothing stops an individual in accomplishing his goals once they are set.

Resourceful - Making inventions seems effortless to most of the entrepreneurs. A characteristic like thinking inside a box generates a better earning prospect for their business.

Good at Making Money – Another well-known trait of an entrepreneur is having the capacity to keep track and manage money sensibly. Having the knowledge to where the inbound and outbound expense of the money is essential to entrepreneurs.

Making Decisions - One who could make major choices independently without having concern to people's opinions. The ability to stand firm in their decisions without any second thoughts is important.

A Leader - Various enterprisers placed themselves as being the manager. This likely implies that this person has staffs under him or her. However, he or she must be able to lead and direct others in a transparent and dynamic approach.

Constantly Learning – Genuine entrepreneurs never stops acquiring or modifying existing knowledge and information. For entrepreneurs, learning is a craving and not a requirement.

Courageous – Being courageous is surely a characteristic of an entrepreneur. Having no fear to criticizers, rivals, clients and most of all, no fear of taking risk in venturing into business is a real entrepreneur. Not really fearing these items is actually automated for almost any authentic small business owner.

If you have the characteristics listed above, then you are certainly an entrepreneur. If you are not an entrepreneur but desiring to be one then you'll need to develop those traits. You will be well on your way in becoming an effective entrepreneur someday if you will focus and practice those traits.

Before starting any organization be sure you realize the right way to maintain factors sensible between you plus your associates. This publication Slicing Pie, through Mike Moyer, points out how you can decide precisely the volume of startup equity each person justifies.

Reproduced from:

Friday, 4 October 2013

Great Debate MBA v Entrepreneurship

There has been a storm over a Master of Business Administration (MBA) versus entrepreneurship. My point is MBAs are useful but a culture of entrepreneurship is even better.

I agree an MBA does give one a wider horizon and systematic way to deal with problems (mind you I have a business degree also).

However, MBAs in Africa have created other problems and distracted from real entrepreneurship. It is entrepreneurship that Africa needs i.e. people who create wealth out of the many business opportunities.

My biggest problem with MBAs in Africa is that they are mostly a means to get Fortune 500 jobs i.e. lucrative jobs in big multinationals (I once worked for such). This is a form of elitism. Even the content in most of these courses is tailored to working a huge company not small fish.

There are very few MBA graduates in Africa that use their knowledge to create businesses from scratch. In fact many African entrepreneurs like Herman Mashaba (founder of South African cosmestic company Black Like Me) have humble backgrounds. Another non-MBA success in Africa is Zambia's Sylvia Banda of Sylvia Catering. In fact most successful African entrepreneurs get MBAs after, not before they make it.

In addition most MBAs, like or not, drain Africa of precious foreign exchange. We have Western business schools taking lots of African students and this is a multi-million dollar industry - money that maybe could have been better spent perhaps as seed capital.

These business schools also do not customise their courses for the Africa environment. For example in Africa the supply chain also does not exits and companies literary have to do-it-yourself e.g. in central Zambia Illovo Sugar have setup their own power station (power in that country is sporadic like elsewhere in Africa).

My other problem is why are there more business schools instead of engineering schools. Surely Africa's booming sectors like construction need civil engineers not professional managers.

My point is Africa needs a culture of making things and adding value. Believe me Italian artisans have been making things for centuries without business degrees like supercars (Maserati, Ferrari etc). Likewise the Swiss have been making watches for years without MBAs. Likewise German's industrial strengthen its small businesses that make lots of cool things.

If one looks at America, its success is not from Yale or Princeton, but thousands or millions of "hackers" like Henry Ford, William Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. These people have a hands on and can do approach. That is what Africa needs.

Africa has huge business opportunities but why are these not being identified by the many MBA graduates?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Video - Zhang Xin, China's Self-Made Real Estate Billionaire

Forget the complaints about Chinese in Africa - wages, tax evasion etc. There are many lessons Africa can learn from Chinese entrepreneurs.

Africa needs to adapt China's Entrepreneurship Revolution. Like many Africans the Chinese hold conservative values about family and honour.

Video - Zambeef and Zambia's bright agricultural future

Local is lekker. Instead of reading books about Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, Africans need to celebrate local enterprise heroes, regardless of skin colour.

Zambeef started life as butchery and has since expanded to Ghana and Nigeria. It is also listed on the London Alternate Investment market (AIM). This company has trully global ambitions.

Founder Car Irwin is part of a very enterprising family. Brother Tony runs an airline that is also rapidly expanding. Another brother made his money early and retired to the Seychelles.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Video - Herman Mashaba Real Black South African Entrepreneurs

Many accuse the New South Africa of churning out "privileged tenderpreneurs." Herman Mashaba, founder of the cosmetic company Black Like Me, is a self-made entrepreneur of humble roots.

If only there were more of him.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

How to Make Money from Africa's Construction Boom

Photo courtesy of

Africa has become one giant construction site. Forget building a shopping mall or housing estate. There is another way to make money from this boom. How? simple answer - building materials.

All the construction projects need building materials. Most of these are being imported from abroad. Many of these materials can be made locally, even with little seed capital. Here is a list, but not all, of the materials that can be made.


Concrete and Concrete Products



Stile and rail, raised panel, wood clad
Access, sliding glass doors, tambour
Folding doors, garage door, storefront
Door hardware

Electrical systems and equipment

AC power plugs and sockets
Circuit breaker
Electrical connector
Electrical wiring

Surface finishing

Plaster & gypsum board
Cement render
Ceramic tile, quarry tile, pavers, mosaic
Dropped ceiling, coffered ceiling
Flooring – wide plank, terrazzo, carpet
Wall covering, wallpaper, acoustic
Paint, wood stain, faux finishing
Staff – a type of artificial stone
Wood finishing

Masonry, mortar (masonry), grout

Adobe, brick and brickwork, glass brick, terra cotta
Artificial stone
Cinder block or concrete block
Stone dry stacked or mortar set
Urbanite – broken-up concrete


Structural steel: I-beam & column
Wire rope and cables
Metal joist, decking, framing, trusses
Metal fabrications
Stairway, ladder, railing, grating, Strut channel, roofing (including copper)
Decorative metal

Wood, carpentry

Rough carpentry (unfinished)
Heavy timbers, log home, timber framing or "post and beam"
Engineered wood, dimensional lumber
Stud, joist, rafter
Treated lumber & wood decking
Sheathing, subflooring, Panelling
Plywood, shiplap, tongue and groove
Oriented strand board
Parallel strand lumber or "para-lam"
Glue-laminate or "glue-lam"
Finish carpentry or "architectural woodwork"
Veneer, plastic laminate, wood panel
Case-building products
Millwork, bookcase, cabinets
Ornamental woodwork
Trim, molding or "moulding"
Chair rail, baseboard, casing, sill


Casement, double hung, bay window
Curtainwall, skylight, dormer

Research: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

How US Poses Risk to Global Economy

Photo courtesy of

Engine of Growth

For the last 70 years the United States has been the engine of growth for the global economy.

It was the US that rebuilt Western Europe through the Marshall Plan after the Second World War.

The US has led the way in many technological innovations that have made life much easier. For the first time in history an average middle class family anywhere in the world leads a better life with the "creature comforts" than the most grand Roman Emperors of yester year.

Without US knowhow and capital there would never have been a China of today and many other emerging nations - an Africa rising.

However, the United States of America has serious economic, social and political risk factors that could endanger the global economy. The Financial crisis of 2007/2008 was just a warning shot and sent ripples across the world. Worse could be on the horizon.

What the Experts Say

Today, Standard & Poors downgraded the US credit outlook to negative. As the WSJ reports, "Standard & Poor's Ratings Services Inc. cut its outlook on the U.S. to negative, increasing the likelihood of a potential downgrade from its triple-A rating, as the path from large budget deficits and rising government debt remains unclear." Here are some responses to the S&P warning, followed by a few of my own thoughts at the end:


AMERICANS do not go in for envy. The gap between rich and poor is bigger than in any other advanced country, but most people are unconcerned. Whereas Europeans fret about the way the economic pie is divided, Americans want to join the rich, not soak them. Eight out of ten, more than anywhere else, believe that though you may start poor, if you work hard, you can make pots of money. It is a central part of the American Dream.

The political consensus, therefore, has sought to pursue economic growth rather than the redistribution of income, in keeping with John Kennedy's adage that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide has been rising fast recently. Thanks to a jump in productivity growth after 1995, America's economy has outpaced other rich countries' for a decade. Its workers now produce over 30% more each hour they work than ten years ago. In the late 1990s everybody shared in this boom. Though incomes were rising fastest at the top, all workers' wages far outpaced inflation.

Source: Economist

Long-term problems include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, energy shortages, and sizable current account and budget deficits - including significant budget shortages for state governments.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Economic Risks

Debt has brought down the best of empires from Rome to Britain to the Soviet Union. The United States federal is no exception with unsustainable debt levels.

America's saving grace, as regards debt, has been the ability to print money. This is possible as the dollar is the world's most widely accepted currency. However, things could change if investors and governments start dumping dollars.

Technology has make life very easy for many people in America nd across the world, but the same technology poses social dilemmas. Machines have boosted up productivity, raising incomes but wages have not kept pace. Machines are also increasing taking over analytical jobs that humans used to do. Today there are reports of computer software systems giving better diagnosis than some medical practioners. Ultimately this threatens to widen income and wealth inequality as the main winners in automation are the owners of technology. This could have serious, if not violent, social implications.

Social Risks

America's social risk stem from the ongoing cultural wars best summed up by author James Davison Hunter in his book Culture Wars: Struggle to Define America.

Contrary to what is widely believed America was never a "melting pot" of cultures but rather firmly anchored in the bedrock White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) heritage tracing but to colonial times.

The culture wars pit traditionalists or conservatives or WASP America against liberals and progressiives. One area is immigration. For decades WASP America has managed to assimilate Germans. Irish, Nordics and Italians into the mainstream culture. This is proving difficult with Hispanics, who have since replaced blacks as the largest ethnic minority. Hispanics insist on keeping their culture and in particular the Spanish language.

As America becomes more ethnically diverse this could adversely impact cohesiveness. Other multi-cultural nations like Yugoslavia have broken up violently. Multi-ethnicity has rendered many Africa countries mere "paper republics."

Lately the issue of same-sex marriage is proving most divisive. There is potential for a violent reaction to all these changes from WASP America that sees itself as under attack from liberals in areas like school prayer. More radical groups are preparing for the imminent collapse of the United States of America.

Political Risks

One extention of the culture wars is political gridlock on Capitol Hill. A Democratic Party controlled White House and Senate are pitted against a Republican contolled House of Representatives. Republicans insist on tax cuts to curtail spending and mounting debt levels. On the otherhand Deomcratics want higher taxes for the rich and more social spending.Paradoxically while Republicans want to cut spending on social matters but not the millitary.

To make matters worse the occupant of the White House is the first ever black president. President Barack Obama has already chosen side in the culture wars by his support for same-sex marriage as well as failure to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.

The voting patterns of recent elections also reflect the culture wars. In 2012 conservative states like Texas went for Mitt Romney while the more liberal ones like New York stuck with Obama. This is making the US increasingly divided.