People, product, process…


One of my favorite shows on Kwesé TV is “The Profit.” In it a wealthy entrepreneur called Marcus Lemonis goes around helping entrepreneurs to fix their businesses and make them bigger and more profitable. He invests his own money. By now you all know that a “profit” (in simple financial terms) is the money earned after you subtract all the costs of producing AND selling your product or service.

To make sure a business makes a “profit,” there are three things Marcus always emphasizes:

# People.
# Product.
# Process.

When a business fails, it’s usually because one or more of the above have failed. When a business is a success, it is because all three ingredients are working well. It really is that simple…

We’ve gone over some of this before but let’s remind ourselves briefly:

# People

If you have skilled people who know what they’re doing and are well motivated to deliver for the business with passion, that’s central.

In the most successful companies in the world, they don’t talk of people, they talk of talent. A successful organization must have “talent” in its ranks. The more “talent,” the better it is.

Talent doesn’t come from having a position, it comes from having skills. It’s what you are trained to do.

Having a title of “General Manager,” “Chairman,” “CEO” or even “Minister” means nothing if you don’t have any skills. You cannot operate above your skills simply because you have a title! It’s remarkable how many people believe that a promotion to a top position somehow imbues them with skills they did not previously have.

# Product

You may have a great team of talented people but that’s meaningless unless you have (or your talented team develops) a product or service that customers want and are willing to pay for. It’s not as straightforward as it might seem. What makes a good product? Packaging, pricing… (Your turn: what else?)

# Process

Last but definitely not least, having the best #Talent and #Product will not be enough unless you have #Process (operational procedures) that enable you to (efficiently and effectively) raise money, build a business, manage cash flow, go to market, sell your product, listen to your customers, etc.

# Process is what enables you to make profits! (And not just today, but going forward.)

On “The Profit” you’ll find that most entrepreneurs are highly talented and have a great product but they’re clueless about putting in place proper processes. Sometimes you will feel like crying when you see the anguish of some of these entrepreneurs as they fail to grasp the challenge of process. It’s an amazing show and I urge you to see it even if you don’t own a business.

Now if you study everything I’ve ever said on entrepreneurship, it really revolves around:

# People.
# Product.
# Process.

To be honest, this applies to any organization, even if it’s “not for profit.” I could say it even applies to government administration (federal, national or local).

Now it’s your turn: tell me about the “process” in business that you find most challenging and, how you’re tackling it, if you are!


by 22 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

22 thoughts on “People, product, process…

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    One day my car would not start, and I took out my toolbox and began to tinker around; after all I’m an engineer, right? Wrong! Two days later I had the entire engine on the floor. When I finally called a mechanic, I had done so much damage it cost me more to fix the damage I had created than the original problem! I’m not a mechanic or a mechanical engineer. What I did was total foolishness.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader accredited with China’s economic miracle, once said: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white. As long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.”

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    Most entrepreneurs that I’ve ever met are themselves very talented and supported by talented hard working employees. The challenge for them is usually getting “process” right.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.
    If you work for me, I’ll never deploy you on something you don’t have either the qualification or talent to do. I don’t like chancers or pretenders. You are either qualified for a certain role or you are not; you have the skills for it, or you do not. It doesn’t make you a lesser person. I have neither qualification nor skill to carry out brain surgery so I cannot say “let me try”!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 5.
    We are adding three new countries to the Kwesé Online Dealer Portal this week. Please check it out. Let me see if you are able to spot which countries they are.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 6.
    If you have watched The Profit on Kwesé TV, let me know what you think of it and from which country you see it.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Jules writes,

    Hi sir have been watching the profit on Kwese decoder and it has really helped me alot by figuring and solving my business problems thanks a lot

    My reply,
    I was inspired to create the channel Kwese Inc, after seeing The Profit on tv in the US.
    I wish every entrepreneur in Africa could watch it. It is totally amazing.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Chilz writes,

    A friend of mine came to me with an idea “that we start making cartoons a couple of months back”.
    We sat down, planned, did some research & started working on the project.
    The first 2episodes that we released was watched by over 50,000 people on facebook.
    We have released 4episodes so far & the fith one is almost complete… All our episodes have now been watched by over 200,000 people.
    We are now working on expanding the brand so that we can get a major deal with a TV like Kwese.

    My reply,
    Someone at Kwese will be looking for you!

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Chepkerui writes,

    But how will I gain experience if I am not given a chance to practice what I studied to gain competence?

    My reply,
    Imagine if you were about to be operated on your brain, and you found out that the guy who is going to perform the operation is actually a mechanical engineer. How would you respond?
    Even a young doctor must go through a proper process of on the job training before being allowed to do certain things.
    We employ a lot of young people, and I can assure you we train them well, but we do it properly using PROCESS.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thutwe Boiki writes,

    I think one of them is Botwana, just a good guess coz im frm botswana and i have seen a couple of adverts for ur company here. I think u jst had a license to to air here so its a good guess.

    My reply,
    Actually it is not Botswana, because Botswana has had service for quite some time.
    There is no need for you to guess because all you need to do is visit Kwese.Com website and check. Now you see why I did not give a prize.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Quiz for this week:

    I will give a decoder to the first person from any African country where Kwese has service, that answers these questions:
    (1). In what African country did we first launch Kwese Free Sport Channel (KFS) 12 months ago?
    (2). How many countries do we broadcast KFS today:
    (a) 10, or (b) 29 or (c) 18?
    (3). How many people do you think were estimated by experts to have watched The Confederation Cup Final on Kwese Free Sport:
    (a) 2m, (b) 15m, (c) 80m?

    [you must get all answers correctly to win.
    Answers will be placed on the news section of Kwese.Com website].

    Note: To participate in Quiz please access via my Facebook page

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Hekima writes,

    Thank you Mr strive masiyiwa.. However I want to know how can a small business owner recruit a person to help him or her on that small growing business especially to people who work and entrepreneurship? ?

    My reply,
    I have written about this subject before, and I suggest you go back into some of my old posts.
    It is a very important subject.
    An entrepreneur who learns to attract talent (highly skilled people) will be successful.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Evans writes,

    I have those weakness, its like I am a young grown up supplier yet what I think and discover I am lacking is on process. I am down there, how can I improve

    My reply,
    Get a decoder and watch The Profit. I suggest you watch the show with friends who are entrepreneurs and discuss carefully your observations.

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adamu writes,

    Sincerely speaking “process” is my major challenge. But trying to perfect it daily.

    My reply,
    You are going to overcome this problem, and become very successful. The reason is simple: you can only address a problem you have identified.

  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    I think I told you this story before:
    I once visited an old man who ran a very successful Supermarket at a busy center. He told me he started work at 4am, and left every day at midnight. Whilst he was trying to impress me by how hard he worked, all I could see was a man who had not mastered process!
    The guys who own Walmart have thousands of stores which are much bigger, and they have probably never even visited them…it’s all about process.

  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ivy asks,

    Sir please does it mean you look out for skills before passion when recruiting? Thank you for this timely post.

    My reply,
    I look at skill before I look at passion. An unskilled person without skills is “zeal without knowledge”. The ideal person is one who has both skill and passion.
    In business we also use the word “Talent” interchangeably with “Highly skilled”.

  17. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Gregory writes,

    I am watching from Nigeria, honestly kwese TV is my second school… The Profit, Shark Tank…they are great shows.

    My reply,
    Although Kwese Inc was set up only for entrepreneurs, you will notice that there are some shows for entrepreneurs on other channels as well. We are going all over the world in search of such TV shows to help train our entrepreneurs.

  18. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Maxwell writes,

    I watch The Profit and had to call my ‘A’ Team to watch it together, because the changes we were going to make as a result of lessons learned were major. I love the focus on getting your numbers right and at your finger tips. I was at the anniversary of a major ecommerce store in Africa over the weekend and I was shocked that the CEO didn’t know her numbers. She couldn’t even tell how many vendors they have, yet the vendors are key to their success. From The Profit, I have improved on my use of data to drive growth, boldness to cut waste, employee welfare, teamwork, etc.

    My reply,
    You have inspired me to do more with Kwese Inc.

  19. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tendai writes,

    Thank you Mr Masiyiwa for bringing premium and practical content on Kwese. I have watched the Profit and Shark Tanks on Kwese Channel 400 and 405. I really find these two channels as must watch for any serious Entrepreneur. Just last night and Sunday I couldn’t get off the sofa watching these entrepreneurial channels. I really think that Kwese is doing a splendid job and it’s truly beyond TV. A very close person to me intends to start a business and I encouraged the person to watch these entrepreneurial channels and then we discuss how we can make it relevant and practical for the person. Beyond your question, please try to get Manchester United TV on your sports channels!

    My reply,
    This is exactly why I set up this channel, because I knew there were things I could not teach on Facebook that our entrepreneurs need to know.

    As for Manchester United, we tried to get their channel block for Kwese Sports but it is still under contract to another broadcaster. We will fight for it when it comes for renewal.

  20. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Aloysius writes,

    From Uganda Kwese Inc and know are my Favorite channels . The Profit show really unveils the habits that most entrepreneurs go through. A Busines owner will get a loan to run the business , doesn’t follow the 3P’s , people , Product and Process . With little dedication to the business all you know is the Bank is about to close the business yet the business owners are busy buying luxurious items to satisfy their own needs . That investor exposed all the problems in the business and was able to finally gauge whether they deserved the $1m dollars or not . I love Kwese with All My Heart.DSTV was just monopolizing the market with fake content.its only their premier league that puts them in business.

    My reply,

  21. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Aloysius asks:

    When shall we have a chance to host you In uganda for the same . Sir ? Since it’s only a few kilometers away I can arrange and you talk to us as well. Thank You

    My reply,
    I plan to visit every single country at some point. Uganda will definitely be in the next few months.
    As you can appreciate I have to try and fit these programs into existing trips. For instance I’m planning to visit Ivory Coast and Togo in September.

  22. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bartholomew writes,

    Dear Masiyiwa,am Arinze an enterpruener from Equatorial Guinea, am consider it a blessing being your follower on on business knowledge here.
    I hereby demand your team to consider launching Kwese TV,and your related products and service companies in this country, I believe its going to make a good deal here.

    My reply,
    Thank you for bringing Equatorial Guinea to my attention. I’m going to have our development team look into Equatorial Guinea. Our satellite signal does cover your country, we just have to get a license to operate there.
    Hopefully you might even help us when we start, as we need good dealers on the ground.


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