The biggest secrets for turning your small business into a big business (Part 3)

__When you get knocked down, get back up.

Sometimes in life, you get knocked down by something you do not expect, despite all your advance planning and hard work. It can be heartbreaking. In London last week at the IAAF World Championships, a virus knocked several athletes out of their events. Some had trained for years and even decades for that big day, then didn’t even get a chance to compete and lose… they had to watch from the sidelines, even worse!

A few athletes came back to win glorious Gold Medals after years of injuries. Others were expected to get the Gold in historic races but didn’t, maybe getting “only” a Silver or Bronze… And then there’s what happened in the last race of the great running legend Usain Bolt… who just literally got knocked to the ground by a hamstring cramp as I was starting to think about this next post.

Life when things like this happen can be heart-wrenching.

The choice of what you do next is what ultimately determines your destiny — whether in business, in sport, or wherever you are or do in life.

Sometimes it’s entirely out of your control, like an illness or injury, drought or earthquake, or even a war. Other times, it’s you and you alone who made a wrong judgment call.

The late writer Maya Angelou once said something like this: “You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.”

# Never let yourself be defeated.

If you want the “thrill of victory” as the old saying goes from the Wide World of Sports, you have to be prepared to bounce back from the agony of defeat, time and again.

If you choose to turn your small business into a big business, one thing I can guarantee is that things will not always turn out like you planned, and things will definitely go wrong from time to time. You may lose for a short while or even for a long while, but…

# Never let yourself be defeated.

The main difference between most of the greatest characters in history and everyone else? The choices they made after they got knocked down.

Notice I keep saying the word “choose.” Getting back up is a choice. “Course correcting” when you need to, is a choice. Giving up is a choice. Innovating is a choice. Remembering that your business must have a life separate from you, like we talked about a few weeks ago, that is a choice, too…

What do YOU think are main differences between a business destined to stay small and one that eventually grows huge? I can tell you one: Mindset.

__If you get knocked down, you must choose to get back up:

# Re-do your homework.
# Seek advice from credible and trusted people, and don’t just listen to what you want to hear.
# Reflect and re-analyze.
# Extract the valuable lessons learned.
# Dust yourself off, if you haven’t already!
# Then move forward, onward and upward, this time with more wisdom and experience.

This is how you will transform your small business into an institution.

To be continued. . .

by 19 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.

19 thoughts on “The biggest secrets for turning your small business into a big business (Part 3)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    Athletes from the African continent together won 28 medals at the IAAF World Championships which ended yesterday in London, putting Africa just behind the USA at 30 medals… Kenya (11 medals) and South Africa (6 medals) came in second and third place overall, with Ethiopia in 7th with 5 medals, just a nudge behind the host country UK. Wow! Congratulations to all.

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Menzi writes,

    How can I get a Kwese Decoder from Swaziland? The Kwese app is not of good use especially if want watch Kwese Inc.

    My reply,
    The good news is that we are formally launching Swaziland in the next few weeks. I will be personally coming for the launch, so I’m hoping to do a small town Hall meeting while I’m there.
    Meanwhile I will ask my team to send you a free decoder as full service is already available.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Patricia writes,

    Congs to the African team for representing us in a great way! I wish African governments can invest more in sports and lead Africa to the top.

    My reply,
    When you compare what big wealthy countries like the US, UK, China, and Germany spend on their athletes, it is truly remarkable what Africa is achieving.
    At the last IAAF tournament Kenya was actually the top country in medals, even ahead of the USA.
    Once African governments, and entrepreneurs (like myself) begin to really invest in sport you are going to see total dominance from Team Africa.

    #Lets get behind team Africa!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    # Go Team Africa:
    Whenever I watch a major tournament of any kind, I look for TeamAfrica:
    I’m always looking for the African participants for me to support.
    I look for participants from my own country, and I look for participants from Africa.
    …by the way that is what other countries do!

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    If you watched the IAAF World Championships from London, like I did, you would have noticed that the broadcasters were focused entirely on the British Athletes, even when they were not the best.
    I have no problem with that, personally, because we can also do the same.

    Kwese Sports’ mandate is to “cover global sport from an African perspective”. We actually send our own teams to these big tournaments to follow the progress of Africans at those tournaments.
    It is expensive but we have to do it!
    Let us support each other….

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Sly writes,

    is that a Zimbabwean athlete behind the legendary usain bolt?

    My reply,
    Well spotted!
    I will give a decoder to the first (none Zimbabwean) to tell me who the athlete is!
    [please Zimbabweans don’t say anything…]

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thembesile writes,

    Congratulations to our South African team, for making ourselves proud and represent our beloved country well… As for Team Africa I am proud of you guyz, it ‘s a good sign that African Renaissance is on the Move…

    My reply,
    I was really impressed by South Africa’s overall performance. They had more athletes than I have ever seen at such a tournament.
    I remember discussing with top SA business leader who was in Beijing as a member of the SA Olympic team, when SA did so badly. He was so upset and vowed to ensure changes were made. There was a massive shakeup when they got back!

    You know these things don’t just happen by themselves. Someone has to take leadership, and make the necessary changes, and put up the resources over a prolonged time.

    By the way did you Botswana?!
    You could clearly see another example of a country that has put in place a proper program supported by serious resources.

    And as for Kenya and Ethiopia, that is now a machine!

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Aniwoinou writes,

    Thank you sir, i choose to get back again, i will reopen my restaurant again because this post!

    My reply,
    You shall surely prosper this time.
    Go for it!

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tafadzwa writes,

    I imagine Usain Bolt inspires the citizens of Jamaica in so many ways to do better, Makwala inspired Africa…and so on,….

    My reply,
    During the Beijing Olympics, after watching the performance of Bolt and other Jamaican athletes, I approached some of their coaches to find out how they did it, because this is a small nation of less than 3m people!
    # I learnt amongst other things that it is a national program carefully designed to pick and train athletes, starting at primary school. There is a dedicated leadership that has worked for decades.

    It actually does not cost that much!

    There is no African country that cannot emulate their program. All we need is the leadership in sport. Actually it does not even need governments.

    Just look at Botswana over the last few years, and you are already beginning to see the results….

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Alfred writes,

    .. I have a question regarding this week’s competition.
    Is it possible for one to enter with a business (idea) that is yet to fully kick off? Everything is ready but we are just sourcing for more funding so that we can implement the first phase of our business.

    My reply,
    As with most investors I don’t like to invest in an idea unless it is an invention that has been patented.
    Priority must always be given to people who have taken the risk and tried something even if they are on the streets as vendors.

    Ideas also create problems because later on people accuse you of “stealing their idea” if they don’t win!
    We will only look at ventures that are already in progress.
    So this year you are a voter. Next year when you have started we will consider you for the prize; because if it goes well then we will do it every year.

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Okello writes,

    Mr. Strive Masiyiwa…I am an Architect and Quantity surveyor at the Same time. In an attempt to look for a decent job, I failed. I opted to being self employed..How can I make make a breakthrough and become very successful…My Business is not doing well. infact money isn’t coming in as per now.
    You’re my mentor in Business! I want to BE LIKE YOU BOSS!!! Thanks

    My reply,
    I don’t know enough about what you are doing to be able to give you proper advice.
    You have two amazing professional qualifications which are highly sought after, so you will never go hungry!
    Anyway you need to add to these skills business related skills, even as you go about your business. Being so academically gifted, add Finance, if you do not already have it.
    Also stay focused. Don’t jump about from business to business for the sake of money.
    Be patient, and don’t take short cuts.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    # Sierra Leone:
    Horrified by the scenes from the mudslides.
    Our prayers are with the nation, and all our friends on this platform from Sierra Leone.
    Strive Masiyiwa

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Banabasi writes,

    Okello, I am into construction industry but since I am in Zimbabwe, I am far but through the help of Internet we can be partners. You can draw plans for the clients who will approach us without plans. My email address

    My reply,
    This is one of the best comments I have ever seen!
    Because above all, I want you to use this platform to reach out to each other, not only in Africa, but across the world.
    If you study the comments, you will find truly amazing people from all over the world. And believe me there are many more.
    # Please also let me know when you either succeed with a partnership, or even secure a job through this platform.

  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Tijjani writes,

    Sir they is this thing I get to see everyday in your post is “Feedbacks ~ Punches from customers” I now realise when we set a benchmark that settles our mindset it prepare us on how we respond from being punched so
    We never let it “failure” keep us down for no matter what we bounce back to keep the struggle up keep moving forward. reading through your lines is really a privilege thank you for setting us through your endless lines of inspirations and encouraging us to remain hopeful no matter what. We still hope to see you visit Nigeria I will bet everything to be on the front sit! Sir Mr Strive Misiyawa with your countless tailored mentorship storylines Kanti e-commerce is up and taking the market by storm! Thank you!

    My reply,
    I’m excited to learn about the progress you are making with Kanti. Well done!
    I hope to see you in Nigeria in a couple of weeks.
    I plan to do several trips before the end of this year.

  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Lizzy writes,

    Thank you sir. Just thinking about the many things i’ve done wrong In the past. The many chances i’ve missed, and the many opportunities i’ve wasted. Thank you sir for this timely advice. I’ll reflect and re analyze,extract the valuable lessons learnt, dust myself up and move on just like you said. I’m grateful sir. I’m definitely not defined by my past mistakes i’ll learn from it and move on. And so will everyone who will adhere. Thank you again sir.

    My reply,
    It’s time to move on….
    I’m proud of your decision. The end of this matter is great than its beginning. You have a great future ahead of you.

  17. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Okorie writes,

    I’m encouraged! Things were just fallen apart. Frustration just keep setting in. I just don’t always feel like going out this days

    My reply,
    I’m glad you have been encouraged. You will be just fine, I know because I have been there before.

  18. happy wheels

    I have a question regarding this week’s competition.
    Is it possible for one to enter with a business (idea) that is yet to fully kick off? Everything is ready but we are just sourcing for more funding so that we can implement the first phase of our business.


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