Image credit: Ubuntu Hope. Soweto, South Africa.

This is how we start (Part 5)

__Ideas + no actions = ?

One of our members on this platform commented a few days ago that he thinks “ideas are overrated.” I took a little while to reflect on this comment, and then I came to the conclusion that he has a point. While there is really nearly nothing more exciting in this world than believing you have a totally original idea that no one, now or before, has ever had, the idea is only a start…

When it happens, you must apply for a patent, copyright or trademark so that others can pay you license fees for using your idea.

That’s all good, but it’s not the only thing entrepreneurship is about:

__You can still be a very successful entrepreneur, even if you are not the originator of the idea, if you are able to adopt and adapt something successfully for your own market (of course, respecting Intellectual Property. If you don’t know what that is, it’s part of your homework).

I wish I could tell you that I invented mobile phones. I didn’t, and neither did anyone who makes money from them today. When I was a student engineer at college, I remember discussing mobile phones with my professors. The first commercial systems started being available in the 1970’s in the USA.

Aliko Dangote did not invent cement, nor was he the first person in Nigeria to think about building a cement plant. What sets him apart is his entrepreneurial capacity to execute skillfully, using #People and #Process.

What is a McDonald’s? Is it not a hamburger that can be cooked in your mother’s kitchen? Yet someone took that humble burger, and turned it into a global business with a market capitalization last week of $140bn+. If McDonald’s was a country, it would be bigger than most African countries, except for Nigeria and South Africa.

How did this happen? Was the “idea” of a hamburger a new one at the time? Well, you tell me…

Now there is not a single African company today as big as McDonald’s. Or even half the size of McDonald’s. Why?! Why?!

The “hamburger” was not an original idea invented by McDonald’s. The guy who built the billion-dollar burger company was a master of #Process! And what else?

You can build a million-dollar enterprise in almost anything you can imagine. Even if it is collecting rubbish on the street, there are guys out there in the world who have used it to propel themselves to global business scale.

The idea you have, whether original or something you have read about or seen in another country, is not actually the entrepreneurship. This only begins when you take concrete steps to make it happen.

Where are you on the journey today (part 5 of this series)?

# Have you been listening and learning?

# Are your entrepreneurial eyes open to solving problems around you?

# Are you #WiredForOpportunity?

Let’s not just talk…

Let’s execute ideas!

What are the first 10 steps you must take, after you have the idea? (No prizes; it is too important).

To be continued. . .

by 5 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.

5 thoughts on “This is how we start (Part 5)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    Most of you know by now that you should not to share your new business ideas here on this social media platform or any other one. You also shouldn’t talk about them in public while riding in a taxi, bus or plane, or even at a bar with your friends. Your original ideas might not be executed yet, but they still have value, maybe a LOT.

    I have told you here before that talking to people about such ideas can be like putting your wallet on a bar and walking out the door and leaving it behind…

    There are rules for protecting Intellectual Property (IP) that you should be sure to know about and respect. Here is just one link to get you started:

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    Every time I start something, there is always someone who tries to convince me that they “thought about it first.” Only someone very naive thinks like that!

    “So are you the only one who thinks?”

    “It’s not about what you ‘thought’ but what you did!”

    I did not get a letter from Uber saying “Hey, you have copied us. We were first!”

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Lawal writes,

    Dr strive, the word “Process” sound like a thousand step being put up in one word.(and majority find it very difficult to break up)…unlike “People” and “Product” which are very clear on their terms.

    I have to admit Chief that #Process is the hardest job of every Entrepreneur.

    My reply,
    Yes, that is correct:
    #Process is the hardest part.
    When I was a young entrepreneur I was totally obsessed with #PROCESS.

    One of my favorite all time books was a small book by a former Microsoft executive [Larry Bossidy], entitled:


    I was also a disciple of the work of an American called Edward Deming.
    I read all his books.
    Peter Drucker was another favorite of mine.

    We have to be more conscious of the fact that #GETTING THINGS DONE!
    Is driven by a discipline around #Process!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *