What do you do that is different?

__Always look for the “game changer” (Part 1).

There is a story told in the legend of modern business about a young man who liked reading books. He would order books by mail order, but being a very avid reader he found that it took too long for the books to arrive. So what did he do? He sat down and designed a new way to get books delivered in the shortest time possible.

His process for ordering and delivering books has turned him into one of the richest people in the world. That young man is Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and he’s now worth over $50bn.

Sometimes the “game changer” comes from the way you deliver your service to the customer!

As an entrepreneur, one of the keys to your success is your continuous search for something that sets you apart, even if you’re in the same business as others. Some of the things that you do don’t have to be technological or highly sophisticated — just different!

And smart!

# What do you do that is different?

It reminds me of a guy who owned a small butcher shop just out of town from where I grew up. Whenever I drove past his shop I noticed there were always a lot of “men” milling around. So, being curious, I stopped and waited in my car to see what was happening.

I soon discovered that this guy used to sell cooked “cows feet,” which were considered by local men as an aphrodisiac! People would come from far and wide to buy his “cows feet.” I chuckled to myself thinking about what a great entrepreneur he was. Soon he added a little bar and sold cold beer. In no time at all, he was expanding to other parts of the country, strategically adding the “secret source” of his business model!

Now, I am not saying go into that same business! No. I just want you to see the principle: Successful entrepreneurship requires you to be constantly looking for a “game changer,” even in the most mundane of businesses.

# What is your “game changer”?

If someone gives me what I consider to be bad service, I try not to complain. I start thinking if there’s an opportunity for me! I never made money from complaining, but from dealing with frustrations thrown at me!

I find always that I’m at my best, as an entrepreneur, when I’m trying to get over an attempt to frustrate me. Maybe it was because a bank turned me down over a loan, or a regulator refused to give me a license, or a business partner cheated me…

It’s all the same: It spurred me to buckle down and become tenacious, or it made me find an innovation to get round the problem. It must be the same for you!

# A true entrepreneur is never frustrated by anything…

This is how some of the greatest businesses in history came about!

Is there something that frustrates and irritates you every day? That could be the biggest entrepreneurial opportunity in your life!

# A true entrepreneur is never frustrated by anything…

It’s not that I don’t want to complain about some things that are done to me, but sometimes I forget to complain because I’m too busy using the opportunity created for me!!!

In life it’s not that we’re not challenged or even frustrated by others, or by the authorities. If you’re going through such a situation yourself, don’t let it get you down…

Use it to propel you to the next level!

To be continued. . .

Image credit: Susan Winters Cook

by 23 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.

23 thoughts on “What do you do that is different?

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    I thought some of you would be interested in this Forbes magazine list of global game changers. (They only looked at for-profits, with a market value more than $1 billion.) Of course, some people are amazing “game changers” in other fields, too. Tell me about some game changers you know. ‪https://www.forbes.com/global-game-changers/

    Reply
  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    I’ve always said that Ecocash, our mobile money service, is the best in the world. I did not say it was the “biggest;” I said it was the “best.” Because we’re from Africa, many people would simply roll their eyes in disbelief. This week, Ecocash won the award for the best mobile money service in the world, at the World Mobile Congress (MWC’17) in Barcelona Spain! Well done to the Ecocash team that has worked tirelessly for years to develop this service into “The Best Mobile Money Service in the World.” You are all great entrepreneurs! https://www.globalmobileawards.com/winners-2017/

    Reply
  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    I once asked Richard Branson how he started Virgin Airlines, one of the biggest airlines in the world. The story was quite hilarious, but so true of great entrepreneurship! It’s been told so many times that I will leave you to do a search on the Internet for yourself, or even better, read his books.

    Reply
  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.
    “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!” said Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh (a timeless classic). If you’re a parent, what books are on your children’s bookshelves these days?
    Every parent who has a young child should raise their children with this mindset:
    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!”

    Reply
  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Reflection:

    Numbers 13:33 – 14:2
    There we saw the Nephilim [or giants], the sons of Anak, who come from the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
    AND ALL the congregation cried out with a loud voice, and [they] wept that night.
    All the Israelites grumbled and deplored their situation…

    Notice that they said, “we were in OUR own sight as grasshoppers,and we were in their sight”.
    When all you can see are the obstacles and challenges, you become a “grasshopper in your own eyes”. Before you are ever a grasshopper in the eyes of others, you were First a grasshopper in your OWN eyes!
    If you don’t see yourself as a grasshopper, no one will!

    In today’s parlance, we might even call Joshua and Caleb entrepreneurs because of how they “saw” themselves and the situation they were in…..Read on! (14:8-9).

    Reply
  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Dylan writes,

    Congratulations Ecocash. Surely it is the best. I remember when I was stuck at the Chirundu border some 4 years ago after I had been charged more duty for my vehicle I was importing than the cash I had with me. There were on 2 banks at the boarder town and I didnt chave an account with any of those and anyway those banks had closed already. My home was some 300km from the boarder. I also was only left with that day as the last day of my 5 day leave I had taken at work. The time was around 5pm and the border was about to close, I think at 8pm. I remembered I had just registered Ecocash. I just made a few phone calls to friends and within 30mins I had received the cash that was shortfall from 5 people from different parts of the country via Ecocash. I quickly cashed out the cash at the nearest Ecocash shop. I finally paid the duty and I was the last person clearing a car that was served that night. I was impressed with the convinience I got through the service. Since that day I have used Ecocash services most times than I use my banks. This is a great service Econet team. Keep it up!

    My reply,
    You cannot imagine what this means to us.
    Thank you my brother.
    Appreciated.

    Reply
  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Michael Okonkwo writes:

    Thanks Dr Strive Masiyiwa, I so much admire seeing entrepreneurs making it large but I don’t know the secret behind managing a very large multimillion dollar companies that the founder may not be present in some of the branch offices and the business still moves fine. With the little experience I have, insincerity and carelessness is all I see among the employee, even in my presence, so I wonder how large companies survive when the employer is not present and i wish to know the secret of achieving success in such large business.

    Thanks

    My reply,
    This is one of the main reasons I started this platform. I realized that many African entrepreneurs have not been exposed to the processes which are used to make businesses very large. Our own business for instance has operations and interests, in many countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America. It is impossible for me personally to visit many of these businesses. Some businesses I have not visited for many years, whilst others I have not visited at all. And yet these businesses were set up, and are run very well, and continue to grow. How this is done is not a “secret”, there are methods and techniques which you can be trained to use.
    My task is to teach you how this is done, and I have been doing so for a while. It is important that you carefully go back to where I started writing, and read everything, including my comments like this one.
    I have also set up a special 24 hr TV channel, which brings together leading international experts on the subject of building and running businesses professionally. My TV channel is called Kwese Inc.

    Reply
  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Damilola writes:

    Strive Masiyiwa I have a collection of some of your posts I would love to share with readers on my list, I am a content creator and curator. I would like to know if I can give the PDF collection out to those who asked, I have tried to reach you through other social handles.

    My reply,
    “Freely it has been given to you, so freely you must give others” is also a principle.
    You can use this material to share with others, but don’t try and make money from it. Also acknowledge the source.
    You see the picture of the little boy that accompanies this FB post? Well, we had to find the person who took it, to get their permission.
    You have done well to come to me.
    Appreciated.

    Reply
  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Brian writes:

    Have started it my brother, once told my little boy that if he gets an electrical engineering degree yet his village is in the dark and he does nothing. Better he approach the awarding varsity and duly return the certificate

    My reply,
    When I returned to Zimbabwe for the first time, I went to see my grandmother whom I had not seen for more than 20 years. I will never forget one of the first questions she asked me:
    “I hear you have mastered electricity; does this mean I will now live with lights?”
    It was the greatest challenge anyone had ever posed to me. If I did not give her that electricity I felt like a fraud, and yet I did not even work for the power company.”
    “Grandmother you shall have electricity and a house without thatch, because that is why I travelled across the seas.”
    I made sure I fulfilled those promises, even before I ever built myself a house in the city for myself. And long before I made any money.
    This is a challenge for anyone who has acquired a qualification of any kind however modern and sophisticated:
    Can you do something with it to improve the lives of the rural folk?
    If you put your mind to it, I know you can do something. It is not all about governments. It is my (uncomfortable) challenge for all of us, this week.

    Reply
  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Lizo writes:

    “I never made money from complaining, but from dealing with frustrations thrown at me!”…wow i realize this is exactly what put China ahead in such a short time, they stopped complaining,Africa needs to learn this principle.Instead of joining us complain about (named competitor) , you came with game changer Kwese tv sir

    My reply,
    Last year I asked a very respected investor to invest in Kwese Tv. He said “I can’t because it is impossible to put together a rival service to xxx (a certain competitor)” .
    So a few weeks ago, I invited the same guy to my office, and gave him a remote. “Go through the channels and tell me what you think?”
    After a few minutes, he put his hand to his mouth and said “wow! This is even better!”

    “This is only the beginning. Watch this space over the next few months. What you see there is only a fraction of my vision, and insight on this.”
    “I’m sorry, I doubted you the first time.” He replied.
    “That’s ok.”
    Remember what Christopher Robin said to Winnie-The-Pooh?
    __I was raised by a mother, who never allowed me to feel sorry for myself, or intimidated by anyone.

    Reply
    • Joy

      Hello Sir May God continue to bless you more and more. I am one your constant follower on facebook. Please tried to find way to write to you privately unfortunately I couldn’t find and this the only way. Sir I can assure that I am not here to seek constantly money from you or may think that I am fake not at all. As a young lady based in Ghana I’ve been of great help to the needy and currently taking care of a young boy I won through outreach and stayed with me for almost 2years. I decided to send him to school and now in boarding by God’s grace. I do everything for him and do send him feeding fee everything month . I rented a house and have been renewing it every 2years faithfully. I am unemployed now and in search for a new job and because of that I unable to renew my rent which will expire next week and the landlady ask me to leave and don’t have anywhere to go and the money I had , I used it to pay the boy exam fee and use some for his feeding fee. So what I have it is not enough to pay for the rent. Please for God’s sake Sir not asking money for other things just for my accommodation to have a peace of mind because I am really disturbed. The rent is 32.79 dollars and I have to pay 3years . Please Sir you can help me by sending it through Western Union not with your name in case you want privacy . You can send someone else you trust to do the transfer or if you know someone in Ghana , to whom I will just show the house and he or she pays than for me to have the money. I have sent you my e-mail address in case you need any info from me ,I am ready to send them to you . Thank you Sir and May God increase you in every area of your life

      Reply
  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Peter writes:

    Wow! Did you beat M pesa? Congratulations sir

    My reply,
    On Mobile Money we were a “fast follower”, because it was actually started by M-PESA in Kenya. What we did with our own service was to add more features. Whilst M-PESA is much bigger than Ecocash, the adjudication was not based on size. For instance more people use Ecocash in Zimbabwe ( as a percentage of the adult population) than any other mobile money service in the world.
    Also M-PESA has won this award before, as it is given annually.
    #AfricaRising.

    Reply
  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Wanderley Ribeiro writes:

    I wonder how many opportunities exist here on this hundreds of comments to Dr. Strive’s post. There are probably entrepreneurs from everywhere in Africa that follow Dr. Strive and are probably very close to their major next opportunity. I see opportunity here, who else does? We can connect interests from all the African continent and serve the world. We just need to connect the dots. Eventually Dr Strive should think on organising an African entrepreneurship event to help create the lines that will connect the big dots here… my thoughts…

    My reply,
    Smart idea, right mindset. Get going and let’s see what you come up with.

    Reply
  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Peter writes:

    Wow! Did you beat M pesa? Congratulations sir

    My reply,
    On Mobile Money we were a “fast follower”, because it was actually started by M-PESA in Kenya. What we did with our own service was to add more features. Whilst M-PESA is much bigger than Ecocash, the adjudication was not based on size. For instance more people use Ecocash in Zimbabwe ( as a percentage of the adult population) than any other mobile money service in the world.
    Also M-PESA has won this award before, as it is given annually.
    #AfricaRising.

    Reply
  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Joao writes:

    Thanks a lot Dr. Masiyiwa to like my comment, am feeling blessed to be an Angolan young being inspired by you. Please Sr. Suggest me something regarding to the learning of English that can help me to be sucessful, because for me this is an investment…

    My reply,
    Actually your written English is quite good!
    There are other ways you can improve any language proficiency. For instance my wife learnt French recently using a language App. It was amazing!
    You can also try and travel to other countries where they speak English. This is always difficult in Africa, but not impossible, if you are determined, just don’t do it illegally.
    Finally download the Kwese App, and watch some of our English speaking programming.
    I admire what you are trying to do. I wish I had tried harder to learn Portuguese when I had the chance.

    Reply
  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwese Quiz:
    In the TV business, “exclusivity” is the key “game changer”:
    You must be able to secure or develop content (programming) that no one else has got.
    I will give 50 x Kwese decoders, to the first person from any African country, who can identify something that is only EXCLUSIVE on Kwese Tv. If we do not broadcast in your country by June, I will send you an iPhone. Make sure you state your country, as there is only one prize per country.

    [All the answers can be found on Kwese.Com, or Kwese App.]

    Reply
  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Wanderley Ribeiro writes:

    I wonder how many opportunities exist here on this hundreds of comments to Dr. Strive’s post. There are probably entrepreneurs from everywhere in Africa that follow Dr. Strive and are probably very close to their major next opportunity. I see opportunity here, who else does? We can connect interests from all the African continent and serve the world. We just need to connect the dots. Eventually Dr Strive should think on organising an African entrepreneurship event to help create the lines that will connect the big dots here… my thoughts…

    My reply,
    Smart idea, right mindset. Get going and let’s see what you come up with.

    Reply
  17. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought:
    One of my daughters is quite petite (takes after me, I guess!). When she was at school she would be teased over her size.
    So one day, I told her to take a ruler, and I put it against her head:
    “Go tell them that in my family, we measure height from here to here. We don’t really bother with the rest.”
    She giggled with joy!
    She is very smart.

    Each one of us, has a unique gift able to compensate for anything that we see as a disadvantage. God is God, is God!

    Reply
  18. david unyime

    Good day Sir,
    Kwese Tv is an interesting and innovative television custom-made for African. we have a lot of interesting Channels ranging from the free Sport channels to those series on entrepreneurship. The Kwese TV advantage is the FREE SPORTS CHANNEL. It is only exclusive on Kwese TV.

    David unyime
    from Nigeria

    Reply
  19. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Today:
    Talking of game changers!
    We have an amazing new sports channel being launched today at 6pm (CAT). Well done to the KweseSports Tv team.

    Reply
  20. Archie Moses Zhomwa

    Thank you sir for such profound words of wisdom. As young entrepreneurs who follow your teachings ,we can also use this to connect and conglomerate our businesses. Its just an idea in me.

    Reply

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