The other day, tbere was a discussion about entrepreneurship and someone mentioned Dangote. He has become the metaphor for great wealth like Da Rocha , that man of mythic wealth in the historic past. Yorubas used to say one was as rich like Da Rocha. Dangote is the name for this age.
When people talk of Dangote, the remember the successes of the Group. Most people are unaware of the still born projects, the ones that languished for decades before they were cancelled. It is over a decade since Dangote got into making Tomato puree, we are yet to see the product in the market. It was involved in juice and gum Arabic, I heard. Those business operations have been rested. Yes, Dangote has had more wins that failures , by far, but imagine for a minute how much the story would have changed if the losses came earlier rather than later when his business was big enough to handle it.
We romanticize business owner too much. From a distance, anything can look beautiful. It is at a macro level that you life as it is. As the saying goes, you find money in the wilderness . Real success is manufactured far away from prying eyes, not the glamorous shark tank packaged competition like this is some form of reality television.
And if you look closely, it is easy to appreciate how hard it is to add value. Consider a going concern business that declare a loss after a year of operations; do you know how many things you have to get right to make a loss? How much hard work goes in to just building a business that is alive and self sustaining ? Four out of every five startups doe before their fifth year. Over that period, the venture would be burning cash millions of shareholder cash and haemoraging capital
A young lawyer I know has, for the past four years or so been dabbling in food processing with the intention of killing it on the export market. Four years of trying different juice products, over forty million naira down the drain. But nobody is advising him to throw in the towel. But I will.
This is the story you don’t hear often enough; some times the best next decision is to give up. Tiredness is not Laziness.