Thriving As An Entrepreneur In An Unfavourable African Environment


Akinwande Akinsiku


Successful entrepreneurs are the backbones of any economy. In fact, the efficiency of the private sector accounts for the difference between North America and Africa in terms of economic development. In emerging economies as in most African states, small business owners are the creators of jobs and national posterity. It is therefore important for any responsible government to provide conducive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive in.

Unlike the First World countries, the economy of almost all the African states is under-developed and characterised by harsh business ambience. The factors accounting for an unfavourable business environment in African countries include, but not limited to, political instability, lack of venture capital, inadequate infrastructural facilities, high interest rated business loans, multiple and high taxation, insecurity, corruption, poverty, shortage of indigenous skilled personnel and administrative irregularities of governments or regulatory agencies.

However, in the midst of these threatening factors, there are still entrepreneurs that are very successful without compromising standards.

Below are discussed ways by which entrepreneurs can thrive in an unfavourable business environment as it is being found in most African states;

  1. Creation of values: It was late Martin Luther King, Jnr. who said that “life’s most important question is: what are you doing for others?” Create value by solving problems for others. In fact, you are not in business, if your enterprise or organisation is not meeting the needs of your clients. Even though profit is the reward of any capital investment, your prime motive to be in business or an entrepreneur should not be to make money, but to create value. Be committed to making a life, rather than making a living through your business. Value is what a customer will miss if he or she refuses to have your product or service. How valuable your product or service is will determine successful your business becomes.
  2. Specialisation: Locate your niche in your area of business. Do not try to be a jack of all trades in business. Also, do not be involved in a business you are not passionate or gifted about. Entrepreneurs who do a business just because someone else is succeeding in it hardly survive and succeed in such business. Every entrepreneur is made to solve particular problems. As an entrepreneur, you should locate the problems you are passionate and gifted to solve and be focused to build a business in them.
  3. Deliver Excellence: Always strive diligently to develop expertise and be the best in your area of business. A wise man said there is no defence against an excellence that meets a public need. Shun all forms of mediocrity and always be alert to take advantage of every opportunity to develop or learn skills necessary for your area of business. Your target should always be to be among the leading entrepreneurs in your industry or field of business.
  4. Offer Excellent Customer Service: Customers are kings, so do treat your customers very well all the time. Happy customers are the best salespersons. Know your customers and always prioritised to give them attention anytime they are patronising your product or service. Try to keep a database of all your customers and always keep in touch. Offer special discounts to regular customers. Make your goods and services affordable and accessible to low income earners without compromising quality. Send messages and gifts to customers on special events such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. Improve on your turnaround time to customers. Offering an excellent customer service to your customers will make them loyal to your business.
  5. Leverage: Do not think you do not need the help of others to succeed. Leverage is what differentiates the rich from the poor. Employ and partner with like-minded persons and tools to run your business. You can leverage on the technology of the internet to ease the operations of your business. You can also leverage on the resources and networks of your contacts to expand your connection. If you do not leverage, you will be working harder than you should to earn less than you can. The golden rule of leverage is never do by yourself anything you can pay someone else less to do.