Aliko Dangote is and has been one of the most prolific and celebrated businessmen in Nigeria and indeed Africa at large. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of US $ 9 billion and is the richest person of African descent. He surpassed Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi in 2013 by $2.6 billion. He peaked at 23rd on the 100 richest people list in 2014 and has dominated most of the industries he has entered for well over 20 years.
Dangote is the president and CEO of the Dangote Group which has diversified holdings in sugar, flour, cement and other commodities. His first foray into major business was trading rice, sugar and cement locally, but his entrepreneurship interest had been peaked at a young age. He was quoted saying “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets [candy] and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.
Over the years Dangote has consistently used some strategies that have helped his companies remain on top. At his debut in the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2010 sales had gone up to $450 million and his sugar refinery became the largest in Africa. Dangote cement is still the largest producer in Africa and his oil refinery is expected to be one of the largest in the world once construction is completed. There are some understated things that have enabled Dangote Group to become a leader in all its markets and these Dangote strategies can be applied in your small business.
Invest In The Familiar
When your business still operates at a very limited level or before you go into any business venture you should consider how much information you have on the business. Dangote started out with a business he already knew all too well. Being the grandson of Sanusi Dantata, one of the richest men in Kano at his peak and major rice and oats trader, Dangote was already engulfed in the trading business. Investing in what you know gives you an advantage because you can make more informed decisions regarding the business. As tempting as it may be to go with what is trending, it may not be right for you if you don’t have enough information on it.
Identify The Opportunity To Be A Market Leader
You can trace the success of every holding in the Dangote group to the opportunity it identified. Dangote saw the opportunity to be the leader in the cement business and ran with it. He reportedly also proposed the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s fleet and staff buses, the proposal was approved. Dangote Sugar dominated the sugar business by rising to become the largest supplier to soft drink companies and this is why it remains number 1 in the sugar industry. More recently Dangote recognised a gap in the oil business, seeing that most large refineries were located abroad. He decided to build a major one in Africa which would be one of the largest in the world. The route to market domination is very clear. In your small business, you need to know your market and look for ways to compete at the highest level. It could be through innovation, specific marketing or a unique price strategy. The main thing is you must constantly be on the look-out for things that can give you an edge.
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Look To Improve Your Network
Dangote is famous for being in the circles of some of the most influential people in Nigeria. He is a member of exclusive clubs, endeavours to attend top-class events and is indeed friends with other top businessmen and politicians alike. A lot of business deals and proposals may not be successful if you do not know the influencers in that business, this is why networking is important. Taking time out to attend industry events could be beneficial to you. You get to meet other stakeholders and experienced individuals in your business who can help you along.
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