If you seek traceable wealth built on a solid foundation of business genuineness fuelled by sheer diligence that is certainly durable, then what you seek is what business magnate Aliko Dangote has achieved. He is the perfect model for building a business system that works and stands the test of time. This 61-year-old has been the 23rd richest person in the world and the richest in Africa since 2014. If you think you know enough about Dangote think again.

Although he was born into a wealthy family, he maintains the opinion that a successful business is built and not merely realised overnight. “I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008. But it didn’t happen overnight; it took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me, but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, the tenacity of purpose is supreme.”

According to Forbes Magazine in 2015, Dangote remains the richest man in Africa, this is undisputed as he has a net worth of 10.5 billion US dollars as of January 2019. Here are a few lessons to pick from Dangote’s 30-year successful business journey.

Dream big, start from where you are

While it is good to have big dreams as an entrepreneur, it is equally important to start from where you are. A lot of start-ups are waiting for major funding or capital to start or execute projects. Even though your dream is to build a really successful business empire, you need to start on a small scale and expand as you go along. Starting a business is good, continuing can be chaos, but the mental picture you have of that really flourishing enterprise will keep you motivated year in year out.

Equip your mind with the ultimate picture of your business at its peak, focus on your small scale business at the level where it is right now, taking conscious steps towards the big picture.


Business plans are at the core of a successful business. No matter how small or big a business is, it is crucial to draw out clear business plans. This gives you an insight into the intricacies of every aspect of the business. You need to understand what your market is like, how much money and time should go into the business at different stages, this helps you realize how long it will take for the business to grow, at what point expansion should take place and how much returns on investment the business should expect.  Planning gives the business structure.

While it is important to plan, it is equally pivotal to gather adequate information. This is because at the base of a good plan is adequate knowledge. No smart entrepreneur will jump into a business he does not know enough about. While a lot of people see Dangote’s success they disregard the fact that he comes from a family that places so much value on education, he studied Business Studies and administration from Al-Azhar University, Cairo. Before you start that business, ensure you have sufficient information to power that business plan.


Entrepreneurs need to understand that there is no such thing as sandwich success. Business empires don’t just spring up; strong structures take some time. The path to success as an entrepreneur is laced with lessons and experiences and an attempt to take the easy way out will eventually backfire. Alhaji Aliko Dangote emphasizes that his journey to success as a businessman may seem enviable right now, but it took him 30 years to assume that position with a lot of lessons learned.  Every entrepreneur must, therefore, be patient, because great things require a decent level of patience.


Dangote has not limited himself to just one line of business. He has ventured into other business areas of interest both within and across the shores of the country. He transited into the production of the same products he imported after a few years. Entrepreneurs have to be innovative enough to find business opportunities that will enable them to increase their market reach and also increase returns. The Kano native claims that the move that birthed the Dangote Group of businesses is one that has diversification at its root.

Build a brand

A lot of business owners are concerned with sales and profit alone and undermine the brand value of their enterprise. The focal point of your business should be -trust over funds, if you sell a brand rather than goods and services, what you get are loyal customers. The business mogul Dangote says ‘’to succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand, which I diligently built in the course of my trading”.

So, constantly churn out honest and quality products and your customers will buy anything that you are selling.



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