Jim Ovia’s 12 Basic Business Ingredients For Success
Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, a philanthropist and Africa’s Billionaire published a book titled Africa Rise and Shine. The book was launched in 2018. The title was inspired by The Economist magazine of December, 2011 titled “Africa rising”. Interesting to Ovia, the May 2000 magazine of The Economist had a cover story that dubbed Africa “The Hopeless Continent”. To him, the 2011 publication revealed that Africa had, in fact, never been hopeless, and it was this awakening perception of a continent at the zenith of her growth that led the title of the book.
Ovia’s greatest hope for the book is to demonstrate through example that an entrepreneur is in essence, a self-made entity who may well be cultivating skills and honing instincts years before identifying them as business inclinations. The basic business ingredients for success are as follows:
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS– If your gut tells you something, listen to it. An entrepreneur never takes what he or she is told for granted. (Even The Economist gets it wrong sometimes.)
FIND THE ASSET IN ADVERSITY– Any adversity, be it economic or personal, brings change – and change always brings opportunity. It is demonstrable that, whether nations or individuals, those who have the least to gain also have the most to gain, leading to fortitude and an unshakable work ethic.
BRAND MATTERS– Take time from the get-go to think through every aspect of your brand. With enough foresight and strategic planning, a powerful brand concept can be the single deciding factor for the success or otherwise of your business.
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME– Never view a lack of resources or an inadequate infrastructure as an impediment. On the contrary, having the opportunity to instigate infrastructural change is a great boon, with the dual outcome of priming the business pump and ensuring a supportive and happy consumer base.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION– Start locally, but plan globally. Address the needs of the local consumer first, but make sure your business plan is structured for expansion.
REACTION FACTOR– Good timing is key. Don’t let impatience win the day by starting your business too early. Make sure you have strategised in advance, so that when opportunity unexpectedly arises, you are ready to seize it.
INNOVATE, INNOVATE, INNOVATE– If you don’t make a friend of technology, it may become your enemy. The trend toward rapid tech development will continue indefinitely. Make the presumption that the tech of tomorrow is accommodated in the plans you make today.
KNOW WHEN TO GO IT ALONE– Growth is not a universal good. There may come a time when mergers and acquisition will work to your advantage, but more often they will not. Make the preservation of your corporate culture and your shareholder value a priority, and above all else, advocate for your consumer.
Excerpt from Africa Rise And Shine by Jim Ovia.