It was Zambian entrepreneur Monica Musonda’s experience as a lawyer at Dangote Group – a Nigerian multinational founded by one of Africa’s richest men, Aliko Dangote – that inspired her to take the plunge, quit her job and start Zambia-based Java Foods.
She frequently accompanied Dangote on business trips and recalls that when they visited Zambia, he would ask: ‘Where are the Zambian businessmen? Why aren’t there more, and why are they not taking up the opportunities?’
Musonda is one of the businesspeople featured in HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA: THE BOOK (available here), which tells the stories of 25 entrepreneurs who’ve built thriving businesses.
Here are three lessons we can learn from Musonda’s business journey, as chronicled in the book.
1. Have a clear understanding of what consumers want, and how much they’re prepared to pay for it. What might seem to be a fantastic innovation is not really such a great idea if no-one is willing to open their wallets for it.
2. Bigger companies are more likely to survive over the long term. To be a well-run and profitable business, it’s all about scale.
3. Keep expenses to a minimum until the company starts to generate sustainable cash flow. Forget about fancy offices or the most expensive Toyotas before the business can stand on its own feet.
For a deep dive into Musonda’s story, purchase HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA: THE BOOK. (Ebook and paperback available)