If your child tells you that he wants to become an entrepreneur, you better cry and pray for him. I mean it. It takes a lot to be a real practising entrepreneur. It takes even much more to start, manage and grow a profitable business that really matters.
This is not bread and beans I am talking about here. I am talking about heart, soul, blood, core, life, madness, work! You can’t skip or corner the hard work. You must do it and do it well, it doesn’t matter if your name is Prince or your father’s name is Williams. You must roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You must twist and turn, bite and chew.
And sometimes it may require that you hang in there long or longer, racking your brain, scratching your head, bursting your butt, tweaking, until you find the right combination that unlocks the treasure chest of that true success and growth that your soul really pants for.
Even at my growing level, I am beginning to gradually understand what the Dangotes, the Elumelus, the Madukas, the Musks, and the Strives of this world go through to get their businesses going and thriving. These guys don’t operate in the same mental zipcodes as most of us. They are crazy. They are abnormal. They are nuts. They are sick. They are possessed.
On December 23rd 2015, I shared an interesting article I read about a very successful African entrepreneur. It was a 2-page feature on Mohammed Dewji, the Group CEO of MeTL Group who is currently ranked the richest man in Tanzania and was voted as the Forbes 2015 Person of the Year. Mohammed Dewji owns the biggest edible oil refinery in Africa and other multiple business interests in different African countries. Currently worth over $1.1 billion and employs over 24,000 workforce, Mohammed Dewji is set to expand his business to more African countries and grow his workforce to 100,000 by 2022.
At the age of 40, Mo, as he is popularly called, works 100-hour a week and holds at least 60 board meetings a month! Now, you do the math. That’s about 15 hours of daily work a week (if he works 7 days) or 17 hours of daily work a week (if he works 6 days). That’s one. Two, he holds an average of 2 board meetings every day (if he works 7 days) or an average of 3 board meetings every day (if he works 6 days).
And then your child wakes up one day and tells you that he wants to become an entrepreneur and you are still standing there doing nothing?
Pray. Cry. Fast. Pray again.
I am not saying your child must be like Mo. In Lagos, my company successfully hosted a crop of sharp-minded entrepreneurs from diverse business sectors to another exclusive business learning ecosystem called #TheIncubatorsPRO that took us late into the night discussing business, peer-learning engagement, and finding answers to tough business questions. By the time I finally got home around 9 p.m., I was dog-tired and really, really hungry. Yet again, by 2 a.m., I was up to carry out my early morning thinking ritual and review the work so far, plan out my day’s business checklist, work on this publication so that you can read it, as well as set new targets and agendas for our firm.
Do you think if I have my way, I wouldn’t want to sleep till 8 a.m. or even 9? And then when I finally dragged myself out of bed, I head straight for the remote and begin to watch Telemundo all day long or better still settle for the pad and play the latest Xbox video game in my pyjamas, and then when evening finally comes, I simply dress in my clean, starched shirt and styled jeans and go party in my friend’s girlfriend’s place or maybe some niteclub down the block?
Yeah, those are cool stuffs, no doubt, but you see, working on building my business and inspiring my team to stretch and win and be the best they are called to be and make a difference is far better, long-term, cooler, top priority, and, some would say, stupid.
That’s the part I like. That’s how entrepreneurs swing. They step forward and do the massive amount of work.
So if I call myself a real entrepreneur, then I must be ready to step up before and when the work calls forth. My work ethic must not be questionable. This is my life’s work, my destiny, and I must make it count. FYI, I want to take over the world (every true entrepreneur wants to, actually).
So as I face the day, I just want to constantly take my best shot now and always, not minding the odds that are stacked against me. Who knows? I may just hit the bull-eye’s before the sun sets. And even if I don’t, I will continue swinging and shooting until and when the sun wakes up.
And that’s because I am an entrepreneur and I am not normal. So don’t let your child come near me. I will corrupt him because that’s what entrepreneurs do.
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Source Beauty is pushing the boundaries of Egyptian e-commerce
Egyptian e-commerce: the county’s digital drive has not yet gotten to the growth typically seen in European countries and North America. However, as businesses have started shifting online, customers are now following suit, resulting in the gradual development of the digital eco-system.
Innovation, such as digital marketing, is reinventing the consumers’ path to purchase. The Egyptian e-commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 33% annually to approximately $3bn by 2022, according to Oxford Business Group.
Source Beauty and disruption
The increase in e-commerce comes from rising internet penetration rates, driven by connected and digitally savvy millennials. Several platforms, both locally and internationally, such as the direct-to-consumer beauty platform Source Beauty, have disrupted the beauty industry in the region to drive their growth by truly connecting with their customers.
By being aware of the changing consumer behaviour trends in the e-commerce landscape, service providers like Source Beauty are continually fostering customer engagement with a community they have created. The customer service team, along with the editorial and marketing teams, respond to each comment and direct message, making customers feel listened to.
Lydia Schoonderbeek, the founder and CEO of Source Beauty, said:
“Egypt has traditionally been a price-driven market. After devaluation and high inflation rates, people have become much more price sensitive. People are consuming less and are shifting away from imported products due to price, accessibility and inconsistency in supply. As a result, they’re looking for local alternatives.”
In line with its digital transformation and financial inclusion agenda, the Egyptian government has set in place directives to raise the limit for electronic payments for individuals via mobile phones to EGP30,000 (USD1,905) per day, and EGP100,000 (USD6,350) per month, since March 2020. Traditionally, 70% of online purchases were cash on delivery, which has proven to be a major challenge to e-commerce growth throughout the region. This preference has changed to credit card payments, increasing to 30% from 16% due to the spread of Covid-19, but it remains to be seen whether purchasing behaviors will be affected in the long term.
The CEO of Source Beauty further added that, the company had seen substantial growth thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with existing and new customers wanting to limit in-person beauty services and adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Beauty customers, she says were changing spending habits, moving towards products that allow them to recreate the salon experience in their homes and protect them from the potential impact of an increasingly digital lifestyle. Finally, she believes they have seen customers prioritising skincare and haircare purchases over makeup.
The question is, ‘Is anyone in Egypt going to buy beauty products online?’. Who thought people would buy books on the internet from a website called Amazon! Well, the answer seems to be YES. Consumer spending in Egypt on non-essential goods has reached EGP 3.90bn in 2020 and is set to reach 8.81bn in 2021, according to FitchSolution’s 2021 Report.
According to the Egyptian e-commerce beauty company, Source Beauty, it believes that the world is in an era where consumers are looking to associate with brands and not products, to make their beauty purchasing decisions and this is where homegrown brands like theirs will doubtlessly lead to economic growth in Egypt.
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