#Competition is good (Part 3)

#Competition is good (Part 3)

__Did my grandmother invent Coca-Cola?

In the Business Wars podcasts, one of my favorite battles is Coca-Cola vs Pepsi. It is the stuff of legends and a battle that goes on to this day. I have known about the history of Coca-Cola for decades as I also own a Coca-Cola bottling franchise. After I first read about how it was invented I suddenly concluded it could have been invented in Africa, and by my grandmother!

Here is why I think so: As a young child I spent my first school year with my grandmother in a village school. Whenever she ran out of tea leaves (which was often) my grandmother would prepare a brew which consisted of burnt sugar and leaves from a local tree. Whilst I have no evidence to prove my suspicion that Coke’s secret formula really came from a village in Africa, it is truly how drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi were originally #Innovated by the @Entrepreneurs who created them.

In the Business Wars series on Coca-Cola vs Pepsi, we learn about the chemists (pharmacists) and entrepreneurs who experimented to create the original “fizzy” #Products and how they continually #Innovated, developing #Marketing and #Scaling strategies as they competed with each other…

Now we have these behemoth companies continuing an almost 130-year-old rivalry. Together they do more sales per year than some of the largest economies in Africa!

Who can tell me the most recent global sales revenues of Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

__Now let’s look closer to home. Is it really that difficult for us in Africa to develop and market our own soft drinks or to innovate local beverages that are completely new and bring them to market? Let’s ask

#ZoboKing, a young beverage entrepreneur on this platform from Nigeria (pictured) to share his story with us.

The knowledge of chemistry that the inventors of the two cola products had, back in the late 1800s is less than a first-year undergraduate in chemistry at any African university has today, and that includes the rudimentary equipment they possessed! But they innovated… with ”free promotions” to get people to try their products (never done before), mass bottling a fizzy drink (never done before) and the franchise business model?! What about advertising by radio? Pepsi was amongst the very first!

So what is the problem? Why can’t our young entrepreneurs get together to develop products like this, using our abundant raw materials and some of our unique indigenous ones? Why can’t our chemists and entrepreneurs study old recipes used throughout our villages and use them to create modern new products?

I know exactly why it only rarely happens:

Strongholds! A stronghold in my own definition is something you habitually think or believe that is either obsolete, dated, or simply not true!

In this case if someone has convinced you that you have to be in America or Europe to start anything or you need millions of dollars in funding before you can start… you will simply not be able to go out there and create new innovations.

Do you believe that “Innovation and Marketing is what makes money”? If you do, then act on it:

Let’s innovate, let’s market, let’s compete!

Let’s @EntrepreneurIt!

That is how you create wealth as an entrepreneur!

To be continued. . .

Image caption: Mr Precious Onome aka #ZoboKing, founder and CEO of DovelZobo Company LTD. photographed by Edith Isesele, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

16 Replies to “#Competition is good (Part 3)”

  1. Afterthought 2.

    “We’re pausing to celebrate our 100th anniversary (of IPO in 1919) because it’s a milestone. A single $40 share from 1919 would be worth more than $18 million today, for someone who had the discipline to reinvest their dividends,” wrote James Quincey Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Company last month. Many lessons to be learned here.


  2. #ShoutOut Zobo!

    Zobo has entered a segment of the beverage drinks which did not exist 20 years ago:
    Energy Drinks. This is dominated by companies like Red Bull and Monster.

    It is estimated at almost $90bn in annual sales and growing.

    Zobo is our African answer to Red Bull, just like Sasai is our answer to What’s App.
    Let’s be proud of what our own people do even as we enjoy what comes from outside.

    Let’s encourage them, and make constructive suggestions, even as we give them time to fix things. Remember those others have been out there for decades.

    If you want to learn more about Energy Drinks, listen to the Business War:
    Red Bull vs Monster!

    There are powerful lessons on Innovation, and Marketing that apply to all business in each of those Business Wars!

  3. #Something from President Macron, that resonates with me:

    I recently heard President Macron say to America and China, that Europe does not want to be simply a consumer of products from them, in the area of Cloud, and 5G. He stated:
    “We as Europeans must have our own champions as well. And we will do everything to make that happen.”

    Then I thought to myself:

    “Now you understand how we Africans feel about everything. We have been consumers in the Industrial Age that is coming to an end, but in the 4IR, we also want our own champions.”

    Now you understand why I’m passionately pushing you guys to start businesses and scale them to create the greatest Revolution in Africa since 1960!
    It is time for you to start businesses or to go and risk yourself working with African start Ups, even if they fail. You must do this!

  4. Austin Uzim writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa May I use this opportunity to inform you Chief that I’m getting married 31st of January 2020. Like tradition demands, bless me with your words. I am inviting all of you on this platform to wish me well in this journey too. Amen

    My reply,
    O wow,wow,wow!

    I would like you to work with my team to get you and your bride visas to Zimbabwe. I know you were turned down last time, but I will ask the CEO of HLF to stand surety for you both.
    You will be given an opportunity to visit all our operations in Zimbabwe, and then you will be our guests at Batoka Safaris for one week.

    I will bless your separately.

    Well done.
    Now you have a life partner, your success is guaranteed. You will be one of the greatest entrepreneurs in Nigerian history, provided you stay firm in all your values, and honor The Lord.

  5. Bernard N Chivaviro writes,

    Please help Eskom Chief Engineer Masiwa

    My reply,
    I’m in there, my boy! I’m in there!
    I’m fighting for market share right now, with my little puppy—Distributed Power Africa— DPA. Check out their website, and know that it is going to be a real “Biggie”!
    Right now DPA is growing so fast right across Africa.

  6. Innocent Madanhire writes,

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51205619. i am inspired by your love Strive Masiyiwa, may God bless you! the your appearance did cut the death toll which was rising each and every day.Effectively, you reveal who you , God bless you together with your family.

    My reply,
    Thank you Innocent for your kind words.

    I was in tears last night as I was advised that over 900 doctors collected forms within 48 hours, and we still have two days.
    I love those doctors, because I know that it’s a labour of love for them:
    We all know they deserve more:

    But as I have always said “use what is in your hands, even if it is just a little Shepherd’s Rod, per adventure God will turn it into His own Rod, and give us a miracle. “

    Remember the Jesus story of the little boy with the fishes and the bread?
    That attitude is what solves problems of any kind:
    “Every little helps”?

    Our doctors, and nurses are gallant heroes of our age.
    Let’s support them with everything we can.

    There is so much more we can all do to save our hospitals:
    I would like to urge those of our Faith communities to double down on hospitals. Last night for instance, I was told by a doctor that many poor families are struggling to feed patients because of the drought situation and hyper inflation. I suggested that he approach church leaders to help set up “Soup Kitchens” to provide nutritious hot meals at each hospital.

    And those Soup Kitchens will require people like you to go their daily and volunteer.

    On this platform we have Zimbabweans who can engage fully to help as well.

    Other companies can also step in a provide things like bottled water for doctors and nurses.

    Last night I asked the Vaya Shuttle team to extend the Free service to 13,000 nurses for another six months.

    I cannot do it alone.
    Come on guys:
    Let’s DO!

  7. Justin Ashon writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa Sir, the key to winning this battle is what you’ve been teaching us.

    Firstly i think winning this battle, starts from the mind. Our entrepreneurs must have a mindset that everything is possible, that every fall is a lesson and every challenge is an opportunity to grow. We must BELIEVE that we can ACHIEVE that which has been CONCEIVED and more.

    Then while we offer value and solve problems, we must understand that marketing and innovation minus cost = Profit.
    Most of our entrepreneurs lack the key understanding of marketing and sales (I had to use both terms separately) but I applaud a lot of us who are here and willing to learn.

    The growth of Coca Cola and PepsiCo wasn’t by luck. Following these business wars shows me how interesting and “fun” this is. I have spent 9 plus years honing my Marketing and Administrative skills with most of it in the hospitality industry where customer service and understanding the customer is a priority. So whether we build our skill through our startup or through work experience, we must never stop learning.

    Where we lack the skill, we should be humble enough to find a partner or mentor who can help us meet up with the fast changing business climate.

    Again M+I-C=P …

    My reply,
    #ShoutOut to a top student!

    When I end this blogging at the end of this year, I will know that there are already “Pauls” to follow “Peters”; and you know that the “Pauls” [the next generation Apostles] were greater!
    This message about Entrepreneurship will sweep across Africa, until we have no more oil, copper, diamonds, platinum to sell; because we not have enough to sell, since it will be used by our own entrepreneurs to make finished Products which they have innovated themselves!
    This is what my message is about:
    African prosperity!

  8. Justine Anku writes,

    Hello Dr. Strive , happy New year.
    I asked myself this important question; why should one die in poverty?
    Is it because of ignorant or we just don’t care about the life we happened to leave.
    Cervical cancer among women is a topic of discussion in one of our fm station. In fact I was moved by number of women who die every year because of late or no at all treatment. According to research, cervical cancer is a hidden disease and if awareness isn’t there , the death toll will increase each year.
    I thought it wise to form a foundation to also help NGO”s already in the field.
    This is a very sensitive step I want to take to help the poor and needy like me who cannot afford the cost of screening.
    My question is this ; How do I start,
    How can I run it and be able to sustain it.
    Thank you .
    Looking forward to your response.

    My reply,
    This is a subject very close to my heart:
    Creating awareness about screening for Cervical Cancer amongst African women.
    I have written about it before.
    I’m a special Ambassador for Former President George Bush, and his wife Laura Bush.
    Let me know what country you are from, and I will connect you with people who can help you with this work.
    People like you who want TO DO something are rare, and precious.

  9. Mutale Mulenga writes,

    If you are in tech. Listen to Business Wars. Facebook Vs Snapchat.
    Am enjoying it and learning.

    My reply,
    I prefer that you don’t pick and choose what to listen to, but listen to every single one, at least twice!
    This is the only way you are going to capture the core principles:

    #1. How it was an entrepreneur just like you, who started the biggest businesses in the world.
    #2. How they developed a single Innovation, and were then propelled by Competitors to keep Innovating.
    #3. Competition has been a secret ingredient in driving businesses to Innovate.
    #4. Innovation on its own will not work without powerful Marketing strategies.
    #5. I want you to see the way money is raised to build businesses.
    Things like Stock Exchanges are discussed over and over again.

    These Business Wars, capture in dramatic ways things I have been teaching for years!

    I really, really need you to listen to this Free information.

  10. #Pause:

    From now on whenever you see a big business that is successful, try to dissect it based on the entrepreneurial Toolkit I have given you, even going back to its history.
    Every business was started by someone, unless it is a State Owned entity.
    Take a company like Unilever for instance; what do you know about this company? What were the Innovations, and Marketing campaigns that propelled its growth?
    Often with a little research of your own, you can build your own understanding of of any company’s competitors, and then begin to see the Business Wars that go on right in front of you!

  11. #Ownership:

    One of the most revealing issues you will find in Business Wars, is the issue of “ownership” of companies. I really want to take down notes on how companies were owned, and how they changed hands over time. Some of the sad battles that took place, are very instructive, and will help us all.
    One of my favorite stories is that of Mars Vs Hershey.
    Can anyone tell me what happened there?

  12. #Who is the best person to run your Start Up?

    There are three remarkable stories I want you to research:

    #1. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world today.
    He did something truly remarkable about the management of his company?

    #2. The co founders of Google also did something similar?

    #3. Steve Job did something similar and he ended up being fired?

    Don’t comment before you have researched because I need you to learn some EXTREMELY important lessons, in particular:

    # Investors might like your Innovation but not want you to manage it!

  13. #Reflection:

    One day when I was a young boy I complained to my mother about the results I got in an exam:

    “Do you think you would have got a better result, if you had marked the exam paper yourself?”

    I paused for a moment, and we both laughed. Then she looked me in the eye:

    “When you are older you will find that a lot of powerful people mark their own exams. They tell us what they are going to do, then they tell us they are doing very well. And if you try and challenge them they make a fool of you or worse.
    I don’t want you to speak and act like a person who marks their own exam paper, saying things like:
    I’m the best at this, and I’m the best at that. If you do good, let others be the judge, or better leave it to God.”
    It was truly a lesson in practical humility, that rings in my ear even to this day.
    Be wise: don’t mark your own exam paper.

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