One of the most important things I will ever teach you! (Part 1)

One of the most important things I will ever teach you! (Part 1)

__Competition is good!

Welcome to the last 12 months of this entrepreneurship program. This is the seventh year since I started blogging on entrepreneurship. It was never meant to go on for this long. Towards the end of the year we will have a lot of opportunity to review what we learnt together.

For the next few weeks, I want to focus on a subject matter I have titled: “One of the most important things I will ever teach you!”

You might be wondering what that could be. The answer lies in something I asked you to do as “homework” before I went away for two-week holiday with my family: I asked you to go through and study as many of the podcasts called #Business Wars, as you could.

Whilst it is not too late for you to start listening to them right away, it will be really difficult for you to fully understand what I will be talking about unless you have done so!

Business Wars is a (free) podcast series that you can download, which narrates the battles between some of the biggest companies in the world. For example:

# Nike vs Adidas

# Coca Cola vs Pepsi

# Snapchat vs Facebook, and over 32 similar battles.

These battles, which are presented by a storyteller, are 30 minute audio stories. They trace the history of each company, from when they were first started, until they became giants. They focus on the founder-entrepreneurs and their battles to get the business off the ground.

You will find in each of these stories many familiar themes. You will also find many of the things I have tried to teach, brought to often dramatic clarity that will totally inspire you.

Remember the equation I tried to hammer home with you last year, M+I=P?

“Marketing and Innovation is what makes money (builds profits). Everything else is cost…” Peter Drucker

When you listen to each podcast, I want you to focus your attention on just three things:

#1. Innovation:
At the end of each podcast series I want you to review the role of #Innovation in developing the business. Try and list the number of innovations you recall. Remember it is never one innovation!

#2. Marketing:
If you did not understand how #Marketing is used to grow a business, you will when you listen to these Podcasts.

#3. The role of Competition:
One of the greatest mysteries of entrepreneurship is that “Competition is good!!”

How crazy is that?! “Competition is good?!”

If you said to any of the entrepreneurs who built companies like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Facebook, MTN, etc., that “competition is good”, they would probably not be too pleased to hear it, but in their hearts of hearts they know that they became big because of having to respond to a fierce competitor!

Barcelona is great because of Real Madrid; Liverpool because of Man U; Coke because of Pepsi!

A real entrepreneur knows that there are ONLY two ways allowed (in entrepreneurship) to respond to a competitor, whilst remaining profitable:

Number 1:

You must #Innovate, and keep innovating!

Number 2:
Step up the #Marketing.

Any enterprise which rushes to a government to ask them to restrict or control a competitor is not run by an entrepreneur. This is one of the key reasons why state-owned enterprises are not innovative, because they will always appeal for political intervention when faced with an innovative competitor.

__The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit:

There are 7x things, I want you to focus on when you watch the podcasts:

#1. Innovation
#2. Marketing
#3. Competition
#4. “Buying and selling of businesses is also businesses” (Remember my discussion on this topic?)
#5. How they raised money to start or build the business
#6. How they found the right #People
#7. The role of co-founders.

Of these seven, it is only @Competition that I have never actually discussed directly. Now I will!

But it will not help you if you have not studied the course material I gave you for @Homework:
Business Wars Podcasts!

This is the final year, so we must get very serious, because soon you will be on your own.

To be continued. . .

Image credit: Javier Garcia/BPI/Shutterstock. Congratulations to Liverpool forward Sadio Mané of Senegal, named just a few days ago the #CAF African Player of the Year 2019.

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.

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