In Game Changers, Raymond presents his ground breaking philosophy on the art of changing the game. He also uses his personal experience to illustrate how this approach helped him win victory out of crushing defeat. Skilfully weaving his theory through business, academia, sport, religion, politics, nature and even cosmology, he makes a compelling case for the need to leave a legacy. Raymond pays homage to the current rising of Africa to take its rightful place on the global stage by dedicating the last chapter of this book to the African Transformation cause and the change agents driving it. This book is a must for every aspiring game changer.
There are many brilliant entrepreneurs in this world and a few names immediately come to mind. You have Bill Gates, the man who brought the personal computer to within reach of every person. What about Warren Buffet, the smartest investor around and the holder of the title “Apostle of Risk”? I am reminded of Sir Richard Branson, the first man to build a space ship for commercial purposes and an empire that has got its fingers in records, airlines, gyms, telecommunications and virtually every other industry you can think of. Over there in Mexico is Carlos Slim, currently the richest man in the world with a personal fortune of $69 billion.
All these people are exceptional entrepreneurs.
In Africa we also have our fair share of entrepreneurs, some of whom have gone on to make the world’s richest list. Aliko Dangote squeezed his juice from the sugar cane industry and now has an impressive $11,2 billion stash up there in Nigeria. We have the mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe in South Africa with a ‘modest’ $2,7 billion to his name. Time and space will not permit me to talk about the Strive Masiyiwas, the Cyril Rhamaphosas, the Miloud Chaabis, the Sawiris and a host of other excellent entrepreneurs making their indelible marks across the African business landscape.
The Ultimate Entrepreneur
Because of my fascination with all things entrepreneurial, I began to rake my brains trying to determine who the ultimate entrepreneur could be? How does he (and he represents both male and female) talk, think, relate to people and make his money? What sets him apart from the other very able entrepreneurs in this world? Is it just his personal fortune or good deeds done for the benefit of humanity? And should I seek an audience with him if at all possible in this life, so that I can get titbits on how to get close enough to where he is now?
Then it dawned on me. God. He is the Ultimate Entrepreneur. He is the Ultimate Investor. He is the Ultimate Businessman. How could I have struggled to see something so obvious? Is it because it is only so to the discerning eye? Maybe. And I have my reasons why I say he is the Ultimate Entrepreneur.
The Ultimate Creator
We know that by definition, an entrepreneur creates new products and sells them to the market or improves on existing ones. Following that line of thinking, I realized that God created the heavens and the earth, everything that walks on its surface, the creatures in the sea, the birds of the air and his ultimate workmanship, man.
Those who would reject God as Creator constantly run into Him, trying to explain the complicated laws holding the world together. When I look at creation, I am inspired to reach deep within and produce something that can benefit mankind the same way everything around me was created for our benefit. I have to provide a solution to society. That is what entrepreneurs do and in that regard I am inspired by the Creator Himself!
The Ultimate Manager
Jesus once said that he must work because His Father was always working. What a business principle! God created the universe, galaxies and beyond yet He is still working? We are told that new galaxies are still being created and we can never know how many there are because, let’s face it, where does space end? Can we see into infinity?
A good manager tends his business from conception to fruition. He masters methods and strategies to grow his business, multiply his resources and thereby create more for everyone. He doesn’t fold his arms just because the money is rolling in but seeks new avenues of expansion and works at becoming a better manager with each passing day. I would like to learn as much as I can from this Manager of the universe about managing complex business processes and still stay sane!
The Ultimate Investor
One of the most fascinating things about the way God created everything is discovering that he did not need to create everything all at once from the onset. We are told that all He did was create prototypes and put within them seeds that contained more prototypes that contained seeds that contained more prototypes to infinity. Instead of creating an apple tree forest, He would have created a few apple trees and they would have bloomed and flowered, producing apples that carried seeds of other apple trees. What it means is that if you were holding an apple seed in your hand, you would effectively be holding a forest. Talk about Return On Investment (ROI)!
The same applies to us humans, animals, birds and every living thing.
I would like to master this art of investing that sets in motion self perpetuating annuity-based streams of income while I seek out more.
When that lazy servant hid the coin in the ground, Jesus tells us that the Master was very angry with Him because He at least expected him to put it in the bank and earn an interest on that coin. That tells me that God never throws away resources; He expects a return on everything He deploys; everything. Why then do I have such an ignorant attitude towards resources that I blow every little cent I get on myself and soon I am broke and bankrupt?
I have so much to learn from this shrewd Investor.
The Ultimate Strategic Planner
To calculate the needs of the entire created population and set in motion laws that would make sure we survived for generations upon generations smacks of strategic planning of the highest imaginable order.
Are we talking feasibility studies, development of the business plan, symbiotic relationships that would ensure the survival, perpetuation and progression of every species? Maybe we should think of the highly efficient computer that is our brains, enabling us to come up with new strategies ourselves and an ability to comprehend processes, situations and future possibilities allowing us to plan in advance. How much strategic planning went into this project earth? When I think of it, I feel the need to invest so much energy in research and planning so that I emulate this great Strategist. If He needed to plan to the last detail and He is the Omniscient God, how much more should I, a human being, implement strategic planning? I am very convinced that if I follow His processes I cannot but succeed in my own business ventures.
The Ultimate Giver
I believe that for every entrepreneur, the icing on the cake has to be philanthropy. There is a reason why some get more talents and abilities than others. Not everyone is born to be a highly successful entrepreneur but those who are have this mandate to create a market for others to sell their skills and thus make their own living. They become financial parents to others.
And when they are wealthy, they must not forget the poor and disadvantaged in society because in most cases monetary resources are crucial to any projects addressing such.
And that God is a Giver is evident. Somewhere Jesus says that God makes the rain to fall on the fields of both the wicked and the righteous. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water and walk the same earth, which is why I can’t understand tribalism, racism, xenophobia and all the other manifestations of bigotry witnessed in our world.
God just gives and I want to emulate that. I want to make dreams come true. There is a young boy somewhere in Radijoke or Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein(Yes, this a real town name, literally translated, “Two Buffalos Shot ‘Totally’ Dead with One Shot Fountain“) with a dream to play football but unless someone opens an opportunity for him, he will die a herdboy. Can I be that person?
It is my strongly held opinion that true entrepreneurs recognize this great mandate and responsibility towards fellow human beings and actively participate in their core role as the drivers of human perpetuation.
There are many other entrepreneurial traits that convince me that God is the Ultimate Entrepreneur but I could simply never exhaust them. I am talking about extraordinary vision, perfect timing, an innate ability to read seasons, the ability to nurture investments; the list just goes on to infinity. When it comes to business, entrepreneurship, investments and everything that go with this, I have to confess that I know no better person to learn from than this Ultimate Entrepreneur.
I believe that few people change the game like entrepreneurs do. And entrepreneurs have certain attributes that make them seem to do the impossible.
For a long time, I wanted to understand how the perfect entrepreneur would look or talk. After examining a lot of them, I realised that personality per se does not differentiate entrepreneurs from non entrepreneurs. For example, Donald Trump is a very well dressed type of entrepreneur whereas Richard Branson, equally successful is very relaxed and casual.
What this says to me is that appearance and the other things we use to try to determine who an entrepreneur is or isn’t are very superficial.
However, there are some very critical attributes that are key to the makeup of an entrepreneur, regardless of how they dress or talk.
Attribute 1: Faith
I cannot imagine an entrepreneur without faith. Here I also speak from experience. You have to believe that your idea will work, no matter the odds. Some ideas are easy to convert into money while others are more demanding but the common factor is faith that the idea will produce. Faith, faith, faith. Others would have put vision foremost but vision is not the most important. Vision is like a dream but faith gives life to that dream. Vision is a noun, faith is a verb.
Faith that it will work out as you envisioned is what makes you pump money into a project. It’s what sends you to meet different kinds of people and pitch your idea. Faith. Whatever you do, get faith.
Attribute 2: Vision
Of course before you have faith that whatever you want to do will come to pass, you have to know what it is that you want to come to pass. It starts as an idea, grows into a dream and when you really become passionate about it, you have yourself a vision.
A vision maybe to build an empire in the telecommunications industry, for example, but you are still going to need to break it down into strategies, ideas and tactics to help you accomplish your goal. And always remember to add faith to it.
Attribute 3: Aggressiveness
Because of the insurmountable odds that an entrepreneur has to face day in day out, especially at the beginning of a project, it is necessary to keep pumping life into the project aggressively. Starting is easy, anyone can start, but completing is the main challenge. As an entrepreneur, you need to go after opportunities with primal aggression. In other words fight until you get a result. Even sometimes when your vision seems to be failing i.e. you are having cloudy days, you have to reach deep within and carry on the journey by faith.
Attribute 4: Networking
For an entrepreneur, the ability to network is critical. If you are a shell entrepreneur, you will not last long. No matter how gifted, no man is an island. If an entrepreneur were a fish and people were the waters then networking would be the attribute that makes the fish swim.
Sometimes you might not even feel like attending networking events but if you identify that there is something that you can glean there for your business, you have to force yourself to attend. And networking is not just the ability to talk. We are talking follow up calls, e mails and meeting as well as keeping in touch. Networking with other entrepreneurs directly or indirectly related to your business interests is critical.
Since we live in the information age, use of web based networks like Linked in and Facebook has never been more important.
Attribute 5: Giving
I believe that people are led to start entrepreneurial projects for different reasons. It could be adversity (like loss of employment), a lifelong dream, a desire for independence, working flexi hours and a desire to be wealthy among others. While these are all excellent reasons for starting an entrepreneurial project, somehow they are mainly for the benefit of the entrepreneur. Suppose, however, that all those reasons are not there i.e. you really don’t have to start a project because your every desire would be fulfilled, would you still do it? Interesting question.
There is another attribute that I believe every entrepreneur should strive for, and that is giving. The ability to do things for other people’s benefit other than your own. Why not start a project because you really want to create employment for other people? You might already be having enough projects but if you saw a need to alleviate poverty in a community, would you establish a project there? I guess this is where an entrepreneur begins o make the transition to philanthropy.
Even as the entrepreneur grows in business, it becomes vital to give information to others so you can also receive. It becomes necessary sometimes to give others a part of your profits in order to get the deal i.e. discounts and incentives. Giving keeps money flowing through the veins of the business. An open hand is a full hand.
Of course there are many other attributes that make an entrepreneur but the 5 discussed above are critical. Simple but critical.
One of the most enigmatic kinds of people you can ever meet fall within a group called entrepreneurs. The romance that we have with entrepreneurs stems from the fact that they see opportunities that we pass. If we see the opportunities, they go one on us and create something tangible out of them, that society can benefit from in a real way.
Entrepreneurship is mostly recognized in terms of its monetary output but I would like to suggest that entrepreneurship as a skill can be identified in other areas of life. In my own opinion as long as a person is enterprising and resourceful whether it be in identifying talent, ground breaking writing, doing music deals or connecting people, they are an entrepreneur. In this article however I want to focus on the financial aspect of entrepreneurship.
Let’s start with the obvious. An entrepreneur is a person who identifies and turns opportunities into revenue generating projects. We all know that definition and I won’t go into that. It’s the role of an entrepreneur in the greater scheme of things on planet earth that I want to tackle.
Entrepreneurs are more than just people looking for money. They provide you and me with a place to market and sell our skills for money which we all need to get through life.
If you want to understand the importance of an entrepreneur, ask a person who has got the skills but can’t find anywhere to sell them i.e. someone who is unemployed. By providing a market, entrepreneurs take on the role of a financial parent just like our parents used to provide for us.
So also to be very simplistic, after we work for a couple of years for someone “looking after us”, why can’t we leave, start our own company, look after others who will in turn look after others and so forth. Imagine what that would do to unemployement, particularly in third world Africa.
Think with me for a moment. Imagine a world where there are no companies to work for regardless of how qualified we are. Can you imagine the chaos that would follow? How would we survive? That, my friend, is just how crucial entrepreneurs are. They play a role in the greater scheme of things; they are at the very core of human perpetuation.
We need them to make it to the next generation.
What I find tragic is that you are probably seated there with a nice office job, probably earning millions per year but it’s all for you. However, you probably have the gift of entrepreneurship in you and if you ventured you would provide another 500 families with a source of income for the foreseeable future. That would translate to 2000 mouths that you could feed if you took the leap! Not bad hey!
No it’s not easy being an entrepreneur but someone has to do it. We need entrepreneurs and I suggest that if we ourselves can’t be entrepreneurs, then let’s give this breed of people the support they need all the way from banks, government and ordinary folks on the street.