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  The journey of becoming a successful businessperson in Nigeria is way too different from other climes. Nigeria is a peculiar terrain and it requires peculiar strategies if you are going to stay afloat in the business world of Nigeria. The truth is, running a business in Nigeria is three times difficult compared to Europe and America.
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There are so many irregularities, structural deficits, and environmental and infrastructural challenges. It will require a tougher mindset to navigate the murky waters of the Nigerian business world. Most often, I do tell people that it is more profitable to learn from the likes of Aliko Dangote than Bill Gates when it comes to doing business in Nigeria. I for one would rather receive mentorship from a successful Nigerian businessman than reading books written by foreigners who have no idea of what it means to do business in Nigeria. This is not to say that reading books written by westerners aren’t important. Furthermore, there are misconceptions that billionaires simply relax and allow people to work for them. However, these successful Nigerian billionaires have a set of habits that if emulated it could be a game-changer. In this article, I compiled five habits of Nigeria’s most successful businessmen.
  1. They Live A Disciplined Life

It is very rare for Nigerian billionaires to be found in the news for negative reasons. It is either they are engaging in new acquisitions, or having their net worth rising, or they are investing in one big venture or the other. These successful billionaires are mindful of their status, because they have invested so much in their human development and social capital and they will not want to sabotage their image by indulging in image-denting activities. They protect their image jealously, because the survival of their brands lies on it. Little wonder they are disciplined and are not found everywhere. They cut out trivialities. Also, when it comes to taking care of their health, Nigerian billionaires are very disciplined about it. For example, Tony Elumelu, with a net worth of an estimated $800 million is an ardent sportsman. He keeps fits always. Even his LinkedIn and Instagram pages are filled with him hitting the gym. They are lovers of sports such as car racing, golfing, playing chess, tennis, and so on. Little wonder, most of the successful people are members of Ikoyi Golf Club, where they engage in all manner of sports.  Femi Otedola, in an interview with one of the national newspapers, said he wakes up around 6:30 am every morning and heads to the gym for 1 hour.
  1. Nigerian Billionaires Are Good At Networking And Courting With Politicians

Nigerian billionaires are good at networking, and it is impossible to amass great wealth if you don’t know how to network and politick properly. Little wonder, billionaires network with one another and keep a close-knit network among themselves. They maintain a high level of a close relationship with high net worth individuals like themselves. They are very careful who let them into their cycles. They want to make sure that those who let into their cycle can add value to their lives. Further, Nigerian billionaires make friends with politicians so that they can benefit from their administration. Businesspeople who are in the good books of an administration often thrive in Nigeria. A typical example was when Dangote donated N200 million towards the building of Olusegun Obasanjo’s library. This gesture made him and his business boom under the Obasanjo era.
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In 2022, make sure to take your networking game to the next level. Be very deliberate about it and always carry in mind that there is a distinction between having a group of friends with whom you only hang out to drink and chatter and a group of friends with whom you discuss growth potentials and other opportunities. Read this from Tony Elumelu:
“Never take others for granted. Nurture your relationships. In the same way, as you start in your career, build your relationships, seek to learn, don’t be afraid to understudy the experts, reach out to potential mentors and learn from them.”
  1. Nigerian Billionaires Surround Themselves With Brilliant Minds

One of the habits I have discovered about Nigerian billionaires is that they don’t run their businesses all by themselves. They get the right people, most especially brilliant technocrats, professionals, lawyers, accountants, strategists and what have you. Check the managerial team of Dangote, Globacom, Golden Penny, and other leading corporations owned by Nigerian billionaires, you will be amazed that some of these people are Ivy League graduates, people who have years of experience in various sectors, and they are people you can likely call geniuses.
  1. They Are Extremely Strategic With Their Business Moves

Nigerian billionaires are a very strategic set of people. It is rare to hear that Nigerian billionaires invest in Ponzi schemes or even get duped by fraudsters who masquerade themselves as businesspeople. It is difficult to convince a Nigerian billionaire to invest in bubble investments. According to Abdul Samad Rabiu, CEO of BUA group, he states that he must understand any business he is about to venture into before investing. This is why the likes of Tony Elumelu would rather invest in startups across Africa with potential growth. In 2022, don’t just invest in any business, ensure you have done your due diligence before investing.
  1. Nigerian Billionaires Are Studious And Love To Be Enlightened

Despite the dwindling reading culture in Nigeria, Nigerian billionaires are always striving to be enlightened. If you visit their homes and offices, you will be amazed at how many books they have on their shelves. Their books always range from autobiographies, business, politics, technology, self-help, psychology, science, International affairs and so on. Tony Elumelu, on World Book Day, recommended 5 books that have had a huge impact on his life. They include: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Creation of Wealth: The Tatas from 19th to 21st Century by R.M. Lala, Think Big by Ben Carson, Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, and Shall We Tell The President by Jeffrey Archer Featured Image Source: Within Nigeria
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This article was first published on 17th January 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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