The death of Nelson Mandela has been a shock to most of us Africans. When I mean shock I don’t mean it in terms of surprise, I mean in terms of the impact.
Even though we knew sooner or later it was going to happen, it still does not make it less painful. I have not watched the news since my friend sent me a message to inform me that Mr. Mandela has passed.
But the question I seek to answer in this article is: what can small business owners and entrepreneurs learn from the life of Nelson Mandela?
What we can learn from the life of Nelson Mandela as business people is: we all have the ability to make a massive difference to the world as individuals.
Many times people complain that they are powerless because they are single individuals. But every change in the world was brought about by single individuals mobilising others.
As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we are in the best position to effect any change we want in the world.
HIV was ravaging Africa until Bill Gates decided to take on the challenge, today mother to child transmission is almost non-existence. The rate of death from HIV has reduced drastically because of the intervention of Bill Gates.
Mr. Gates has now taken on malaria, we are closer to malaria vaccine than we have ever been in human history.
You might say to yourself, Mr. Gates is not a small business owner, he is the second richest man in the world. But his success is not the result of the fact that he had money to spend. It is a result of the fact that he came from a business background.
The United Nations and all of the charities roaming African had far more resources to their disposal than The Gates Foundation will ever have. So why did they fail where Mr. Gates succeeded?
The answer is simple: in business, we operate on the basis of results while the public sector and charities are accountable to no one.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, if you do not produce results, you will lose your customers. However, a charity could collect money for a project and they spend all the money and the goal they were supposed to achieve remained the same.
So what Mr. Gates took into the world of contribution is the result mentality.
It seems as if I am straying away from the point I am trying to make with this article, but I am not.
What I am trying to point out using Mr. Gates as an example is that it is only we small business owners and entrepreneurs who have the capacity to bring about real change to the world.
And you should not tell yourself as a small business owner or entrepreneur that it’s impossible for you to make change.
It is possible.
Nelson Mandela did it without resources. Bill Gates prevent an entire continent from vanishing from the surface of the earth.
You can use your small business to make a difference too.
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