The Harvard-trained tycoon started building his business empire in the 1970s by buying dilapidated buildings in Nairobi, renovating and flipping for a profit – and he hasn’t looked back. Today, Kirubi – with a net worth estimated at Sh25 billion – is one of the richest people in Africa.
The flamboyant businessman frequently mentors young Kenyan entrepreneurs on business and success through his blog, Twitter @ckirubi and Facebook account. Here are 7 lessons that Kirubi has taught me over the years:
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR IDEA
Kirubi thinks of one of his favourite sayings when advising about business ideas: “If you understand an idea, you can express it so others can understand it. However, if you can’t explain it, you don’t really understand it; and you cannot invest in a business you don’t understand.”
You must do your research well and understand the idea you want to execute before investing in it. More importantly, your concept should be in line with your vision and passion.
2. CREATE A STRATEGY
One of the ways Kirubi believes you can find meaning of your life is by creating a strategy that you can use through your journey. He advises that you need to keep the purpose of your life, front and centre as you decide how to spend your time, talents and energy.
3. TAKE RISKS
Every business involves risks. Kirubi dares to point out that you cannot run a business without taking risks. “Success rarely comes by playing it safe.”
4. BE PERSISTENT
Business is always a struggle, says Kirubi, and there is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. You must always be prepared to press on regardless of the obstacles and competition.
“Every great success has always been achieved by a fight. Every winner has scars….The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will-power to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.”
5. KEEP UP WITH NEW BUSINESS TRENDS
Today’s business world is fast evolving. What is working today may not necessarily work tomorrow and you must therefore strive to keep up with emerging business trends.
“One of the most important lessons I have come to learn over the years is that you can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow. You must keep learning new methods and ways of doing things to keep abreast with the world’s ever changing trends.”
6. HAVE FUN, SUCCESS WILL FOLLOW
Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it. If you are having a good time working on your business, there is a greater chance a conducive atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will succeed. Always strive to have fun and success (read money) will follow.
7. RISE UP AND START AGAIN
Every successful businessperson has experienced set backs along the way. Never allow yourself to get discouraged by a setback or two, instead find out what you never did right in the first attempt, and start again. Do it right.