Globalization is bringing the world to Africa with her potential market, 1 billion consumers, skilled and educated workforce, young entrepreneurs establishing innovative businesses and creatively solving everyday problems. Foreign investment has increased to 64% of all investments made in Africa despite a rocky past torn between disease, poverty and war.
It is safe to say Africa’s true potential is finally being recognized, in 2009 when most parts of the world experienced financial recession; the continent saw an economic growth of up to 2% despite heavily relying on export of raw products. In recent years multinational companies have been seen setting up regional offices across Africa and actively carrying out market research as they focus on doing business in the continent.
Globalization and the new found interest in Africa present both challenges and opportunities to Africa entrepreneurs. To be successful you need to identify and develop new skills which will enable you effectively compete in a technologically advanced local yet global market.
To be a successful entrepreneur in Africa you need to;
1. Communicate effectively.
Improving your communication skills in a local yet global market does not mean you have to learn a foreign language. Communicating effectively refers to adapting skills that will give you an edge in a global marketplace. You need to find ways to use Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Email among other internet based communication platforms to bridge the gap between you and your local customer, your international customer, partners and employees.
2. Be culturally aware.
Africa is becoming a multicultural environment as global citizens come to live, work and invest in Africa. As an entrepreneur you need to be aware of cultural sensitivities when interacting with different people; being culturally intelligent will enable you to foster mutual understanding and respect.
3. Embrace the virtual environment.
Today whether you run a business in Accra, Timbuktu, Maputo or Kwa Zulu Natal you need to embrace technology, build a credible online presence where interacting and collaborating over the internet to see to the successes of their business and social ventures.
4. Build a global-local network.
Building a global-local network is vital to the success of your business. You can develop networks through attending international conferences, sharing your aspirations with family and friends, trade expos, investor in-country conferences and networking opportunities with potential investors or through social media platforms such as Linkedin. Networks are essential to the growth and progress of your business.
5. Be open to learning.
As an African entrepreneur having a positive attitude towards learning and effectively using the internet ensures you are able to keep up with global trends, adapt what is working elsewhere in the world to solve a challenge while saving time and money.
There are many factors that are crucial to your success as an entrepreneur from having passion, financial capital, business acumen but one other thing that plays a big part in your success is how proactive you are in building and maintaining your networks as Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich dad, poor dad once stated the richest people in the world look for and build networks while everyone else is looking for work.
* This article was originally posted on LinkedIn in 2015.