What is a “Master of Scale”?

“Scalable ideas don’t have to tackle dramatic problems; they have to tackle neglected problems”. Reid Hoffman

When I first started this platform, I used to pose a simple question to would-be entrepreneurs [and even some #JuniorClass guys]: “Which of these businesses do you consider to be the most lucrative: telecoms, cosmetics, supermarkets, mining, farming?”

And always you could be guaranteed that most people would fall for it, and give the wrong answers! The answer is of course, “There’s not one answer. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!”

That is why if you look at the top ten richest people in the world, they mostly all do different things. Even the 18 billionaires in Africa, according to Forbes magazine, mostly do different things!

It does not matter what business you are in, if you are a highly skilled and astute entrepreneur you probably can turn that business into a multibillion dollar business. It is not the type of business that matters, but the #Skill of the #Entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, for example, makes cars and rockets [that’s how he made his billions] while Bernard Arnault, Chairman of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (FVMH) in France, made his money leading the world’s most successful branded luxury goods group. In recent years, they have often traded positions as the world’s richest person. Jeff Bezos made his money through eCommerce, starting out selling books online because he was an avid reader!

One thing they all have in common is that they are “Masters of Scale”. That is to say, they have the vision and ability to take a business and make it big, very big, often on a global scale.

Sam Walton became the richest man in the world selling castoff clothes that manufacturers considered sub standard [they hadn’t passed quality control for one reason or another]. He would buy them and then resell them for a $1! And from there he went on to build Walmart, the world’s largest company in terms of sales and employees; via 10,500+ stores and ecommerce sites in 19 countries [mostly the USA] they employ about 2,1 million people, and generated $638.78bn in revenue last year alone!

Masters of Scale know how to build companies either horizontally or vertically. They can have small shops, which are repeated hundreds of times like McDonald’s, or they can have a huge complex producing aeroplanes!

My friend Richard Branson is one of the greatest Masters of Scale the world has ever known, and he can do it across multiple industries. Take his simple “Virgin Active” health clubs. “What is so hard about that?” you might ask.

Try rolling out 238+ gyms in 8 countries across four continents. [They have about 133 in South Africa alone!]

The challenge for Africa’s entrepreneurs is to take whatever they have, do #Research on the prospective new market(s), address all the related #3Ps related to #Growth strategies… then #Scale it.

__We are like a forest of seedlings with few tall trees, right now. We need more of these seedlings to become tall and mighty trees.

The key to unlocking this is to pick up the tools of the Master of Scale: Remember, I have told you here before that the formula of Master of Scale is the 3Ps: #Product, #People, #Process. It’s actually not #Capital or #Investment, and certainly not #Donors!

The good news is that all the skills of The Masters of Scale, are actually acquired #Skills. It has nothing do with special “born with” gifts.

Suppose, for example, you have a small shop in the market selling clothes, and you want to #Scale, what should you do? Let me hear from you. Masters of Scale #Listen.

Let me tell you, if that is all I had, I would turn it into a business that’s found in every African market within a few years. Why? I’m a Master of Scale: I can set up a business in almost any country [which is not at war] and run it remotely without ever going there. I have done this all over Africa. I can find excellent #People in that country to run it for me without them stealing a cent from me. Why? I’m a Master of Scale!

My Liberian friend Richelieu Dennis started making cosmetics in the kitchen of a New York apartment and scaled it into a multibillion dollar company called Sundial. If you don’t know of him, be sure to check him out.

The challenge for you is to stop dreaming of getting into the oil or gold business. You need to learn the #Playbook of a Master of Scale, and apply it to whatever #Product [or Service] you have mastered through #Innovation.

Years ago, I urged those who were on this platform at the time to go through every single episode of a Podcast called “Business Wars”. Remember?

I wanted you to see how entrepreneurs from all sorts of backgrounds became Masters of Scale, often whilst competing with an aggressive competitor in the same industry. As I said in the last post, I also recommended Reid Hoffman’s podcast “Masters of Scale” in which he interviews some of the most unlikely success stories.

You can still listen to them, and if you’re serious about being an entrepreneur you must, because such lessons never grow old!

I read books by and on entrepreneurs every single month, searching and studying insights of their “Master of Scale” playbook! So can you.

“What is in your hand?”

Don’t say “It’s nothing!”

In the hands of the Master of Scale, it’s enough. Let’s get going!

[Some of the #JuniorClass asked I keep posting here on this platform for a while, so this one’s for you!]

Image caption: Who knows why the baobab is called The Tree of Life? How does might this relate to #Entrepreneurship?

Copied: #strivemasiyiwa

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