Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Takes Two

For most of my life I have never been a team player. Perhaps its because I never participated in sports. It may also be attributed to the fact that everything I have ever been good at, in life, has never required a partner. Oratory contests just required a succinct memory and a pleasant speaking voice. I have never needed a study partner, since I seemed naturally inclined to do well in class. And, well, even as a child, when I was on Scholastic team, I singlehandedly carried the team. Might sound cocky, but its true- I even won the award that year for answering the most questions in District 150. So teamwork, has never been a natural thing for me.

However, since moving to Africa and starting a business. I now understand the importance of having a partner. You see in Africa, since funding is almost nonexistent and the terrain is ever changing partners/mentors are really an essential component to success;without them it is almost impossible to succeed. Now don't get me wrong there are plenty of people doing well by themselves- they also happen to come from a strong family support system- aka they are wealthy. But for those of us with limited resources and time, if you don't have a partner you may find yourself churning the wheels without moving forward.

In Africa, the more hands on deck you have the better. The more brains you have that can anticipate/understand the needs of your consumer, the better. And the more people who can contribute financially to the success of the business, the better.

Does this mean that you can't make it in business by yourself? Absolutely not. But don't underestimate the time and energy you will be required to make your business a success. And as a person, on ground, I am telling you, it can easily burn one out within a short period of time. Choosing a partner will not only help you save your energy so you can focus on additional projects, but they will also at times be your saving grace. After all you can't be in every place at once, and since meeting face to face is essential most times to do business in Africa the extra body will always be needed.

It has been said no man is an island and this is especially true, if you want to do business in Africa.

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