Tony Elumelu: 5 Most Powerful Advice from the Industry Titan
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Lists - June 22, 2023

Tony Elumelu: 5 Most Powerful Advice from the Industry Titan

Nigerian entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu has a remarkable career that cuts across banking, investments, and philanthropy. As the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Elumelu has severally been invited to share his wisdom and insights, and offer valuable advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike.

The Industry Titan is also known for his “Africaptilism” and his contributions to the development of the African continent. Let’s briefly examine some of his powerful advice.

The road to success is not linear, it is up and down

Elumelu once said, “The road to success is not linear, it is up and down. You have to be very determined and be prepared to do whatever is required for your success. And you have to know what success looks like in your chosen field.” 

From this statement, Elumelu counsels young entrepreneurs on the need to know that the path to achieving success is not a straight journey void of challenges. He makes them understand that while it is good to admire entrepreneurs who have recorded a significant level of success it is important to know that achieving success involves ups and downs, progress and setbacks, advancement and obstacles.

This advice will also help entrepreneurs see that setbacks and obstacles are not permanent roadblocks but are an avenue to learn and experience growth.

Success is made up of 1% dreams and 99% hard work

Another piece of advice Elumelu has given to young entrepreneurs in his interaction with them is, “Know that dreaming is less than 1%; the 99% is about translating your dream into action, translating your dream to reality. That is what makes the difference. Also, I cannot repeat this often enough: That process of translating to action requires a lot of hard work, discipline, staying focused and making sacrifices for a better tomorrow.”

This advice emphasises the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving success. While your dreams and aspirations are essential as a starting point, they alone are not enough to guarantee the success you desire. Elumelu’s advice also means that the bulk of the journey towards success lies in the consistent and diligent effort put into turning those dreams into reality.

If you want to be successful, you will need to work hard, develop a strong work ethic, stay focused, and put in the necessary effort to bring your ideas to fruition. 

Expect challenges because overcoming challenges provide opportunities

The serial Investor once noted that successful entrepreneurs expect challenges because overcoming challenges provide opportunities. While this may sound unconventional, the knowledge will foster resilience and innovative thinking which will eventually unlock new opportunities for you.

Embracing the value embedded in challenges will also help you build the necessary skills and mindset needed to navigate the peculiarities embedded in Africa’s business landscape.

Knowing economic and business history is very important

Speaking about his first entrepreneurial venture, the Group Chairman of the United Bank of Africa, UBA, said, “My inspiration came from reading the US Fortune magazine and finding out what was happening in corporate America. It was interesting to see how business decisions were made. I studied market trends and prepared myself for something similar happening in our part of the world.”

He also emphasised the importance of knowing economic and business history. Elumelu believes that knowing the history of businesses around the world helps to build self-confidence. Young entrepreneurs who prioritise reading history will learn a lot about those who have gone ahead of them.

Sit with your mentors

Elumelu whose biggest mentor is Ebitimi Banigo, counsels young entrepreneurs to sit with their mentors. This is because your mentors will give you the necessary counsel and guidance for your journey. 

As a business mogul, Elumelu is also influenced by Steve Jobs for his great mind and endless ideas. Moreso, he loves the discipline and dedication of Michael Jackson to his craft.

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