Written by Strive Masiyiwa
”Identify a human need, and reach out to solve it, as an entrepreneur”
How about Climate Change?
As an entrepreneur who’s planning to build a big, big business, you need to understand that you can rarely do it on your own; you’ll likely need partners. It’s my job to find the right partners. It’s also one of the hardest jobs that my team and I do. Even after more than 30 years in business, I’m still mastering this important skill.
This week I’m excited to tell you about an important partnership between Alphabet’s X [used to be Google X] and Econet’s solar renewable energy company, Distributed Power Africa – dpa. Wow! Congratulations to everyone on both our teams!
As an entrepreneur, the first question you have to ask about partners is: Why do we need partners in business? There are many different kinds of partners:
Partners who can provide capital;
Partners who can provide technical expertise(or specialized knowledge) that you don’t have;
Partners who can provide access to markets and opportunities;
Partners who can provide service to your business.
You’ll need partners to undertake things you cannot do alone, and partners to share risk.
It can be very good to have partners. Even Bill Gates has partners, and continues to start new ventures and investments with partners. You just have to learn to find the right ones, and how to manage relationships with them.
Here’s one key law of partnership of any kind:
“Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
Most of you know this as the “Golden Rule.” As a partner, you do not want to be mistreated or cheated by your partners. So don’t enter relationships with an ulterior motive. Don’t do anything that creates mistrust between you and your partners.
The spirit of an agreement is more important than the letter; never break either. Don’t act in bad faith towards your partners.
There are many excellent reasons to work in partnership, and also many bad ones that will lead to heartbreak. For a start these are key questions:
Do we share core values?
Do we trust and respect each other?
Do we agree on goals and visions to take the business forward?
Do we agree on how we’ll use the money raised and how the profit will be distributed?
You must want to see your partners prosper because of what you’re doing together. I know this sounds obvious, but there are people who don’t want to see their partners also prospering and getting rich! If my partners are happy and prospering, I feel really good.
Some of you will recognize I talked about this in a post I wrote years ago and recently as well. That’s because it’s a very important lesson for you to learn, and I also see some of you are new to the page.
For your homework this week, I want you to read this Partnership announcement: https://www.itweb.co.za/content/4r1ly7Rb3Po7pmda
Then I want you to jot a few comments on what you learn from it — as an #Entrepreneur [or potential one], reflecting on things I have taught you:
The partnership between DPA Africa and X is important news not just for Econet, but for Africa and the whole Earth.
Access to clean, reliable, and affordable power must be an URGENT front burner priority for #Innovators and #SolutionSeekers everywhere… not just to help tackle climate change, but so people everywhere have power to light their schools, take care of their families, and run their businesses efficiently and profitably!
3Ps plus #Partnership…
What have you learned today?
Hint: Choosing the right partners is critical.
Featured Image credit: One innovator in action! Photographer unknown, image found in article: http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/12/08/africa-goes-grid-bring-power-rural-villages/ (old article but interesting)