To dominate or to collaborate? A lesson in humility for resilience

July 20, 2020

As Africans we have been taught that in business you need to dominate and destroy. We have been taught that the only way to grow is by being the king of the castle. As Africans we are so divided by language and tribe, such that in business all we see is division. What we have not been taught the ability to collaborate. Martin Kiarie, CEO and Co-founder of Bean Interactive says as entrepreneurs, we need to learn that in business you need to learn two things; One is the nature of collaboration and two is having the courage to make decisions.

As business people we are very good at analysing, assessing and managing risk. But this in itself is not enough. According to Martin, you have to be humble to your vision and not stand in your own way by being overly defensive. Martin shares that at one point, he lost a customer that was a big income earner for Bean interactive. Due to this loss he had to cut costs by a whopping 70%. He even had to retrench some of the workers. At this point he made a decision to merge with another company. What this did for them is that they got the best employees from both companies, and as a result, during this pandemic they were not as affected as most companies. In simple terms his company was able to stay afloat thanks to collaboration.

Martin gives us a clear picture of how the Asians work. These people have generations and generations of success and that is because they set themselves up for it. While the Africans are fighting to destroy and dominate, they are partnering and growing their ventures. Partnering with people especially if the deal means that your company name goes under may be hard for some business owners but according to Martin, “God gave you the vision for it to be realised, not for you to be praised”.  When the cheque shows up in your name, at that point that is all that matters.

External factors such as the emergence of a pandemic or the coming of a new law could hit your business hard. Your humility could determine if you will survive in the game or be kicked out.

Martin Kiarie was a guest at Un.thinkable roast (our monthly 10X Growth Leaders Meet-up) in February 2020. Click here to apply for membership in Un.thinkable.

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