South Africa’s Richest Black Man, Patrice Motsepe Shares His Top Tips For Running A Successful Business

Patrice Motsepe has been a serial investor, and a leading billionaire industrialist with a diversified investment portfolio spread across key sectors of the South African economy.


With a net worth of over $3 billion, Motsepe ranks third on South Africa’s billionaires’ list. In 2013, the mining magnate became the first African to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half his fortune to charity.

Last week, the South African billionaire purchased a popular luxury wine farm called Hidden Valley near Stellenbosch and Somerset, South Africa. The sale includes the purchase of a 28-hectare farm listed for sale at R160 million but was acquired for between R100 million ($5.5 million) and R120 million ($7.9 million) in cash.

Over the years, Patrice Motsepe has given many interviews sharing his experience and offering advice on how entrepreneurs can become more successful in business.
Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe
Here’s a compilation of seven of the most powerful business lessons he learned along his journey.

1. Do not be afraid to fail. As an entrepreneur, it’s important never to get discouraged if you fail. Motsepe, in one of his interviews, talked about failing many times in business. According to him, “I’ve had so many failures in my life, and I know that I’m still going to make many mistakes in the future. But that should not discourage you. You’ve got to feed your self-confidence and self-belief and start that business. Start that company, open that restaurant, start that grocery store business, and grow from there.

2. Surround yourself with the brightest people. Another of Motsepe’s rules for success is that you should never stop learning as an entrepreneur. According to him, the best business solutions and ideas emanate from those around you. “It’s also very important that you constantly surround yourself with the smartest and brightest, and also create cultures where people are encouraged to have different views and in a polite way disagree with the senior people in the company,” he added.

3. Keep moving. Keep dreaming. Keep going. When I was five years old, my parents were in business. My father used to wake us up at 5 am to buy fruits and vegetables from the market in Pretoria, and we closed the family store at 12 o clock at night. Staying behind the counter taught me what profitability is all about. Later in life, I became a lawyer because it was my dream, and I worked my way up to become the first black partner of a major law firm. It was while I was there I realised my passion was in business. So, whatever stage you are in now, dream of what you want to do now. 10 years later, you may have a different dream, which is fine. The most important thing is to keep moving, keep working, keep growing, don’t a standstill.

4. Do your due diligence. According to Motsepe, before you dabble into any type of business, take the required time to do the necessary research, study, and evaluation. The essence of doing proper due diligence for whatever venture you wish to go into is to avoid paying for more than what the business is worth.

5. Pursue your passion and the money will follow. In many of his interviews, Motsepe has always stressed that having money does not equate to happiness. Money is important, yes. But what is significantly more important is pursuing the dreams and interests that you have. Do the things that excite you, and combining it with hard work and sacrifice will make you extremely successful. Focus on doing the things you’re most passionate about and persevere against all odds.

6. Do not listen to the naysayers. “If you want to start a new business, you’ll find people who will tell you it will not succeed,” Motsepe said in one of his interviews. According to him, you cannot become successful if you allow the noise of the world to drown you out. But if you look at the most successful people in whatever area of life, you’ll find that their common factor is their determination to work hard, sacrifice, and pursue the fulfilment of their dreams.

7. Keep innovating. As an entrepreneur, you must be realistic because some businesses are being disrupted by technology. “As much as you must persevere, you must be honest with yourself when it becomes clear that your business has been disrupted. 

Don’t keep pursuing the same business model which doesn’t survive; instead, keep innovating.
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