Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|October 4, 2021|11 Minutes|In Billionaire Talks

Billionaire Tomorrow

10 takeaways from the rising tycoon of Harare

 

Samuelle Dimairho made a small fortune from IT and turning Zimbabwe’s stock exchange electronic before he was 30. Here are 10 fruits of his hour-long chat with Billionaire Talks about life and wealth creation.

1.  Don't chase Money

“My father exposed me to a business book that I read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad ‘which opened up my mind that I must not just chase making money, but chase the purpose. Whenever you chase the purpose, you solve the problem Money is a natural consequence. If you are chasing money, you will never make it. Try chasing a cause and solving a problem and see how much money you make.”

2. Listen to your parents.

“Our parents did the best they could under the circumstances. They taught us principles:

Life is not about where you start, it is where you finish. You eat what you kill. No work, no food – simple things like that. We learned from a very young age. They took us to the best schools…We were those kids whose fees were periodically not paid and then they will struggle and make ends meet and get us back in school. So, they tried to give us a good education but at no point did I think about being a professor or an academic or work for somebody, never crossed my mind.”

3. What made you a successful entrepreneur?

”I think that simple statement. ‘You don’t work, you don’t eat’. As simple as that. It taught me to have a work ethic and to know that for everything…If I expect to eat tomorrow, I need to work today.”

4. How do you survive as an entrepreneur in Zimbabwe

Every three months you got to be reviewing your policies and the way you operate to make sure that you are relevant and survive. You have to be reinventing yourself but at the same time as challenging as it is. I think it is also good in the sense that you are always ahead. All the other markets that expanded beyond Zimbabwe, has made it a lot easier because it taught us to survive and thrive in a difficult environment.”

5. How to use bootstrapping to build your business.

I would like to say, money is always attracted to good ideas. In fact, in this world, there is too much money and not enough good ideas. Sometimes when your idea is not attracting money, maybe it is not good enough yet. Not good enough to attract the money that is available. My philosophy was to do what you can with what you have where you are. I was broke, I didn’t come from a rich family full of a pool of capital from anywhere. I just bootstrapped the thing, because it was a service it was more of human effort required than the physical outlay of money. So, I figured I’m going to bootstrap this to the point where initially we were supposed to supply software so I said I will bootstrap this, we will find the people who can build this, but it will not be on a salary, we partner together and if this succeeds we make money and if we don’t no one gets anything .So we were doing everything on a success basis, so we bootstrapped, we used the few resources that we had to work toward getting known, and working towards building a system.”

6. How to assemble a board.

“I think it is something that happened progressively over time. I got more ‘no’s than’ yesses’. It was just a matter of looking for like-minded people who bought into the vision and understood what we were trying to do and decided they were prepared to also risk their name and reputation, they were prepared to risk their capital in some ways. I think because they believed in us and they saw what we were trying to do and more importantly us offering value to them. You know this is the project and the opportunity, if we succeed it is our success jointly.”

7 How to convert a stock exchange from pen-and- paper to electronic.

“So, we took a slow approach of doing some trial runs in the market. We didn’t want to take a big bang approach because in many countries  they took a big bang approach and they ended with serious issues and problems, reconciliation issues, system issues. The day you went live we started off with one counter. We had a manual and automated running in parallel

We stated company by company, taking a few companies at a time. You know, automating slowly

Doing it that way, we identified the problems and we were quick to rectify them without any fundamental disruptions to the market.

So, we did it slowly and gradually  so that we eased into the market other than just to make people jump over quickly. That helped us to have a smooth implementation with no problems.”

8. How to define an entrepreneur.

“People call themselves entrepreneurs when they are actually just traders. An entrepreneur is somebody that creates enterprise and innovation to an existing product and services or they are innovating new products and services. So, I think the important thing is to innovate around existing ecosystems and value chains or to innovate by creating new things. The reason why a lot of people don’t succeed is they think the economic activity is entrepreneurship. The problem with economic activity is that whilst you do it and people see that you are making money, it’s a copy and paste.”

9. How an entrepreneur should choose a partner.

“I am married and met my wife at church. I don’t think there is a correct formula for this but I have met somebody who is …most importantly they knew me when I had nothing. We got to like each other and fall in love before there was any significant substance behind it.

She is the kind of person who is with me through thick and thin. She is an amazing woman. She is the kind of woman I know that if we live a high life, we can live a high life together and we and we can also live a humble life together and it will not change anything.

And what I recommend is to find someone who supports your dreams and vision and she has always been very supportive. I remember asking her this question, when we were dating, did I not come across as a dream seller?  I’m this guy talking about millions and billions but I

had nothing to show for the conversations? She never at any point questioned it. She never married me because of the prospects that these things would work right. I think you need to find someone who you are compatible with somebody who loves you for who you are and not for what you have and what you are doing. I think I found that in my wife.”

10. Is there a need for speed in the life of an entrepreneur ?

“ My indulgence is adrenaline and a lot of people have said I am daring. I have always been daring from a young even as an entrepreneur I have always been daring and crazy.I always like to push myself and to challenge myself to do things that are crazy.

Why I like fast cars? It gives me that adrenaline rush and it teaches me to understand the technicality of handling fast cars you know have to be very alert and you have to be very sharp. You have to be able to make a quick decision and be calculative and thinking ahead and finding solutions before they happened. I am also a private pilot license, and my dream is to buy a plane in the foreseeable future I am learning to fly a plane, I am probably one month away from getting my license.”