I see Chinese people all over Lagos Island and they do not look out of place at all, they even speak pidgin or whatever language they can pick up from their environment and it made me wonder… how come Chinese people are everywhere (just like Nigerians) and are always successful entrepreneurs? How come? I have studied a few of them and done a bit of online research and found out 6 factors that I think help them remain successful…

According to Philstar.com, the traditional Confucian values of hard work, self-discipline, delayed self-gratification for the sake of long-term future benefits, frugality, a high importance placed on education, xiao-sun or filial piety of total obedience and reverence for ancestors and parents, are important factors in entrepreneurial success...Luck in business is not just a roll of the dice that comes up in your favor. Good luck is hard work. According to Thomas Jefferson, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it,"

Self Discipline is a common trait of many successful entrepreneurs. When you’re an entrepreneur you need to be able to get up early in the morning, motivated to work! People tend to think entrepreneurs have it easy...that's not the case. You have to meet deadlines and commitments and this alone causes a person to stand out. "Nigerian Time" will kill your business. The ability to get things done and done right the first time will magnetically attract and retain incredible contacts, opportunities and resources to you. All of this is a matter of self-discipline. "Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power."- Lao Tzu 

Delayed self gratification goes hand in hand with Self Discipline. It simply is making a choice which limits the ability of getting something now, for the pleasure of being able to have something bigger or better later. You need to learn to wait before you buy that new car immediately you hammer. In Nigeria we have a habit of showing off wealth, even showing off what we don’t have. Some people will rather use their profit to buy a Range Rover with nothing in their accounts than just buying an affordable car. Everybody needs to know we have arrived. Don't reward yourself just yet.

Many entrepreneurs are scared of competition, in fact, we pray against it! Recently in Magodo Estate, a new super market opened right opposite another one and I’m thinking…these new people want to spoil their market oh. However, business is competition. One real secret (which also often can be a weakness) of Chinese entrepreneurs is their fierce competitiveness. In fact, the Chinese by nature are culturally and genetically more individualistic…this is the reason many Chinese family businesses tend to splinter into different individual units, thus promoting more small- and medium-sized enterprises.

One favorite Chinese business principle is the strategy of being content with low profit margins and aiming for high sales volumes. This requires infinite patience, perseverance and dexterity. They are content with low profit margins for high sales volumes. 

Chinese entrepreneurs who still retain traditional Confucian values are by habit frugal and prefer to save money. We should encourage frugality and promote a higher savings rate. Africans have the Owambe mentality; “share the money” unlike the traditional Chinese communities that value thrift. Saving money will provide a secure financial future and when your finances are secure you can consider the possibility of doing small business.

What other lessons do you think we can learn from Chinese Entrepreneurs?


  1. Congrats sisiyemmie on making d top 10 for MBNW. Am positive u re winning. Alwayspat4love@yahoo.com

  2. Self-discipline stands out for me. Many see entrepreneurship as being able to get the freedom they crave for. If one doesn't have self discipline, the business is heading southward.

  3. Every part of this piece is a YES for me....To be an entrepreneur is to be Discipline and discreet.
    The Beautiful Eagle's Blog

  4. Thanks for sharing Sisi. I just started my business. Its a lot of hard work, discipline and delayed gratification. It isn't easy, sometimes I feel like just packing it all up to look for 'office work' where the boss takes all the wahala, but this is something I know I must do! I'll be reading a lot more about the Chinese and their business acumen henceforth!

  5. A little bit of stereotyping but all sound good and are definitely principles all aspiring business men need to inculcate. I have always had a problem when I encounter some of our own business men who try to extract the maximum profit from one sale, i agree that a smaller profit margin and high sales are the way to go.

  6. Discipline is the watch word here!


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