We should take no pleasure in reading of someone else’s failure, like the inevitable crash that was HipNotik. Instead we should be helping the youth, that is Sakhile Nkambule, to see where he went wrong.

After all, he is working on a book ‘The Making of a Billionaire - Untold Stories and Lessons Behind Building a Business Empire’. Perhaps the following lessons can find a chapter in his book. To start, add value to society as a whole, and you will succeed. Don’t build your empire on law-breaking activities. Under-age drinking is illegal and of no value to society. Residents in suburban areas sleep at night and the by-laws of such areas should be respected, even if you clearly fail to respect the ordinary people themselves, because they are not big names.

Don’t build your business off a platform of name-dropping and patronage to get permissions, sponsorship or attention. Build a solid business on hard work and good ideas, which satisfy an identified need in society and money will flow to you. Settle your debts, your reputation as a businessman is entirely dependent on that, not on which celebrities you rub shoulders with.

Yes, we, as society, are so desperate for youth development, so desperate for indigenous entrepreneurial success that government and parastatals throw millions at seed-funding every year. But do not confuse seed-funding, nor the minor celebrity status that comes with being interviewed for a newspaper, with sound business management. To survive your business idea needs to be self-sustaining 12 months a year. Fancy offices, fancy clothes, fancy launches are not business. Your target market wanting to put money in your hands in return for you doing something good for them is business. Talk to business owners, who are still in business after 30 years and you will find they worked from a room at home for five years, only bought a car after 10 years and still after 30 years put more into their businesses than they take out.

Finally, success or failure should not be measured by millionaire or billionaire status. If you think that, then you are implying that everyone around you is a failure, because the reality is few people will ever accumulate such wealth. So don’t disrespect us. Success does not come from emphasising the differences between rich and poor, between those that can throw an obscene sum at a VVIP ticket, and those who struggle to pay school fees. Success is doing something good for society, not just paying lip-service to issues. Success is how much tax you pay, not how much tax you dodge. Success is how many reliable jobs you create, how much you add to building other people up, not just yourself. Success is made up of getting many small simple things right and taking personal responsibility for things you get wrong, not in trying to blame others.

“At the moment HipNotik 2019 will not be in Eswatini,” we read. Listen, can you hear it, that is a sigh of relief you are hearing, not a sign of pity. So listen, learn, start again or just sleep at night and wake up fresh in the morning, like the rest of us do, to do a hard day’s work.

Mandla Dlamini

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