I think the word ‘businessman’ is Kenya’s most misused term. Few things irk me more than seeing a good word like ‘businessman’ abused.
So, as part of my civic duty as the fast-ageing City Girl, I thought I should come up with a guide, a starter pack if you may, for those who aim to be the ultimate Kenyan businessman some day.
First, you must, however, realise that there are different categories of ‘businessmen’. Depending on your level of mischief, you must scale the cadres of ‘businessmen’ in Kenya before you can eventually become a fully-fledged one.
Allow me to show you the ropes.
1. The flashy businessman
You are new money, literally. By businessman standards, you are still young but with a lot of potential. This is your make or break stage. This is the preliminary stage, at which point you must prove that you are worth your cojones so you must listen carefully.
Social media is your friend and the world is your stage. Go wild on social media, post photos of your exotic holidays, your borrowed cars, your gold watches and your knock-off sneakers.
You must create the illusion that you are rich, even though you are struggling to pay rent. Caption every picture on social media by crediting God for your ‘#blessings’.
I also suggest that you sign up with one of those churches where the fatherly or motherly pastor is more than happy to receive your tithe.
2. The controversial businessman
You are the middle-level businessman whose scandals have started making waves. I propose that you have one mega scandal that will catapult you to national fame, or infamy.
Aim for the front page, no less. Con someone, pocket something massive, like a billii or something. Go big or go home!
Make controversy your middle name. I suggest that you pull out your gun one drunken night in a dramatic fashion just to keep people talking. By this time, the media is beginning to notice you. Not just the mainstream media, but also the rags that will publish your pictures seated next to over-powdered, light-skinned models.
Surprise your enemies by hosting your relatives to the ruracio of the century. I suggest, to build your profile, that you date a TV “personality” and to further your brand, have a very public relationship.
Ensure that every time you gift her an expensive car or house, that you leak it to the tabloids. I can see a bright future for you. Now you are ripe for flamboyance.
3. The flamboyant businessman
You are at the very cusps of making it, a step away from greatness. Mainstream media loves you. For some reason, your opinions matter and you will find your Facebook posts or tweets being quoted on TV and in the newspapers.
Make sure that you are involved in a few scandals here and there…not many, maybe a few billions here and there, but maintain that you are a businessman of note and that your money is clean.
I suggest you open a law firm or a tech company or some other flashy business as a front to your ‘businesses’ and ‘deals’.
Ensure that you are in one of those important ‘lists’ of young and promising entrepreneurs this side of the Sahara and make sure that you have won a few ‘Businessman of the Year’ awards.
4. The motivational speaker
You are the godfather. Don Corleone himself. Your wealth has made its way to the daily newspapers and it is being counted by the dollar billions. You are a veteran in this ‘businessman’ business.
Politics is never a far-away thought for a ‘businessman’, but you need to be very careful here. You could run for office, or take the other more subtle route to Parliament and sponsor politicians so that they can take care of your interests.
This is the point in your life where people despise you so much, they begin to admire you.
If you are not being referred to as ‘business magnate’ or ‘billionaire businessman’, then I am afraid you are not doing well enough.
However, because of your bargaining power, you are allowed to be a motivational speaker. You are allowed to ask the youth to ask you about wealth creation and entrepreneurship.