A few years ago I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the prestigious American university called Morehouse College. When I arrived to receive it, I was blown away to discover that I was sharing the honor that day with one of my favorite heroes in entrepreneurship, a man called S. Truett Cathy, the founder of a company called Chick-fil-A.
In America this business is the main competitor to KFC. He was already in his nineties and Went Home a few months later.
He started the company in 1967 and it was worth US $4.2bn at the time of his passing.
Mr Cathy delivered an amazing speech that day [much, much better than my own!] To build a multibillion-dollar business with thousands of outlets, selling fried chicken pieces, is all about the ability to master Process!
That is all guys!
There are opportunities to do what he did in almost every African country, and to scale throughout Africa.
Not far from our own doorstep, think of the South African founders of Nando’s, Fernando Duarte and Robert Brozin. The business they founded in 1987 now has over 1,000 outlets in 35 countries! How did they do it?
The 3Ps (people, process and product), and in particular… Process!
Thinking about Col Sanders and KFC: What do you think of the founder of KFC?
If you and I were to have a conversation of 30 minutes on him, what would you be able to tell me?
Something about him which is not just a historical account, but something that would catch my attention today, as an entrepreneur?
“What exactly was this man’s Innovation?”
Don’t forget that he was already over 60 when he got his breakthrough.
“What was his revenue model?”
“How did he actual Scale this, so quickly?”
“How did a guy with so little formal education lay down a foundation for a global business that is now worth over $15bn?”
“What are you learning from this?”
My own take on Col Sanders:
He developed a recipe. This was his Innovation. He was a Food Entrepreneur! He did not just run around with an idea, he developed a Product in his kitchen, then went out to sell a solution in the form of a Product.
2. Process [to scale]:
He emulated the Franchising Model. He developed a brand, and sold franchises. In many ways this was done after he sold the business, because he was not that skilled himself.
He mastered Marketing, and branding very well.
4. Revenue Model:
They initially sold recipes, and then turned to franchising. All the stuff about his personal life is just color.
Last week I met an African Col Sanders, here in London.
On one of the Easter days last week, my wife hired a young African chef to come and cook for us.
“I want you to try my ‘Sadza Bites’, Mr Masiyiwa,” she said.
She then gave me a plate of what looked like fried meatballs, but they were actually made of flour on the outside, and inside was the Maize porridge we call Pap or Sadza. They literally melt in your mouth. They were so tasty.
All she needs to do now is to engage a Food Scientist who can help her stabilize the product so that it can store, and remain fresh. Next would come a Packaging specialist. Then someone who understands mass Production processes used in food.
And then soon she will be selling them globally! How do you think things like Kellogg’s® Cornflakes, potato chips, Rice Crispies®, and many other snack foods came about?!
Food Entrepreneurs, experimenting with simple everyday foods like potatoes and rice, to create ready meals and snacks.
What of things like spaghetti? Or even sushi?
Were they not traditional foods, taken to other markets by Food Entrepreneurs?
And now someone says we cannot create our own global food products? Everything she did that day was exactly how Col Sanders created the original KFC chicken!
Most people would not see what I saw, because they are wired to believe Africans can’t do these things.
Come on guys, the world is waiting for you!
There are 10,000 products waiting to come out of the Cassava plant!