A few months ago I was speaking to a wealthy property developer based in Durban (he’s white). While chatting to him, he told me that the business model I was telling him about was similar to that of Trafalgar. He then emailed the CEO of Trafalgar and introduced me.

The businessman then told me that his father and the founder of Trafalgar (the father of the current CEO) had been friends for more than 40 years. He then told me that the CEO of Trafalgar is more like a brother to him. This made me realise that relationships are the biggest capital rich people have.

I looked into my own family and realised that there’s no 40 year relationship my family has with another family. I began looking around and realised that most black people don’t have those kinds of relationships, especially business relationships. A lot of people in our community don’t even have friendships that have lasted more than 20 years. It’s rare to find those.

Our people have been conditioned to compete with one another so much, that even when they have genuine relationships with people that can help them, they turn those relationships into competition. We don’t have a problem with lack of capital, we have a relationship deficiency. There are many people who can fund your business today, but you just don’t have a strong enough relationship with them. You have not deposited enough into the relationship to be able to withdraw from it.

Relationships are resources. There are things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I wasn’t connected to certain individuals or families. Those people willingly put their money on the line to back me and my family. It’s sad that most of our people haven’t developed the maturity and know-how to cultivate long term relationships. They move from one friendship to another the same way most move from one romantic relationship to another. There’s no long term vision.

Let me tell you something, relationships are the capital that you are looking for. You don’t need money to start a business. You need solid relationships with people who will be willing to back you up. Who do you think funded Facebook at the early stage? It was someone who knew someone who knew someone. 

So if you don’t have money, you withdraw from your relationship bank account. I’m also praying and working on long-term relationships with people. It’s not easy, relationships go through seasons, but with prayer and maturity – we can cultivate relationships that our children will be able to Withdraw from 40 years later.

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