25 Jul

By Khutso Mokgehle

Jacob! Such a troublemaker yet loved and chosen by God. I must admit, I fell in love with Jacob's business mind when I read Genesis earlier this year. 

We often pay thousands to listen to motivational speakers telling us what we can do to improve ourselves as entrepreneurs, but then (voila!), the Word of God is packed with such wisdom at no cost. Sitback and read on how entrepreneurial Jacob was, you will be inspired. 

Entrepreneurs are competitive.

Are entrepreneurs born or made? Based on Jacob's life, I would say they are born. Jacob was already fighting for the birthright with his twin brother Esau, in the womb. When they were born, Esau was born first but, Jacob followed along holding his twin brother by his heel!

Before he was even born, Jacob was competitive. In business, you need to be competitive in order to be successful. This is done through aggressive marketing, reasonable pricing, accessibility, etc. This is because no matter how unique your product or service is, there is still another company or entrepreneur who offers something similar. Therefore, being competitive every day all day, is the only reason why customers will prefer you more than your competitor. 

Entrepreneurs spot opportunities. 

Esau coming back home from hunting was an opportunity for Jacob to change his life. How smart?! 

Jacob had cooked stew, Esau was hungry. In exchange for the yummy soup, Jacob proposes that Esau gives away his birthright as the firstborn and heir of the inheritance. Because of hunger, Esau trades in the most valuable thing for a bowl of soup.

Cunning! You might say. But unfortunately, that is how an entrepreneur thinks. An entrepreneur should be able to spot opportunities. Tech companies spotted an opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies made fortunes during that time. This is indeed harsh, but truth is, a business minded person is ALWAYS looking for opportunities. 

Entrepreneurs take risks.

When Isaac, Jacob's father was about to die, he wanted to bless Esau as the firstborn and heir of the family. Rebecah, Jacob and Esau's mother comes up with a suggestion that could have gotten Jacob cursed by his father or murdered by his twin brother.

Isaac was blind, so when he called for Esau to cook him some wild game so that he can eat and bless him, Jacob goes to his father before his brother's return and pretends to be Esau. Even though the old man is suspicious, he is eventually convinced that he is talking to Esau then he blesses him.

In business, it's all about taking risks. Entrepreneurs that have made it life had to take risks. An entrepreneur who is settled in a comfort zone will never make it back. Taking those big steps that are uncertain is how many entrepreneurs have success stories that are unbelievable.

Entrepreneurs are strategic thinkers.

After serving his father-in-law and uncle, Laban for more than 14 years, Jacob wanted to be independent. When he informed his uncle of his decision, his uncle proposes that he repays him for all the years he has worked for him.

Jacob strategically proposes that all spotted and speckled sheep. In order to grow his wealth, Jacob did this:

"Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus, he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals." Genesis 30:37-40

Genius! Your processes, systems and methods should be strategic if you are a good entrepreneur. Have a plan of how to grow, produce more and be profitable. 

Entrepreneurs do not put their eggs in one basket.

When he left Laban, Jacob was heading towards his family. Note that he had fled as his brother Esau wanted to kill him for stealing his blessing. Jacob understood that meeting his brother could mean the end of him, his wives, his children, his servant and also his wealth. 

To avoid losing everything at once, Jacob divided everything in two: 

"In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well.  He thought, 'If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.'" Genesis 32: 7 - 8

An entrepreneur should always have a fallback plan. That is why many successful businesspeople advise startup entrepreneurs and investors never to put their eggs in one basket. In case one business or investment collapses, you still have something that can sustain you.


Jacob can be labelled a cheat. I see a go-getter, an entrepreneur and a strategic thinker. Yes, he had his flaws like all of us but there is so much to learn from him. He is so courageous and daring, I mean he wrestled with God! Who does that? 

Jacob's name was changed to Israel. And yes, to this day, Israel's legacy leaves on as a whole country is named after this business guru.

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