Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh currently resides in the United Arab Emirates, where he serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Alpha Group of Companies, which he co-founded in 2011. Mr. Bayorh is a wealthy businessman, an oil and gas magnate, a financier, and a philanthropist. He has been able to utilize his relationships with royal families and connections with executive level corporate officers to broker deals and arrange consortiums for multibillion dollar international projects. As Chairman of the Board, Mr. Bayorh coordinates the efforts of the various divisions of Alpha Group to create sustainable growth and build wealth in developing countries and economies in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
The Alpha Group of Companies consists of four main divisions: Alpha Advisory and Project Management, Alpha Capital International, Alpha Project Development, and Alpha Investments. Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh and Alpha Group, UAE are committed to continuously improving the operations and profitability of all businesses within its portfolio, in addition to ensuring corporate and social responsibility among all partnering businesses. Alpha Group seeks to unleash the untapped potential of the businesses forming its portfolio while still holding true to the principles and ethics of the individual companies. Mr. Bayorh has led many successful ventures in a variety of industries, including aviation, finance, telecommunications, technology, oil and gas, and banking. He has been the leading figure for Alpha Group on multibillion dollar projects and has arranged financing on a global level. With his help, Alpha Group currently has over $3 billion in annual trade volume and has completed financing for projects valued in excess of $19 billion. Additionally, they have $27 billion in projects under development.
Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh has managed multiple development projects in the oil and gas sector—capitalizing on his access to top international contractors and financiers, as well as his ability to work closely with the governments of developing countries. Representing Alpha Group UAE, Mr. Bayorh has often hosted foreign delegations consisting of diplomats and top executives from countries with emerging economies. He has also traveled internationally in order to broker deals between public and private entities. Mr. Bayorh was a special invited guest of President Musa Behi Abdi and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the two-day forum on the development of the Somaliland economy and foreign investment, hosted by the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The forum included contributions from many scholars, industry leaders, and diplomats. One of the main events was the groundbreaking ceremony for the $442 million Berbera port expansion managed by Dubai Ports World. Mr. Bayorh spearheaded structuring the Alpha Grip Management Company (AGMC) consortium: a group of international developers and businesses formed to oversee and complete the $20 billion Ogidigben gas park project in Delta State in cooperation with the Nigerian government. With Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh leading the way, the future is bright for the Alpha Group of Companies.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I envisioned a company that was a collection of diverse but complementary businesses, whose aim would be to create opportunities in developing countries. I knew that I wanted to concentrate on economies within the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Originally, I was interested primarily in sectors related to the oil and gas industry and infrastructure, but we have branched out and grown significantly since our inception.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day involves a lot of time checking in with clients and partners, whether it is through e-mail, video conferencing, or phone calls. I spend a lot of time traveling and hosting foreign delegations of officials and business people as well. I like to know what is going on throughout the company, but I have to maintain a high level view. If I try to get too granular with day to day functions, I’m not making the best use of my time or company resources. So I delegate a lot and have a team that I really trust who keep me up to date on what needs immediate attention as opposed to secondary matters.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m lucky because I have so many skilled people that work for me. As a hypothetical, let’s say that I come up with the idea to build a regional airport in Somaliland. Throughout my company I have accountants who can come up with financial projections, a design department who can work on mock-ups for the layout, and a legal department who will research for me to find out what steps we must take to work with the government. I’m grateful to have so many skilled people around me because it allows me the freedom to focus on ideas rather than the nuts and bolts of everything.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The developments within Africa in the energy industry. I think there is a lot of untapped potential there that is finally being realized and opened up to foreign investment. I’m excited to see the effects that will have on the economies of the various nations there and especially for the opportunities that will create for the people.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It sounds pretty simple, but “time blocking.” As Chairman, I have to remember that how I use my time affects the rest of the company, which in turn affects our business partners and shareholders. Rather than having a task list or “to dos,” I schedule my time in blocks. I find that it helps me to maximize my efficiency and productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re going to run a big corporation or develop big projects, you can’t let yourself get derailed by inconsequential matters. That isn’t to say don’t be detail oriented. Worrying about small matters and checking out the details of a deal are two different things. Let your team take care of the small but necessary tasks that are time intensive, so that you have the time to pore over the details when it is important.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Kindness is not a sign of weakness. You would be surprised how often a show of kindness can end up working out in your favor in the end. And in a business that depends so much on building relationships, whether it is with clients, native populations, or government agencies, kindness goes a long way in creating trust.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take the time to connect with people. As an entrepreneur and a leader, I cannot stress enough the importance of connecting with the people in business. So much attention is given to the technological advancements being made and to informational analysis, that it can be easy to forget that the people behind what we do are truly the key. Without clients, there would be no need for us; without employees, we couldn’t run a business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our best means of growth has been through recommendations and networking. Because the work of Alpha Group involves multinational corporations, government officials, and international contracts, there is a trust factor and a building of relationships that have to take place before you are going to work together or sign deals for multibillion dollar contracts. There are a lot of inner workings that need to be navigated in the right way, especially when operating in developing countries and governments. For us it is the tried and true method of building relationships and trust.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the early years of Alpha Group, I had a tendency to micromanage or try to do everything myself. I started to get burned out and not be as effective as a leader. I overcame it by adjusting my expectations of myself and others. I was given some good advice from a close friend and colleague whose judgment I trusted, and that really helped me to recalibrate my sense of things.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A mobile payment platform that can integrate goods, services, and cashless payments with installment plans for multiple currencies and a hybrid option that includes an option for hard assets in lieu of ready currency. It sounds like something from a video game, but that platform in the developing economies of Africa could be revolutionary. You wouldn’t be cornering a market: you would be creating your own.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I played The Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Beautiful and tough course. The perfect combination of relaxation and a challenge at the same time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
It might sound rather basic, but Zoom for video conferencing. In a pandemic, with travel restrictions on and off again, and as part of a company that is hugely dependent on communication, it has been very helpful for maintaining good client and partner relationships.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker. It is a key book on understanding how to be a great leader in business.
What is your favorite quote?
You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.
- Take the time to connect with people. No matter your business it can’t function without people.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you want to manage at a high level, don’t get dragged down by unimportant matters.
- Use “time blocking” to use your time more efficiently and increase your productivity.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.