How do you buy, build, and sell a business?

Can accounting jargon, marketing idiom, or supply chain lingo help your firm be more profitable?

What makes a leader successful?

Through his experiences, author Ram Lokan demystifies basic business concepts and describes how they’ve helped him along his entrepreneurial journey running a chain of supermarkets in East Africa. In Sweat the Small Stuff!, you will learn how paying attention to the details helps motivate your team, grow your profits, and expand your business.

Full of interesting and often humorous personal stories about running his business, you’ll learn:

  • What responding to a customer complaint on the price of corn flakes taught him about supply chain and logistics
  • How promoting a cashier earned the trust of the entire company
  • Why showing up at a bakery at 4 a.m. every day made him a better leader.


Follow Lokan as he reflects on his journey from acquisition to expansion to eventually deciding to sell his business. This book will help future entrepreneurs, disruptors, innovators, and managers visualize the path that lies ahead and how they can be more successful in growing their business by sweating the small stuff.



Ram Lokan photo

Ram Lokan is passionate about business and what makes a company succeed. He has both invested in and operated businesses in North America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa in the retail, hospitality, and real estate sector. 

Years of experience in both the institutional and entrepreneurial world have given him unique insights. Notably, he believes success comes from a willingness to be on the ground talking to people while keeping an active investor’s mindset. He hopes to help owners, investors, and entrepreneurs everywhere by writing about his own experiences in the business world.

Ram holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was elected George F. Baker Scholar and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University obtained with First Class Honors.

When not busy working, you can find him reading business and military history books or discovering new beaches along the Indian Ocean with his wife.


In Sweat the Small Stuff!, Ram shares his global business experience in a compelling and insightful read. From buying commercial property in the United States to expanding a supermarket chain across East Africa, the lessons he learned along the way are invaluable, and he narrates them all in stories with easy-to-grasp takeaways. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning how to buy, manage, grow, and sell a business.

Arthur I Segel, Harvard Business School Baker Foundation Professor of Management Practice, Poorvu Family Professor of Management Practice (retired)

Sweat the Small Stuff! is a revelatory read for all business professionals, entrepreneurs or corporate managers, who want to understand the great value of putting on the work overalls and getting their hands dirty. Throughout the book, Ram gives us great personal examples of how this can be done and shows us that learning can start in a wide range of unexpected places. If you are starting your career or if you need to jump-start it, you must read this book.

Julien Garcier, Managing Director, Sagaci Research

Sweat the Small Stuff! is more than a useful read for those in business, it is also a worthwhile read for a much broader audience of people interested to understand the necessity of three little words as a golden thread to daily life: attention to detail. This book could have been written by my former law professors with the subtitle Ignorance is no Defence or with the subtitle Credibility buys you Freedom by senior military officers that I have served with. Either way, sweat the small stuff.

Robert Hutchinson, Director Africa Business Resilience, PwC

In Sweat the Small Stuff!, Ram shares with his readers key business concepts and illustrates them with practical, easy-to-read stories that have clear takeaways. Through his journey, we learn about all the small stuff essential to making businesses run well and leaders successful.

Kyle Lui, Partner, DCM Ventures

Entrepreneurship is as much about the journey as it is about reaching the destination. Sweat the Small Stuff! is a stark reminder of the importance of humility, focus and hard work in building a successful business. I wish I had this when I started my company. A must read for any first time entrepreneur!

Cheick Sanankoua, Managing Partner, HC Capital Properties

Lokan’s management book is about the nitty-gritty of starting and running a business. His personal and witty stories even make logistics sound like fun. Everyone running a business will relate to Lokan’s book, and everyone who considers starting or buying a business should read it to know what they are getting themselves into.

Marie Englesson, Entrepreneur & Author

Ram’s insightful and humourous account from the front lines of building an international business in East Africa holds valuable lessons for any serious business person.

Delon White, former Country Manager, Uber Eats Brazil

Must read for anyone looking to lead teams, simple yet so powerful!

Rohit George, Managing Director, Virtuous Retail South Asia

In this insightful guide on buying, managing, and selling a business, Ram distills lessons gleaned from his years of experience working across the globe. His stories are easy to read, and the takeaways are clear and memorable. A must read for anyone looking to start a business or already running one and aiming to get to the next level.

Suyin Soon, Partner, Global Consulting Firm

Ram Lokan: one of Harvard Business School’s best and brightest leaves New York for Dar es Salaam to run a grocery chain; on the face of it, not very bright. However, one of my many favourite lines and insights from Sweat the Small Stuff! was “I learned to love business not for its big moments but for all of its spirit and the people in it. And today, it has made me a better businessperson, manager, and investor”. This speaks to Ram’s big picture thinking and resonates with entrepreneurs the world over; who get into seemingly risky businesses and stay for the love and privilege of creating jobs and opportunities for others.

Hafeez Giwa, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, HC Capital Properties

This book should be required reading for all entrepreneurs, full stop!

Nnamdi Nwaezeapu, Author of Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer

Ram Lokan’s Sweat the Small Stuff! puts the theory of taking career risks into practice. Through relatable personal stories, he shows that the ”Work Experience“ sections of his resume tells a beautiful story of his lived experiences in business and the corporate world.

Elizabeth Lucy Ivanecky, Author of The Child in Us: A Collection of Stories about Happiness