10 THINGS EVERY BUSINESS STARTUP SHOULD KNOW IN NIGERIA, BY UWEM BASSEY
There are 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria. Initiating and getting a new business running smoothly can be an overwhelming and a tricky task, especially in a developing country like Nigeria. The initial stages of establishing any business play a predetermining role on the overall success of the business.
There are basic things every newbie should know and incorporate as they set out to establish their businesses. I have outlined 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria and what I personally feel every business startup should load in its arsenal for the growth and success of their businesses.
- Inspired by the countless and amazing start up success stories circulating around the web many start up owners are lured by the prospects of setting up a successful business venture without even knowing the slightest idea about the potential risks and disappointments involved. Well, in reality, running a new business is a tough and tricky job which obviously not every start up owner succeeds at.
You need to have a perfect picture of the product or service you want to sell. In order for your business to be successful you need to identify your target market. This will involve conducting a very thorough market research to help you really identify who your target customers are, where they are and also very importantly, how to reach them.
Even if you are enthusiastic about your idea/ product, you will still need people to believe in it. So, it is better you make sure that they do before you lunch your product.
Note that it’s not your idea that counts, but how you develop and market it that brings the bills you need to build your customer base, even before you market your product why? Simple because your business won’t survive without customers and a suitable market. Bottom line is this, focus on your product, how it meets customers’ needs and how to reach your target market at the right place and time.
- Competitive advantage. Among the 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria, Competitive advantage is what sets your brand/business apart from your competitors. It showcases the unique benefits a customer receive when they do business with you. This could be your products, your service, or even your location.
To understand your competitive advantage you need to fully understand your competitors and your customers. A thorough market research will help you answer these questions:
– Why do customers buy from us?
– Why do customers buy from our competitors and not us?
– Why do some potential customers not buy at all?
– What do we need to do to be successful in future?
– How can we create a brand loyalty?
Good market research will give in-depth analysis on how your business is different from your competitors. It will reveal to you what makes your business/brand different from your competitors. And what you have to offer that will appeal to your customers.
In -depth customer research will help you identify your customer’s needs and increase your competitive edge. When customers buy your product or service, they are buying the benefit that it gives them. It may be that your products makes their life simpler, or your service helps them feel better about themselves.
Think about the unique needs that are met when a customer uses your product or service.
I sell fruit salad to students in the female hostels of university of Uyo, where cooking activities are not allowed. Students buy all their food ready made outside. The implication is this:
- A customer would have to buy as many as four different types of fruits to prepare a salad which is costly.
- He/she would have to prepared the salad, and also worry about preserving the salad and left over untouched fruits.
These would also imply that when a customer buys my fruit salad
- They save money
- They save time
- They have readymade salad and don’t have to worry about preservation issues( so I don’t have to worry about fresh fruit sellers in and outside campus stealing my joy)
Thinking about how your business would benefit your customers will help you pinpoint your competitive advantage
- Hire smart: In these beginning stages of your business you may not be able to hire very many people so taking time to consider which positions you need to fill first is key. Frankly, in Nigeria, you need to hire people who can do a lot of things on their own, seeing your small staff will have a whole lot of tasks which bigger companies have entire departments for. Your employees need to be innovative and self-starters, because you won’t have the time and capacity to walk them through every step of their jobs.
Also consider whether you could just start first with freelance on a daily basis, so you don’t need to think about benefits and salaries immediately. And remember! ALWAYS HIRE SMART PEOPLE. Whether on a freelance basis or not
Every business in its inception requires resourceful persons. So surround your business with them, because as resourceful as you feel you are, your business still needs external attachments for a smoother and more effective running. It is one of the important 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria
- Get some kind of professional training in business management. This is one of the most important 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria. Entrepreneurs are always typically do- it- yourself types. And so, as you start managing and directing employees it becomes harder and harder to get your own work done. You start micromanaging and you lose focus. And this leads to a whole lot of unnecessary damage. What you need to know now as a startup in Nigeria is that your business is your “baby and so getting yourself prepped up for all sorts of eventualities is vital. Outside doing research on a daily basis to match problems. You may need to get professional training as well, particularly in management skills. Keep in mind,’ Babies’ can be tricky to handle.
- The who-you-know game. Nigeria is a jungle, and there are probably more businesses out there than you care to know, who are out to take advantage of a startup company or someone who really doesn’t have any idea of what they are doing in the business world. So? You need to arm yourself with quality referrals from people who have been there. People who are grounded in your field and are positioned where you want your business to go, for instance you need to be able to purchase your goods from the right source. This takes us back to “who you know” getting quality dependable referrals cannot be overemphasized for every startup. You need to know who to buy from, where to buy from and also who not to buy from. Please understand that every business has its “secrets”. It is almost impossible, if not impossible, to smoothly navigate your transactions out there without referrals.
- 6. Be open. William wolfram, a founder of Ecommerce Company deal dash, which is valued at $100 million, believes startups should not be put off by criticism.” Its basically free advice”. Wolfram said, in spite of the fact that we have so many vultures out here in Nigeria who can’t wait to either crash or steal a good business idea. Openness has tremendous benefits.
The thing is this
- Know clearly what you want
- Do not lose focus of your dreams
- Be open to sincere constructive criticism
- Don’t tell “everybody” your brilliant business ideas.
Being open doesn’t mean you have to take every advice that is thrown at you. Being open having means having a positive attitude to people’s criticism. In doing so, you’re more approachable, even among your staff unit. When people sense this, they begin to genuinely want to help. Never shut people out.
- Balance Markus Haltunnen, whose startup, “small giant” launched newly said a well-rounded founding team is crucial for success.
“Make sure your founding team is well balanced. It’s not enough that you have a group of talented people working together”, he said. “We had two graphic designers and one developer but we knew we needed something more. It’s important to identify gaps in skills or knowledge. We were lucky to get someone else on the team who had experience talking to investors and that was key, while we looked for funding”
8 Project the Future. The success of any business depends on these first stages. Little wonder it can not be overlooked when considering the 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria
When making decisions keep in mind the overall consequences it will have on the stability of the business. From this startup phase, you need to start “thinking years ahead”, if isn’t always going to be about what you need for the now, but also what you might likely need two years from now.
Start now to project into the future of your business. No one goes into business to end and exist only at the startup stage. This is only the beginning, the foundation. And technically after the first two years. Your business should be more grounded and profitable by its own rights. So start thinking ahead. The startup phase in your business is the stage for future projections and how you plan to implement them as stated in your business plan.
- Market yourself. This factor plays a very important role when considering 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria
Many early startups believe a strong business idea concept is enough to get really noticed but it’s not the slogan “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t always apply. What you really need in this stage is some form of marketing. Branding is an important process which if you get right, might prove useful in attracting new and potential customers. To generate sales, your startup will invariable need a well-developed marketing and sales strategy which can be easily adjusted to sooth any changes in the market and I’m not saying that you need to be out there “cold calling” and making sales presentations. What I’m saying in essence is this, pay attention to marketing especially at this startup stage. Prepare a marketing plan and implement it. So, no matter how innovative and brilliant your business concept it. You, in this startup stage, will need to market your brand.
- Developing the right company culture. This is the last but not the least of the 10 things every business startup should know in Nigeria Making money, attracting customers and growing your business won’t happen without a great /team employees. A solid business plan and tech will only get you so far. Having the right people is the support system your business needs. They will aid your business find opportunities for growth, and add even more valuable members to the team. Your team is one of your best and valuable assets. Your company culture has to continue to appeal to employees as the company expands and grows. Let people know what working for your company is like and also the benefits your current employees are enjoying.