The July 2017 edition of CFA’s Startups Hangout was held at Adna Hotel , GRA, Ikeja on July 14, 2017 and Startups that attended, had a very interesting knowledge-imparting session, listening to and asking questions on how to better run their Startups for productivity, profitability, efficiency, etc., from the two distinguished and successful Entrepreneurs who were guest speakers at the event.
First to speak was Ommo Clark, CEO iBez Solutions. She gave reasons why most Nigerian businesses fail and these are:
a) There is a world of difference between how to generally run a business and how to actually run actually do business in a particular or specific environment. She advised the Startup attendees to always study and learn what it takes to do business in the environment where they find themselves, so, they will not fall into the kind of problem she fell into when she started her business, as she could not earn any income for a long period of time in spite of the fact that, the solutions that she was offering to the market were very good and she was very good at providing those solutions, all because she approached the marketing aspect the wrong way.
b) The second reason why businesses fail in Nigeria, Ommo noted, is the fact that most Startups do not analyse and test their ideas and solutions before hitting the market with them. “In more developed countries; much emphasis is placed on analyzing and testing solutions before hitting the market with them after finding them viable”, she emphasised. She advised, however, that they should not restrict the testing of their solutions with only their friends and relatives because they may not be objective sometimes, but also test them with people they do not know to get a fair result of the tests before market entry.
Ommo stated that, although, writing codes is good, those codes should, however, be analyzed and tested to ensure that they really solve the problem that are intended to be solved.
Then came the time for Bolaji Finnih, Founder, TechPreneur Africa, to speak. Bolaji noted that the main issue bothering many Startups is how to make money from using all of these technologies springing up all around us on daily basis. He stated that Startups, therefore, need to know the Apps that work for them. “Much as business opportunities present themselves, if you don’t understand the business and control the flow, end to end, don’t do it, because, if you do, and there is any hitch along the line to that you have no control over and you can’t deliver, then, you are out of business”, Bolaji advised, giving an example of how he had to close a line of business because he could not control an aspect of it and failed to deliver.
Bolaji also stated that Startups should start with what they have and move on to grow their businesses from there. He gave the example of a very good website developer he knew who started with only his CPU, back then, and was always looking for where to borrow a Monitor and Keyboard to couple the CPU to, so, he could work. He said that the developer is doing very well today in spite of those initial challenges that he had.
He also advised the Startups to imbibe the spirit of Entrepreneurship, so that Nigeria can move from a nation of hustlers to a nation of Entrepreneurs. He said that the spirit of Entrepreneurship is to note that you cannot do everything, hence, have focus and stick to it. You “Entrepreneurial strategy is more of what you do not do than what you do”, Bolaji stated.
Bolaji also advised the Startups that they should not see any idea that comes to their mind as exclusively their own because there is no end to the flow of ideas, hence, they should be open to collaboration and partnership in order to achieve the bigger picture. He stated that the Startups need to learn how to scale their businesses in order to be relevant, both in Nigeria and internationally.
Three of the many other wise business counsels shared by the speakers during the question and answer session include:
a) When you are in business, be true to yourself and have someone who can tell you the truth about you and your business beside you all the time. It helps you to stay focused in your business.
b) An Entrepreneur needs to develop himself in the areas Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, etc., by studying from free online courses on them, in order to have a grip on their business.
c) In today’s world, where many staff of organizations do not concentrate on work, but would rather be busy with chatting away on social media platforms, there is the need to set up productivity targets for the staff. It is better to track productivity rather than activity. An Entrepreneur can also activate “Performance Related Pay” strategy, PRP, whereby, staff are paid according to targets achieved and also compensated with a commission if targets are exceeded, after the periodic review.
The July 2017 edition was sponsored by TechPreneur Africa and TAMS.
TAMS also made a presentation on the services it renders in the field of Human Resources from recruitment to retirement, etc., which the Startups can patronize in running the HR department.
We also thank the Media Partners of the CFA’s Startups Hangout, Nigerian CommunicationsWeek, Guardian Tech and CFAtech.ng, Connectnigeria.com and ITPulse.com.ng for spreading the awareness of this unique opportunity for Startups to learn and grow.
Watch out on https://startups.cfatech.ng/ for details of the August 2017 edition of the CFA’s Startups Hangout which also promises to further enlighten our growing Startups on the path to achieving success and greatness.