By Gift Agboro
If you are an entrepreneur who is about to kick off his or her business in the city of Ibadan, I am certain that the question in the title of this piece would have given you more than a few headaches and sleepless nights.
Even though I am not a business person in the sense of owning and running a large scale business, I have done some business myself and I have also participated in many fora on business and start-ups and the two questions that most commonly on the lips of entrepreneurs in such fora are:
- How can I get enough finance to start up my business?
2. Even if I get enough finance; Can my Start-up thrive?.
If you are reading this piece and you find that the word “start-up”, sounds vague to you, Do not feel like are left out of this discourse. Here is a brief description of what a Startup is so that you can get what I am really trying to say.
According to Wikipedia,
“A Startup is an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative product, process or service.”,
Now that you get what a startup is, let us go back to the question in the title that we are trying to answer. Since the reduction in the price of oil which has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy for a long time happened, leading the country into an economic recession, life has become harder for entrepreneurs who have chosen to take a leap of faith in opening their business – their Startups, which either create new products for old customers or produce old products (with a touch of creativity) to old customers or better still, producing new products and services to entirely new customers.
In recent times, there have been a clamour for entrepreneurs to emerge, the need for new innovators with startups geared towards diversifying the Nigerian economy to emerge , because of the need to satisfy the ever growing and insatiable needs of people and of course in order to make money and create jobs (as the government is struggling to create well-paying jobs because of the recession).
However, unlike other pieces who will only give you reasons why your start-up will or can fail, I will give you just four reasons why it can thrive. Of course, I am only scratching the surface here, there are more than four ways.
Your startup can thrive once it is certain that it is meeting a NEED. It has been observed that:
“ people don’t buy what you do but why you do it; people buy what you do because it answers why they need it”.
The Economist says that human needs are insatiable, meaning that one’s need cannot be fully settled. Thus, if your new start-up seeks to settle one of the critical needs of humans, then, your start-up will thrive. In determining if your business meets a need, you should also be able to understand who your target customers are and what their needs are at that particular point in time. In doing this, you must try to understand the mindset of your soon to be customers, understand what inspires them and their pains (all these are like hidden treasures in their NEED box). Once you are able to put into consideration all of these things, you will see your start-up thrive like magic.
Let us bring that down to the city of Ibadan. If, for example, you are an entrepreneur in Ibadan and you have a business which its target audience are students in the Universities ( The University of Ibadan or Lead City University) in the city, Your startup will not grow if you create a product that seeks to meet the needs of the working class, because you have mixed the needs of your target audience up that of another set of people. The entrepreneur who makes a mistake like in the example postulated above has simply failed to understand the pains and the needs of his or her target audience- the students.
2.The 21st Centuryst Digital World
We live in the 21st century where everything is going digital. There is no more perfect time for your start-up to thrive. Social Media is the rave these days and many of the numerous social media platforms that exist have room for adverts. Hence as a start-up, making maximum use of these platforms makes it possible for whatever products or services you intend to offer to be pushed to a wider crowd. This further enhances the chances that your start-up will thrive. In previous times when traditional means of marketing used to be the order of the day, business owners were restricted to a particular set of customers. As such a product or service which can meet the need of a ten thousand people in different places will be restricted to just a thousand people because its publicity cannot go beyond its immediate geographical location.
3. The need for a diversified Nigerian economy:
The recent clamour for the diversification of the Nigerian economy is a very good pointer that whatever your startup may be, as long as it is meeting a need like I said before, it will surely thrive. The Nigerian economy in the bid to be diversified has created a threshing fold for young entrepreneurs and business owners to offer their product and services. This brings to mind the picture of the human body where the hand performs a different duty from that of the legs. So, the Nigerian economy can be likened to the human body with different parts (diversification), thus making room for start-up’s to perform their duties. As a good entrepreneur who has recognized your side of the bargain and your duty in the Nigerian Economy, your startup would surely thrive!!!!
4. A team of tireless committed people
Finally, I would quickly just state something, if your startup requires a team of people to work and plan strategically to be productive, then your start-up will only thrive if and only if you have an excellent team working tirelessly with you. Your team must be able to buy into your dreams and vision for your business. When that has happened, then coupled with the above, your start-up can thrive.
So when you are you face any doubts whether you have a good business on your hands, consider these reasons I have enumerated above, if you satisfy all the four points, then get on with your plans for your startup.
Gift Agboro is a student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. She is interested in tech solutions and how they can help startups grow. She is on Facebook as Gift Agboro. You can mail her firstname.lastname@example.org
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