Some Key Nuggets
Innovation is a function of the crowd culture
Transformation is intentional, Business Success is intentional
1. What are your expectations from this session based on the theme of discussion.
2. What are the major problems you currently face as an entrepreneur/freelancer
Some of you might know me personally while some might have seen the work I do with the Social Innovation Programme & Award; but i must say that “I am not a motivational speaker”, I’m just here to add value and share my perspective/experience on the theme. Please let this session be as interactive as possible as we have limited time to interact … And keep your mind open
*Indicate why you started your business/freelancing:*
1. You want to be your own boss.
2. You didn’t get a job.
3. You had a passion to solve a problem.
4. You want to make money.
Pls be truthful
… responses …
From my interaction with start-ups across various parts of the country,….. Most of their responses would always fall into any of the following:
1. My business idea is the best, once i get more funds i would grow beyond measures.
2. The only problem i have is finance, I have all the skills needed.
3. I don’t get customers every time, because of my location.
4.i need more money to innovate.
I would try to address each of these and add some more information
*Funding:* most you are focusing much attention on attracting finance when you should be focusing on your business model.
As opposed to common belief that all Investors are only concerned about the ROI ), my work with a large network of serial investors, has revealed that investors are firstly drawn by the uniqueness & Innovation that is embedded in your idea before they dig deep into the numbers.
I would share some quick examples.
Which leads me to the next question,
*What is an innovative business idea (no Google please)*
… responses …
*Let’s answer the question by looking at these two case:*
Adamu aims to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria through providing more sustainable self-employment opportunities to students from less privileged homes. He created a vocational school that builds entrepreneurial minds in the media arts. He offers short-term certificate, diploma and specialization courses targeted at people who wish to enter the media or creative industries. The academy generates funds by working for companies that needs media related services. Adekunle is improving maternal/child health, public health and family health in low income communities across sub-Sahara Africa with the goal of reducing avoidable death due to complication from child birth. He created a mobile app, web and SMS platform which has a unique range of features for parents. It provided nutritional tips, helps to monitor children’s health and encourage family planning.
*Look at Adamu and Adekunle…. What are the perspectives we can draw from their ideas?*
The main reason why I’ve used the story of these individuals is because Adekunle recently won awards and grants from various sources reaching about $300000. Adamu has also earned funding from a wide range of sources.
At the point when they launch, their ideas were *New and Useful*….. These two terms forms the basis for an innovative idea
Regardless of what you sell, regardless of the location or your target market…. Once it’s new and Useful, you would save yourself of some extra hustle.
Now look at your business with a deeper eye……
Is your model new to the market or to your target audience…? Is it Useful?
Innovation can lead to a huge breakthrough in clients, finance and most especially sustainability. Fundamentally, innovation in business means introducing something new and useful into your business processes.
So *how do you implement innovative processes into your initiative:*
- *Listen to your customers:* This begins by looking for where your clients are concentrated; if they stay outside your present location, how do you increase your visibility? Some of you don’t have an online presence. I know of some clients that would never give a job you if you use a gmail account as a business mail. Once they can’t find your website they would never contact you. *_Have you ever sat down to map where you clients are?_* You stay in Ogbomosho and want to receive clients in Ikoyi…… That’s not a problem, but you need to understand their heartbeat…. Why would they offer you their jobs? What drives their purchasing power?
- *Communicate Effectively:* it’s not enough simply to know who/where your customer base is. You need to communicate effectively with them as well. Communication involves not only listening to their needs but also actively observing their behaviour around current products and services and generating ideas on how you can make improvements. You need to learn to analyze your client base regularly……What draws their attention, how do they buy, what interests them. This brings us to the AIDA principle. Most of us wants to influence the decision of potential clients without firstly getting their attention. AIDA means- Attention, Interest, Decision and Action.
Let’s say i want to start a business that would produce matches, instead of directing my marketing effort to influence customers action and decision to purchase my product. I would begin by changing the conventional cuboids design of a match box. I might use a cylindrical shape material to make my own product. If a customer visits the grocery store the first thing that draws his/her attention is the shape *(ATTENTION)*, then the potential customer would ask “ *is this thing a matchbox”*you’ve just gotten *(INTEREST)*, then the potential customer moves on to say, “ should i buy it” *(DECISION)* , then finally he/she says, “ Let me try it “
*(ACTION)*. This AIDA principle is what multinational uses to influence the decisions of a large number of people through tapping into the crowd culture of the audience. Whatever you are selling……. *Don’t try to force customer’s decision* … Start by creating an attention….
- *GLOCAL: * Another easy way to innovate is to use what i call the “GLOCAL” strategy. Google has given you access to a wide range of resources/information; when was the last time you asked, is someone else doing this Globally? The “GLOCAL” strategy means applying Global innovative processes to your own local initiative. For example, Adamu’s idea from the case study came after his visit to India. Adekunle also recreated the processes of a Canadian start-up to build his own business. Please I’m not saying you should totally copy someone’s idea and turn it into yours. Just learn their process and think of ways by which you can recreate it. And please ensure you are not copying a brand that is within your locality. It would dent the image of your business and you would struggle to capture clients, unless you provide an additional benefit different from your competitor.
- *Innovate based on competition:* If your main competitor’s products have a reputation for being cheap and cheerful, rather than trying to undercut them on price you could innovate by revamping your marketing to emphasise the quality of your merchandise – and consider charging a premium for them. Take for example, Pepsi reduced its prices to 100naira, than didn’t make coke reduce to 100 naira they had to bring a reduced bottle. Since customers might even find it difficult to finnish the 50cl bottle. Listen to what your competitors are doing. what is their strategy? Why are people buying from them?
*Let’s go back to attracting finance!!*
Another way of getting funds or investment into business is ensuring standard systems & structures. A standard business structure should have:
*A financial statement/financial report:* most of you have been in business for 3 years and you don’t have a financial report. To access loans/funding from some organizations you would need a financial statement. When you apply for entrepreneurship competitions/fellowship programmes, having a financial record keep you way ahead of your peers. It also helps you access your financial stability.
You don’t need a KPMG or a Pwc to create one. Some of your friends are Accounting graduates with ICAN, speak with them, they can work out the numbers.
*Board of directors:* this might sound too complex for some businesses, but trust me it improves your chances of assessing loans and investments. I was on the judging panel for the an international entrepreneurship award last 2weeks and the winner was selected bcos he had a board.
*Quote me anywhere…..most funders would only invest when you have a team governing the affairs of the business!*
From the Microsoft Insider4Good Fellowship program … If you don’t have a cofounder, trust me you are just there to play with laptops, no funding. All the Entrepreneurs on our fellowship program have co-founders From Pass.ng to Recycling point, to SaferMom to Omomi … They all had co-founders
*Branding & Online presence:* Your brand goes beyond just designing a logo, but communicating your value to your audience. Please pay a very good graphics designer to help you design your social media campaign, your website also is a very good market for attention……Once some people see your brand , it might draw their attention to what you do. You can’t tell me you run an IT firm and your website is ugly! I was in Enugu this weekend, and I met one young farmer with a poultry,….you would be surprised to see this guy’s website…. Very beautiful…. People order goods on it and he would deliver anywhere in Enugu. Their is great meaning in the Colour you choose for your brand…. Ask Union Bank about this.
Who can tell me why did Union Bank change colour and logo, during the process of transformation?
… responses …
Can people pose with the Colour of your business brand?
Can people wear the promotional T-shirt created by your business?
People look around you… Why did 9mobile choose that shade of Green?
Innovating is one… Branding is another thing.
1. *How do you use social media:* the AIDA principle can also be applied when communicating with your audience on social media. How do you draw people’s attention to what you do on social media? What do share about your industry that makes people attracted to your business social media page? A friend of mine would go to the The Shade Room social media handle ( with about 10 million people) and create a buzz about his business using memes, funny pictures and participate in controversial argument just to attract attention.
For example he would write, when people are busy abusing themselves on the Shade room, he would write, ” Don’t forget to use Ojoro kitchen to ease your temper” … Then people would go to his handle…. And the designs do the remaining job
2. *Freelancing is cool cash:* With crowdsourcing sites like Freelancers.com, Upwork, Elance, Toptal, e.t.c you can make hundreds of thousands weekly. I know of a friend that makes about $500 by writing 40-50 pages of business plans on Freelancer.com. Please don’t waste your time looking for income while you can always bid for projects on these sites. And how do you start: Start by building referrals, offer your services for free first, so that you can gain reviews… once you have built like 40reviews you can rake in a minimum of 300000 naira a month (trust me on this ). Write a very compelling Bio of yourself and NEVER MISS CLIENTS DEADLINE. (This is very important when freelancing on these platforms)… Send emails to established people that can outsource jobs to you while they share in the profit. You graphic artists, writers , programmers, content developers, it’s time to make money on these sites.
3. *Make effective use of technology tools* : I would share a material containing 59 free business tools that would help you improve productivity. It helps you reduce overheads and helps to effectively cut cost. You sell phones in your shop and you wait for customers to knock on your door…. When you are miles away from where they are… Where are your customers? What would make them buy, how will I make one customer to refer someone… Someone patronize you once and you let him/her leave like that…. Ok…. Don’t you that your customers are the best marketing agents!! Buy a 70 naira coke bottle for a customer and he/she would forget to price the product…. Try it! A 70 naira coke for a customer can go a long way in telling someone about your business!
If you work for an organization, please don’t let anyone scare you with a sack… The opportunities are endless once you start freelancing…
*Keep building your Network*: i cannot over emphasize the value of network……….you need to move closer to opportunities. You need to look for every opportunity you have to discuss about your business, & your skill. Attend conferences, seminars where you would engage with your potential clients.
There are sometimes you pay a whole lot attending a 3-day training, just because you need contacts…
Some of you would say, I can stream it online… But you *cannot* stream the networking session…
Again on finance, so let’s answer the question do you have a problem with finance or a problem with your strategies. Don’t forget business success is intentional!! You don’t have a problem with finance, get the model right, I bet you there are billion ways to get the cash
*Why do investors fund social Entrepreneurs than the conventional entrepreneurs?*
… responses …
Question by participant: Assuming i want to run a Computer accessories reseller’s business in my local area do i need to have a co-founder even when its just s small business to start with?
A.F.A Response: Do you want to remain small? Of course your business would outgrow the conventional buying and selling of Computer accessories… And then you need to look at how you can attract investment to expand
Question by participant: I’m a freelance editor and proof-reader on Upwork but the system seems to favour freelancers who have been on the platform for a while. Any ideas on how to turn this around?
A.F.A Response: Build referrals. Start by building referrals, offer your services for free first, so that you can gain reviews. Online Referrals…. Send messages to guys that have gained reviews (they even tend to turn down jobs sometimes) you can take up those ones.
Question by participant: Peter Thiel, renowned angel investor once said that you need your business to be so unique that it creates some kind of monopoly i.e. you are one of the few people that is running that kind of business to attract huge investment. Even though one has a unique idea and business model, how does a founder get the following?
1. Get cofounders to found and launch with him?
2. How does a business get good and reliable Investment in Nigeria?
3. What type of investment is the best? Angel or VC?
A.F.A Response: You can get partners not necessarily co-founders……. There are ways to get partners …. Look for someone that share your vision! Getting investment from Nigerian investors is even easier once your model is both *New & Useful* Pls much strengths on these words……. It’s very easy i tell you. It’s quite hard to get investment from *angel* investors in Nigeria.
Question by participant: I have a question for how can one apply for a grant to start up a business without having a cofounder or partner, without having a Board, without having a detailed business plan.
A.F.A Response: You would pray for luck! Except you apply for fellowship program. Check D-Prize (https://www.d-prize.org)
Abraham Femi Abraham on TFH [11/11/2017]
*Join the network here*
A PROFILE OF THE GUEST
Femi is driven to create value with his skills, particularly in improving business process innovation and organizational transformation.
He presently leads the Union Bank/Leap Africa Social Innovation Programme; which is Africa’s largest learning & development Fellowship programme for young social innovators. He also coordinates the Citi-Bank funded iLEAD programme for youths in Nigeria.
Femi holds a certification in business management from the Lagos Business School where he led the team that won the Lagos Business School Case Study Competition. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; where he earned a 1st class degree in Physics and also finished as the Best Graduating student in the department.
With a background in science, he acquired professional training as a business development analyst at the Sams & Wright Consulting where he developed business improvement strategies & technology adoption models of business operating in the South American & European markets.
He also freelances as a business process Analyst, and has facilitated the strategy development of over 40 businesses across emerging markets. One of his recent projects includes a 2017 digital IQ report developed by PWC; where he was involved in the mapping of Africa’s business digital adoption index.
He was a 4-year beneficiary of the MTN foundation Scholarship programme and also a national finalist of the CERN-Geneva open-lab contest. Femi facilitates courses on Innovative problem-solving & Product development management.
He brings with him extensive skills in business innovation management, organizational learning & development design and technology adoption strategy.