At the recently concluded Future Forward 2.0 Techfair organized by Zenith Bank, which was held on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022, Nairametrics reported Ndidi Nwuneli’s session where she dropped powerful and insightful nuggets on the topic: How to Launch a Successful Startup, as the event just concluded a pitch session with startup founders.
Ndidi is the executive chair of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd, Founder of Leap Africa, Sahel Capita, and other entrepreneurial ventures.
She is an expert on African agriculture and nutrition, philanthropy, and social innovation and has over 25 years of international development experience. She is also a recognised serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant.
According to her, are some important things you need to know and questions you need to ask yourself before you launch that business:
- What is your ‘Why’, that is, why are you doing this business?
- Is your business model unique?
- What is your plan A, B and C?
- What business are you starting with?
- It’s easy to start, but think about scaling up after you have started.
- The business must be demand-driven. It’s not about what you want but what people are willing to pay for.
- It has to leverage on technology, data and innovation and should shape the ecosystem
- What policies will affect it? Gokada, for example was affected by the ban on okadas.
- Is it cost-efficient?
- Are your products or services expensive, and can you justify the cost?
- How does it adapt to change?
- An example is Twiga in Kenya which raised almost 90 million dollars, and their business model was simple- Connect those who sell bananas, apples etc, to farmers. They are now planning to expand to the rest of Africa.
- You have to be ready to re-design.
- Beyond the team you put up in your pitch, you need real partners who you can trust, who have integrity and who share your vision.
- The skills of your team members should complement each other
- Concerning leadership, you need to demonstrate credibility. It’s also quite important to have a board of directors because nobody would give money to a one-man squad.
- Invest in governance- have an advisory board or board of directors.
How do you tell your brand story, and how does it reflect in the business name, logo, tagline, marketing strategy, etc.?
An example is HelloTractor, which the founders consider as ‘The Uber of tractors’. The business has an impressive marketing strategy and now has a presence in India, the rest of Africa, Asia, etc.
- How is your pitch money spent?
- Have you got credibility and a good track record?
- Have you got a presence on the ground and not just some pumped-up figures on paper, e.g 500 million users, views, subscribers, etc?
- What is your exit strategy?
- Know the policy governing your business?
- How are you shaping the policies governing your business?
- Who are your opponents and your champions?
- How do you convert your opponents into champions?
- How do you build financial resilience?
- Be ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work.
- Have a 6 month-buffer for your business. That is, if your business is yet to be profitable, have you got something to live by within that time?
- Do a scenario plan and contingency plan
- Avoid ‘hype’ because it is not sustainable
- Invest in impact, not fiction
- Commit to build
Lastly, running a startup can be lonely, but if you have a support system, it will be helpful. Also, it is important to stay humble and grounded so that you will rise. Eventually, we have to create a country that survives in the future.