My Startup Story: Part 3, SMASHING GOALS
It’s the 3rd part of our 3 part story!! I know I’ve lost some people along the way but for those who have persevered till day 3, YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL 🙂
As promised, here are our key takeaways:
1. Use your network, family, and friends to promote your product/service
We focused on selling to people we knew would be our biggest cheerleaders. Once they can believe in your product, they will market it to everyone they come across. Get their buy in and they’ll do the marketing for you.
Understand how to sell with passion and intention – I am not a salesperson, or so I thought. However, when the thought of school fees comes into my head, the passion with which I sell is beyond my own comprehension. So find that one thing that compels you to sell and use it.
2 – Keep costs at a minimum
Who says you can’t start a business with minimum initial funds? We have not needed to raise funds and have never had to dip into other resources to fund the business. We have used all the resources easily available to us to deliver each time.
3. Commit to ploughing back until you build sufficient working capital
we ploughed everything back for the first 3 months of the business before we started putting away profits. We used the profit first principle, figured out what ratios worked for us (Profit : Opex : Owners Compensation) and we run it like a business. We keep ourselves accountable via our accountant (who is a savage – the fear of her is the beginning of wisdom because I need to explain EVERY single Naira and kobo spent to her). We are constantly looking for ways to plug holes and optimise our production processes.
4. Strategic partnerships
I cant stress this enough. Having the Dricky Stickman team as partners has been instrumental in gaining traction. We are using this opportunity to work with other up and coming artists and are building symbiotic relationships.
5. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
All the way till you have proof of concept and market acceptance. Operate in bootstrap mode, save every penny you have and continue to test and improve your product.
6. Research, be adaptable and open to criticism
Remember you’re not producing for yourself – however you need to love and be proud of what you’re making. Listen to feedback good and bad.
7. Be committed to continuous improvement
Your motto should be excellence – in quality and in service. We are still working on this EVERYDAY having in mind that practice makes PROGRESS
8. Customer service is EVERYTHING
Well, you already know that without customers there is no brand, there are no sales and there is no business. In as much as you are delivering value to them via your products, you cannot do this without them.
9. Don’t hold on too tight to an idea
I say this all the time and I will say it again, do not hold on too tight to an idea. Don’t be too ‘distant future’ focused that you miss the opportunities in your peripheral view. Although we haven’t lost sight of our view of world domination, we saw the opportunities that lay in the market around us. We will continue to use this market to test our product and improve our skills in preparation for our global audience. Before they say these Africans have come again, lets not disgrace ourselves abeg.
10. A Strong brand identity
We really take this for granted but the “Apàárt Man” is easily recognisable and synonymous with our brand. Our brand name and identity has a story behind it. Understand that the art of building a brand is in the stories that you tell.
11. Influencer marketing
It matters WHO is seen with your products because it sets the tone for who buys it. Don’t use just any influencer you know, use someone that represents your businesses values and will also get the right people buying your product.
12. Social media is AMAZING
None of that “Do not DM me” BS. How can you tell your customers not to contact you via whatever means they deem convenient? You must be having a laugh mate! You need to be adaptable to whatever your customers needs are and meet them there. Yes it can be time consuming but if you’re making money from it then you need to empower people to do the work you don’t like to do!
13. Carve a niche for yourself
We often get requests to do regular leather bags but we always have to respectfully decline. We made a decision to set ourselves apart (HA!! I promise I didn’t plan that play on words … lol) by sticking to exotic skin and exotic skin only. With that we know who we are and we are sure of our brand position. So its important to identify your own niche so you are synonymous with something great.
Thats all for now follks! I look forward to sharing MORE business stories by amazing Nigerians doing incredible things!
Until then…Keep winning!!