I believe we are at a unique junction today that if you have a fairly good grasp of the internet – how things like websites and social media work, you can easily (and cheaply) create a company that can grow as big as you want it to be. There are no big players in a lot of verticals.
I know I can be very optimistic, I guess that is a weakness and strength. But, really it is what it is: everywhere I look in the Nigerian scape, I see a lot of opportunities.
It is a very simple formula:
The formula is simple, and it will work if you put in the work required. You might also think deep in terms of looking for some business model innovation that will make your offer more attractive.
You will need it. The winner is whoever executes it first, and executes it well.
Watching The World
Most people believe teaching is a transfer of information. I think it is much more than that.
“Teaching is not merely information transfer, it is the impartation of experiential knowledge.”
Until the information you have acquired become your knowledge, you should not be out there teaching anything.
Everybody wants to teach, everybody wants to be the go-to expert and its OK. What is NOT OK is not waiting patiently for real knowledge to develop as you apply the information you have acquired.
Information is acquired. Knowledge is developed.
I like reading books and listening to people who have experiential knowledge to impart upon me. I love reading blogs run by real Entrepreneurs that are running real companies that provide tangible products and services as opposed to “Entrepreneurs” that talk, write and train for a living.
I heard they call it knowledge-based companies. I call it what it really is: BS.
There are a lot of things I’ve acquired information about but can’t teach yet. I don’t have enough knowledge to do so.
I stick to things I can easily teach like starting businesses and online marketing and some “leadership skin” I developed by leading various teams and communities of different sizes.
I suspect that this is why people find my posts useful. I stick to things I’m knowledgeable about and I try not to stray away and assume I’m an expert in other things.
The Pharisees and Jesus taught people using the same book of the law, but because Jesus had experiential knowledge, he was able to make more impact than the “teachers of the law” who were merely transferring the information Moses developed to the people.
Motivational speakers and more than half of all these coaches that are springing up everywhere need to STFU and dig deeper into themselves and create organisations of real value.
I think it is time to stop motivating people with words, let them be motivated by your results instead.
It is time to stop talking and blogging and get to work. Act first, document later!
The world needs you to impart experiential knowledge and not to transfer the information you have received.
Watching The World
I have learnt the hard way that it is way better to always consider decisions in the light of the long term.
We need to resist the urge to make decisions and take actions only because of short term gains. Our eyes need to remain on the grand prize. Making decisions that turn out to be kobo-wise but naira-foolish is a real killer.
Short-sighted and greedy folks do not think this way ofcourse. Like Esau, they feel that if they do not get returns right now… they will die. A feeling that is greatly exaggerated.
Jeff Bezos’s work at Amazon is a testimony to the amazing power of always thinking in terms of the long term. For a very long time he ran Amazon without generating profits as he kept using the resources available to expand the business as opposed to declaring a pay day.
Today, the fruits of that mission are beginning to show. It has taken nearly 20 years, but today they are in a very good spot.
Apple Inc. posted its first quarterly decline in revenue in 13 years, ending a historically great run for the world’s most valuable company and stoking questions about whether its best days are behind it.
No doubt, they have to pull another rabbit out of their hat now. The iPhone, iPad and all the other i-things are no longer the new and shiny toys they used to be.
That is however, not my focus.
My focus is upon the fact that even though Apple’s iPhone was the number 1 phone in the world and it looked like that trend would continue forever, we are now seeing signs of a crack.
Facebook is at 1.5 billion people or so today. If anyone told you that they are building a new social networking platform that will eventually eclipse Facebook, you would offer to send them to a doctor that can get their heads examined. Yet, it is not impossible.
I pointed out the other day that even though 1 billion used Facebook in a single day, there were another 6 billion people who didn’t use Facebook that day.
In business, in the real world… No such thing as an unassailable lead.
A new venture I start today can grow into a world power and the current world powers will step aside as I grow stronger.
Starting a business is not really about knowing all the answers at kickoff.
It is about been willing to work everything out diligently and learn and adapt as the journey unfolds.
The past few weeks has been quite busy and eventful as I rolled up my sleeves to dig in deep and begin to work out some of my ideas into fruition. I don’t have them all figured out. But I’m willing to work it all out.
Indeed, trying to figure them out completely was the killer… That’s what slowed me down and kept me from picking a date.
So, I embraced a new route: do I know enough about what I want to do inorder to start something? The answer is usually yes.
Then, brick by brick, a little here and a little there… I iterate, everyday. Constantly improving it, watching out how people interact with it and all that.
Then finally, I get all the answers.
Companies that even start out thinking they have it all figured out usually still have to re-think at some point on the journey. No one has all the answers.
The real thing is: are you willing to try?
A lot of people says there are no new ideas or innovation; whether you believe them or not: you are correct. Since ideas are the very things startups are built upon, death of new ideas is not a good thing.
This is perhaps the reason why we have so many bland, colorless and non-exciting startups springing up everyday. Startups that are generally dead on delivery, startups without any UVP (Unique Value Proposition) whatsoever.
Even though majority claim there are no new ideas anywhere, I still think too many people waste their time and life savings on a not very original idea. No, I don’t mean that you have to start a Google, but I do mean that you must be clear, very very clear, about how your new Job search site or social network will be “dramatically different” from the current offerings we have.
A great example of this would be Spinlet, the idea of streaming music over the Internet is not new. Truspot and NotJustOk have been doing it for years, Spinlet simply created a better experience by making a mobile app and signing exclusives with record companies. What if Spinlet had created yet another wordpress powered site and streamed music from it? I wouldn’t be writing about them.
If there is nothing new or innovative about your forum/blog/mobile app, just toss the idea into a trash can, go find something else to do and save everyone the headache.I’m not saying you should build the next Google. I’m simply saying bring something new to the table. Is that too much to ask?
There’s so much immaturity and frivolity out there. You find people just showcasing the worst of what the human race has to offer.
These behaviours are not restricted to a particular race or gender or religion. Its everywhere.
We must daily consciously strive to raise above it all and more importantly, learn how to handle such situations with wisdom as they arise.
What we must never do is this: We must never stoop low and dive into the mud with them. We can be better.
We have to be better.
Start small. That’s what wise people advise everybody to do.
No matter how grand the vision is, there must be a little starting place you can get started from.
What starting small does for you is that it installs operational capacity.
All dreamers soon realise that it takes a completely different skillset to work out an idea than it is to dream it up in the first place.
Starting small makes even the hardest things doable and a bit more realistic. You are no longer talking about meetings and collaborations with big players that you honestly have nothing to offer.
You are now able to just reach out and get the ball rolling, starting small does that for you. Starting big will require waiting for all the stars (or rather, most of it) to align. From experience, that’s such a rare event.
Why then is it difficult for us to decide to start small?
Shoprite is building mega supermarkets across the nation. If you wanted to start a supermarket chain of yours today… What will you do differently?
Google is a tech powerhouse. They started from web search and transformed news, email, online video, documents and all. If you wanted to start a real tech company today… What will you do differently?
First Bank is a first class financial institution in Nigeria, they’ve held their own against the market forces for a long time. If you wanted to start a financial institution today… What would you do differently?
The incumbents always close their ranks, leaving little to no room for competition and competitors to sneak in. However, history tells a different story.
There’s always room for disruption in any sector of the economy. There’s nothing set in stone and unchangeable, but to leapfrog the Goliaths we see today will require a different approach, a different execution.
Having hope and faith in your business is very good. You must never lose hope in your business no matter what is going on.
One of your most important duties is to keep hope alive.
Yet, hope on its own is not a valid business strategy. You don’t sit back, relax and expect things to happen because you have hope.
Let hope drive you to go out there and demand results.
You already have a end picture in mind, go all out, knock on every door you can find. There is always something you can do from where you are right now.
There’s always something you can do with your current resources.
You must move from hope to specific steps you need to take, that’s where the magic lies.