One of the biggest hurdle to cross when doing business the digital way: over things like email, Whatsapp and your website is the trust hurdle.
The first thing your customers want to know is whether they can trust you.
How do we know you aren’t a scammer?
How do we know you are for real?
The easy way to build trust I found is by taking it personal.
If you come across as an authentic person, with a reasonable online profile that you have built consistently over the years, it is way easier for people to trust any business you are associated with.
One reason I’ve found online success is because people know Ademola Morebise in the online space and so, every new project, whether it be bulk sms or all-in-one online marketing suites or a Whatsapp based product finder. People don’t hesitate too much before they hand over their money to us.
I see so many online businesses that struggle because people don’t just trust them.
Not every online business needs this trust ofcourse, if you run yet-another-gossip blog, it doesn’t matter if we trust you or not… You aren’t asking for our money. We come around for you to entertain us.
However, the real gold in this economy comes from connections you can make, connections built on trust.
It is never too late to get started, cultivate an authentic online presence and you will find it much easier to run your business online.
That idea of keeping your person and your business projects separate is not so helpful in this digital business space.
A role model once said: “If you work for 10-15 years at a company, pouring your heart into the work, by the time you retire or quit, you should be ready to run your own company”.
Many people do not want to pour their heart into what they think is “another man’s work”. They do just enough to survive any performance review and just get on day-by-day.
They may quit and start their own companies, now hoping to put in their best, but they lack the skills, knowledge and work ethic needed to sustain the new venture and so, they start a cycle. Crashing and burning through business ventures repeatedly… Until they finally learn everything they needed to learn, the hard way.
Every master you see today was once an apprentice.
Watching The World
The greatest thing about working is that it qualifies you for a greater work.
Once you have done something once, you can do it over and over again – a million times over. You can decide to raise the bar, a little improvement every time you do it and then you achieve mastery over it.
These things tend to be easier said than done, true. However, it is not impossible.
I also tend to write my software programs faster if I have done some work in that area before than when I am breaking fresh ground in uncharted territory. Every project adds some new skill to the mix.
If you have worked hard at anything before, any project and felt betrayed or sidelined or cheated, do not fret. If you actually did the work, the knowledge and skills you acquired can never be taken away from you.
So, rather than getting bitter over how things turned out or did not turn out, focus on how you can derive some new value from your experiences.
In my discussion with Christians, I observe that many of them are content to just getting by day-to-day. They just waiting for heaven where they will enjoy all the good stuff.
The are content with living wretched and beggarly lives on earth, so long as heaven is assured.
This is nonsense. How can you serve God faithfully for many years and yet delude yourself that heaven is your home and that it is OK if nothing the blood of Jesus paid for is evident in your life?
All the good stuff is not meant for heaven, infact we are supposed to enjoy heaven on earth… We need to get this cleared in our mind first before we can enjoy it.
It is only people that are willing and obedient that will eat the good of the land.
So, I just read this report from PUNCH NEWSPAPERS about the true state of NigComSat-1R, one of Nigeria’s satellite hovering above in space.
The article starts off by declaring: “Four years after it was launched into the orbit, Nigeria’s communication satellite, NigComSat-1R, has yet to deepen broadband penetration as promised and can’t be seen as playing any critical role in the country’s development agenda despite the huge taxpayers’ money sunk into it”.
The satellite was supposed to among many other things provide broadband internet access to Nigerians at lower prices. We are still waiting. Built in China and deployed by the Chinese into space, the report says NigComSat-1R has failed to attract enough customers or any patronage from even Nigerian firms.
I pray in my heart that the report is not true, because it tells a tale of a government agency that is losing money, badly managed, lacks the technological know-how to run the operation and yet seeking $701m loans for two new satellites.
The current satellite was financed by loan and there are plans to secure more loans to build more.
This is terrible. Taking all these in with the recent reports that the FG just secured another $6bn “service exchange” loan from China under terrible, even ridiculous terms really baffles me.
My small boy opinion is that we do not need all these. What we should be pushing for is knowledge transfer and training. When we hired the Chinese to build these satellites for us, how many Nigerian engineers participated in the construction of the machines? How many of our guys got trained? Can we build a satellite of ours by ourselves now?
The FG is raising $6 billion to build infrastructure, yet no Nigerian company will get to build anything because the terms says Chinese firms will be deployed to offer their services. How will we develop our Nigerian companies if we cannot commit key projects into their hands?
If the tables were reversed, would the Chinese sign-off on such a deal?
Read for yourself: NigComSat-1R becoming white elephant four years after – Investigation
I think it is very important to not rigidly define the future and allow some room for new directions to emerge.
When people ask me “where do you see yourself in 5 years time?” My response is usually “Stay alive till then to find out!”.
To many people, saying I don’t know is the ultimate sign of weakness and confusion. They always want things spelt out and defined.
Trouble pops up when the times are changing but your rigid plans are not. You suddenly find yourself stranded like a fish out of water.
It is not fair to force kids to pick a career early on and then lord it over them to ensure they ‘stick with the plan’.
The future should remain a draft in some way. An untitled project that can still head in another direction.
With so many people walking the face of the earth, if you will be remembered, if you will stay top of the mind, you gotta be known for something.
What is the one thing you are known for?
It is time to focus and achieve mastery over a craft, that is the key to serious profit. Been average or just good enough doesn’t deliver wealth to you in the long run.
You need to develop yourself thoroughly until you can become know for doing ONE thing excellently.
The chances that you will engage me to build your house is close to zero, you should call my Dad instead – civil engineering is his thing. However when it comes to matters of startup development, product development or digital marketing, I am rarely ignored.
Watching The World
This internet-as-a-business-platform thing works, no doubt.
People smarter than us are making money from their internet based operations, people dumber than us are also making money from their internet based operations.
The question that pops up over and over and over again is: why am I not making money from my own online efforts?
Well, from my experiences in working with various clients and partners over the years, I think the answer is that many of us (myself inclusive) seriously underestimate the amount of work we need to invest into our internet efforts before they can become money making machines for us.
Many people love the idea of making money from internet based operations, every single day a new e-commerce website goes live, a new membership website is launched, a new knowledge based company goes live. The challenge is just that they fizzle out over time as they cannot consistently market the website or run ads or provide the promised value to their audience.
It goes both ways; perhaps guys like me (the techies that build the platforms) should be more honest with our clients and paint a picture of how much work will be required inorder to turn things around.
It is time to put things in proper context: running a business online is not easier than running it offline, it is merely cheaper.
Easy and cheap are 2 different things entirely.
Watching The World
It is just not possible to build the perfect product right out of the gate.
I now believe after many years of designing and building stuffs that product development relies heavily on incremental improvements. It is not a bad idea to start small and crappy, but we must iterate fast, allowing the data we collect from our first users/customers to guide us.
Spending 18 months to build your first product is a simply a bad idea; there are always off-the-shelf solutions you could hack together to get something working in 1 – 3 months.
Stop waiting for huge.
Stop waiting for awesome.
Stop waiting for perfect.
You can start!
Watching The World
…Is making money.
A business must be a revenue generating machine for its owners and shareholders. It has to keep growing bigger and making more money.
We must not forget that branding, marketing, advertising, PR, product development and the 1,000 other things every business “needs” to be doing is merely done inorder to increase the bottom line, profit.
The only thing your business needs to do is to make money!
What are you going to do this week to increase your revenue by 10% or more?