If growth is in your itinerary, then every bit of data counts
By Oladele Bakare
It’s a lot easier to start a business today than it was a decade ago. The real challenge is achieving traction. The simple truth is that growth is never by mere chance, it is the result of forces working together to give your startup the needed jump in the marketplace. See five tips that will help any entrepreneur turn their ideas into a brand:
Just like it is important for artists to record good songs in the studio before they can think of ace-level concerts, as an entrepreneur, you have to get three things right. To start with, is there a gap in the market? Secondly, is there a market in the gap? Finally, do you have the skill and passion to pursue the opportunities that the gap provides?
Giving affirmative responses to those three things is usually a step in the right direction; it means you have solved the clarity problem. You stand a better chance than hundreds of other founders who just throw stones at the sky and hope that they get lucky.
Research helps, let the facts validate the idea
Most people jump into execution without proper and extensive research. If you think you have found the right business idea, it is advisable that you still plan and conduct a proper research. A proper research does not have to be McKinsey-level work. You just need to have some basic numbers, or at least visible demand to prove that you are on a profitable adventure.
Ask yourself who your target customers are? It surely can’t be everyone. If you sell the sweetest candy, diabetic patients won’t make a customer, so you can’t possibly sell to everyone. Your target customers are those who want and already pay for something similar. No matter how ground-breaking your product or service is, there is a version that is currently serving your target market.
The early adopters of Facebook were Harvard students who could already could use a computer, surf the internet, play games and were involved in some sort of social activities. So when Mark Zuckerberg’s team marketed Facebook to them, they already understood the idea around online social interactions.
Build your MVP
So you have found “it”. Your research has proven that there is evidence to prove that there is a clear demand for your product or service. Next is to develop that product, start the business. You do not need a lot of money to do this.
You can start with your personal savings or money from friends and family. Many people make the mistake of trying to build everything in a product or plan to sell to everybody when starting the business.
This is why it is important and build to identify the key features that are critical to your product/business. This is what we call the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It is the version of your product that has just enough features to satisfy the key demands of early adopters.
With the MVP, you can quickly test the market, get feedback from your customers, improve the product and know what they would like to pay for. Remember “the market in the gap”. Don’t try to do too much, in a tough economy, you may be setting yourself up for needless frustration.
You would know you’ve hit the gold mine when users love your MVP. If they don’t, tweak things. This is the real growth hack – your nimbleness as a business. Your ability to make needed changes or updates as the case may be.
At this point, you have sold to a few customers, gotten some downloads, delivered some products and services. You now have to ensure that you are a smart listener and can quickly implement relevant feedback.
This will give you that competitive advantage that will enable you to serve more customers. Focus on what users love, every other thing can wait.
Scale is identifying your KPI and growing your numbers.
KPI means key performance indicators. They shouldn’t be more than three. They are the numbers that must go up to prove that you are growing. You must identify these numbers.
It could be the number of downloads on your apps, how much money you have saved for your clients, how many people are registering on your platform etc. Find the numbers that count.
After that, your next milestone would be to come up with a growth plan. A growth plan is summarily an answer to the question – “how can these numbers go up?”
Build your answers into a model. Repeat that model. Revise the model if you have to.
Finally, remember that growth is never accidental. There is always a trigger. Find yours today.
Dele Bakare is the founder and chief executive officer of Findworka. He has over 10 years of experience in the technology industry, specializing in enterprise-level software engineering. Dele studied software engineering at the National Institute of technology (NIIT) and obtained a degree in business computing from Anglia Ruskin University, UK.