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Seni Sulyman @senisulyman
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
3 key lessons from my experience advising "tech" companies in Nigeria over the last few years: a threaded series.
1a) before building a "tech" company, build a "regular" company. Then enable it with tech. If your "regular" company doesn't provide a good or service that people want, or you can't do it better than others, your whole business might be Dead On Arrival.
1b) So if you want to start an online fashion retailer, first figure out how to source for the best items at a price customers want. Then ensure you can work out the logistics of handling, transporting, delivering, handling returns, etc. Even before building a website
1c) perhaps, start with an e-catalog which people can order from. Send it out via WhatsApp, instagram, Facebook, etc. Then practice taking and fulfilling orders. If you do this really well, apply tech (eg a website) to accelerate your demand and automate your biz.
2a) "Tech business" is a combination of tech and business. You can't solve half of this and then try to cheat on the other half. Life has shortcuts, but some of them are actually mirages.
2b) This means if you are an "entrepreneur" and want to build a tech company, respect the fact that you need a technical person (or team) and that person has a brain. Don't offer them N200k (~$550) to build a website that does what a billion dollar company does. It's cheating.
2c) If you're a technologist, you need to understand concepts like product-market fit, demand & supply, recruiting, etc. Don't start by building a product and expecting people to buy it. Start by identifying a problem people are willing to pay to solve and learn how to sell it.
3a) if you're an individual or company that has identified Nigeria as your next market to make profits, and you have never lived or worked in Nigeria, help yourself by identifying people here who know what's REALLY going on in the market. That way you won't lose your investment.
3b) The Nigerian market has opportunities, and also has mirages. The difference between the two is best known by people who have stumbled upon both and can speak with facts, data and experience. There are a good number of those people. Find them and work with them.
3c) As much as most things in Nigeria are not unique, the people in Nigeria seem to be unique. If you don't understand that, you might chase mirages. People in Lagos don't use rain coats in the rain. Why? Who knows. But if you start selling rain coats you might not make anything.
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