Business Advice for Entrepreneurs and Startups with Business and Tech Consultant – Ajoke Emekene
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I am a Business and Tech Consultant. I help Successful Businesses simplify their processes with easy to use tech so that they can scale up much faster at a lower cost and without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
From your interaction with businesses, what is the one thing everyone is missing or getting wrong (as regarding starting or running a business)
It would be a bit naive of me to say that there is one thing that everyone is missing or getting wrong. However, I can say that not responding to change quickly enough is one thing that many Businesses do that gets them on the wrong side of the Market. This cuts across both Multinationals and Nigerian Businesses, both small and large Businesses. Smaller Business would usually have the flexibility advantage while larger Businesses will have the Capital advantage.
Not being able to respond quickly to the market can be as a result of different things but the problem for small businesses maybe that they don’t just have the capacity in terms of capital to respond to the changing markets while for large organisations it can just be the inability to make a decision and implement quickly enough, because of the complexity of their organisational dynamics.
What does it take to build a successful business in Nigeria?
For a country like ours that is overflowing with opportunities, I dare say it is easier for a Business to grow vs if you were in a fully developed market where ‘everything has already been done’. Here are a few suggestions; In my time studying different kinds of Organisations, these things stand out.
- Focus on the Customer
- Extreme focus on the customer is really important as this is a great measure of whether an organisation would survive. There are many times where you would have to ‘think’ for the customer however even in those circumstances, your focus still has to be on what would benefit the customer the most or what would provide the most value to them while not eroding your profits.
- Understanding the environment
- A few years into my career, I realised that when you do Business in a volatile environment, you are never sure of the next day. Your currency might take a hit, the government might ban the importation of a critical raw material. Like you can wake up in the morning and all that was right with your operations go wrong because you have just been slammed with a fine. Fuel may have become scarce, or a security breach and terrorists have struck! The wise thing to do is to come up with a continuity plan for your business should you face any of these risks. Identify the risks that would impact on your business the most and actively make alternative plans.
- The natural and right response to understanding the environment that your Business operates in is to be flexible enough to respond to change. A very clear example can be in the way your product or service is packaged and sold. If you typically provide larger pack sizes or very robust services, but you notice that the economy has adversely affected your target market thereby reducing disposable income then it would most likely benefit you to provide leaner services or smaller packages, that allow your target market to still be able to access your products/services conveniently, without necessarily tying down cash for their other expenses, which naturally makes you the preferred option. Another example of this is in your planning cycles. Sometimes, you may need to expand or contract your planning horizon depending on what’s happening in your environment. This means sometimes planning months ahead to buy some of your raw materials so that an importation ban or customs duties hike does not affect your Business.
- Being flexible also means that you would drive your operations intensely, innovate when needed and bounce back after setbacks.
Does every business need a business advisor(s)?
I would say a resounding yes. Many times, it’s not so much that the person has all the answers to your question, but that the person gets you to look at your challenges, opportunities and even wins from a different perspective.
How can people reach you?
One way for Businesses to be able to expand their operations without necessarily increasing their overhead cost is through Automation. I have a free automation training which they can access by visiting the Business website www.scaleture.com and they can always send an email to email@example.com if they would like to work with us and for personal feedback, firstname.lastname@example.org