BY Chinweike Sunday Okenyi
Often said or believed that a person starting a company must be abreast of all it takes to be a super CEO. He must have obtained an MBA, must have had work experience, and know the nitty-gritty of the business he wants to run. This is quite an interesting set of criteria and standards for all would-be CEOs. However, it is agreeable that a CEO is not born, but made. He must be learned and approach every business bearing in mind of beating the edge before others, developing irresistible products, and keep on innovating to have a competitive advantage.
Would those be the reasons why a CEO must obtain an MBA or have deep knowledge and understanding of the market before venturing in? Bringing this to Africa where there is inadequate data to study market, will earning an MBA in Harvard whose curricula major in Western Markets be ideal knowledge for African Entrepreneur?
YOU DO NOT NEED MBA; YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE MARKET.
“I don’t think business school was going to teach me how to run a business in Ethiopia. You don’t go by the book when you are running a business here. You just have to jump into it and learn as you go.”Noted Abai Schulze, while jettisoning the idea of obtaining an MBA in Sangu Delle’s book “Making Futures: Young Entrepreneurs in a Dynamic Africa.” Abai is the founder of ZAAf Collection, a luxury handbag business.
It is true that there is an inadequate body of data to understand and solidify your knowledge of a particular market, but the little data out there will get you started. Conduct market research, collect and analyse data, and jump right into the market to learn as you build bearing in mind the possibility of hinges.
Check whether your Product have a Market.
In order for a business to become successful, it takes more than just coming up with Idea. There’s the execution of it, the design, the marketing, the copywriting, the offers, and so on, but none of those things will help if the idea isn’t good.”PAT FLYNIN in his book “Will it fly
This is the foremost reason for market research. Among young entrepreneurs, there’s usually what I call an idea-inspired eureka. This is where an idea appears promising, once conceived, and we become extremely optimistic that we have the next unicorn running and gasping for air to cleave us, but an idea does not make a unicorn. An idea is free until it takes off and is weighed for its potential through personal introspection and an extensive outlook on the market.
How to start this process is to check whether your product or service has those willing to buy or pay for it on one hand. On the other hand, check whether it’s a journey you can take in the long run. Even if you have a market, how big is the market? You must take into account all these factors before venturing in. No doubt, a small market keeps a business within a circle to the extent that it becomes un-scalable. You might even get tired of the business. The African market is considered untapped, but you have the opportunity to create your own market and establish yourself right away.
Choose Your Team
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. ”-Steve Jobs, former CEO of APPLE INC.
There are basically two categories of people to choose from: experts and novices. Experts, they are those who are experienced in a specific job description. Novices have never been in a job description like this, but they are willing to learn.
You must determine which of the two categories best meets your company’s needs and goals and then pursue it. However, it’s usually advisable to build a team that can grow with your business, people who are willing to learn and pursue career growth. One benefit of this practise is that it defines your business culture and makes you most likely to stay with the business.
Also, it’s important to include diversity. In fact, the dynamism it brings helps when brainstorming problems and developing new ideas for your business. Remember the saying: a one-eyed man will always be a king in the world of blind people.
In a nutshell, assess those soft skills you lack and bring people who can complement them. Your team should be close to perfect or even perfect.
This is a whole topic on its own. How can you get funding for your business? Some people start with their savings or by seeking out angel investors as their first seeds. This will be explained in our subsequent essay.