This article was originally posted here.
For over one year now, Prof. Ndemo has been hosting monthly entrepreneurs forums at the iHub to share ideas and skills around building businesses. Following the forums, many of you have tracked him down during the week to chat more about your ideas. But there has been no measure of how successful you were after that. We want to change that.
We have learnt several key lessons from the monthly forums:
Identify opportunities. There are several opportunities around us. The challenge is in knowing an opportunity when you see it. Entrepreneurial education is key as it helps one to think critically and to identify opportunities either by improving existing products or by creating new ones.
Determine your revenue streams. What product will make you the most money when you consider everything including the amount of time it takes you to market and deliver the product or service?
Customer development. You need to know your customers inside out. To be successful, your product and your customers need to align.
Build a dream team. Building a team is an art. It’s important to get HR processes in place early on.
Do your market research and develop your business model. Understanding people’s behaviour allows one to identify opportunities and market. Just because there are other players in the space does not mean that your idea will not gain traction and succeed. Take time to determine your value proposition.
Use numbers to make decisions. It’s not enough to rely on intuition or personal preference. Do your homework.
Define your culture. A clear culture will give your team a framework within which to work. It will influence how and who you recruit and it will influence team dynamics.
Find partners. Strategic partnerships are critical for startup success. Who should you align yourself to? How can the relationships be mutually beneficial? How do you know when to say no to a partnership?
Iterate, iterate, iterate. Ideas are great but they will need space for iteration in order to be developed into viable profit making products. You will not always get it right on the first try and patience is critical. Keep going until you have a good product to sell. Even then, to be innovative, once your product is in market you will need to constantly improve it to appeal to your market.
Prof. Ndemo would now like to go a step further and explore these lessons with those of you who have found value in the forums. He is currently taking applications for start-ups to receive mentorship. Successful start-ups will be informed at the end of the month. Apply here. There are limited spaces available.
Read more here.