Is Innovative Entrepreneurship worth it?

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, The Bitter taste!

Innovative entrepreneurship in Nigeria is hard. There are so many things you have to battle against and very little victories. I always wonder if it is the same everywhere?

I have so many conversations with youths who are trying to start something and while they are initially happy for what it is they are doing (including myself), they soon find out like I did that the roadblocks are enormous.

How it starts.

I noticed a similar pattern in all “innovative” entrepreneurs. When we discover we can imagine and create things we are initially very happy, some of us start counting the amount of money we will be making “cha ching”. But soon, this happiness is dealt a blow by preparation. The market research, development of product/prototype, building the right team and getting the initial funds.

Now at this point, a lot of people quit. It’s “too much work”, “where do I find these resources” etc. While others are “unfortunate” to carry on (yes I said unfortunate). Now the rest go on and create a prototype.

Almost there.

Guess what? you become very excited again and announce your products launch, YIPEE! or so you thought? only to be hit with a terrifying truth, which is: our product is built on false assumptions and the market hasn’t given the best response.

A painful realization, little or no revenue, users/customers. You are back to your depressing corner wondering why you went along, why you decided to follow this path, your peers are earning quite the sizeable salary at their workplaces whereas you are here trying to build something that matters and the response is heartbreaking.

Like a Nigerian internet scam recipient, you’re already too deep to let go and believe this is the end. The difference between you and “maga” is that you can flip things around a bit, so you head back to the drawing board.

The Turn-Around.

You begin to study the market better and build a product around your observations. It’s amazing how you’ve been humbled by the real problem and can now see things better. Your idea was never wrong just your approach towards solving it.

At last things begin to change for the better. The market has spread her legs wide open for you but a sad problem arises, your marketing budget is too thin, your cash flow isn’t enough to employ anyone and your customers or users don’t care about your internal problems. They aren’t loyal yet so you might lose them unless something happens.

“deep sigh” Entrepreneurship in Nigeria is tough.

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