The Principle of the Underdog

The Principle of the Underdog

November 14, 2016

If you are starting out in business you may find that not everyone in your sphere will be excited about your decision. Even those you may be trying to ask advise from or honour by telling them about your new idea may be laughing in their heads at you ” … he thinks it is easy. so naive…”.

It is important that you know your place as a startup so you do not fall into intentional and unintentional traps of those already in the industry. The following points are a little contribution I learnt from a good friend on how you can protect yourself and survive, thrive in the midst of those who are much bigger than you.

  • Share your business plan very carefully. Even when seeking refinement of your idea, limit the details you are sharing. If your product can be patented, get it done before seeking mass production.

 

  • When taking your product to the market, make sure your muscle is much bigger than your mouth. When you over promise and end up unable to deliver, you give your new customers reason to go over to your competitor or even to another new entrant who just happens to have more muscle.

 

  • Everyone has heard this one before: start small and think big. Start small but plan with scalability in mind. If your customer base is multiplied by ten in less than a year will your website survive the surge? Any major failure in your first few years will put off your customers and give your competitor an opportunity. Recall the Surfline, Busy Internet saga of 2016 in Accra.

 

  • Prioritize properly in your go-live sequence of events. Depending on your kind of business, product/services must be working efficiently before you start extensive embellishments such as branding. A pretty face full of expensive make-up is of no use on a dead body. No one buys a nice looking car that doesn’t move. Focus on your core business first; embellishments can come later or else your initial capital will disappear into projects that yield no profit.

 

  • This point is for those who will need to deal with governments. It is very possible for a government official to take your proposal and hand it over to someone else to implement and give him a bigger share. That is part of life! It should not stop you from trying again and it should not push you too quickly into litigation. Do not start your business fighting, just get over it and try again.

 

  • For those who offer services, understand that your biggest capital is in your head and it is reusable. Do not be in too much of a hurry to hit it big. Start with meager charges and escalate them once you have become well known for  the quality of your work.

 

  • Capitalize on you networks. If your brother is not willing to buy your products/services, who will? Offer services to those who already know you and use them as reference points for those who do not yet know you. Treasure relationships and take full advantage of them for good.

Well, that is all for today. Do well to let me know if your have any more useful tips in this area. You never know, I might need them too.

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