As a Nigerian startup founder, do not be too fixated with your fellow enterprise-competitors. It is very likely that typical competition is not the reason why you are not doing well. Focus on executing the Mission at hand with necessary adaptation when markets call for it. Yes, that a competitor has raised more money and added more product features should not throw you off-balance. You must take note, and plan ahead with that awareness. I can assure you that in Nigeria with our largely infant industrial sectors, if you stay focused and just get things done, you would be fine. And what you have now may not be too bad.
Your biggest competitor in Nigeria is Lack of Execution. If you compete against your Lack of Execution and win, you would thrive. People buy anything in Nigeria. Your enterprise-competitors will do well. You would also do well. One “good” thing in Nigeria is that our market imperfections make scaling anything hard; so, no one can out-scale you with reckless abandon overnight. That ecommerce company is big in Lagos but has no presence in Owerri. Simply, that you have won in Kano is irrelevant in Aba because of the heterogeneous nature of our economy. That you overcame in Uyo does not mean anything in Lagos. One key reason is that despite the web, most sectors in Nigeria run on atoms and not really bytes. That could change but that is the state today.
The path to onboard many Nigerians into the financial systems would involve reaching them at the levels they are, right now. It may involve thinking less of bytes and more of atoms. Yes, human-platform banking over digital-platform banking.
So, get out and begin to EXECUTE. Do not spend too much time just thinking about your competitors. Think more on how to get what you want to do get DONE. The app may not be 100% ready, get it out into the market. The last I checked, they are still building Facebook, Instagram, etc, and will continue for years. Just have a MVQ and hit the markets.
The deal is this: the construct of quality has no meaning until the price of the product is put into considerations. I always ask entrepreneurs to build for the Minimum Viable Quality (MVQ) bounded by the product target price which market will respond. You can build rockets to fly around the world: that is an engineering possibility. But does that make a business sense if no one can afford it? Ask the makers of Concorde for answers.
A product Minimum Viable Quality (MVQ) is that version of a new product which allows a team to sell the maximum amount of products to customers with the least effort and at the best optimized price even when delivering value. That is where you need to build as you launch your product, and even at product maturity, do not deviate from it.
In Nigeria, we are in a moment. The world is believing – there is no reason to wait any longer.
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