Street Smarts & Other Top Tips- Transitioning From the Diaspora to an African Market

In our previous piece, we introduced the idea (and snippets of success stories) of the unique path to owning and running a company when you have returned from diaspora.

In this concluding portion, we outline the other suggestions from Tayo Oviosu CEO of Pagatech and Joycee Awojoodu, CEO of ORÍKÌ Group.

Think BIG
Oviosu says before starting Paga he took two months off to consider a variety of business ideas. He says, “For me, the number one requirement in every idea was ‘does it pass the big idea test?” When brainstorming ideas for your new enterprise, it is important to build something that will be solving a problem for a lot of people - not just you. The first way to test if you are building something that matters, is to ask people who fit into your target market around you if they would be interested in and would buy your product/service. Say for example, there are 1 million people in Ghana who need pens daily. It is safe to forecast that only about 1% of that number will, in fact, buy your product. If only 5 people need a service, 1% of that isn’t substantial enough to start a new line of products for.

Get started, business plans may not matter as much.
Business plans are important but just starting is greater. Some experts argue beta-testing your product is a more accurate way to test out assumptions. While some others argue that your research and projected numbers trump beta-testing. Whatever camp you belong to, starting and not just thinking about starting is a bold step. “A lot of people talk, but you get further faster, by just getting started.”, says Oviosu.
Be street smart
Whether in dealing with clients or with suppliers, don’t wait to be cheated a few times before wising up. Get familiar with the market, do your own research to confirm if the numbers on that quote are correct and surround yourself with trustworthy staff. Awojoodu says, “I had to do a lot of research and market runs myself to ensure that I wasn’t being cheated.”

Name your startup something significant and memorable
What’s in a name? Plenty! To differentiate your business from current and future competitors, and also to convey what your business is about in one name, it is extremely important. Awojoodu has a solid argument for her startup’s name: ORÍKÌ which means ‘Crown’ or ‘Origin’ in Yoruba. She says, “Similar to the complex, sumptuous history of ORÍKÌ and its meaning; our formulas have been cultivated from a diverse portfolio of ancient botanicals and modern technology. We love our name, not only for its rich history, but also because it’s simply beautiful, akin to our collection of natural and organic personal grooming products.”

Are you a repatriate with a successful business in your home country? Tell us about it in the comments!

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: info@startsmartgh.com

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