Out of 100% of startup in the world, 90% will fail. Though there is no particular research carry out in Africa, the estimation of startup that will fail in their first five year is more than 90%.
Before we go into the “why”, I want you to have it in mind that startup is an experiment and experiment have only two option; to fail or succeed. While startup needs many reason to succeed it only need one reason to fail.
Below are the different reason startup fail in Nigeria
Some entrepreneur just jump to solve a problem without carrying out proper research.
- Can the problem be solved?
- Can the solution be scale?
- Are they going to pay for the solution at profitable price?
These and many question should be asked and answers before entrepreneurs burn their night on the solution.
Some problem may look big, but getting to solve it, you will notice that the problem is not really affecting a lot of people.
Entrepreneur should make sure the problem they are about to solve is really affecting people and not itching them. Infact it is advice to solve problem that you yourself have encountered.
Here is another problem
This is one of the major reason startup fail in Nigeria. May be it is naivety or wrong information that make entrepreneur think that if they build their product people will turn up. They’ve forgotten that they are not building business, it is startup.
Wait, let define startup
According to Steve Blank, “startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”
In business you have an already cleared path to follow, but in startup you have to find it yourself by iterating your product constantly to what your customer want.
Forget about the loving what you are creating or your business model. You need to create product for the consumer not you.
Failure to do so result in many startup failure, because the only customer they will be able to onboard is their family and friends.
Scaling is tricky, it is hard to know when to scale or not and the most difficult part of it is that, no body is in position to tell you, they can only advice you. It is your business, nobody know it better than you.
To escape failure that accompany Scaling
- Make sure you have problem/solution fit.
- Can you employ quality workers as fast as possible.
- Make sure you are loaded with Fund.
If the coast is not cleared, please don’t go.
Fund raising is the test of entrepreneur. It is fund raising that shows the ability of an entrepreneur.
We all know there is scarcity of fund especially in Africa, but entrepreneur should know what he has dabble into, you can’t use that as excuse, you know before hand it’s going to be hard so look for fund Any where.
To start a startup it’s advice that entrepreneur should have some money in reserve at least that can push the startup to product market fit, because no investor will back you in Nigeria without having product/market fit , unless you have a proven record.
In term of team, startup must get it right at the beginning or else its doom to fail. People with like minded should come together to do startup, people that have almost the same view about life, because things will go awry along the way. It is only when synergy exist between team that startup will succeed.
If wrong team were the order, it can result in chaos, imaging having lazy bun as team member in a startup, it will slow down the progress of the startup and may eventually kill it, exactly what would have happen to Twitter.
I thought I can sack my Cofounder/ team
You can’t sack your team member without uproar in fact team that begin a startup are not just employee, they are cofounder.
Before YouTube and Facebook was born there were failed ones. They failed not because their product was not good enough, but because the time was not right. In 1990s no body want to waste a lot of money watching online video and likewise no body want to spend fortune uploading video.
One of the startup that know the importance of timing is Netflix. Netflix began as dvd rentals, they would mail DVD to to their consumer, though they have a vision; to show cinema to people online, they couldn’t do this because the time was not right. So they waited for more than 10 years, when people are ready to watch videos online.
Poor customer service
While startup is small compare to well establish companies, Consumer don’t care, they want to be treated the same way they were treated by large companies.
“Customers are your boss” this phrase is not always the same for startup, they believe they can always get another customer if one leave, since they have enough of venture capital money to burn.
One angry customer represent 100, so if you make 1 angry have it in mind that 100 of your customer are dissatisfied with you.
In the early stage of startup, let part of the customer support be done by the technician, this techniques has worked countless time, tech people can easily decode problem that consumer have and quickly do something about it.
Unlike Normal Customer support that would have to report to already tired technician. Most of the time technician are addicted to whatever they are doing currently so stopping them is asking for trouble.
This one makes me laugh a lot.
Many entrepreneur are still falling into the erroneous assumption; that Nigeria is a large market, since she houses more than 200 million people.
What they never ask themselves is how much is purchasing power or GDP per Capital of these population.
It might surprise them that they are dealing with 10 million potential customer and 5 million Total addressable Market. (I might have exaggerate).
To not fall into this make sure your figure is correct when making your business plan.
Culture of a startup should be defined at the early stage. Let every worker and employee know what your startup stand for. Do not employ people if they are not going to fit into your culture even if they are very good, they might break your company at the long run.