Leading Men

11 Nigerian Men Share 45 Lessons they’ve learned as Tech Entrepreneurs


1. That you need people. You need them to fail you, you need them for support. But NEVER to depend on!
2. You will nurse doubts. It simply proves your business is still a work-in-progress. It doesn’t mean there’s something fundamentally wrong with your model/business.
3. Learn to fight without breaking up. Heated arguments don’t mean the end of business together. Take a break, and come back, still with the “knives” not far away, but in its sheath.
4. Be your worst critical. Now there’s a balance to be struck here; people who tend to be overly critical of themselves, end up being easily despondent with the slightest aspersion cast over their POV. The idea is to be equally critical of 3rd party critics or antics as the case may be.
5. Learn to manage people, you don’t have to be the smartest guy in the group. That’s the single most important skillset as a business person.

6. There’s talent to be found in Nigeria, that said; CVed up talents, can be really pompous tools. Working with any (whether paid or on collaboration), start early to find replacements (whether paid or on collaboration). You’d be lucky if you don’t need replacement, and you’d be damned when you do and failed to prepare. It humbles people when they find they weren’t the live of the ‘party’ afterall. Once a ‘disgruntled’ local dev found there were atleast 4 Ukrainian devs with read access to a repo he was working on, he ‘just’ humble. ‘4’ was an overkill. Right? I know.
7. Build up some credible financial footprint. It just helps, never know when you might need some quick loan. Life-altering loan.
8. Most valuable lesson; there is, i repeat, there is always a cheaper, easier way of doing anything. ANYTHING. Just apply yourself to find it.
_ Chuks


9. The very important lesson I have learnt is never to make important decisions in a haste. Always wait, think and watch things unfold.
10. Great companies are often built by a team of people who each could have built something smaller themselves working together who make it work. Don’t rest until you find A-team people to co-found your company with and make sure you don’t hold back on equity (likely your only bargaining chip) when you find them. Do whatever it takes to bring them on.
-Iyinola Aboyeji founder Andela


11. If something is not working, STOP IT!
12. Be very clear when you have failed and act to clip that in the bud. Too many people are flogging a dead horse and insisting it will soon live. There’s nothing as bad as a zombie startup16. If you aren’t growing (revenues, users, traffic, whatever) actively, there’s a big chance you’re dying. Check your metrics. Be brutally honest. Ask about the state of the industry. Ask for metrics from other firms. Look under your hood. Look under other hoods. And decide if you’re growing fast enough to win. If the answer is no and you’re not rolling in so much profit growth is a luxury, you’re probably a zombie startup.
13. If you have a team member that’s not working out, fire them. If you have a partnership that’s faltering, address the issue and (possibly) dissolve the company
._ Seyi Taylor, Cofounder Big Cabal,(creators of Techcabal and zikoko)
14. Hunger makes people smart!
15. There are 2 thin lines between being delusional and being visionary: hard work and objectivity!
_ Obi_lk


16. Listen to people (Everyone has something to say)
17. Don’t listen to anybody (We are all scared)
18. There will always be competition.
19. How you compete is what makes the competition relevant or irrelevant.
20. Building something that has a competition is better than building nothing.
21. Take time and build hard things behind your simple things. Build proprietory stuff that will make you super efficient and first in customers heart.
22. Zero to One. You are number one not the only one.
23. Great to avoid competition but not all companies can. Be so fast, efficient, hard l and better than the competitions in everything. Be a Mohammed Ali to your competitors.
24. Try make sense out of 1 and 2
_ Oluyomi Ojo Founder at Printivo


25. Define your version of success because comparison is the thief of joy!
26. Embrace yourself, believe not just in your startup, but in yourself. Listen to less people and more music
_ Frederick Co-Founder, StudySearch.co


27. In a team of two just the founder and co-founder without the presence of the first 10 employees Dont; Like mine.
28. Put a coming soon page with a timer public when you know you are still at 50% on alpha stage of the product.
29. Seek for large sum of angel especially from friends and family, your family and friends don’t know what startups are, The smaller angel you can get the better, which will be used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
_ Udeme Samuel, Founder of Jobinpal.
30. My first insight, you will get conflicting advice from people. It’s on u to figure out what works for u.
31. On product: Do it first, do it best or do it different. Picking any one is good but any 2 is best. All 3 is elusive mostly.
32. Its ok to fail and suck at stuff, don’t let it affect ur physce. Get over ur ineptness sooner rather than later.
33. There will always be innovation in whatever space you are in, in years to come and to infinity. How can you spur one of these?
34. You can compete with the market leader by creating products they can’t follow in, this is where new markets are born.


35. The biggest lesson I have learnt is, I’m not an Island of knowledge or ideas. I brought in a partner early this year and fiam, it turned out to be a game-changer. But don’t just bring in nay partner, make it someone you have observed from close or distance and sure of his ability.
Suraj Oyewale

36. Timing, timing,timing. You can have a great idea/product and money to back it up but you mostly need to get timing right


3 things In order of priority
37. Biko by all means possible. Be friends(or close) to people making money. I personally think proximity to HNIs is the surest and safest way to making money in Nigeria.
38. Have a legtimate reason for someone important to like you…Famz the person, understudy the person, apply, then become…
39. But that famzing has to be strong oo..(not all that “face-mentorship” BS)
40. Once your lobbying/proximity is sorted, be super intelligent and smart in knowing how best to apply insights you have gathered from Oga at the top
41. Have a solid team and ensure your timing is perfect for whatever you want to laucnh
42. I cant over-emphasize how lobbying triumphs all..That’s a skill I truly need to learn
_ Ogunlana Olumide Founder at Prepclass.com.ng.


43. Think like a pessimist. Act like an optimist.
44. You’ll be fine
_ Chukwuemeka Kema co-foundder Surubuy Solutions Limited

Culled from a chat on the forum-radar. Read Full thread here

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