Starting a business 2 | Akan Imoh

Starting a business as a teen girl might seem a bit challenging but not to worry, here is a guide from a professional on how to go about it.

If you missed the first part of this lecture, get it here

Let’s talk about business today.

So. Now, that you’ve decided to start and run a business. One of the first things to do is to begin to put a structure in place. No business can survive without a structure. Another important thing is structure. Turning your skills or talents into a profitable business requires a good structure on ground. This is where many fail. This is the point many crash. Many people don’t know how to run a business. So, they think it’s just about offering a service and getting paid for it. Nope. It’s more than that. There’s marketing, accounting, inventory, customer care, administration, sales, etc. When you turn to a business, you need to learn how to build a structure.
Get a good business name. Separate your business from yourself. Get an email for your business, get its own social media handles. Get an official phone number. Don’t answer calls anyhow again. Not that when they call you, you’ll answer with one very angry voice and say ‘hello’. Nope. You greet and answer politely. It’s no longer about your friends and family, it’s a bigger business now.
Go professional. Get a logo. Get a business profile, Send out professional mails, Keep records. Don’t just spend money without recording it. How much are you making? Do good accounting for your business.
So. I’ve been writing about starting a business. I’ll drop one of them…and we will discuss it
Let’s face it, many great business ideas will die because of lack of money to finance them. Just leave all those Public Speakers who say that money isn’t the first thing you need to start a business. They need good beating. Lolz. 
But. Let’s leave sentiments aside. In a little tiny weeny way, they are correct. And yes, the first thing you need isn’t money. The first thing you need isn’t even an idea. Nope. Let me quickly show you how to start up a business. 
First, you need a problem. You need a demand. Many people start from the idea stage, and then realize that that idea is not solving any problem. There’s no demand for their idea. So, first look for a problem. A problem that your heart is drawn to, one that you are passionate about. For example, one woman I so much respect runs a company called @FruitieWorld (check them on Instagram). The problem Foluke Adedokun set out to solve is to provide healthy snacks at parties. She realized that many junks were eaten at parties, but, some people actually wanted healthy stuff, so, she beautifully packages fruit and takes to major events. Bam. A problem is being solved. 
After that, you need to brainstorm on how to solve the problem. At this stage, you need to be very creative. This is the point where you need to understand how to create a model for your business. Listen, there are thousands of business model. The world has moved from the stage of ‘buying and selling’ as the only business model available. Let me explain more. Take a look at Jumia, their business is modeled after the normal market. They don’t have any product, they just create a platform for people to buy and sell. Then, they publicize the platform. Take a look at Andela. Their business is modeled after the Oga and apprentice style, where a person goes to learn a trade, after a while, the person does freedom and can go launch his own. But, they tweaked it a bit. At Andela, they will pay you to learn Coding. After that, you begin to work for them. They have a relationship with the biggest tech firms in the world where they deploy their students to go and work. 
You see how important your business model is. So many businesses crash at this point. Not because they have a bad idea, but, just simply because, they don’t have a workable business model. 
Like I said in the article, the first step is not even an idea or even capital. It’s about finding a problem.
So. Is there a problem that you’re passionate about solving? Is there something you are always troubled by and want to find a solution to it? This is the time to be creative and think about what you want to solve. Do you know why it is important to start from the problem stage? It’s simple. Many people just get a business idea and go ahead to startup without checking if people need whatever it is you’re producing. You don’t check if there’s a demand, yet, you keep supplying. In Economics, let’s go back to secondary school. When supply is more than demand, you can’t make profit. So, you first have to ask yourself if there’s a demand for your product.
Then, you need to be creative. You’re starting out as a small company. You don’t have resources to spend like the bigger companies. So. You have to be creative. First, your business idea must be a creative one. Your goal is to catch attention immediately you launch.
So. Let’s make this practical. Are we ready? We are going to creatively get a solution and try to turn it into a business idea.
Children mortality rate
So, this person is pained that children are dying quickly. First thing is to do a research. How can we solve this problem?
1. Awareness: People need to know what makes children die and how to prevent it.
2. Funding: People need to get access to finds to take care of their kids.
3. Medical Care: People need to have the right medical care for their infant

These are the strategies we have thought up to solve this issue.
Now, let’s turn this strategy into tools.
1. Awareness: We should have a website/blog that gives out consistent and relevant info about child care.
 2. Funding: We can start a crown funding plan. Have a place on our website where people can donate money to save a child.
 3. Medical Care: We can get hospitals and health centers involved.
Before we go on, I need to explain something to us. There are different business models. Different types of businesses. There’s what is called Entrepreneurship. This is where you start a business with the sole aim of making money. There’s also something called Social Entrepreneurship. This is where NGOs fall under. Here, you’re not so much focused on making profit. You’re rather focused on making money. So, you get your money from grants, donations etc. And you have to plough the money back into the business. People are doing a whole lot of social entrepreneurship now. And if you really have a nice idea that’s making impact and solving problems, you’ll make money with it. Google these examples and read about them later on: The PadMan Initiative (They are interested in helping get pads for girls), Cycle to Class (They provide bicycles for students going to schools in far distances in rural areas).
So. Our business idea is actually a Social Entrepreneurship. So, we can’t go out and be aggressive in making profit. We must emphasize our making impact more than our making profit. Let’s start up a business for this our problem we are trying to solve.
I’ll run it like this. I’ll form a company. Get a name for it, Then, I’ll get an official website which will have a blog attached to it where we can be writing regularly about child mortality. I’ll take the first month to build the blog. Writing consistently on how we can avoid it. I’ll do explainer videos. I’ll interview doctors, nurses, midwives, and mothers. I’ll make sure the blog becomes very popular. I’ll start hosting small talk shows that talk about Child Mortality and how we can solve it. I’ll make sure that the important people in that industry begin to know me. I’ll do a list of stakeholders in my industry and send out a letter of introduction to them, so they know what I’m doing.  And who are the stakeholders in my Industry?
Doctors, The Ministry of Health, Health Centers, Nurses, Midwives, The Media, and everyone related to this issue. You can do a long list. These people would be essential in pushing your brand.
Try to get their emails, social media handles, phone numbers etc. You might not be able to get all their contact details, but the little you can get, use them well. Mention them in your tweets. Tweet at them, email them about your latest projects. That’d how you make people notice you. Hence, people must have heard about the good you’re doing. This is essential, because, in your type of business, before you can make money, you have to show that you’re making impact.
How do you make money from this idea? Donations, Grants, Trainings, Events. You could organize trainings, because you’re a specialist in this issue, people will pay to attend. You could do events and collect small fee. You could write little eBooks and sell. All these simply because you’ve built a reputation for yourself in something.
Now. Ladies, do you see how I have built a business for you?
So. Let me stop here for today.
1. For non-social entrepreneurship, how do you raise capital?
It’s simple. This one, you’re free to be aggressive. Create value, people will pay for it. Give them what they want.
2. If one has to open an NGO concerning the children mortality rate, how do one get a name for the brand?
Make your brand name close to the idea you’re selling. You can form any name you like.
3. What about if it would be a foundation?
But, if it’s an NGO you want to run, you should make sure you register it first. NGOs are very sensitive. You must be registered.
4. Talking about business names, does a business name have to be related with the business?
It’s best that it’s related. So, people won’t get confused. That’s the first way to brand your company. But, for me, I don’t care. I am a PR person, so, I don’t care if the name is related to the business idea. I can brand any name to mean anything I want. It’s quite expensive and stressful. You know why? Because, NGOs make a whole lot of money. There are many rich people looking for NGOs to dash money. So, they scrutinize you closely before you start one. Go to CAC’s website. Just google Corporate Affairs Commission. You can run a Foundation, an NGO, etc. without registering them. No wahala. But, note that no one would give you any donation or grant if they can’t verify your authenticity. Its quite expense and stressful. You know why? Because, NGOs make a whole lot of money. There are many rich people looking for NGOs to dash money. So, they scrutinize you closely before you start one. Go to CAC’s website. Just google Corporate Affairs Commission. As an NGO or Foundation, you make money from donations. People just dash you money. You’re not selling anything. If they can’t verify that you’re for real, do you think they will want to just give you money?: They need to trust you. And one way to do that is to see that you’re registered as a brand in Nigeria and can operate. That if they dash you money, you won’t run away.
So. This is a tool I developed for entrepreneurs. If you run a business, grab this immediately. It will help you see if your business is viable or not.
What you should do is to download the document and print it out, then take out your time and answer all the questions on it. It will give you clarity for your business. It will help you understand where you are currently and where you’re going to.

If you missed the first part of this lecture, get it here

Akan Imoh was our guest on our whatsapp platform. You can follow him on Instagram – @mrAkanimoh

Akan Imoh is a Business Consultant, with a leaning towards cutting-edge innovations and results-oriented strategies.
He is an erudite Public Speaker. A Trainer par excellence and a strategic influencer. For the past four years, he has worked extensively with Startups all around the country, helping them position and reposition themselves to grab market share.
He also consults directly for larger firms, providing strategic solutions via Training and Consulting, to shake up organizational structures and fine tune them for functionality beyond average. 
With competencies in Business Analysis, Brand Engineering, Image Management, Capacity Building, Strategic Thinking and Relationship Management with various publics, he is definitely the most perfect choice to help advance your organizational goals. 
He currently trains for Remoik Training & Consulting as (a partner of American Certification Institute) as Head Trainer cum Associate Consultant. He has trained on several courses with Remoik, some of which are: Advanced Strategic Management; Strategic Human Resources and Business Partner; Train the Trainer Courses; Innovation Management; Marketing Relationship.
Other courses he has trained on include: Customer Relationship Management; Microsoft Office Packages; Brand Management; Digital Marketing; Leadership Development and Team Building, Facility Management, Contract Management, Supply Chain & Inventory Management. 
His training clientele encompass staff of major firms such as Nampak, The United States Department of Defence (In Nigeria), Chocolate City, Delta State Judiciary, MedPlus Pharmacy, NNPC, Exxon Mobil, Total E&P.
Also included in the list are: The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Calverton Helicopters amongst many others.
He a graduate of the prestigious University of Lagos, Akoka, where he studied Political Science and International Diplomacy. He is also a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, where he studied Mass Communication.