Business lessons from Connect Nigeria’s E-Business Fair 2017

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Online business directory and information portal, Connect Nigeria held the 5th edition of its annual SME business conference at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Saturday 18 February, 2017. Tagged E-Business Fair 2017, the event had in attendance big names from across different sectors of the entrepreneurship and business space, who shared insightful business lessons with SME owners and enthusiasts. Ohimai Atafo of the famous fashion brand Mai Atafo, Simeone Ononobi of SimplePay and Myads Global, branding expert, Uju Ogbuekwe of Platform, and Media entrepreneur, Bankole Williams of Big Cabal and many others blessed the audience with invaluable experiential insights during panel sessions.

Many myths surrounding business growth were debunked and new channels for scaling businesses were proffered. One of such is a matter after many entrepreneurs’ heart; Funding. Majority of the panelists believed that while funding might be a major impediment to business growth, there are many other impediments, which if taken care of will ease access to funding and business growth.

Nikky Summers of SAGE ONE gave statistical analysis during her presentation:

“57% of business cannot expand their business because they do not have access to fund. If you are able to provide proper financial record, you will have access to capital.

60% – 80% of businesses fail because they do not have insights on their business. Most SMEs do not track their business position in growth. They think as long as there is money in the bank, everything is okay.

The truth is lack of proper record keeping impede access to funds.”- Nikky Summers

Corroborating the fact, Gossy Ukanwoke, CEO BAU also says:

The biggest challenge for a business isn’t funding, it’s business education. Understanding your business plan, target market, value proposition etc

Business

First session Panelists: Mr. Ayotunde Coker of Rackcentre, Paul Ayim of Philip Consulting, Uju Obuekwe, Platform branding, and Nikky Summers, Sage One

Branding Lessons:

Uju Obuekwe is the Head, Brand Strategy at Platform Branding, she reiterated that for the growth of businesses, getting the right brand message across to customers is as important as funding, and proper record keeping.

“Branding is vital to the success of any business.” Uju Obuekwe, Platform Branding

If you are in business, you are there to make money. So you have to know why people buy what they buy. People buy based on emotion. Branding is that name, a term, design, a symbol, that distinctly differentiate you from others and makes people buy from you.

How then do you project a perfect brand? Worry not. She gave tips:

Think deeply about what makes you different from your competitors and look for ways to best communicate this. No two products are the same.

Think about your value proposition; what gives your service/product an edge? Communicate it clearly

Consistency: You must be consistent with your brand message. Do not confuse your customers. From your logo, to slogan, to customer experience.

Hire the right set of people. Ensure your employees are committed to and are in tune with the brand as they are brand ambassadors.

Social Media has really changed the game in many ways. Adapt your business to leverage on social media marketing. Engage with customers and push content driven information that helps to tell your brand stories.

However, she cautioned that entrepreneurs avoid some brand pitfalls like:

Failing to adapt to new market realities: As is the case with Nokia and Blackberry and IBM

Ignoring change in customers’ preference. Xerox is an example of this disregard for customers’ feedback.

She concluded her session saying, “customers buy based on emotions and it’s branding that tells if they’re gonna buy from you or someone else. And after all the marketing and advertising is done; branding is what remains and it is vital to the success of any business.”

 

happywheels

I'm interested in stories, news and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. Be it tech, fashion, SMEs; breaking entrepreneurship stories is the next best thing that can happen to me, after Jollof

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