Look, entrepreneurs, funding is your problem, it’s not just number 1. Thing is, if you take a poll from startup founders, asking what their major present problem is, chances are they say funding. Well, while I agree that funding should be a problem, in fact it is a problem, you, as a startup founder have a more pressing problem – running a business.
For the sake of this post, I’ll see myself as Kola Aina (founder and CEO, Ventures Platform). If you come to me to get my money, while my own aim is to make returns on my investments, and you’ve not gotten your actual business together, I’m sorry, you’re not getting a dime. No hard feelings.
So, what does getting your business together actually mean. As a startup, you need to have a clear business model, one that you know works because you’ve experimented it with a few of your customers. You need to have determined before now that this business model would stand the test of time. You need to have acquired at least a few customers, who are in total love with your product, and are paying for it. There are a lot of “you needs” in the actual running of a business, and NOT one says you need funding.
Well, maybe you do, but I can tell you that it is secondary. Running a business is a primary need you have to deal with. Thing is, if you do it so well, you might not even require the funding anymore.
In a interview with TechPoint, Akin Alabi, CEO Nairabet said, “When you have money coming in from your customers, there is no pressure. I don’t see the point of collecting or raising money from investors. For me, the primary aim of collecting money from investors is to accelerate.” It is therefore very safe to say that, Akin ran the business of Nairabet excellently at the beginning, so he bootstrapped till this point. Now, that’s what we’re talking about.
When payments processor company Paystack started out, before any form of investments, they already had some merchants signed up. Shola CEO, in a podcast with Dotun mentioned Gingerbox, DIYlaw as some of the first ten merchants that signed up on their platform at the beginning. This was them focusing on running their business. Need I remind you that investments came later.
O ye founders, you need funding, true. But you mostly need to run your business very well. It is the magnet that attracts funding, and your Number 1 problem. Can we all start doing that please.