Ask The Expert: Chioma Agu
Scary fact– Most companies will fail within 5 yrs. What do you think are the major differences between an African company that can sustain its business for over 5yrs and an African company that fails within 5yrs? —Question from Ivy
That fact is true. Some experts lessen the expected life span of a new business to that of 1 year.
In either case, the major differences between an African company that can sustain its business for over 5 years and an African company that fails within 5 years are its source(s) of capital, marketing strategy, the level of exposure of its employees, the passion and skill sets of its leaders, and its level of committed man power.
Let’s discuss these points briefly one by one.
Capital – The term capital refers to the money that will fund the business venture. A business venture without capital is just an idea. A well thought out plan on how you will fund the idea and how the funding will self-produce over the lifespan of the business is key. Without a well thought out plan, source of income and source of recovery income, your business stands the risk of failing within the first 5 years.
Marketing strategy – The marketing strategy of the business dictates how you will sell your venture to your target audience. This involves more than getting the word out to the public, but goes more in depth into obtaining accurate research from experts, proper branding, understanding your customer and/or audience, and etc. A good marketing strategy is just as important as a viable source of business income. A business venture with capital, but without a marketing scheme is still just an idea.
The level of exposure of the employees – Exposure refers to the level of education, personal understanding of world events, and professional experience with technology, personal understanding of business operations in competitive markets, and so much more. The level of exposure of the employees is very important when dealing with an emerging market. Exposure can determine the competitive edge of the company.
The passion and skill sets of the leaders – This is what will push the company forward when it is enduring difficult times. The passion of the leaders will encourage them to drive the business forward when no one else will. And the skill sets of the leaders will push the business forward when no one else wants to work or is available to work.
The committed man power of the company – Two is so much better than one, and a team is so much better than a solo entrepreneur. A company must be matched with employees that are committed to the success of the leaders and the success of the company.
If the above is met then an African company is on its way to business success beyond the 5 years mark.
*** I met Chioma Agu when we attended Emory University together. I decided to reach out to her because she works as an associate executive coach and consultant with the Nigerian market. *** 🙂 – Ivy
Chioma Agu is an associate executive coach and consultant who started her career working as a business coach in Nigeria. Her experiences have allowed her to build startup companies in Lagos and Abuja, work with a multinational company system in Nigeria, and to shadow a committee that was appointed by President Goodluck during the last months of his administration.
Outside of her career she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family. She is an advocate of fostering relationships between Nigerians of the diaspora and Nigerians for the sake of progressing Nigeria.