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Fahad Garba Aliyu & Hiruy Amanuel Discuss Business Planning for Startups in Emerging Markets

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Startups in emerging markets present challenges and rewards that are exciting and out of the ordinary. These startups often find that they have the opportunity (or are required) to address real human and social needs to operate. By their very nature, new businesses in emerging markets must be disruptive in innovation and creative efforts. Developing technologies enable emerging market entrepreneurs to promote human progress and economic growth in unprecedented ways.

Fahad Garba Aliyu, founder and Executive Director of Ignite Africa Challenge.

In this article, IT investor Hiruy Amanuel, and Fahad Garba Aliyu, founder and Executive Director of Ignite Africa Challenge, discuss some business planning topics of interest to startups in emerging markets.

Focus on Customer Needs

Technology development companies are especially at risk of focusing on product development at the expense of addressing customer needs. When marketing to customers worldwide, it is critical to employ efficient feedback methods to facilitate customer inputs and support. Technology providers from developing markets can create amazing customer loyalty everywhere when they make customer satisfaction, and high-quality support the primary focus of their business.

Build a Quality and Reliable Local Support Team

Entrepreneurs everywhere need experts who are skilled in marketing, finance, legal needs, accounting, and other consulting areas. Technology startups are notoriously lacking in many of these aspects which fall outside of their primary skills.

Technology development firms must consider getting high-level assistance in key areas where their skills are not naturally suited to particular needs. Whenever possible, you should look for support from local providers who are experts in their fields and have an understanding of international marketing of technology products.

The most important thing that one can do for their enterprise is assembling the right team, and this isn’t an easy thing to do. Hiring the right people who know what is required, who will fit in seamlessly with your firm, and will drive your enterprise goals is vital. It is always advisable to hire people wiser and smarter than you.

“I don’t know any successful person that doesn’t have a mentor or mentors. It is paramount to have a group of successful people who can mentor, guide, and advise you through the rollercoaster journey you’ve undertaken. These are people who have been through what you are going through more times than one can count. Once you acquire some trusted mentors, your entrepreneurial journey will be a little less stressful,” stated Fahad Garba Aliyu.

Develop a Lean and Efficient Business Model

Investors in emerging market companies are especially interested in a company’s ability to produce operating profits. Profits should be the focus instead of only looking at revenue. With many new investment opportunities, financers and capital firms are highly interested in actual numbers and concrete plans on positive profitability, regardless of market share or overall market size.

Investors are interested in the technology your business develops, of course. However, the more important consideration for most investors in emerging markets is demonstrable sales, costs, and profitability.

Unfortunately, many startups in emerging markets lack sound business knowledge to make or explore the right financing model that best suits one’s organisation. People get carried away with deciding on the amount needed without considering the strings attached if they choose to take a loan for their business.

Entrepreneurs might not realise the problems it will lead to in the future. It is essential to equip yourself with the right knowledge about financing, so you don’t learn about it the hard way.

About Ignite Africa Challenge:

Ignite Africa Challenge is a platform centred on discovering youth talent across the African continent to solve the most pressing problems through high impact social entrepreneurship. The founders of Ignite Africa Challenge created this platform to inspire youth to come up with innovative solutions with social impact that will address challenges that limit Africa’s growth. The organization supports social ventures that address social challenges, create value, and opportunities for young entrepreneurs and the people targeted by their projects. They work to help startups to be better prepared.

By Fahad Garba Aliyu and Hiruy Amanuel

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