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My First Business Venture - Part 2

This is the concluding part of my previous article on my first business venture. If you are yet to read it, click here . Timing could be ...

This is the concluding part of my previous article on my first business venture. If you are yet to read it, click here.

Timing could be everything
I now had a product, a price and had gone on to produce an initial 50 copies. And before the semester got into full swing I started marketing. Marketing at the beginning of the semester meant a lot of students were just settling in and hadn’t yet started gathering past questions. This helped a great deal as the product was hugely accepted.

Swallowing my pride to market
Marketing is one word a lot of us despise especially with how we have come to know it especially in Nigeria. It is also not really fancied because of the risk of rejection. Everybody wants to avoid rejection and so we would rather do any other thing than marketing. I was in this category prior to this time. However, I now had a product I had to sell else I would be making a loss. I knew people needed, the product, I knew the pricing was right all I needed to do was SELL. After much contemplation, I began approaching my classmates directly one after the other to tell them about the product and after about an hour I had sold 10 of them!!! WOW!! The absolute sales value was not much but it felt great to see an idea being turned in to cash.

Using customer feedback to improve
I had now sold the entire 50 I produced in the first production run and now some others wanted. Some people who had bought also shared with me a few tips on how I could improve the product. I got the following key feedback:
• Number your pages and have an index
• Add other years you do not have. Here I have them, add it to your compilation

With this feedback, I created a revised edition and produced about 30 copies which sold out. Thanks to my customers.

Overproducing or maybe slack marketing
I had been successful with the earlier product so I decided to create a slightly different product – Past questions with solutions for only one subject ‘Accounting” because I could easily solve all the accounting past questions. I produced 100 copies of this new product and then started becoming laid back about marketing. I was now well known and didn’t want to go round marketing. Asides that, it was almost mid semester, people had already obtained past questions howbeit without answers so were only interested in the answers. I ended up with about 20 copies unsold which I gave out a couple of years after.

Things I learnt
1. You might be thinking what is novel about past questions after all it is normal to find such in other schools in fact even in the same school, other departments had something like that. To think that way is good but nothing like that existed in my department!
It’s just how you see something that is normal in developed countries and you can’t even find a trace in developing countries. Then the person who introduces it becomes a star…think about the entry of GSM to Nigeria, we all knew all around the world people were using phones.

2. If I didn’t take the risk of being rejected, I would never have made one sale. Infact if I had envisioned how much work selling would require of me, I might have botched the idea at the initial phase. In fact I found out many years later that the school frowned at sale of past questions. Sometimes not knowing everything helps.

3. Customers are always willing to give you feedback. Listen to them!

4. The most important thing I learnt however is that the only thing between your ideas and actualization is ACTION!!!

Go and start something.
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013

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