How is a successful business built?
Can reliance or belief in the age old saying of “Midas Touch” help an entrepreneur grow a start into a successful business or is the adoption of growth hacking as a strategic marketing strategy more beneficial?
In this post, i’ll be sharing the Tech-Success story of two(2) entrepreneurs with you and possibly disprove the theory luck when it comes to building a successful business.
But first of, let me run you through the background of technology and business in Nigeria.
The past five years have been very interesting for tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Broadband and mobile penetration has witnessed some quantum leap by connecting 67 million people of a population of 167 million to the internet by 2014.
This has increased chances of companies to use online marketing strategies to boost revenue and successfully grow their business.
You may have noticed the boom in quite a number of eCommerce and other digital media brands springing up here and there in Nigeria, but one thing is certain, they are all using an integrated mix of marketing strategies necessary to become a successful business.
I have found the past five years rather amusing because players in the technology industry before now used to be dependent on government patronage to succeed.
Now the story is different.
The Nigerian technology industry is gradually evolving to a consumer and market driven industry that now contributes 8% of Africa’s largest economy.
In this article, I will be telling you about two (2) entrepreneurs that were early players in the success that is been recorded in the Nigerian Internet space.
You may wonder if they had what is termed is “Midas Touch” or they implemented growth hacking to achieve their success.
Before we proceed lets establish the difference between Midas touch and growth hacking.
What is Midas Touch in the Context of building a successful business
Some people believe that there are humans who are born with a gift of profiting from everything they touch or venture into. Wikipedia explains it this way;
What is Growth Hacking and what role does it play in building a successful business
The phrase growth hacking was coined by Sean Ellis CEO at GrowthHackers and Qualoroo. In his words a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.
Growth hackers implement marketing strategies that imbibes creativity, analytical thinking and social metrics to retail products or services and gain brand exposure. They focus on cost effective and innovative strategies to traditional marketing.
My favourite definitions of growth hackers are people who use technology and measurable data to drive the sales of products and services.
While I was tinkering with the idea of doing this article, a nagging question that kept coming up in my head was if the article was going to question peoples belief system so I will need to mention that I respect your beliefs and would love to hear your opinion regarding this subject.
Let me now show you two (2) entrepreneurs in Nigeria that have successfully grown their start-up companies to National repute. Please note that it is not in any order of preference.
He obtained a graduate degree from George Washington University and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Following stints on regular 9-5 jobs at the investment bank, Sim relocated to Nigeria as Googles head for the African market. One of his first ventures was e-Motion a billboard advertising business with considerable market share in the Nigerian advertising industry.
He is regarded in many quarters as a successful serial entrepreneur in the Nigerian space. But as the word goes serial, he has tried his hands at different ventures and failed. He tried starting a dating site called Alarena and failed.
He moved on to start a job recruitment site called job clan which failed as well. Sim Shagaya also attempted to start a classified site and also Gbogbo and failed at it. Same goes with the streaming media businesses he called iNollywood.
In an interview with techcityng he attributes his numerous failures to his failed ventures being ahead of their time.
But he persisted in his quest to succeed and kept trying.
Inspired by the story of Richard Warren Sears who built a business selling wrist watches through mail order catalogues in 1881, Sim Shagaya in March 2011 founded Dealdey.com an online groupon store that that offers products and services at discounted prices.
He describes Dealdey as an online platform for companies to offload their inventory and make their capital back.
The success recorded by Dealdey further deepened Sim Shagay as aspiration to explore opportunities for growth in the Nigerian eCommerce space and Konga was born.
The concept of launching Konga was not to have another store and compete with his already existing eCommerce business which was already a successful venture. The idea was to have a different platform.
Dealday is a Groupon store that you go for discovery commerce. You go there to look for the best offers on products and services. What you see is what pricks your interest whereas konga.com is a retail outlet were you go when you have a product in mind.
Although Sim Shagaya has always kept numbers close to his chest he has raised over $50 million in funding for both Konga and Dealdey.
Arguably Africa’s most successful content marketer, he founded iROKO an online video streaming platform for Nollywood movies at a time when Nollywood video marketers didn’t believe that people were ready to watch their movies on anything other than the tube .
Well he saw the opportunity that they didn’t, took it and boom his built for himself a successful business.
Educated in Manchester University and featured on Forbes, Financial Times, the wall street Journal, the economist, BBC, CCTV, African Business, Bloomberg, the Telegraph, Mail & Guardian, CNN, CNBC Africa and a lot other media outlets.
After several attempts at setting up different ventures and failing navigate any of his early startups into a successful business, Jason thoughtfully came up with the idea of setting up iROKO when he found it difficult to get Nollywood movies for his mom whom he was living with at the time in Europe.
He researched the gap in distribution in the distribution of Nollywood movies outside the shores on Nigeria and spurred by the demand for Nollywood movies and quickly moved to acquire online distribution licences directly from the producers and iROKO was born in December 2011.
However, success has had its ups and downs for Jason Njoku and his team, when iROKO launched its operation its business model and revenue stream in 2011 was tied 100% to YouTube audience and monetization.
Unfortunately, that same year YouTube formally launched its services in Nigeria creating room for competition and possibly death of iROKO.
In Jason words;
With zero competition and 100% market share in 2011, my ambitions far outweighed what I could achieve on YouTube and thus started the mass migration of a million dollar business away from YouTube. That was make or break. In 2011, 100% of iROKOs revenue was YouTube.
Since inception, iROKOs MCN (we operate over 400+ channels on YouTube), the largest being NollywoodLove, have generated a combined 560,000,000 views. 560Mn in about 30 months is not bad form.
So how did Jason respond to the challenge of YouTube impending launching in Nigeria?
He had a mission get off YouTube and get off it as fast as possible.
Jason and his team obtained a $3 million dollar series A from Tiger Global and killed iROKO and three months later iROKOTV was launched. iROKO now makes more money from distributing movies to airlines, TV networks outside Africa, iTunes, Dailymotion and Rancard Ghana than they make from YouTube even with the over 25 million views per month on YouTube.
With the innovation of iROKOtv, Jason Njoku now streams movies free of charge and has over a million unique views per month and expanding its network to include Bollywood, Hollywood, Telenovela, and Korean movies.
Jason is a strong believer in his dreams, thats why he believed in building his own platform even as he had over 10,000 video assets on YouTube and could seat and eat of his spoils, he still went ahead to build iROKOtv.
This is what has kept him ahead of his competition especially from his cousin and former employee Ugochi Onyeneke who founded Real Nolly a YouTube Channel heavily supported by Google Nigeria and employing the same strategy that Jason Njoku used to start iROKO.
Unconfirmed reports by analyst estimate the net worth of iROKOtv at $30 million dollars.
You will agree that both Jason and Sim have very interesting stories that are inspirational for start-ups in Africa and are worthy of following if an entrepreneur wants to build a successful business.
I would like to know what you think. Is it Midas touch or Growth hacking?
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