Entrepreneurs, particularly startups, have been charged to acquire knowledge and the right competencies if they must succeed and stand the test of time in a rapidly changing business environment.
Twelve celebrated business leaders and entrepreneurs made this call in Season 2 of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) knowledge sharing and capacity building series, Top-5-In-5. The series was designed to give Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) practical insight into different business areas to inspire them to achieve optimal results.
Offering tips on a wide range of topics, the business leaders noted that no entrepreneur could stand the test of time without the right competencies and offerings aligned with market needs. They added that businesses must have a broad view and offer solutions that exceed expectations to achieve optimum performance and sustainable growth.
Speaking on “How to Grow a Local Startup with Global Appeal“, Mitchell Elegbe, CEO of Interswitch, said entrepreneurs must have a unique business model and be clear on the products or services they are offering to the public.
According to him:
“Customers patronise you because they have a challenge, and you have created a solution to fix that challenge. A clear idea of the problem you solve translates directly to the success of your business. Particularly when it comes to monetising your solutions to hit the bottom line”.
On her part, Nkechi Wigwe, Business Manager, Africa Development Centre, said given the challenges posed by COVID-19, which has led to remote working by employees, entrepreneurs should provide the necessary tools for their staff to work effectively. She also urged them to adopt the right technology, policies and processes to remain relevant and competitive.
Also speaking on the topic, “How to build top of mind awareness on a budget“, the Chief Executive Officer of X3M Group, Steve Babaeko, advised entrepreneurs to build a strong network of partners and customers.
According to him:
“Networking presents you with the opportunity to find others who are either in similar circumstances or can buy into your business. When you network appropriately, doors start to open, and your brand is top of mind. Building professional relationships can help you get new customers, retain current customers, and manage your reputation. Your network is your net worth”.
In his presentation on “How to navigate tax issues as a small business owner“, Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PriceWaterhouse Coopers, highlighted the importance of professionalism, best business practices and record-keeping.
He stated that:
“Cutting corners will not last. It won’t take you far, especially if you plan to grow your business, scale and become a large organisation. Ensure you commit to doing the right thing, including compliance with laws, regulations and paying taxes. It is a lot more affordable to do the right thing. Though Tax compliance can be complicated, having the right knowledge can help you”.
Emeka Eboegbune, Technology Program Manager at FCMB Group, equally offered tips on “How to harness technology in transforming your business”. He advised entrepreneurs to leverage on digital platforms to market their products and services, adding that:
“To succeed in the digital space, you need to focus on people who work with you. First, consider the skills of your employees. The more digital-minded employees you have, the easier it is for your organisation to grow and succeed. You need to continually refresh your product and respond very quickly to the change in the market. Keep your finger on the pulse of your business, know where customers are going to, why they go there and what they need. Data will help you with that”.
Other prominent thought leaders and experts that featured in this year’s FCMB Top-5-In-5 series are Olori Boye-Ajayi, President, Borderless Trade Network; Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, Chief Executive Officer of Herconomy; Joseph Edgar, a Theatre Producer/Investment Banker; Nike Majekodunmi, Chief Executive Officer of Nuts About Cakes; Tomiwa Aladekomo, Chief Executive Officer, Big Cabal Media and Dr Echefu Ukattah, a Senior Associate at Olaniwun Ajayi Legal Practitioners.
The FCMB Top 5-in-5 series aims to make it easier for existing startups to run successful businesses. Topics in this year’s edition cut across entrepreneurship, marketing, technology, personal development, and legal issues, among others.
Like the previous season, the series positions FCMB as an industry leader empowering entrepreneurs and businesses nationwide on how to operate, grow sustainably and improve their business.
A purpose beyond profit commercial banking institution, First City Monument Bank is a member of FCMB Group, led by Ladi Balogun as Group Chief Executive. The bank offers solutions geared towards ensuring that businesses are well equipped to overcome challenges and thrive sustainably.
FCMB is committed to COVID-19 recovery, income equality and poverty reduction by empowering and providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to achieve their aspirations. These align with goals one, eight and ten of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focused on no poverty, decent work, economic growth, and reduced inequalities.