Our Top 5 Lessons in Two Years of Business in Nigeria
May 31 2018 made it two years since Bramo Digi was launched. The first 6 months of our operation was an epic fail. We failed woefully, because there was barely any sales recorded. Anyway, It shouldn’t surprise you, many business go through that phase. We are still very much in a startup phase, but I am thankful for our business journey so far.
All the little drops adds up. We have strategically worked with over 25 brands from 4 West African countries, as well as trained over 100 business and organisations leaders on the subject of digital leadership & marketing.
From Monday, May 21st 2018 to Friday, May 25th 2018 we shared on our Social Media Channels, Top Business Lessons We Learn in the last 2 year of business. I believe so much in documenting experiences and processes, and that was why this series was launched. Although, anyone could read and study these principles in a book, but it completely comes alive when one discovers them while engaging in daily business operations.
5 Important Business Lessons That is Shaping my Startup
#5. Place Premium On Customer/User Experience.
So we start with Customer Experience. It might seem like a known concept, but sometime you can get caught up in transactions and forget to offer memorable experiences to your customers. For us, we came to learn to see ourselves as not just a digital agency offering design and strategy, we saw ourselves as partners with the customer.
We came to see ourselves as “midwives” in helping our clients deliver an idea to the world. When we came from this perspective, 85% of our past clients became loyal followers and promoters of our brand. It’s not just about packaging. Make sure all aspects of your final deliverables injects real value into the clients business/organisation. Truly, every detail matters.
#4. Listen More
Lesson 4 has to do with our ability to listen. Clear out all distractions and listen to the conversation around you. One Mantra we hold dear to us is “You brand is who people say you are when you are not in the room.” We had to learn not to get overly attached to our ideas. Most times businesses can get attached to who they want to be that they overlook their true identity.
In the beginning, we had this ideal – we wanted to help people create premium brands. But for some reason, it didn’t resonate with our audience. We made some changes and locked in a couple of sales and realised that people were drawn to the “Simple approach we have towards digital design and strategy.” That’s where our “Simple is Premium” tagline came from.
Secondly, we began to pay close attention to the kind of projects that excited us as well as the kind of people who wanted to work with us. The lesson here is that – You may want to be perceived as a certain kind of brand, but that does not mean that’s what you’re best at.
Although we had a brand strategy framework from the onset, we remained open to evolution. Break away from what everyone else is doing and give yourself a chance to express your authentic self. This is what branding is really about – EXPRESSING YOU.
#3. Always Negotiate for Win-Win
Lesson 3 has to do with choosing business transactions. It’s quite tempting to jump on the next available transaction, but 18 months ago, we decided to choose who we would like to work with. We believe you don’t need to be at the mercy of your prospective clients. You are offering solutions to their problems in form of products and services, so feel free to choose.
Don’t engage everyone who you come across. A proper business should have a customer avatar/profile. You should know your ideal client. And when it comes to sales, we chose not to go for volumes and focus on the services that gives us high margins. For us, that’s Win-Win!
#2. Understand Your Solution
This is one of the most important lessons and that’s why it came on number 2 lesson. You may be offering premium custom experience, listening more, negotiating win-win deals and still be short-changing yourself. Here is a game changing paradigm – Don’t focus on the skills, services and products you are offering, but the solution. They may seem like the same thing but they are not.
In 2017, we designed a web platform for a development journalist that helped share development stories about Africa. In a year, this platform has helped boost his authority as a journalist and attracted some international recognition. The website is a platform, our solution is brand credibility and authority.
We are in the communication business. Designing platforms and developing strategies that help you communicate a predefined value, that would covert to sales, revenue, recognition, authority, etc. We realised that a lot is as stake if we don’t tailor our services rightly.
#1. Customers are not Always Right
The top on my list has to do with customer relations again. The last time we shared about this, it raised some controversy. However, the emphasis is on “not always“. The ideology that the customer is always right, is contextual, and we believe it’s a faulty generalisation. Especially in the creative intelligence industry.
A couple of clients would request we do what they want, when we know it’s not the best fit for their brand. A classical example is when a client request you help replicate a particular strategy and design (s)he saw somewhere, but we know due to the elements (texts, images, theme, and brand personality) involved, a replication won’t work.
It’s simple – Design is Contextual. We would however recommend Adaptation and not replication.
We don’t see people walk into an hospital with self diagnosis and also demanding for self prescribed drugs. The right thing for the medical personnel to do is double check. We can either choose to part with the money or help to really solve the problem. We always choose the latter. Brand credibility can be liquidated in the future.
It has really been a huge learning curve and I am very excited about what the future holds for us at Bramo Digi. We are in the process of being a front-line in helping today’s leaders engage in digital leadership.
26th June 2018
3rd October 2017