On Thursday November 14th 2019, Smart Lab hosted the fifth episode of its Founder to Founders event at Smartlab Space, Smart Codes Offices Mikocheni ‘A’ with the theme
‘How to Build a Market Ready Strategy’. Most young founders come up with products and services without having thought of their market and with no strategy on how to approach the market they intend to reach with their product. Among the most essential things in any business is marketing, but it's even more important for startups. Unless the market knows about your startup and what it offers, they probably won't buy your products or services.
This event assembled all types of innovators, founders, aspiring founders,professionals from various sectors like Mobile Telco’s, Tech/innovation Hubs, Financial Institutions, Industry Associations, the Private sector, Corporates, Ecosystem builders, students, university students, Development partners and various key players in the Tech and Innovation community. In this case it created a platform for people from vast industries to network and get to learn from each other, apart from the detailed presentations from the speakers..
We had Nisha Ligon, Founder & CEO of Ubongo, Albert Lyatuu, Scrum Master at Vodacom Tanzania PLC, Edwin Bruno, CEO at Smart Codes and Ephraim Swilla, Co-Founder of Shule Soft as speakers on this fifth Founder to founders event that shared knowledge on How to Build a Market Ready Strategy. They talked about various methods processes pertaining to building a market ready strategy and growth.
The event began with the Smart Codes C.E.O Mr. Edwin Bruno giving key note on how to build a market ready strategy, he began by stating the fact that it is so difficult to start a business, in this case at an early stage most startups fail to focus on planning a market ready strategy for their new companies before they launch due to different reasons one of them being not knowing their market well due to lack of enough research. He went on explaining about the importance of having a marketing strategy and implementing it as planned.
After him Nisha Ligon form Ubongo, who is one of the successful founders gave a great presentation about Scaling products and engagement. “We always talk about the richest 1% when thinking of scaling, we only look at people around us, we focus on people that went to universities, graduates and people with smartphones and cars. We forget that these are not an average Tanzanian, 84% of people in Sub-saharan Africa live on less than five dollars a day at household level. To scale we have to have these people in our minds we have to be designing with and for them”. said Nisha. She continued giving great insights about the necessary questions founders should ask themselves when it comes to scaling which are, Is it big enough? Is it simple enough? and Is it cheap enough? All these questions will help you realize if your solution as startup has the ability to grow.
We also had Albert Lyatuu who spoke about building to scale with details on solving the myth of the Minimum Viable Product. He talked about the agile way of running a startup too especially when it comes to building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). “ The right product takes time to build,'' he said, he added that the process should be customer driven, and this should be done through the agile methodology that is learning through releases, you should build slowly and release then use the data collected from users to keep building on top of what you have already built. He also insisted on the importance of the agile methodology in building a product. He stated that you should do small things frequently when building and create a habit of constantly learning and improving what you have at hand from the data you keep collecting and the feedback from users. He concluded by telling founders to always make sure they spend more time with their customers more than their product for them to build it accordingly.
Ephraim Swilla also spoke about how to grow, especially when it comes to revenue. He used his startup company called Shule Soft as a reference. He spoke about knowing the market and interacting directly with users who are your customers as a means to grow. He insisted on using their feedback to keep building and growing. He also explained that the only means to grow is to make sure you build a market fit product, a good product will always make its way to growth and bring in more customers and revenue. He concluded by stating that your growth as a startup highly depends on your customers, and for that you ought to always stay close to them and use their feedback to build better and grow.
We hope that the Founder to Founders event keeps being a space for founders and aspiring founders to come and learn, discuss, share and grow their businesses and probably find potential co-founders for their startups. For aspiring founders and students, we hope this will be a platform for them to learn, connect and get motivated to innovate new solutions to tackle the problems in our society.
Smart Lab is an innovation platform that links learning institutions with corporate partners to empower groundbreaking solutions that will impact communities.