How to build a multi-million dollar business in Africa without venture funding

How to build a multi-million dollar business in Africa without venture funding

Africa has a huge potential to produce billion dollar companies, unfortunately, that is not happening yet. When compared to western markets, a lot of ideas with potentials to succeed have failed because there is little or no fund to execute them.

Even though this makes it look like every idea is doomed to fail without funding, Michael Simeon, the CEO of VoguePay posits that many entrepreneurs should not consider venture funding as the only way to raise money to grow their business.

He had an interview with Dotun Olowoporoku, the host of “build the future” podcast and explained how a company like VoguePay was able to grow to become West Africa’s fastest growing fintech company that has not raised any investment money.

You can listen to the full interview online or just get the highlights of the best lessons he shared in the interview below:

  1. Collaborate with other people:

Everyone should not aspire just to be called CEOs for the sake of it, instead, they should join forces with other like-minded people. The proverb, “two are better than one” also applies to business. Don’t struggle alone when you can work together with others to achieve success. Michael noted that VoguePay is run by 5 co-founders who have equal interests in the business and each of them contributed resources to grow the business from their savings and sweat.

  1. Always start with what you have:

Savvy entrepreneurs focus on using what they have to get to where they need to be. This affects how they utilize available resources to achieve their business objectives. For them, nothing is too small to start with as long as it shows clearly that they are making progress. When they make progress, they can now place a demand for additional resources.

Michael notes that while his company, VoguePay, has not raised funding so far, the result that his team has achieved puts them in a better position to raise more money at a better valuation as investors can clearly see what value they will deliver with the funding.

  1. Be innovative and embrace customer service:

Innovation and customer services are the chief drivers of growth in the digital economy.  It is important to note that innovation comes from customers and use of technology, hence an innovative company must listen for customer feedback on every issue and be ready to use technology to improve its processes.

  1. Employ the right talent: The biggest concern of many entrepreneurs is getting the right employees who are dedicated to the business and have the right skills for the job. Startup entrepreneurs need to do their best to provide incentives to keep their employees loyal. These can include offering a competitive salary, employee equity and other perks.
  1. Solve problems for your customers: The best way to fund your business is from revenue from your customers and to achieve this you need to solve problems for them. Occasionally asking customers for feedbacks and calling them over the phone to hear their feedbacks can have a significant impact on the growth of the company.

The good thing is that many successful businesses globally like MailChimp, VoguePay and Basecamp have become multi-million dollar businesses without raising funding. While this is not the only path that every business can take to achieve success, it should be encouraged.

Author’s bio: Wole Ogunlade is the Head, Digital media and strategy at VoguePay. He is a growth strategist for early-stage startups and has mentored startups at Google Launchpad Start Lagos as well the Tony Elumelu Foundation for Entrepreneurs programme (TEEP)