Fidelity Bank’s SMe Funding Connect ( #FidelitySMEFunding), Lagos edition provided great opportunity for panellists made up of model, and undoubtedly successful entrepreneurs, to share tips with budding entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to get funded in their dream business.
These entrepreneurs were apparently handpicked, by the organisers of Fidelity Bank’s SMe Funding Connect, from different business classes.
These businesses ranged from entertainment, food, tech, transportation, agriculture to medical.
Though coming from different business backgrounds, each of these entrepreneurs share the belief in the possibility of your business getting funded. The following tips come from the lessons learnt from the personal struggles of these entrepreneurs.
Learn the Power of Persuasion. Be Convincing
The Founder and CEO, Ebonylife TV, Mo Abudu, began by clearly stating that to run a successful global business, the entrepreneur has to find partners who have to be convinced to partner in the business.
She shared that while there were many ways to fund a business, it is important to ask the right questions and be able to convince others about the business.
She also shared that it is important for the numbers to add up in the business and it is necessary that the entrepreneur finds what works for the business even if it means leaving a comfort zone like she did when she had to move her business from Lagos to Cross-River State.
Know Your Market. Know and Use Your Advantages
Sharing her story of how she grew her business from being a distributor to a manufacturer, the General Manager, Skretting, Seyi Akindele-Ige, revealed that one reason the company agreed to set up a branch in the Country was because she let them know that there was 70% of the raw materials needed to manufacture the products, here in Nigeria.
She also let them know that the market here was well patronising and hence it would be a good and profitable move.
Understand the Territory
Speaking about managing funds, the Co-Founder, Wilsons Juice, Seun Abolaji, shared how his fund was spent on a business which failed because he didn’t understand that doing business in Nigeria was different from what he was used to, abroad.
He also advised that it is always better to start small, manage well and then, when it is absolutely necessary, can scale up the business.
What’s Your Story?
The power of storytelling was iterated by the Co-Founder, Max.ng, Tayo Bamiduro. He shared that it is important to convince the investors of your business’ story, linking it to your own story. He shared that the investors are also humans and need to be moved by true, unique stories..
What’s the Big Idea?
You can start with just an idea, the Founder and CEO, The Bridge Clinic/Synlabs, Dr Richard Ajayi, told the unbelieving audience.
He argued that the trick was to find the opportunity in a space. He told his own story of having no money and using other people’s money to fund his idea.
Using the phrase, ‘compelling idea’, he shared that such an idea would find capital to fund it. He also revealed that he started his business in Nigeria 15 years ago and is currently in 26 locations in Nigeria. He repeated that if an idea is scalable and profitable, investors will be interested in it.
Funding a business is a huge step in setting up the said business and though there is no one path to getting it done, there are paths which increase chances and give the businesses more opportunities.
One obvious fact is that the business has to prove that it is able to bring back the money with profit, and this can be done if the idea is marketable, the numbers are promising and you have an authentic story to tell.