Don't Chase Trends; Chase Value

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When I quit my job in April to take my part-time biz full-time I was spending a lot of time visiting CcHub and attending many tech meetups and events. They are what is trending. There is an entire section of the media industry dedicatedly following the activities of online technology/business startups. There is a lot of hype about every investment activity that happens there. They make it look like the only innovative businesses in Nigeria are Iroko TV, Jumia, Konga,, Jovago and Dealsdey. And for 3 months I considered being innovative as doing something online based: an online Excel training and building enterprise apps. I even bought books on programming and spent more time doing what is not within my core competence. I was chasing trends.


Now I know better. After close to 6 months of seeing reality and getting to meet lots of entrepreneurs, I found out that the most innovative and hardworking entrepreneurs are not the ones building online based businesses: hiring programmers and marketers. The most innovative and hardworking entrepreneurs are the ones solving our big problems, creating very tangible value and getting their hands dirty in the offline world. I have met business owners who sleep very few hours a day and have more business than they can handle because they are meeting real unhyped needs. The media doesn't know about them. They are not propelled by trends/hype; they are simply meeting a big need and creating value. Most don't even spend on advertisement online or offline yet they are constantly getting business and making lots of money. 

They are the ones manufacturing the products the eCommerce sites sell. They are the ones providing the specialized services companies need. They are the ones doing the boring but highly valuable businesses like recycling, rodent extermination and offline surveys. They don't talk to newspapers, to online media or look for investors. They only talk to prospective customers, travel round the country to get the job done and have no need for an external investor. They chase value. 


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