Business competitions in Nigeria have come to stay, let’s face it. Aside from providing nascent business owners with the option of accessing funds,they serve as an exposure platform helping business owners get in the face of those that matter as far as their business is concerned.
For those who plan to apply for business competitions in Nigeria, there are some stuff you should be aware of to help your chances of coming out tops.
How To Win A Business Competition In Nigeria
1. Right Mindset
This is an often overlook but critically important aspect in dare I say success in any business competition.
Most people go for business competitions and even before they have a chance to state their business case they are as good as out of the competition.
When embarking on a business competition, Nigerian entrepreneurs should adopt the mindset of preparation and lay the much needed foundation to ensure success. Sadly, I see a lot of entrepreneurs that simply skip this all important step.
Entrepreneurs may well save themselves and their team time and a lot of money by taking time to cover the basics of business first.
2. Charismatic Delivery
Success in business competitions is more of an art in terms of your delivery.
If you don’t pitch well or if you are not charismatic, ask your co-founder or colleague who can deliver presentations in an engaging, exciting way.
If you’re not the numbers person, make sure he or she is there to back you up and take any questions of the financials. Short, concise and to the point will win every time over too much information.
3. Adequate Preparation
On a general note, it’s important to keep in mind that a business competition will entail some fundamentals like :
- The need or problem at hand
- The size of the market
- The solution
- The proof or evidence of demand from clients
- Funding needs.
If you can present these things in the competition in 5 minutes or less then you’re off to a good start.
In the competition you will usually be followed by a Question and Answer session from a panel of investors and business professionals.
Be prepared for further probing questions on your business Profit Margins, Costs, Break-Even Points, Net and Gross Figures, Market growth opportunity. Don’t forget your strategy and the growth plans for your business; how is the business going to grow, how are you going to reach new customers and keep them coming back to you.? These areas should be carefully considered, planned for and presented in your competition pitch.
Spend ample time preparing for the presentation, the timing for delivery and the business case. You’ll be surprised how often entrepreneurs overrun with too much detail or have simply not prepared at all. Work on the basis of delivering a 3-5 minute pitch several times before the big day. Time yourself and make sure the salient points are included.
4. Detailed Business Plan
Entrepreneurs usually get caught up in their ideas and concepts and trying to raise funding without having put the structures and systems in place.
One of such systems is have a well articulated business plan that will show that you are have put in essential effort into building traction to prove the market exists for your offering.
Seek support from a management or business development consultant advisor to review your business’ plan to date and steer you in the right direction. Strategic partnerships can catapult your well-thought out business plans into mass market business success stories.
You may find that you need to get the foundations laid first, before you build that business and participate in a business competition.
5. Focus On Your Business Not The Competition
Nigerian entrepreneurs need to get this. It’s not just about applying for business competitions for the prize money or all the juicy stuff. No!
Don’t let the competition take you away from your daily grind. Some folks let their ideas or concepts stay in the back stage while they prepare for the competition.
Long after the competition is done, you’ll still have business to deal with. This very thought will help you not to get distracted and often plays a positive role in the outcome of the competition.
Keep focused and keep moving forward. Commitment to your business will garner support and interest from the business competition organizers.
If you aren’t fully committed, your pitch will likely fail to attract the commitment of investors.
6. Connect the Dots
Entrepreneurs need support, advice, connections and ‘champions’ to help them create sustainable, growing, job-creating, world-class businesses. This is what business competitions provide.
Corporations and big organizations via business competitions are supporting start-ups because collaboration works and they recognize the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.
Entrepreneurs need to recognise the need to connect the dots from corporate governance, HR, strategy, operations, finance and all other areas that such competitions will pace one on if they’ll ever stand a chance of winning.
As an entrepreneur, think critically, reflect and see how that business competition can help you connect the dots going forward.
Do you plan to apply for a business competition soon? What take homes do you have from this article? Let me know in the comments.
To your success!