10 Business lessons from Meen Qal – Part 1
Last Ramadan, a bunch of uprising actors and actresses gave us all the feels in just 15 episodes. A story of a young entrepreneur who went after his dreams despite his father’s disapproval of his choices. The episodes were packed with lessons, emotions, and stories that every high school student, university student, and early-stage entrepreneur can relate to. The Entrepreneurship Center (EC) at UofCanada highlights 10 business lessons we learned from Sherif in Meen Qal!
- Research is a continuous process
Business and research are two ends of the same sword. You can’t possibly have a good business with a strong foundation if you neglect your research. You need to understand your industry, market, customers, product, and everything in between. A lot of people assume research is only needed at the beginning; however, a good business understands the importance of data and analysis and invests in the continuous research and learning of the business.
- Seek help from people with experience
Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with mentors and experts in different areas that can give them trusted and solid advice. Mentors and experts, not only have a wide range of experience but have worked with many entrepreneurs before and can give the founders lots of learned lessons, connections, and tried models and solutions.
- Test your ideas before launching
Most, if not all entrepreneurs are always tight on budgets at the beginning. They mostly bootstrap (using minimal resources at hand) to launch their businesses until they can secure proper funding. Before going headfirst to the market, founders need to develop minimum viable products (prototypes) that allow them to get proper feedback on their products or services from potential customers. Selecting “Interested to buy” in a survey is not enough to get proper validation before investing money and going to market.
Don’t rush your customer discovery period.
Oftentimes, people neglect the customer discovery phase of their business. They assume that the customer they had in mind would be interested to buy without validating or knowing enough about their persona. It is very common to iterate your customer segment and you need to allow yourself some flexibility to react accordingly. You’d be surprised how an extremely different segment adopts your solution.
- The customer awareness phase takes time Enthusiasts who take the risk and try new products and services when they are still in their early phases count for only 2.5% of the diffusion of innovation model. A model that describes the pattern and speed at which new ideas spread. Even the early adopters are only 13.5%. The reason we’re hitting you with percentages is to mention how natural it is for customers to take the time to learn about your products or services and adopt them. Consequently, you need to be realistic in your sales projections and integrate and invest in your customer and brand awareness within your marketing strategy early on.
Perfect and practice your pitch
Each audience has its lingo, pains, and needs. When working on your pitch, determine if it’s an investor or a sales pitch and plan accordingly. You’ll also need to adapt to different types of customers in the pitch and play around with how you do it. At the end of the day, if you can’t make the sale, the business isn’t going anywhere. Keep practicing your pitch until you can say it in your sleep!
- Innovation is the only key to staying relevant
Just because customers like your products or services doesn’t mean they will always stay loyal to your brand. You will always need to make improvements and build more efficient and innovative solutions. This won’t only make you relevant to the customers but will also create a barrier of protection against competitors and new market entries.
- Prioritize your budget spending
An entrepreneur who doesn’t have a realistic and tightly monitored budget runs the risk of going out of cash and evidently losing the business altogether. You must set your budgeting priorities straight and know what to spend your money on, when to spend it and why you’re spending it. Our startup Finvo can help you with that so check them out here.
- The ecosystem is full of players who can help you Competitions, incubators, accelerators, and support programs are all over Egypt, the MENA region, and even the world to help entrepreneurs. It’s even closer than you might think. At UofCanada, the Entrepreneurship Center is your entrepreneurial hub where you can find support, connections, and most importantly, develop your inner entrepreneur through various activities that happen throughout the year.
Also, you can always stay on top of the news by following virtual startup magazines and outlets to know when the cycles and programs open. You’ll get a truckload of perks such as workshops, sessions, mentorship, office space, investment, and connections according to the program.
Invest in your learning Watch documentaries, and videos, and read about startup news and ecosystem players. There is an abundance of resources on the internet ready for you to explore with a click of a button on every single topic you can think of. Aside from casual reads, you can also invest your time in international certificates and courses from universities and programs abroad such as Coursera and Y Combinator. This won’t only add to your knowledge but will also ensure your skillset is up to date and developed. An amazing advantage of technology indeed!
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