In the university when I really started learning about business and getting myself started in it, I have no clue what I was about to do.
I just knew everybody was starting one and I thought I should too.
But mehn, I was WRONG.
I had no idea what I was about getting into.
As a very creative and smart guy (don’t jealous me, I know I am. *winks*), my first thought of an idea was the best thing ever to happened to me.
Then I started thinking about how my logo would look. I started wondering, “I need to call Seyi (my graphics designer friend who happens to be my namesake) to design my logo”.
Then I started telling myself, how I needed letterheads, and a business card, and oh damn! I am gonna need an office!
All these took me about like forever.
As a biological science student from school, I started wondering how I am going to become a very good programmer, how I am going to enroll at the best computer institute in the country.
It wasn’t long when I started pulling strings. I googled the best of all, got the fee outline and when I saw it, I was blown out.
“Oh mehn! This is damn too expensive.”
But you know what? I didn’t mind. The passion to become an programmer was already all over me that I was ready to pass through the process to become one.
Knowing there is no way to get that kinda money, I swore to myself to work my ass out to get the money to fund my newest ambition. I planned to take my parents out of it and just sort it out all by myself.
You need to know. I was that passionate about it. Ready to go any length to make my “dream” come through.
So I thought.
But you know what? All of these things didn’t matter at the end.
The one thing that really mattered, I didn’t do.
Want to know what it is? I will tell you in a moment. I mean right now.
It is called the PROOF OF CONCEPT.
This is a term used in the economic world.
PROOF OF CONCEPT is an evidence which establishes that an idea, invention, process, or business model is feasible.
Well, let me break it down to you in a way you can easily digest.
In my case, it is that thing that I need to do to prove to myself that I am on the right track to making my idea become a business.
Let me explain….
My early years of making money all by myself, I used to jump at everything I see online that says “make money online”.
I spent all my the precious nights planned to read for tests and exams as one intelligent university student.
I read newsletters, signed up to email lists, read all the free resources I could find on the internet on how to make money as long as it is free.
However, I spent whatever little money I could eke out of my meagre pocket money to sign up for one or two things that might be valuable.
I was reading and reading, getting prepared like I am going to a war in two days.
Brethren, for those short period, I had done everything to start making money even though it was just basic knowledge at that time but all failed.
Then I just decided to do something. To put myself to one more TRIAL.
In 2014, The Association of Academic Staff of all public universities went on strike, it was this period I decided to give it a shot and make one last attempt.
If that attempt failed, I had decided I was going to hang my ugly business boots and give up my newly found foolishness.
So I signed up with an internet marketing company where I will be a salesman and make money while selling their products.
Anyway, after signing up and was taking through the first timer process, I started and made N15,000 in a month.
By now you will be wondering while I emphasized so much on making such ridiculous amount of money. lol.
Don’t forget I was one university dude with no rich uncle anywhere.
To say I was overjoyed is an understatement. I couldn’t sleep out of sheer excitement!
Instead, I doubled my work rate, did twice the research, the writing, and the reading. Went further to search for better sources of information and started paying to sharpen my selling techniques.
It took me from being totally skeptical and full of fear that this internet thing wouldn’t work out to being 101% a believer.
I Was Hooked!
In months, I had made close to N100,000.
If business and marketing was a bad thing, I would be in a rehabilitation centre that very day.
What do you think happened to me? Why the sudden change about how I feel?
It’s what I made mention of earlier….
Proof of concept!
You see, making my first N15,000, selling products of another company to people around the world I haven’t met or will never see, proved to me that this thing was damn real.
I had proven to myself that it would work. Now I knew with 100% certainty that all I needed to do was to get better, to seek even more knowledgeable people and soak up their ideas, tweak it and I would succeed on a massive scale.
Am I a good salesman today?
But as the experience changed me today?
When I got the idea and was planning to hustle so hard to become a programmer, I remembered that experience and asked myself,
“Is this the most important thing to do right now?”
What if I prove to myself first that this idea will work rather than trying to build an empire before I have it tested?.
Right now, I live in my once dreamt life. I run a business that affords me the freedom to work whenever I want.
Because of this tiny, but very important thing called, proof of concept.
You see, the reason many people give up and not pursue their dreams is because they chase the insignificant things rather than focus on proving to themselves that their dreams maybe a talent, an idea or business model will work.
As in the case of small business owners, they are more concerned about packaging, branding, logos, and business cards, and websites, and business plans, CAC registration ana FIRS registration, instead of..
Finding A Customer.
You prove your business concept when you have a PAYING customer. This is what you must focus on FIRST as a new business owner. Are there people willing to buy this off of you?
When someone buys, you prove the concept. When a lot of people buy, you prove it even more. Then you set up the things that will bring even more buyers – a website, maybe an event sales presentation, maybe an ad, etc.
When I made my first money as a website developer, I knew nothing compared to what a professional website designer should.
I just made myself known as one and found a customer and bingo, the deal is on.
Even at that time, I had to call a friend to help me with the development. But I learnt quite a lot because I haven’t really done any real life job as a developer at that time. I was just doing the learning.
But getting that job got me conscious of not screwing up. I was devoted to making my customer happy after the website is up.
And I did it without a website, without a branding or logo, and without all kind of registrations or any of the 1000 other unnecessary things new business owners worry about.
After I proved it, I then went ahead to register a new company “ShainZuo Computech” in that area and now working on building it everyday.
And here’s the most important reason why you must prove your concept. When you do,
You Get A Rush of BELIEF!
You know you’re on the right path. Your confidence level goes up, your fears drop drastically. You have a renewed sense of purpose, and you do and know that can do all it takes to win, no matter how long it takes!
If I had failed with the salesman internet thing, I might have been crushed, maybe forever if I didn’t learn something from that experience.
I want you to learn something important here today.
A paying customer is more important than packaging, branding, a logo, business card or CAC and FIRS registration.
I never used a business card until recently when I realized a lot of clients started demanding for it. Even then I hardly use the poorly designed ones I have now and still in talks with my friend who is going to design the ones I like.
You shouldn’t be bothered about these things. You can make a logo using many of the free logo design sites online and then stick that logo inside the header of a MS-Word document, add your home address to it and voila! That is a letterhead.
These things, my friend, aren’t the issue.
The main thing is getting and convincing someone to buy what you have for sale.
Have you found that person?
Find that person, and I promise you…
You will see the change you will experience on the inside.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment below and if you need to show someone this, pls don’t hesitate to share.