Every entrepreneur and startup founder started their companies thinking that they have the best ideas in the world. The rapid growth of startups (and the startup landscape) in Africa is attracting more entrepreneurs with their bright ideas. We’re already seeing market saturation in several industries, which means founding a startup and making it a success will be more challenging from now on.
That said, nothing beats the value of a good idea. You can still achieve success in a saturated market if you have a solution that everyone needs or a great idea that can be developed into a valuable product. The big question is: which idea should you develop?
A Solution to an Existing Problem
One of the simplest ways to develop a product that works is by taking a look at an existing problem and finding a solution to it. A lot of companies are doing this in different parts of Africa and gaining traction as a result. The introduction of Kukua educational games that we covered not too long ago is a good example of a startup trying to solve a specific problem with solutions that work.
The same approach can be applied to other industries as well. Find a problem you can solve with a brilliant idea and develop a product around that solution. You can base your business on products that customers already want to buy, making the whole process of breaking into the market and reaching out to customers a lot easier to deal with.
An Efficient Product
Another interesting approach you can use is developing an idea you can afford to develop. Some ideas are great, but turning those ideas into actual products that customers want to buy may prove to be too costly for the business. A costly idea leads a costly product that may not be competitive.
The shutdown of Linda, a major Nigerian dating site, is something you can learn from. Linda.com.ng had a great product that customers loved to use, but the company’s route towards making the product available was too expensive.
The $2 customers paid for Linda’s services had to be split with mobile network providers. At the same time, bringing those customers to the site was too expensive, to begin with. It didn’t take long before the idea turned into an expensive failure due to cost inefficiencies.
There are reasons why business support services industry are growing rapidly across Africa. As more startups are founded, the demand for business support services rises as well. Developing a practical solution that other startups – as well as existing companies – can use is a great way to enter the market.
The increase in demand for IT specialists, for instance, caused more people to pursue a bachelor science in information systems degree as a result. Thanks to online bachelors in information systems programs from reputable names such as UAB Collat School of Business, professionals and full-time students now have the ability to earn a degree from the United States without leaving their full-time jobs or relocating.
With an online BSIS degree in hand, these students are teaming up to offer anything from data analysis, information management, and other business support services as third-party services. Support services in other fields (i.e. accounting services for new startups) are just as lucrative. All you have to do to explore these markets is get started.