NairaBet has become popular with online sports betting becoming a lucrative subset of the billion-naira lotto industry. Equally as known for his free business seminars and hit business book Small Business Big Money, as he is for NairaBet.
After spending ₦3,500 on advert space in a magazine and making lots of sales, he knew he had to repeat. So he moved his campaign online and increased the price; yet, sales did not reduce.
“I created many other information products on several other topics including affiliate marketing, seminars, and registering a business name, among many others. For every information product I sold, I made a point of experiencing firsthand what I taught. After a while, I started publishing online articles on information marketing and people were reaching out to me to teach them more. That is when I realized I could create a business out of organizing seminars,” said Akin.
After making good money from information marketing and seminars, which afforded him the luxury of travelling abroad. So he went to the UK who introduced him to sports betting. The first ever bet he put in £20 and won £35. Seeing how easy it was, he kept placing bets and learning more.
Soon enough, he saw another opportunity for an information product he could sell to Nigerians. Akin created an information product on how to place bets online from Nigeria and priced it at ₦4,500. It was an instant hit and he made about 100 sales (worth ₦450,000) from that first offline campaign
That’s when I decided I was going to build my own online sports betting platform. In those days, there were hardly any sports betting solutions for small businesses. The cheapest solution I found cost £2 million and did not have that kind of money. With the help of a friend of his they developed a platform and since everything was done manually and the site crashed every weekend. Akin has managed to keep the business running for year because he understands that businesses start with customers and not the other way round.
“First of all, it boils down to customers. Before I try to start any business, I ask myself if the market is hot. Now, if you are playing in a hot market and you have customers, you don’t have a choice but to evolve slowly, else it would crash on you.”
When he started NairaBet, he did everything on his own, with some assistance from his then girlfriend. Then he got one staff who helped with bank deposits whenever bank transfers to customers proved a bit difficult. When the workload got too much for her, they got one more person. That’s how he continued adding staff; incrementally as the business demanded. He is startled by how startups employ personnel they do not need when starting out.