How To Break Even As A Startup

“Break even” as a startup in real figures not in your estimated analysis is when you actually get to the point where the revenue made by your business is well above the costs involved in running your business as a whole.

To get to this point, there are pertinent things that should be set in place before you take off!

This is a continous shade of the 50 shades of 21st century enterprising.

READ SHADES 1 TO 7

18. Choosing the right team

People are something else. There are more talented actors in real life than there are people who act movies.

Your team are the pillars who will stand your enterprise. Be strategic and meticulous when choosing them.

Many people who will come to you as software developers or graphics designers have never written a single line of code or knew anything about colours and perspectives respectively.

People will come to you with the claim that they want to build the business with you and promise to provide good financial support. You’ll realise very late that most of them are broke-ass dudes.

Some will come as marketers, yet they can’t build a simple communication or good interaction with people. Most of them are natural snubs and only like to hear the sound of their own voice.

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Where do I start? I don’t intend to share any of my personal experiences in the Shades. Otherwise…My stories will sound really funny but they were disappointing and depressing at the time.

Go to social media, Facebook to be precise, you’ll see different nice descriptions(skills/career-wise) people write about themselves. Most of them are untrue.

Look beyond CVs, look beyond words, look beyond packaging, look beyond certificates, take time to test people out. If not, you might displace the real talented and skilled guys only to hire fakes and actors.

It’s like relationships, players know the smart devious ways to win people over. The real guys are like magnets, if you stay metallic enough -calm and observant, you’ll be drawn to them.

Your enterprise is not a movie; you don’t need actors. Invent your own unique way of hiring. Google did that. Don’t stay limited to the conventional recruitment style.

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19. You need to understand the art of story telling.

This is about the most essential of the Shades and major reason why you need a content creator. It’s a success secret.

Story telling is more of an art than science. It is art because it flows in pattern and are meant to elicit emotions.

It is not science since it doesn’t have to come with evidence to draw out logical reasoning. It is what your marketing and branding will be about.

Story telling answers the question “why”.

Every enterprise is defined in three words: What, How and Why.
People don’t care anymore about what you are doing. It doesn’t matter so much to them how you are doing it.

It is why you are doing your thing that will attract or deter us from you. But only few company cares to tell us why they are existing.

Apple was one great company that perfected the art of storytelling. Thanks to Steve Jobs. Apple didn’t say:

“We have talented computer engineers and smart software developers. So we make great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple and user friendly. You wanna buy one?”
No! This is what she said:

“We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking different. The way we are challenging the status quo is by making beautiful computers, simple to use, user friendly and portable in order to offer people who want to change the world a chance to do that.”

This was a time when IBM was the major company that made computers. Then, computers are not something to call personal. They are too big and meant for offices only.

Everything that Apple did and how they did it flowed around that WHY. It is not about the product. It is your ability to connect that why to your products.

As a matter of fact, the company was first registered as Apple Computers before Steve Jobs decided to drop the “computers” and they explored further into other products both hardware and software.

Without identifying your why, your purpose, it is difficult to own a brand. The Why comes before the others. The responsibility of the Chief Marketing Officer has escalated. Every office in a company basically works on the system, it is the marketing office that connects the system with People.

Without which, your system is useless. Marketing is no longer the last thing to do after everything is done, it is now the first. It will influence how you hire, the people you hire, the name your company will be called, the products you’ll make, etc

When I look at IVM…
The company is kinda boring because it doesn’t have any identity. It’s like they are operating “The Business of Pity”. (There’s a Shade that will talk on that)

Yet the company had a potential strong storyline they can capitalise on. She is making waves now, anyway. Recently she partnered with Big Brother Naija and will be awarding this year’s house winner.

But if I am to be the CMO of IVM, I will change the face of the company. Chief Innocent will have to tell us the WHY behind IVM or we’ll invent one. We’ll craft our stories around that WHY.

The WHY will dictate our products and design. Our purpose is what I will communicate to our engineers first, down to our other employees and then to the market.

People want to believe in something. Make them to believe in your brand. There’s what marketing pundits call Placebo Effect (there’s a Shade that treated that too). You should learn how to use it. That is how churches succeed.

Why can’t your company. Churches sell their products under feelings. Stop selling naked products, wrap it inside feelings. That is what people buy.

It will make a very long content if I’ll have to make it clearer than I have done already. Find all the Shades that are/will be on marketing and storytelling and connect them together.

Need a content manager? send a mail desirekings27@gmail.com we’d refer the best hands for your brand.

Aside: I need you to understand that I’m not working for or against any company or brand, I’m only trying to drive my points with illustrations for a better understanding. The loopholes I write about on companies are to point out what to correct in yours and build something better. The strengths I show are stuffs you need to take and replicate in yours.

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20. Every 21st century enterprise will begin as a startup.

If the enterprise you’re building or is going to build cannot be labelled a startup at the beginning. Then most of these Shades, if not all, weren’t meant for you.

A startup is a business that is created to run innovatively. And in the 21st Century, you can’t talk about innovation in business without Internet Technology.
This is where we always almost end our definition of a startup.

The Shades are about the other sides of things that no one dares shine the light on.

There’s this other basic part of StartUp that we don’t include:
Scalability.

A business is a startup because of its ability to scale fast and grow enormously big. A startup must have an amazing elasticity that whenever money is dropped on its scale, it expands further and never reaches a breaking point.

Even when your business leverages technology, if it can’t scale, it is not a startup.

Scalability is the first thing investors look for. If your enterprise can’t get larger and bigger with money, leave investors out of it.

Uber is a loss making company. Jumia is a loss making company. Yet they kept acquiring investors’ money. And surprisingly both IPOed at about the same time.
Both of them didn’t have profit; but they have scale.

If you invest millions of dollars with Oga Emeka in Alaba International Market, he’ll use the capital to acquire more products and diversify into different varieties of products. Perhaps Oga Emeka doesn’t import, he only sell wholesale. With the investment, he can start importation of goods too.

If the same amount is invested with Jumia, they will use the money to build a bigger system -expanding and enhancing their logistics in order to increase their market circle.

Simple question: where would an investment into your business go: more/better products or big/better system? The later option is what makes your busines a startup.

Any objections or commendations? Slide into the comment section.

Nnanor Anthony

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