Article By Omotayo Adeoye
As an entrepreneur, you worry about whether or not someone will pay attention to you and your product/service, talk less of giving you money for it. Every business owner who has done it right has been at that stage before and they find out that they did get the first customer and they in fact keep getting clients. Here is how I got my first client.
I was undergoing the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos and in camp I had opened my mouth and spoken with almost anyone with a ear about entrepreneurship and the prospects in it. I made sure I utilized all the lecture periods, early morning jogs, Mami market shopping and other opportunities to talk to people. At that time, the idea for The Wumbb hadn’t fully formed in my mind; I didn’t even have a clear direction as to what exactly it was going to be about.
At that time I just started exploring the possibility of pursuing a career in business instead of as a Chemistry Research Scientist at CSIRO, Australia. Earlier that year, I had taken a course in Entrepreneurship as a final year course in school and as a lover of knowledge that I am, I didn’t stop in the class I ended up reading all the books I could find about entrepreneurship in the library plus accounting, sales, marketing, law and psychology books and with that knowledge I wrote a 20 page business plan complete with marketing and financial plans for reviving a dying poultry farm. With that plan I raised a 1million naira from 2 very good friends and a potential employer (I pitched my idea during the interview for a pre-NYSC internship).
Hyped by my ability to do that I started fishing around for more knowledge on the subject and I noticed I had an interest in business development and finance plus I had started about 3 businesses before then, I was willing to give it a try so the 3 weeks NYSC camp was my research and testing period. I spoke with anyone who was willing to speak me and I spent all my NYSC allowance (allawee) on business books which I devoured in camp.
While in camp I joined the karate group where I mingled with fellow karatekas and managed to form a cordial relationship with almost all. After NYSC, I and a few others continued the karate training in the Lagos dojo. One fateful afternoon, we were done with the rigorous 5-hour karate training and we were walking under the hot sun towards the bus stop where we will disperse and someone mentioned that he and his friend were working on a Tech Startup and were looking for a business person to join them, sharply my ears jumped up. I promptly said that’s what I do, I help people start businesses and there and then they agreed to have me and we fixed a meeting to discuss technicalities like profit and ownership shares. After concluding that, we started meeting every Friday after cds (community development service), we would sit at KFC, Ikeja City Mall and brainstorm about their idea; it was interesting, rigorous and a learning point for me. So I got my first customers without having a real business.
I learnt how to work with entrepreneurs, I called on my past business experience, I read more books and my faults were pointed out to me a lot of times. I remember one day, we were discussing how to monetize their idea and after making a suggestion, one of them said “Yeah that’s the business model” and I said “What’s that” (lol) and the guys were shocked that I didn’t know what a business model. I knew what it was in practical terms but didn’t know what it was called in business terms. I quickly noted it down and made sure I read every literature I could find on the subject.
I worked with my first clients for about 6 months during which I clarified my idea and The Wumbb was born in my mind. I remember drawing the design for the logo on my note pad and one of the founders asking me what that is and I said that’s my company.
Fast forwards 2 years after that, I have a real business I have taken trainings from business schools and I have had many more clients and many more experiences. My first client went on to win YouWin in 2014 and that reassured me that I had something, a skill and knowledge to help people who have only ideas to transform it into real, viable and successful businesses.
That’s how I got my first ever client, if you have started a business how did you get your first clients or if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, what are your fears about getting your first client.
I would be giving practical steps to getting your first clients next week, you don’t want to miss it, subscribe to be the first to know when it’s ready.
About The Writer
Omotayo B. Adeoye is a Startup and SME Consultant at The Wumbb; she works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to start and grow their business. Connect with her via email firstname.lastname@example.org BBM: 7EFDCE2D