To succeed in business, you have to be innovative.

You have to find a wonderful product that fills a niche in the market, or change the way an existing one is presented so that it gains masses of new appeal. Smartphones, for example, are hugely desirable and incredibly useful and important products that just happen to be out of the price range of most ordinary Nigerians especially as the price imported goods are skyrocketing in recent time. What was needed was a stripped back, budget smart phone that still looked attractive and boasted most of the features that you would get from a high end Apple, Samsung, or Nokia product.

A Tecno Smartphone at a Nigerian Restaurant. Photo Credit: Urbane Aries

The Ideos phone, priced beneath $100, was a revelation when it was released in sub Saharan Africa, but that’s about as low as the major international brands are willing to go in terms of pricing. Several home grown and Africa-only focused smartphone companies like Tecno Mobile are now developing sub $50 smartphones that are stylish, functional, as well as high end smartphones that won’t break the back of someone living off an average Nigerian income. Tecno Mobile as one of the first companies to successfully get to the market and transition from affordable feature phones to affordable smartphones through innovation has been guaranteed to make immense amounts of money. The brand is now gradually releasing mobile phones of different price points with different features aimed at photography (Camon Series), music (Boom J Series) and High Performance (Phantom Series). It’s a clear example of the benefits of innovation.

Another example can be seen in Nigeria’s thriving fast food industry. Among the biggest chains in the country are Mr. Bigg’s and Tastee Fried Chicken, both of which model themselves on successful American brands. The red and yellow colour scheme of Mr. Bigg’s is a clear nod to McDonalds, while Tastee Fried Chicken founder Olayinka Pamela Adedayo was inspired by her time working as a manager for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Both companies understood something about the Nigerian marketplace that other people didn’t; that there was a real desire among ordinary Nigerians to get an American style fast food experience, but with traditional Nigerian dishes to go along with it. As such, Mr. Bigg’s offers meatpies and moin moin, whilst Tastee Fried Chicken compliment their core fried chicken business with scotch eggs, pottage hash and jollof rice. Mr. Bigg’s was even among the first businesses in Nigeria to introduce the concept of franchising, allowing their different outlets to spread freely across the country. These are two obvious examples of taking inspiration from a pre-existing product, finding a gap in the market, and using innovation to become among the most successful businesses in Nigeria.

Anyone with a big idea can become successful in business. The important thing is to learn how to harness the power of dreams. Olayinka Pamela Adedayo wasn’t happy just managing a branch of someone else’s company; she wanted to craft something that she could call her own, and with enthusiasm, energy and dedication, she was able to do it. Passion doesn’t necessarily mean profits however; behind every successful business man or woman is a strategic, smart, analytical mind.

This is what our Executive Business Programs aim to teach. We’re not going to tell you what the next great product is; if we knew, we’d make it ourselves. But our expert educators will teach you how to turn your ideas into fantastic, market ready products as well as teach you how to turn your already existing businesses around through personnel and professional development. If you’re interested, make sure to get in touch!

BAU Faculty

Author BAU Faculty

The BAU Executive Faculty from time to time, publishes insight articles on Innovation, Business, Strategy and Management.

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