Building a Startup is About Solving Problems

Lessons from Elmira Bayrasli, Entrepreneur & Author, From The Other Side of The World at Startup Istanbul Conference 2015. Another lesson (about entrepreneurship) that I learnt is that it has to be about about focus. You want to solve a problem. But I actually realized in going to Nigeria where I had assumed that one of the biggest problems that the Nigerians had was poor infrastructure.I think you’ll agree that bad roads, poor electricity, the lack of bridges, the ability not to be able to move around is real and it hampers entrepreneurs from  starting a business and scaling them up. When I dug a little deeper I actually realized the Nigerians problem isn’t actually poor infrastructure, it’s the lack of financial infrastructure and the fact that you can’t move money around. Even though Nigeria is Africa’s richest country, it’s Africa’s most populous country, 80% of Nigerians do not have a bank account, because they don’t have bank accounts there are no assets that are accumulated and people are literally holding onto money. When you’re holding onto money it’s not being leveraged its not being invested within the community, in the society and that’s why Nigeria has poor infrastructure. So when you’re actually looking at solving a problem, you really have to dig deep and really understand why does that problem actually exist. Because if you’re solving the wrong problem your startup or your company is not going anywhere. So again it really depends on your context. I also learned in writing this book that entrepreneurship is actually not about technology ,it’s also not about techies. We constantly hear about the need to study the STEM, science,engineering technology and mathematics people should learn how to code and everybody should learn all of these things. I think that is absolutely important. I think that having great engineering talent and technology mind is critical in this day and age. Everything’s on the Internet, everything is now focused on technology. But when you’re when you’re thinking about your startup and when I looked at the men and women around the world they were also thinking about talent because one of the things that has held up countries outside of the Western world from actually having globally competitive start-ups is the fact that they don’t have skilled management and they don’t know how to build teams and they don’t have the right people in place. And so you can have the best engineers in the world but if you don’t have managers that could incentivize them, look at what their workflow is, if you don’t have people who can go out and market and find new customers, if you don’t have people can go out there and tell your story, Ross talked about emotional experience people want to connect with something not just a product or service. [embed][/embed]]]>

─ January 4, 2016