Granted this is easier said than done. People have an innate desire to look at the biggest and best and want to start from there. This could be fatal as every tree once once a seed. The process of building from the ground is essential for any product that will remain viable. It also filters out those with an interest as against those with a commitment.
Earn A Few Pennies
There is the need for a business to monetize quickly. However like the rule above, a business must first learn how to make and manage small amounts of money. The businesses with a stable financial base generally had to fight to stay alive in their initial years. As a result of this fiscal discipline is maintained.
Penny pinching is important. It means that value will be received for every single amount of money entering the business. Also, it enables the management team adapt to funding issues.
Begin With An Idea
Every product whether a game or a piece of software is a product of an idea. Ideas are the first stage in the design process. It is important that a picture of the piece of software to be developed is formed in the mind of the creators before product development starts.
Think Like A Visionary
In his classic book Outliers, Author Malcolm Gladwell talks about how on average it takes about 10,000 hours to master anything. Working full-time, that’s 5years! Business is a commitment and not an interest! It is a process for those who have conviction. Only people of vision can have conviction. Without a dream, one is destined to fail.
Keep The Faith
Faith is the fire to continue long after you should expire. On a personal note, there have been many horrible days when I just feel like closing my laptop and never writing code again. When I am all burned out. But the next day, I am back at work. It takes a reason greater than reality to believe.
Ready, Fire, Aim!
There is a strong need for experimentation. In the west african context, there has been no major success in the technology space as a whole. Iteration and continuous improvement are the key. Without failure, there is no blueprint for a business to look at opportunities objectively.
Profit or Perish
There is the need for a business to make a profit. For a startup, the basic reality is that for the first five years, there might be no financial profit. That said, a business can win in other areas especially technically. That is why the foundations of a business must be strong. The important thing is to have something to show for the hard work.
There is the need for continuous optimism in the business. For that to happen unwavering belief in the vision of the business must be shown by the leadership of the team. This belief must be backed up by authenticity and integrity. Being a Nigerian, my ears are used to fluff and I know it when I hear it. For most people, this is true. So words must not be rhetoric.
Continuously Improve Your Business
There is the need for businesses to continue to improve. Yesterdays home runs don’t win today’s games. In the Nigerian tech space one thing I have noticed is that when you hear about a product this year, you come back the next year and even though it is on a new platform, there has been no improvement to it. Granted boys are trying, but trying isn’t good enough. This is where all the lessons from failure tend to shape operations.
Believe In Your People
One is too small a number to achieve success. Any venture of note while it may be guided by the vision and leadership of individual must involve a team of people working together for a collective purpose. In product development, few individuals can combine Art and Engineering. This means that collaboration must occur. However, respect and trust must be guarded at all cost. Once credibility is lost, the team is no longer cohesive and any mission fails.
Never Run Out of Money
Funding is critical for every start-up. In all the years of studying business, one concept stands out and it is the concept of the BI triangle. At the base of the triangle is cash flow. Cash is king. Enough said.
Attract New Customers Everyday
Customers the most direct way of sustaining cash flow. Seeing that most businesses are tight on cash, the best strategy is to use social media. However, it must be noted that a business must first guarantee that they can deliver the goods before marketing themselves.
Be Persistent: Don’t Give Up
Build A Brand Name
On a personal note, this is my goal for game development. When I started game development, I built games because I was going to be an uncle and I felt that games where a way to pass on a legacy. Two years later they have become my brand. But like I tell my solution developer friends, none of them can outcode me. Not only is game development the most difficult part of programming, it is also the most rewarding.
Opportunity Waits For No One
Finally a quote from Sun Tzu “Opportunities multiply as they are seized”. I remember in 2010 when the Samsung Application Developer Contest first came up and I had to develop my first game. Nay-sayers persistently insisted that the ideas will be stolen. Here I am 2 years later with some awards under my belt and I know right now that all this happened because of that one event.
The stage is set for game development to emerge to the fore in West Africa. It will require passionate programmers who are willing to fail and stick with the process. Let the gaming continue but remember opportunities multiply as they are seized!