Right from my days as an Electrical Engineering student in KNUST, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to run my own startups and grow them to become multi-million dollar companies. I didn’t want to write a job application and go out to look for a job so I braced myself for the life ahead.
I was already running two startups while in school. Invent Electronics and Wires & Bytes. Coming out of school gave me the opportunity to work on them full time. In August 2017, after my national service, I decided I was going to focus on my startups full-time.
I had to drop some other ventures I was working on so I could dedicate time to only a few things at a time. Sometime in January, I co-founded a third startup, Sesi Technologies.
Currently, I work full time at Invent Electronics and Sesi Technologies and part-time at Wires & Bytes. In all, I work about 14 hours every day. Yes, It’s a stressful life and I feel burnt out a lot of times. However, I ensure that I have plenty of rest and I take a break when I have a chance.
Running a startup is a daily challenge…especially if you are bootstrapping. As a founder, you have to figure out how to make more sales, get more customers, grow the company and not run out of money. You have to figure out how to pay employees and suppliers. You have to figure out how what your customers’ want and how to exceed their expectations.
I see each day in the office as a test that I have to pass. It’s not an easy life. But I love it. I chose this life and I have no regrets.
Here’s what my businesses do:
Invent Electronics is a premier online retailer of electronics components and kits in Ghana. Our customers include students, engineers, makers, hobbyists, educators and anyone interested in learning electronics. Some of our customers include KNUST, UMaT, Kumasi Hive, General Electric and Global Code. We have the largest online presence in the electronics retail space in Ghana. We are a team of 4 and we work from Kumasi.
Sesi Technologies develops affordable hardware and software solutions for farmers and other stakeholders in the Agric sector.
Our current product, GrainMate, helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easy for them to accurately determine the moisture content in their grains before storage. Our customers have included the Ghana Grains Council and AMPLIFIES Ghana.
We are a team of 5 and we work from our production lab in Kumasi.
Wires & Bytes
Wires & Bytes develops Software as a Service solutions for the educational sector. Our flagship app, Pasco, lets university students access past test questions and other resources from their smartphones or PC. Pasco is currently in use in KNUST. The Wires & Bytes team is a team of 3 and we work remotely.
It’s been 7 months now since I became a full-time entrepreneur. Here are 6 lessons I have learnt along the way.
6 Lessons I have Learnt Along The way
1. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted.
Sometimes when things are going crazy, after a long hard day where it feels like I haven’t achieved anything, I ask myself if I made the right decision. People make entrepreneurship feel like a bed of roses. But it is far from that! Every day comes with its new set of challenges which you have to surmount. Sadly, not everyone is cut out for this.
2. Your most important asset is your team.
I keep saying this: you are not superman. You can’t do everything alone. Having a team which understands and subscribes to your vision and are ready to put in the effort needed to get there is absolutely essential. I work with some of the most amazing people and I am grateful for them. They continue to learn on the job but they are getting better with each passing day.
3. Processes are important.
If you want your company to run smoothly and efficiently in your absence, it is crucial that you have standard operating procedures and processes. You can’t afford to do things anyhow. You must invest a lot of effort into developing processes which ensure that things are done in a certain agreed way, which everyone can follow.
4. Business skills are not acquired in school.
There is a huge gap between what you learn in school and the real business world out there. The business world is evolving fast, but the stuff they teach in school is failing to catch up. You can’t rely on school knowledge alone to be successful.
5. You have to be passionate about what you are doing.
Like I said earlier, sometimes, you have crazy days. There are periods that things will seem like they are going downhill. No money in the bank to pay employees, suppliers on your neck, and you’ll feel like giving up. At that point, passion is one of the things which will keep you going.
6. You need to be committed to lifelong learning
See, the business world is changing faster than before. Strategies which worked a few years ago may stop working a few years to come. You can’t rely on what you know already. You need to keep up with the times by committing to lifelong learning. That’s the only way you can get better as an entrepreneur.
I invest a lot in my development as an entrepreneur and often pay to take online courses which I believe will help me grow.
It’s been a jolly good ride so far and I look forward to the years ahead with excitement and anticipation.