BIO: Emmanuel Michael, a leadership and career success coach, is a seasoned and highly sought-after strategic business leader with over 20 years of management experience spanning various industries.
STORY: Emmanuel started a locks business that saw him lose over $30,000. His biggest problem was not testing the market before buying the locks.
LEARNING: Test your market first before you launch your product. Always think about how you’re going to get customers.
“Find your customers first before you even have your product.”
Emmanuel Michael (EM), a leadership and career success coach, is a seasoned and highly sought-after strategic business leader with over 20 years of management experience spanning various industries such as multidisciplinary engineering, information technology, hospitality, and financial services, of which over 17 years have been in human resources management practice.
Between March and August 2017, he held forth as the Interim CEO & Head of HR at Letshego MFB, a national microfinance bank in Nigeria. He is currently the Head of Human Capital at Letshego Nigeria.
Emmanuel is also the Founder & Host of HR with EM–a platform to Connect, Learn, and Share on everything leadership, career development, and employee experience. He is fondly called “The HR Celebrity” by the Nigerian HR community.
Worst investment ever
Emmanuel always wanted to be an entrepreneur. After he had saved enough money, he decided to start a locks business. He immediately ordered some locks and started looking for office space. Once he got a space, he started looking for a market.
To market his locks, Emmanuel decided to visit car companies to see if they would buy them and install them in their cars, such that when customers come to buy the vehicles, they would sell the locks as part of the accessories. This didn’t work out too well for him. Next, he decided to hire salespeople. They didn’t bring him much business either.
Emmanuel was not able to generate enough revenue even to pay back the first year’s ends rent. He continued until the end of the second year. Teams were getting worse instead of getting better. At this point, Emmanuel had spent about $30,000 on the business and was yet to make any profits. When his rent expired after the second year and the landlord came to ask him to either renew the rent or move out, Emmanuel knew it was time to close shop and count his losses.
Before you start selling, first research the market to ensure that customers want to buy your product.
Talk to the right people as you research your market.
Find your customers first before you even have your product.
Failures can propel you to your next successful business venture.
When you’re doing marketing, you must test the market. You must also think about your marketing channel. Figure out how you’re going to get to the customer, and once you get to the customer, think about how you’ll convince that customer that this is right for them.
Before you start any business, do a market test. Get a small group and offer them your service or product and see how they receive it. Tweak it and test it until it’s ready for launch.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months
Emmanuel’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to have at least coached over 1,000 leaders, career trainers, or job seekers.
“Keep hope alive, don’t give up. It might look rough now, but it will get better tomorrow.”