Looking at how far we have come with our first startup product to be launched soon, targeting event attendees, venue owners and planners in Nigeria, I am proud of my team and the efforts we have invested thus far. It seemed like yesterday when we decided to go for it and today, we are almost making a mere idea and months of planning become a reality. Each passing day only gets better as we gear up to put our MVP to test. Can’t wait! There are loads of lessons to be learnt and the good thing about our team is that listening and learning makes our heart beat and continuous innovation is the only fluid pumping through our veins. That is why we invited a founder of a ride-sharing startup here in Nigeria, who just launched two months ago and is already learning all that is there to learn, to share with us some vital tips on launching a startup product in a challenging environment.
Although, Nigeria is picking up technology wise now, so also are startups springing up and solving various problems. Big international brands like Uber have made its way into the country’s startup scene and local players such as konga, Jumia, Eskimi, Dealdey, iROKOtv, Jobberman, Kaymu etc. are all startups, creating jobs and wealth to further strengthen the nation’s economy and establish Nigeria’s digital footprint in Africa, and the world, as a force to reckon with. Here are 3 lessons shared by the founder of a leading ride-sharing platform in Nigeria, Jekalo.com:
Don’t get stuck with the User Interface: In order to launch fast, don’t spend too much time working on the user interface in an attempt to deliver quality user experiences. I had to note and share this because it took us quite a while to get just our front page ready and tested before starting work on the logic end of our site. We made many changes to the theme, contents, feel, design, videos etc. for several weeks. The first time we tested it with our first-user-group (a group of people we put together for the purpose of testing and validating our products every step of the way), we received quite a low score and had to spend more time making changes till we tested again and received an average score of 8 on a scale of 10. Not that bad but we expended too much time concentrating on a page and have fell behind our set launch date as a result. We now have to delay the launch a bit further and work more hours in order to still launch as soon as possible.
Take time to launch features: According to the founder, packing a new product with many features might end up creating waste as customer might not be interested in them. He suggested launching additional features based on feedbacks after allowing customers to interact with your MVP and through analysis, determine where their interest lies after which you can develop a feature as a suitable response or consider a pivot. Adding new features iteratively to an already launched product also demonstrates a responsive or living product and not one that is stuck or refuses to change, even as its customers or environment changes.
Pay attention to analytics: This is one of the most important tasks after launching your product to better understand what you have built, how people react to it and if that doesn’t go well, what you are supposed to have built instead. It can provide you with raw data analysis of various user interactions with your product. The founder shared a story of how his team at Jekalo.com, discovered why site visitors were stopping the signing-up process, whenever they interact with the Facebook button on jekalo.com. Facebook was used for member validation purposes. Analytics helped them understand the problem, which they immediately fixed. Also, analytics helped his team know which ad generated the highest amount of traffic and where it came from; which feature a user interacts with and for how long; what’s important for customers and stakeholders and as a result, discover more business opportunities. These are what make analytics so powerful and you don’t have to pay a dime to have analytics running in order to capture your website’s valuable insights. Google analytics is free unless you go for the premium, which as a new startup company is unnecessary. The free version can provide you with all the insights you need to make informed decisions.
As we proceed to launch our product under conditions of extreme uncertainty, these are some of the lessons we are arming ourselves with, coupled with the many more we will be receiving from you as a comment to this post, till we launch. Also, we hope a startup out there, in similar shoes, will pick up one or two lessons from this post as well.
On a journey and loving it!
JekaloHQ started its ride-sharing proposition in Nigeria recently and the platform is currently changing the way people move from one place to another, especially in a state where the traffic situation is regarded as one of the worst in the country. This product aims to reduce congestions on Lagos roads as more people join the platform to share their rides to various destinations with interested members, thereby reducing CO2 emissions substantially due to less vehicles plying the roads. Jekalo.com is a proud partner of our upcoming startup product, which aims to redefine how Nigerians plan their events. Know more about JekaloHQ, by visiting their website here: http://www.jekalo.com/
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