If you go for a one-day SME event, and end up securing $1,000,000 (One Million United States Dollars) investment, then you must have done something different, actually, you must have done something phenomenal. This is the story of Ajibola Odukoya, CEO of Gidicartel; an online e-commerce platform, who secured a million-dollar investment from a New York-based investment firm at the 2017 Connect Nigeria SME eBusiness fair.
So, I hunted down a video interview with Mr Gidicartel and picked up these points on what he did to attract a million dollars:
- Recognise opportunity: Ajibola came across the advert of the business fair on YouTube, while chilling and watching casual videos. At the time, he had not officially launched Gidicartel, but immediately knew the fair would be a good place to launch. No one sold him the fair, no one chased him with incessant calls. It was a casual interruption to his downtime, but he saw it for what it was—an OPPORTUNITY, and he took it.
- Just do it: Ajibola saw the advert three weeks before the fair. Everyone would agree that it was a very short time to get ready for an event of such magnitude, but he realised that opportunities are meant to be taken in its lifetime. He quickly decided to ‘just do it’ and in three weeks, he branded, designed, produced and exhibited.
- Have a goal and objective: Once he saw that ad, he made up his mind to be at the fair, that became his Goal, all he needed was a plan. He listed all the things that would make that dream possible-booth, products, brand materials, staff or help, cards, and set out to acquire, engage or source each one, within his three-week timeframe.
- Stand out: He took the time to make his booth standout, because he understood that first impression can’t be made twice. A few extra touches here and there; couch to sit on instead of plastic chairs, wine served in wine glasses, home ambience, lights. I am not surprised his booth ended up being ‘the most visited booth’ at the event. Now, if you were one of the people who said “He spent too much”, after one million dollars, I’m sure you’re saying “he should have spent more”
- Collect Data: He didn’t just sell, he meticulously collected up to 500 contacts which helped to kick-start his business. Learn to go the extra mile and leave an impression on your customer. You are not just selling for the day; you are selling for the future.
- Talk about it: After the event, he told everyone that he launched at the Connect Nigeria eBusiness fair at EkoHotel, that not only gave him a boost, but also helped direct others where to get help for their business.
- Come prepared: It’s not only about the sales you make on that day, it’s also the connections you make, the knowledge you acquire, the exposure you receive and the long-term engagement that the post-event engagement affords you. Make sure you have your cards, flyers. Bring enough people to help you sell, contact and connect. Meet everyone you can and make as many personal connections as possible. Have a notepad to jot ideas or value points. Make effort to attract people to your booth.
These are my seven points, I know a million more, but act on these first and I’ll be writing your story next year.