Running a software business in Africa is completely different from every other part of the world, infact software in Africa is still at its infancy. I have been working in the African software market for over nine (9) years and I must admit that my biggest huddle has always been to convince potential customers to purchase an intangible product.
Here are five steps to consider in running an effective software company in Africa.
1. INVEST IN TEACHING
One has to understand that there is a high likely hood that your potential client may either not have used software or barely used software before. As a software entrepreneur, you are to spend lots of time teaching and training your potential client on why adopting your software, will be beneficial to their business operations.
Change they say is very difficult. In Africa, change is almost impossible because your potential client is probably very entrenched with his or her own ineffective way of doing business. I found out that about 80% of my time with the potential client was spent teaching and training on the benefit of my software to them and how it will help to improve their business operations.
As a software entrepreneur, it is important to understand that a typical African business operation will either prefer to go with a foreign software that does not meet their business needs to a locally made software that exceeds their business expectations.
Therefore, to successfully operate your software company in Africa, it may be necessary to have to liaise with foreign partners to build credibility. Overtime as your software product penetrates the market, it will be well known and referral will start taken place.
Getting to know and understand your client is vital, the key is to focus on quality over quantity.
Software business relationship requires lots of time and patience, helping a customer to grow into your product.
Current and prospective clients usually have the most relevant opinion and useful feedback to offer, so it is important as a software entrepreneur to communicate, listen, and build relationship with the future source of your income.
The African market place is filled with copycats, you need to evaluate and identify your areas of strength, furthermore, it is important you create software that will be very unique, complete, while yet very simple. The ability to create a product that will stand out from the crowd is very important.
African clients like to show off so if they have your software and it is solving their problem, they will show off your software which is free marketing.
To achieve market penetration in the African market, the price structure of the product is extremely important. Africans are especially price sensitive and it is important to keep initial price point as low as possible so that once the client is on board, and is actually using the product then other features can be introduced to them.
In conclusion, I must admit that running a software company in African is especially challenging but extremely rewarding. As long as one is in it for the long haul and one is creating the necessary software to meet the increasing demands, there is no doubt, one will remain relevant in the market place.
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