Learn from fellow entrepreneurs
“Before I started running my business full-time, I created a WhatsApp group of five other friends running online businesses,” says Masibu Manima, founder of marketing agency Translate Culture. “I wanted to learn what their pain points were.”
Two years on, the group has grown to 80 business owners, some of which run multi-million pound companies. “Collaboration is the new competitive advantage, especially for people exploring entrepreneurship for the first time,” he says.
“My wife Natalie (pictured above with Masibu) is a good example of this. She’s a therapist and had a hobby of sewing. She sold what she made online and last year went full time with her sewing business, Bespoke Binny. While she found entrepreneur workshops intimidating, WhatsApp groups with other women entrepreneurs made her much more comfortable - they create a space where people can be more vulnerable and transparent on the challenges they’re facing.”
Masibu aims to combat entrepreneurs’ tendency to guard their ideas. “I encourage everyone in the group to share their ideas as much as they feel comfortable so that they can get feedback,” says Masibu, 34.
Stick to your niche and share the load
Masibu has rejected the notion that he should strive to get ahead of other agencies. “I collaborated with some of my competitors to build this community,” he says. “For most markets, there’s enough space for multiple people to win and deliver value to customers.”
Grow your audiences together
When the first UK lockdown began, many entrepreneurs were faced with tough decisions on how to adapt their business. “The uncertainty meant people weren’t shopping,” says Rachael Twumasi-Corson, co-founder of hair product brand Afrocenchix.
“We had a choice. Either we could increase our marketing spend. Or we could step back and look after our community.” Rachael, 30, and co-founder Joycelyn Mate went for option B, shifting their focus from sales to supporting the black community. “We gave black-owned businesses shout-outs on social media and set up strategy calls. We helped them reach more customers. But in turn, we found that people bought more hair products. It was a great lesson: look after your people and your people will look after you.”