It’s Oluwadamilare here
Today, we have our very own Victor Onyekere, The Strategist, Founder at Talemia. He has dedicated the past 5 years of his life working with millennials who desire to transition from their reality to their productivity. He has worked across multiple industries and sectors. Victor’s work cut across several expressions like coaching, strategy, training and mentorship.
He shared with us how a large team can cripple execution when starting out
After interacting with over 100 African entrepreneurs (mostly Nigerians though) and uncovered a critical problem of disorganization, I began designing a solution for early stage startup entrepreneurs in Africa. I called this solution Talem Business School. I had called a team of 5 professionals, and together we began working on this solution in June 2019. We went live with a blast launch in August 2020. I was so excited that we finally have a dedicated business school for startups in Africa designed to only solve the problem of structure through learning. With time we grew to 11-team of professionals handling different aspects of Talem Business School
In October 2020, I began rethinking a lot of things. I had to reinvent how we wanted to solve this problem of structure among startups in Africa. First thing that hit me hard was ‘’Startups NEED structure but do not WANT structure when starting out’’. That’s a bit mind boggling. It was hard to be emotionally disconnected from something we had spent about 12 months working on. This is what we call a ‘’PIVOT’’. I may write about pivoting if I get another opportunity to be featured here.
There was however an underlying critical issue that deeply affected the growth of Talem Business School. This affected how we made decisions and most importantly ‘’EXECUTION’’ which is the biggest win for any early stage entrepreneurs. If you cannot execute, then you have no business. We found it very hard to move from zero to one because we had a large team for a company literally in its baby stage. It was hard to move quickly and even fail forward with 11 people on the team. The folks weren’t on payroll. It was voluntary. The first big decision I had to take was letting go of 60% of the team. It was my first challenging decision. I had to let good talented people go. There are times you have to say goodbye to “great things’’ if you really want to grow and scale. Things got a bit better when we dropped to a 5-team of professionals. However, with time, I had to let everyone go as we needed to make a 360 degrees pivot which led to building ‘’Talemia’’ with the same singular purpose but on a different model and expression.
If you are at the stage of developing your idea or even your MVP, the worst decision you can ever make is to add unnecessary weight to your business by bringing in talents. Talents are good but it needs to be done at the appropriate time. As an early stage startup founder, you must wear many hats while building. Get involved in Product Design and Development, Sales and Marketing, Customer Acquisition, Operations, Pitching and Funding. This will give you a bird’s eye view of the solution you’re building while setting the right environment on which you will infuse your startup culture.
There you have it,
Build Lean, Fail Fast, Learn Quickly and Grow
I hope this has helped you
What did you learn? Tell me in the comment section below
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Are you building a tech startup and want us to feature you or know someone who is?
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