Digify Africa: 10 inspiring ideas for African female entrepreneurs to succeed in a digital economy

More women are getting involved in changing the economy, and leading small and medium business owners, for a female entrepreneur to become successful in this challenging economy, she needs to understand the trends in digital technology and use them effectively to grow her business.

With the recent visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to Kenya and Nigeria, One need not be told that Africa is the next emerging market and entrepreneurs need to position themselves well for the new wave of opportunities that are to come.

The following lessons were revealed at the well attended Digify Africa training  organised by IBM to help women become successful enterprise owners and expand their business reach.

1. Skills, talents and passion are different attributes of an entrepreneur, one or all can make an individual a successful entrepreneur. Skill is acquired or learnt, talent is an innate ability, what you can do easily without being taught while passion is what what drives you, you can do it over and over again. These three attributes all require constant development . They can be interwoven  to achieve a great result or one can be chosen and worked on for maximum result also.  For example,  for an aspiring musician if singing is your talent, playing an instrument can be your skill and producing records may be your passion, or teaching  can be your talent,cooking  can be your skill and producing great albums may be your passion. To be a leading entrepreneur you must work on your craft/skill/talent/passion and hone it to perfection for maximum impact.

2. Know yourself  intimately,  (your strengths, what you stand for, weakness), understand your potential clients  , your potential investors, your competitors, latest trends in your industry, target market , this will prepare you for when opportunities come your way. Be ready with your "Elevator pitch" (That  2 minutes introduction of  yourself and business). Watch the Facebook live session Of Mark Zuckerberg meeting with Nigerian digital entrepreneurs, he commended those who were ready to sell an idea to him in less than 60 seconds.  Let your introduction stand out, create a "Wowza" Impression when meeting new people.

3. Understand the different leadership styles, Proactive, Coercive, Authoritarian, Democratic, Pacesetter. Use the one that suits your purpose, do not annihilate your employees, reward as appropriate and encourage growth.

4.Work on your 4 Ps of personal branding, product, Price,Personality and Proposition.

5.  Be active on  social media, that is your advertising space and it is free. Update your twitter, instagram, linkedin, Pinterest profiles. Use the trending issues of the day to your advantage.  Jollof rice, Elections, Demo day, Black Friday, Olympics, Dont be left out of the ongoing discussions.

Create a lasting impression. Use creative hash tags, your profile will determine whether a client chose to do business with you or not.

6. Content is king, write informative, educative, inspiring, creative, entertaining, supportive,inspirational  content for your customers and they will keep coming back. Use quality images, videos,  inspiring quotes to drive your points home.

7. Dress to suit the occasion, go to business meetings looking like a Chief executive armed with your complementary cards, business brochures and samples of products.

8. Build your brand and avoid negativity. Let your Logo, Letterhead, staff speak for you, be a walking advert of your business.

9. Use relevant apps to build your business,   Canva, crowdfire, spyfu, Facetune e.t.c.

10. Define yourself like a successful entrepreneur , know your aspirations, write out your business plan, have a personal brand statement, package yourself wonderfully and see how amazingly your business takes off.

Finally, Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a Man, Work like a boss.

If you plan on standing out from the pack of numerous entrepreneurs, equip yourself with Knowledge, Go for trainings like Digify Africa's digital training, follow and listen to successful entrepreneurs like Strive Masiyiwa, Michelle Phan,  and appreciate  others.

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