“There is no substitute to deep-rooted knowledge in your field of endeavour. Therefore, learning is crucial. Do not assume that business is simple especially web-based business. Get the fundamentals right and take your audience/customers seriously. You will gain experience along the way. Adjust your business based on experience, to suit your market audience.” Oluniyi David Ajao,
Those are the words of the Oluniyi David Ajao. Oluniyi is a Ghana-based Nigerian young entrepreneur and runs a web host, Web4Africa, as well as Africa’s leading website about mobile telecoms, “Mobile Africa“. He is a professional web developer who supports the open-source platforms and web programming languages. Linux, PHP, MySQL, CSS, XHTML and web standards are amongst his favourites.
I had this interview with him yesterday. Happy reading…..
SN: Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
Oluniyi: I am Oluniyi David Ajao, an Internet entrepreneur and Managing Director of a leading web hosting company, Web4Africa Ltd. I also have strong interests in mobile communications technology and a background in Computer Science.
SN: What is the name of your blog/start-up/company?
SN: Please tell us about your blog/start-up/company?
Oluniyi: Web4Africa Ltd. offers affordable and reliable web-related services to clients in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Services offered include: domain name registration, web hosting, website design and e-commerce solutions.
SN: What is unique about your blog/startup/company?
Oluniyi: Web4Africa is a market leader, a trailblazer. We care about our clients and go to great lengths to meet and exceed their expectations as much as possible. Web4Africa offers more services to a more diverse client base than any other provider in our market-region.
SN: How many people are currently using your website services (e.g. feed readers, visitors)?
Oluniyi: We currently have over 3,500 active clients.
SN: What kind of marketing and/or advertising strategy do you use for your website?
Oluniyi: Direct referral is the most common. We focus on offering high quality services, and our happy customers in return refer even more customers. We occasionally advertise on leading websites.
SN: What are the main web technologies/tools you use to monitor the performance of your website?
Oluniyi: No single technology is perfect and so we use a combination: Google Analytics, AwStats and to some extent, Alexa.
SN: What is the monetizing/revenue model for your website?
Oluniyi: Web4Africa earns revenue from offering value-added web services.
SN: Which websites are the main competitors in your market segment/sector?
Oluniyi: There are close competitors in Nigeria and we take no company for granted but our sights are set much higher than the West African sub-region. We aim to have Nigerians patronize us instead of western companies and therefore aim to provide the same level of service offered by HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost etc. Those are the ones we consider real competition.
SN: What challenges do you currently face as a web entrepreneur?
Oluniyi: Nigeria – like much of the rest of Africa – is way behind the west in terms of infrastructure and economic development. Therefore, the lack of a very good, secure and affordable online payment system is a big challenge, as most clients have to move around just to make a payment. There are other challenges like fraudulent transactions, abuse of our services for criminal activities like spamming and varieties of the infamous 419 fraud.
SN: What do you think of new startups and innovation coming out of Nigeria today?
Oluniyi: Some have done their homework well and are very promising but too many are mediocre. Many fail to get the basics right and so have no chance of surviving in a very competitive market like Nigeria and therefore, only the strong will survive.
There is no substitute to quality education.
SN: Do you have any thoughts on our Universities and their curriculum in terms of promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation amongst students?
Oluniyi: Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done to encourage young people to create jobs instead of graduating to look for jobs. It is important that the knowledge being impacted in the tertiary institutions is really practical and applicable in today’s business environment.
SN: What do you think the Government (both Federal and State) should do to improve the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria?
Oluniyi: The governments should spend more resources on providing quality infrastructure for the public tertiary educational institutions and monitor closely to be sure the funds are applied appropriately. The institutions can in return turnout good business candidates that are well equipped and ready to face the world. Governments of developed countries invest in education and that is the right way to go.
Also, the educational curriculum needs to be updated regularly, to reflect the reality of our times. One of today’s realities is the need for innovation and entrepreneurship. The government, through the various Ministries of Education (at Federal and State levels) still have the oversight responsibility for this.
SN: Do you have any advice for people who want to launch new startups?
Oluniyi: There is no substitute to deep-rooted knowledge in your field of endeavour. Therefore, learning is crucial. Do not assume that business is simple especially web-based business. Get the fundamentals right and take your audience/customers seriously. You will gain experience along the way. Adjust your business based on experience, to suit your market audience.
SN: Do you have any business advisor/mentor?
Oluniyi: I do not have a business mentor on a personal level but I admire people like Richard Branson (Chairman of Virgin Group), Mike Adenuga (Chairman of Globacom Ltd), Bob Parsons (CEO and founder of The Go Daddy Group, Inc.), Bhavin Turakhia (Founder & CEO of Directi Group).