Alder University | From Start-Up to Top Selling Brand with Limited Financing

In the competition to get the market’s attention for a product or service, fledgling entrepreneurs tend to get pushed to the side walk. Dealing with the cost of production, brand positioning, marketing and other aspects of business growth are difficult tasks that are often shouldered by the entrepreneur (or a small inexperienced team).

Is it really possible to scale up a business without relying on equity investors or hiring (and paying) experienced managers?  Are there other ways to minimise business growth costs?

Leveraging on partnerships

As a start-up business, you will benefit from forging alliances with partners, suppliers and staff. It all depends on your negotiating ability. Putting in place a payment instalment plan with suppliers is a great way to leverage partnerships.  For example, American Greek yoghurt company Chobani negotiated with large supermarkets to pay off slotting fees using sales proceeds during the initial launch.






You may also negotiate with staff to defer huge salaries for future stock options or the chance to do something innovative and industry defining.

[Lesson: Forging partnerships with your suppliers and staff reduces the cost of business growth]

Brand design aids brand positioning

Design may help you gain the attention of your market and leapfrog competitors. Detailed packaging and appealing content come into play here. An historic example is the innovative move by Apple to create brand distinction in its stores with just a few products on display. According to Tim Kobe, co-founder of Eight Incorporation, an architecture firm that worked on the design of the Apple stores, “Steve Jobs’ perfectionist attention to aesthetics, his decision to lease extremely expensive real estate and his focus on selling just a few consumer Macs resulted in Apple averaging roughly $6,000 in sales per square foot per year”.





[Lesson: Design differentiation helps you gain attention and leapfrog competitors]

Outsource non-core functions

You may consider outsourcing non-core functions to avoid the cost of specialist skills. An example is the outsourcing of business functions by Daimler AG, owner of Mercedes Benz to Mercedes-AMG GmbH, originally an independent engineering firm specialising in performance improvements for Mercedes vehicles. Both parties maintain their brand identity.






[Lesson: Maintain your brand essence in the event of outsourcing]

Seek legal protection for your brand

In a business environment where ideas are easily copied, protecting your brand from infringement saves you the cost of a protracted legal battle. In 2000, Dyson Vacuums sued Hoover Company in civil court for patent infringement. Hoover had just released their Triple Vortex bag-less vacuum, which prompted Dyson to sue for patent infringement citing their Dual Cyclone vacuum. Hoover was forced to pull the Triple Vortex from the market.

Hoovers2005_logoversus      dyson logo

[Lesson: An entrepreneur should seek legal protection to safeguard brand assets]


Your ability to grow a start-up without over reliance on external investors (in the form of venture capitalists or strategic investors) gives you space to grow your business at your own pace and without undue influence over your brand. It also reduces the pressure to repay debt from loans.

However, to succeed with this model, you must be disciplined and plough back earnings or profits into your business to facilitate organic growth. As an entrepreneur, you must also be willing to sacrifice personal profit and pay-outs in the short term.

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Introducing #AlderSMR Writer: Dele Momodu

Publisher, Politician, Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker

Topic: Social Media, Political Revolution & Evolution

Alder_AlderSMR_Dele MomoduDele Momodu is a teacher, writer, polemicist, publisher, politician and entrepreneur among many other roles. He is the CEO and publisher of Ovation International, reputed as one of Africa’s most popular celebrity magazines and the only bi-lingual magazine in Africa.

In 2011, Dele Momodu was a presidential aspirant of the National Conscience Party (NCP). Dele Momodu writes a weekly article called PENdulum every Saturday on the back page of Thisday newspaper. The articles highlight issues in Nigeria and current events.

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Idorenyen Enang

idy2Idorenyen Enang is a general manager and strategic marketing thought leader. He is a proven reform minded business leader with a passion for development economics. Idorenyen is considered one of Africa’s best marketing minds with demonstrable expertise in business management, organisational restructuring, sales & marketing operations and talent management.

Over the course of his illustrious career spanning twenty four years, Idorenyen held key positions of increasing responsibility at Management and Executive levels across Africa in multinational companies like Guinness, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Samsung and presently L’Oreal where he serves as Managing Director. Idy as he is fondly called is passionate about building people and his pet enterprise Corporate Shepherds, has over 500 people within the scope of his mentorship. He has served on several advertising boards including the World Federation of Advertisers.

Over the past two decades, his relentless pursuit of improving the public good within the larger society and professional communities of practice has been recognised with Fellowships of UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing and the National Institute of Marketing Nigeria.

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Tomi Oladepo

Tomi OladepoTomi Oladepo is a digital media researcher, experienced blogger and writer and is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick, UK. Her central interest is online media. Her doctoral research looks at ways of developing democracy through digital media, specifically developing a culture of democratic thinking, behaviour and communication.

She has experience in radio broadcasting, film and documentary production. She has also lectured on the Masters in Global Media and Communication at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies. Tomi Oladepo is currently Managing Editor of the PhD Life Blog at the University of Warwick.

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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Dr. Isah Emmanuel Momoh

Dr. MomohDr. Isah E. Momoh is a Media and Communication Economist whose areas of expertise include communication theory, media research, cultural diplomacy, diasporic communication, and media business management.

He is currently Head of Department of Communication and Media Enterprise as well as Director of the PhD programme of the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University where he is lead faculty in the areas of Theory and Research as well as Media Financial Analysis, Business Journalism and Writing for Corporate Communications. With over 30 years experience in media and communication with specialties in Public Relations, Advertising, TV & Newspaper Journalism and Management, he is lauded for his pioneering role in the take off and successful management and growth of Minaj Broadcast International in the 90s among other laudable achievements.

Dr. Isah Momoh is author of several papers and book chapters in communication, business management and marketing.

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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Chioma Chuka Agwuegbo

Chioma ChukaChioma Chuka Agwuegbo is a social media strategist. She has a background in radio where she worked as a duty continuity announcer and presenter before working as a researcher, scriptwriter and producer of popular radio drama – Story Story for the BBC Media Action in Nigeria.

Due to her love for all things social media, she obtained a Masters in social media. She has worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (creative writer), YNaija2015 (Founding Editor), MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (Social and Digital Media Consultant), BBC Media Action (Trainer), amongst others. As a social media advisor, she channels her intrigue for communication, citizen engagement and how it influences governance into embarked projects. Chioma enjoys digital storytelling, and the interaction within.

An aspiring poet and contributor to various local & international media outlets, Chioma blogs at

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Blossom Nnodim

Blossom NnodimBlossom Nnodim is a sought after public speaker whose message is Social Media for Social Good. She is involved in electoral governance using social media and was selected to monitor the U.S Elections in November, 2012. Blossom was selected among young African leaders to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the U.S Department of State.


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Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Kingsley Ezeani

KingsleyKingsley Ezeani is Founder of Information Nigeria, a news portal that has become one of the most popular websites in Nigeria with over 1 million Facebook fans. It is one of the most visited Nigerian websites with over 30 million monthly visitors.

Kingsley Ezeani’s passion for development led to the founding of Crowd Sourced Education, a project which earned him the 2011 International Telecommunication Union (I.T.U) fellowship. He was also a finalist in the I.T.U Young Innovators Contest in Geneva, Switzerland and one of Nigeria’s delegates to the World Business Dialogue, the largest student conference in the world.

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

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