What motivated you to get started with MaterialsPro?
With a background helping B2B clients manage end to end procurement it came as a
culture shock to learn first hand, albeit the hard way, the extent home builders in the construction industry are plagued by challenges of materials sourcing, of logistics management, of price negotiation, etc. All these many issues take its toll on their business and time that should ordinarily be channeled to the core of their work which is to build durable, functional, and beautiful edifices.
Much earlier on, I embarked on a personal building project. But even after employing the services of a professional builder, this phase of the project was marred by huge setbacks, resulting particularly in upward budget review, and missed project deadline.
I saw this up-close and repeatedly for many other professional home builders, and people I believed should have a better work around. It was at this point that it dawned on me there is a need to provide solutions here. It literally was an ah ah moment given what I know is possible… And that became the basis for MaterialsPro.
What specific problem are you solving with your startup and how are you solving it?
We are helping home builders and contractors remove the challenges of seeking frequent project cost variations with clients, helping them plan and seamlessly manage the procurement of building materials to project sites, on time and as scheduled, and we are helping them reduce overall project costs. All the while giving them peace of mind so they can focus on their core specialization, the actual building itself.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers
We have been intentional about staying true to our brand promise of giving home builders peace of mind by making bulk building materials available to project sites on time and within budget. This has helped us retain most of our early customers who have continued to make repeated purchases to date and even referred our service to others.
Describe what makes your business unique?
With a cumulative of over 35 years experience across industries, our energetic founding team is formed around competence for the major challenges we are solving for the construction industry. Besides this, our people centered approach is helping us meet the needs of builders in our target customers segment.
How did you fund your startup?
We started out bootstrapping on the idea and we raised angel funding along the line. This has helped with our operations especially as we deal in an industry with a significant average order value.
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What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?
I have read a number of books which have shaped my entrepreneurial journey, but some that stood out include Built to Last by Jim Collins, Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson, Tough Time Never Last, Tough People Do! By Robert Harold Schuller.
I also get inspiration learning about other founders and their startups. This I’m able to catch up with on platforms like Buildd and The Flip podcast.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
There’s quite a number of them. One I’ll say relates to the hiring of staff with the right attitudes and capacities. We always want a square peg in a square hole. That’s the only way to ever get anything done. Yet, it’s a constant battle. One we take upon ourselves to win at.
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
We recently crossed 5,000,000 kilograms of building materials deliveries. This is such a big deal for me: it is progress! Interestingly, we’re barely scratching the surface based on the possibilities we see.
Where would you like your startup to be in five years?
To be the epic centre for innovative solutions and a reference point when it comes to how building materials are sourced in Nigeria and across Africa.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you started on your business journey?
That you can’t have it all figured out from the onset. Do not wait until you have a perfect solution before launching to the market. As fast as possible, you want to put a version of your solution in the hands of your users, get their feedback, and iterate on it, and repeat the process over and over.
If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?
Launch our solutions to the market much earlier than we did. Never wait until our
solution is fully ready before hitting the market.
Have you had any failed business
Yes, I have. I once co-founded a marketing communication firm that did not do so well as we had a challenge putting up the right team. It affected us a great deal.
What are some sources for learning you would recommend for entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Mentorship Programs, and entrepreneurship networks – when the going gets tough, it can really be over your head to see past your situation or even have a fair assessment of it. You need these categories of people to pull through such periods.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
The real validation of ideas comes from the market and users. Launch fast, gather
feedback, iterate based on the feedback and launch again. It’s a continuous cycle!
Cash flow is a major killer of business. Focus on earning revenue early to sustain your business while you look for alternative sources of funding to probably expand the business.
Start with a committed founding team, people that share similar values with different competencies. It’s a long ride and it is easier not going it alone.
Entrepreneurship is a long and tough journey. Your persistence, perseverance and grit is what gets you through.
One business app and one personal app you can’t do without?
Google workspace Apps! Easy to use. 1 can collaborate and continue my work on the Go!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We will be hiring soon. We are planning to also share it on our Linkedin Page when we’re ready.