‘Ego Is Your Enemy’ & 3 Other Lessons for New Entrepreneurs by BigGodwin Martey, CEO WebSoft

In our previous article, we established entrepreneurship, while an exciting journey is terrifying. It can be lonely and depressing, but it can also be satisfying. 

We again used the article to define mentor-mentee relationships and give detailed information on why they are important.

In this article, we take business nuggets from established entrepreneur and CEO for WebSoft Solutions. These nuggets are to help young entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses.

Biggodwin Martey is an entrepreneur and software developer. 

His company, Websoft Solutions, is an IT company that has been in operation for more than a decade, with simple software solutions that solve the typical business problems faced by most African businesses. WebSoft Solution develops bespoke software, whether it is web, mobile, desktop, or cloud.  It also designs high-end, premium websites for banks and other top organisations who want something original and classy beyond the common basic web templates one sees around the web.

In 2021, Biggodwin Martey emerged as the Best Software Developer and also the Overall Best Achiever (first among equals award) at 40 Under 40 Achievers Awards. 

40 Under Forty is an initiative from Xodus Communications Limited that seeks to identify, honour and celebrate a cross-section of the nation’s most influential and accomplished young business leaders under the age of forty from a wide range of industries.

Desire to grow to too quickly or scale too quickly

“The first thing I have seen, which I think is a thing for young entrepreneurs, is the desire to grow too fast; the desire to scale up quickly. You are wiser when people think that you are not doing well, that you are not liquid, or that you don’t have anything, even though you know you have. It is better for people to think that you don’t have it when you do. For you to create the impression that you have when you don’t have [is not good]. As an entrepreneur, opulence is not your first call. It is better for people to underestimate your net worth or your income or think that guy doesn’t have anything, because it keeps you grounded.

Ego is your enemy

“A lot of the banking sector cleanup that happened, some of the banks that went down, and even financial institutions that I worked with—a lot of them—went down because of ego. They wanted to put up a certain appearance. They wanted to show that they were doing well, so they bought more cars and opened more branches that they didn’t have systems and structures to control. That thing in us that wants us to show off or announce ourselves too quickly can destroy you. When I started WebSoft, I never wrote CEO on my card. For many years, I never wrote CEO on my card. Never! What I always wrote on my card then was Manager. There is a reason for that. I wanted to be grounded and not feel entitled, not feel like I have arrived, not feel like I could just do things because I am the CEO. I needed that maturity and wisdom over time. Many of us don’t allow ourselves to be grounded enough. We want to make statements. You get the first contract, and you want to impress people. You want to buy a new big car.”

Delayed Gratification

“In this system, an entrepreneur that would last a long time is an entrepreneur that understands delayed gratification. In 2013, I bought a brand new car, a Hyundai Ix35. Before I bought that car, I had been driving home-used cars, and they were stressing my life. I had many mechanics on my phone because anywhere the car stopped, I had to get a mechanic to fix it. I was managing it small until I got a little bit of capacity to buy a car at Auto Plaza. I didn’t even pay cash. In this journey [entrepreneurship], there is no bragging, there is no pretense, and there is no showing off. The reality is the reality. I couldn’t afford the brand new car, so I paid half, and they spread the rest for me. That was 2012, 2013, while Websoft had started in 2006 or thereabout. I had worked for 6 to 7 years before thinking about buying a brand new car. I used that car from 2013 to 2021, in fact until 2022. On the journey, I had the opportunity to buy other cars, but I didn’t. It is called delayed gratification. 

Don’t chase branding

“Some companies like spending on branding; excessive branding. They are buying cars, doing big billboards, and showing themselves everywhere. There’s a company called ASA Savings and Loans. I think it belongs to Indians or something. If you see their signboard, you will get angry. They don’t even have an advertisement, but they are powerful. They have small signboards. You can’t even see their signboards when you are passing, and they operate like a community. It is old wisdom, and yet they are strong and yet make no noise. I have a client called Oak Financial Services. They are a websoft client. We manage their web services and emails. Do you know that for many years I tried to convince Oak Financial Services that we should redesign their logo because it was archaic. I tried to do a rebranding. I tried to bring ideas. I tried to convince them. They said it works, so why change it. I used UT at the time as an example for them. I said, can’t they see what IT is doing and is taking their customers? They told me they’re not in a hurry. Oak Financial Services, their board, everybody told me they’re not in a hurry; they are not competing with anybody. They work with word of mouth. They don’t even have a TV advert. I was using UT as a benchmark for them. They told me I should not do that. I am not saying this to spite UT. It is the same for Sinapi Aba. Do you know that all these companies are alive? They are strong. Let us learn lessons.

These lessons from Martey provide valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of financial prudence, humility, and a focus on delivering quality services over flashy branding.

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