2 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From A Box Of Cupcake Campaign.


On July 31st 2014, Lovelyn X emerged the winner of the grand prize of a 10″ cake in the SOUL ARTS free cake giveaways. She referred 40 friends to the contest. She had joined the giveaways like any other person who thought they had a chance at winning cakes for free.

How did she do it?

All she had to do was send her friends to any of the soul arts social media platform (facebook, twitter, Instagram and BBM), who would in turn leave her name on any of these platform as the referee. The cumulative number of referrals who dropped her name on the social platforms for that week amounted to 40.

It was the final week of the promotion and being a month long giveaway that means Lovelyn must have referred an average of 10 people per week. Simple arithmetic, Right? However, that theory was faulted when our data revealed that Lovelyn only entered the contest just four days to the end of the campaign, which was 28 July 2014. This means she referred an average of 10 people per day.

How can someone enter a contest only four days to the end and emerge overall winner? Where were all the past winners for week 1 to week 4? Why didn’t their cumulative referral count make them the grand prizewinner? These were questions on my mind that needed answers.

On June 25 2014, Amina Agbator, a wonderful friend from university days,   and CEO of SOUL ARTS NG, a creative outfit that designs and produces unique handmade greeting cards for all occasions, handmade jewelries for all ages and classes of women and Relish Cakes contacted me on BBM. Her request was to get more exposure for Relish Cakes, the catering arm of her business, which is the newest member of the S.O.U.L Arts family.

After careful deliberation, we decided to launch a social media campaign for her brand. Its aim was to create awareness for her using social media.

The campaign was simple, more like a voting system. For a box of cupcakes weekly, people were to refer their friends and contacts to like or follow any of the S.O.U.L ARTS social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and BBM. The referrals were to drop the names of their referrer on any of these platforms and each mention counts as a vote. The referrer whose name occurs most on all the platforms wins a box of cupcakes per week. The cumulative vote for the month wins the grand prize of a 10″ cake.

At first, I created a hash tag for her on twitter #SoulArtsGiveaways. Created some content for the event and promoted the content across social platforms. The campaign went on as planned and people signed up. By the end of week one, we had about 100 referrals on all platforms and a winner. Week 2 was even better as referrals almost doubled.

However, the final week produced an amazing result. One of the new referrals who joined just four days to the end of the campaign won the grand prize of the campaign. A 10 inch multi-flavored cake. She referred double the number of predecessors. She was Lovelyn.

While trying to figure out how Lovelyn emerged the Grand prizewinner with the fact that she just joined the contest only four days to the end of campaign. I realized a trend in the data; each of the weekly winners referred at least 20 people during the week they won. However, immediately after they won and redeemed their gifts, they absolutely did not bother about the contest again.

How Could This be?

It then dawned on me. While her predecessors who won the weekly box of cupcakes relented on their efforts after winning, she outperformed them unbelievably.


Two things I think might be responsible for this outcome.

1. The weekly winners were only in the contest to win the weekly prize of a box of cupcakes and no more. They won the prize and were comfortable with their wins. i.e. they entered the contest just to win the weekly box of cupcakes. Therefore, after they won, they felt satisfied and didn’t see any need to promote the contest further.


2. They entered the contest to win the grand prize but somehow felt their winning votes were enough to make them win the grand prize.

If we go by theory one, it means the weekly winners had a goal of just winning the box of cupcakes and they hit that goal. This shows that they achieved their aim. They did not enter the contest to win the grand prize. That is a great thing, to set a goal and hit it.

If we go by theory two, it means they got comfortable with their previous achievements and relented on their efforts while expecting their winning week’s vote to win them the Grand prize.

A few other variables that could be responsible for Lovelyn to win the grand prize for the contest could be

A. The sense of urgency that the contest would end soon. In realizing that the contest would end in four days, Lovelyn probably promoted the contest more than her predecessors did.

B. The size of the prize comparing the size/value of a box of cupcakes to the size /value of a 10″ cake. The size of the grand prize could also urge her to promote the contest more than her predecessors.


C. Perhaps Lovelyn probably has a larger and responsive contact list etc

Whether these were the major factors that made Lovelyn the grand prize winner is a grey area. However, the subtle life lessons about success that could be applied to all spheres of life in this small experiment are profound.


Lesson 1.

It is good to have goals because goals are milestones that tell us how far and how well we are doing on our journey. Every entrepreneur or small business owner should set goals and work hard to reach them. However, not only is it good to have goals and be able to reach them, but it is important to know when some goals are not achievable. Know when you have achieved your aims and objectives. Also, know when your aims are not achievable. Doing this gives you the edge and foresight to know what is important or not. A good general not only sees the way to victory, but also knows when victory is impossible.

Lesson 2.

Success makes a failure of many. The reason  some people are not able to replicate their successes in business or career is simply that they got comfortable with previous successes. You may have achieved a particular feat in your business. Perhaps you have been the highest grossing sales manager in the organization you work for and for a long period, no one has surpassed you. It is very easy for you to relax and claim the best and biggest don. Instead of you to work harder and smarter to beat your personal best, you relent on your efforts.

It just further proves that getting comfortable after one success in life is dangerous. While you are gloating on your achievements, you may be surprised that someone out of nowhere would snap right out under your nose to beat you at your game.

Question: What Lessons Have You Learned About Success as an Entrepreneur?

7 Commonly Overlooked Reasons Why Startups Fail in Africa

According to StatisticBrain
25 percent of startups fail in the first year.
36 percent fail in second year.
44 percent of startups fail in the third year.
By the tenth year, a whooping 78 percent of startups are dead.

Why is this so? The reasons for these startup failures might not be far fetched. It might also not be the common lack of funds or infrastructure we are familiar with. But they sure have an impact on startup failures.

1. Fear of idea theft.
Face it! You are scared your idea may be stolen. So you guard your ideas jealously. You tell no one about it. Well this only slows down your progress, because you shield your ideas from potential investors and countless others who may help finetune your ideas or product.

2. Most Startups Work in Isolation.
Another reason why most startups fail to get off the ground is that they work in isolation. From ideation to product launch it is a solo effort. You design your product. You research. You develop. You seek funds. You market. This a whole lot of work for a man to do. By the time you are launched, you are already exhausted. And some people at this point just let go of the dream. Have you ever wondered what would have happened to microsoft and Bill Gates if Paul Allen wasn’t around? Well Gates might have gone ahead but it would have been a arduous task. Look at some of the successful business around. Google, Apple, Yahoo, Twitter. They were all co founded.

3. Most Startups Lack Business Management skills.
Many people are efficient in the creative process of businesses but are disasters in business management. Yes you can design that wonderful product but can you manage a business? The management side of business is a different ball game. Most inventors are introverts. They are busy thinking, busy researching. Their job is to deliver the product and this mostly cuts them off from social interaction.
You must work within your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. If your strengths lie in product creation, it’s only wise to employ or partner with someone with management skills. Steve Jobs hired pepsi CEO John Sculley to boost sales in 1983.

4. Startup founders want to be CEO.
Sincerely, it is a wonderful feeling to chair a billion dollar company. The title CEO also has a nice ring to it. The problem here is that everyone is trying to invent or discover the next big thing. So we can be called CEO. However, not every one can nor will pioneer the “next Big Company”. Some people are just there to support. I think It is a perspective problem. We think those under the spotlight are the stars. Well in a way, but there are no stars without a backstage crew. You should understand your passion and reason why you want to start that company. Don’t be fooled by motivational speeches that says, “you can be anything you want to be”. Not that you can’t. You just need to find your place. Some of those speeches are misinterpreted out of context.

5. Most Startups Want To Pioneer The Next Big Thing.
Many entrepreneurs want a single product that solves all problems. Instead on making a product that solves one problem then add improvements later. Google started as a search engine to aggregate search results in realtime, faster and relevant. Now they own gmail, youtube, google plus, Android and a whole lot more businesses. The time you spend in planning that next big product, competitors are already launched. They have feedback and are back in the boardroom , working on improvements.

6. Copycat.
Too many startups are just trying to do the same thing or do what others have done. A plethora of social networking sites literally cloned facebook ( Facebook Clones ) for their ideas. This only gives credence to the original product and acknowledges it superiority. No matter how good your product is, you are a second best.

7. Too Many Startups.
You must have heard the maxim “United we stand, divided we fall.” A lot of mushroom startups are established daily trying to break into an already saturated niche. This coupled with their stubbornness and pride to pool up their little drops of water and make an ocean lead to the death of many startups.

Do you have any other reasons why startups fail? Do share your ideas using the comment box below.

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