Entrepreneurship knows no age limits, and Andre Cornhill exemplifies this truth. At just 19 years old, this young visionary from Zambia is making waves in the business world through his startup, GoNet. Specializing in online presence solutions, particularly for professional services, Andre's journey is marked by relentless determination and strategic vision. Beyond his business success, he emerges as an inspiring figure, setting the stage for a new era of entrepreneurs in Zambia.
Motivation Behind the Startup
In an exclusive interview, Andre reveals that his motivation to launch GoNet stemmed from a personal experience. Growing up with a father who owns a law firm in Lusaka, Andre recognized the gap in the Zambian market for online presence solutions, especially within the legal industry. "My father owns a law firm in Lusaka, and ever since I was about 12 years old I’ve been pushing him to get a website and a social media platform for the firm," says Andre. "So when I got older and started exploring business and entrepreneurship, I noticed a gap in the Zambian market and the demand for these services in the legal industry."
His relentless efforts to encourage his father to embrace digital presence planted the seed for GoNet."I guess what truly motivated me was the idea that I could easily provide these services to firms within my dad's social circle without the pressure of competition and eventually establish a monopoly within the legal industry of Zambia."
Understanding the Fundamentals of Business
Despite his young age, Andre displays a profound understanding of business principles. He attributes this knowledge to his fascination with entrepreneurship, spending hours listening to business experts like Peter Thiel, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Codie Sanchez on platforms like YouTube. "Entrepreneurship has always been quite a fascinating thing to me," Andre shares. "I’ve listened to hours of different business experts like Peter Thiel, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Codie Sanchez on YouTube, and I’ve always been astonished by the idea of creating value."
The combination of theoretical learning and practical experience enabled him to grasp the basics of B2B strategy, instilling the confidence to launch GoNet. "Through the power of YouTube, I learned the basics of b2b strategy, which I guess gave me the confidence to start GoNet."
Andre also acknowledges the guidance and mentorship of seasoned Zambian businessmen. "I’d have to give credit to the Zambian businessmen I look up to who gave me sound advice when needed and offered mentorship to me before GoNet was even a thought."
Challenges in Team Growth and Solutions
As GoNet is still in its early stages, Andre encountered challenges in building a competent team, particularly in outsourcing media projects. Networking proved to be the key to overcoming this hurdle, as a friend's referral led him to a crucial member of the team who significantly improved his performance. "One of the biggest challenges was finding competent people to outsource, particularly media projects, from our business partner BlueHour Studios. My initial media team needed a little boost to improve their performance."
Looking to the future, Andre plans to grow the development team by investing in human capital. "Currently, we’re relatively small. We’re hoping to first grow our development team. We’ll need to invest significantly in human capital. Luckily, we have a network of young, skilled programmers and web designers we’re currently scouting in hopes of joining our team."
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Founders
For aspiring founders, especially in the B2B space, Andre offers valuable advice. "If your startup is B2B, I would advise young founders to have their service already prepared for a client they are pitching to, especially in their early days."
He emphasizes the importance of having a prepared service prototype when pitching to clients, showcasing the potential outcome of the final product. "What worked well for me was having websites prepared to pitch to clients, sort of like a prototype, so they could see the potential outcome of the final product. This may be slightly more expensive if you outsource, but client acquisition and retention will be much higher following this route."
Additionally, incorporating AI in day-to-day operations, such as typing and client communication, can enhance efficiency. "Also, don't shy away from AI; incorporate it as much as possible for your typing, emails to clients, and so on."
Andre encourages founders to diversify their service offerings, gradually expanding within their niche to grow at a faster rate. "Lastly, try providing as many services as you can to clients. If your business is small, try selling as many services within your niche to one client to allow you to grow at a faster rate."
Future Growth Plans
While focusing on scaling the team, Andre envisions expanding GoNet's services by investing in young, skilled programmers and web designers. The goal is to handle the existing workload while maintaining service quality. Job listings on the GoNet website invite talented individuals to join the team, reflecting Andre's commitment to nurturing local talent.
Connect with Andre Cornhill
Readers interested in following Andre Cornhill's journey can connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn. His social media profiles offer insights into his entrepreneurial endeavors and serve as an inspiration for aspiring business leaders.
Andre Cornhill's entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the power of passion, determination, and strategic vision. As he continues to pave the way for online presence solutions in Zambia, his story serves as an inspiration for young entrepreneurs, proving that age is no barrier to success in the dynamic world of business. The combination of Andre's personal motivation, business acumen, and commitment to mentoring the next generation positions him as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs in Zambia and beyond.
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