Eric Muta is the founder and CEO, Problem Solved Ltd. Tanzania. He had a full-time job as a Software Engineer and created a small computer program that helped speed up processing of forms related to importation of goods at the Dar-es-salaam port. Within one month of use at that company, revenues skyrocket by $300,000. He thought he’d hit his eureka moment, so he could quit his job and sell the program to make the same amount of money and be rich in no time. Well, he thought wrong!
“My mistake was not realising that the only reason the company could generate $300,000 in one month was that it already had a name, an office, hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. It had the fuel and my program was just a match that lit a big fire. With a new company that had no customers, no history and no employees, I struggled to get anyone to buy the program and 18 months later I ran out of money and was forced to get a job”, he said.
Lesson learned: code is not a product, and a product is not a company. To get from code to product to company to profit, you need to have all the supporting infrastructure in terms of an office, employees and customers. And these don’t just appear on your table. They take time to build. And that’s not all. You need to have enough capital to survive until it is all in place.