Welcome to a unique session with a woman entrepreneur. She has survived several challenging issues including accident to discover and stay on her dream of being in business. ‘A multifaceted woman entrepreneur’ as I call has several lines of business to include red oil business, retail chain store, and first grade clothing attire. Her business has attracted wealth and fame to her. Stay glue and enjoy this inspiring session.
Personality Profile: I am Enobong Udoeyen, a native of Nsit Ibom L.G.A in Akwa Ibom State. I graduated from Social Studies Education Department, University of Uyo. Starting and staying in business has not been easy. I have always been passionate about getting university certificate despite the lack of funding from close relatives. I have at several occasions been turn down after every attempt to attract educational funding. This quest has been one of my greatest motivation to seek solution from inside-out. starting a business, no matter how small appeared as my only option for survival. Since I got my admission, I was determined to graduate. Within this period of contemplation on the kind of business to do, I met a colleague who gave me a bale material on credit to sell on a pay-latter condition. Since I was passionate and had no option, I obliged. I was committed to succeed in this business. Since I already had a house where I lived, I did not need to rent any shop. I started word of mouth of marketing among course mate, church members and neighbours. It yielded result though in a stressful way.
LBC CREW (Cutsin): How did you gain the trust of this your colleague? Young Entrepreneur: Well, in life you need to take risk and work hard to win the trust. Since she was my colleague in school and ran the same programme in the University that gave me an advantage. She gave me the first set of clothes which I sold out gracefully. Howbeit, her terms and conditions was bizarre. I paid back at a higher rate than rate I could have paid if I had the bulk money to buy the products. When my mum visited and was aware of this new development, she was surprised that I could do something like that without telling her. You know that there are some dreams that get shattered because of discouragement from people. This made it difficult for me to share this dream with anybody. She saw ability and promised to help me from Lagos since she stayed at Lagos. So I paid the lady who I owed and ordered for another.
LBC CREW: What was the way forward after paying up your bills? I had to expand my line of product to include male clothing. Another way forward was being contented, I had to be contented and calculative to how I spend money as regards food and what I wear to avoid spending both my capital and interest to avoid running into business trauma.
LCB CREW: What is the success behind this “First Grade” clothing business?
Young Entrepreneur: Well, one may end up spending so much to drop ship ( purchase and shipment) and end up running at a lost. Before I started, I made enquirers and used my natural intelligence. Some starters might end up being used by the experience business gurus, thereby exploiting them. A product of
N30, 000 might be sold at N50,000. I had been a victim of this, like the first set of product I got was given to me at a very high rate with the help of my mum, I got to know that the original amount was lesser than that, this happened because I was ignorant of this and didn’t have money to make my own purchase.
LBC CREW: So did you continue with the business and at what point did you see the need to diversity?
Young Entrepreneur: Well, the business gave me time initially because I could lock my room, go to school and if anyone needed the offer, the person could just place a call but as I got to my second year in university, I had to pause to give my academics more attention. In my third and final year, when I had fewer courses to do, I diversified to provision business. This was due to the fact that in my area, there were no shops around to get food stuff. I begged my landlady to use the front of her shop for this small business. So I started with a counter which has now grown to a store.
LBC CREW: Comparatively, between “First Grade” clothing business and provision business which one gives you better income?
Young Entrepreneur: It depends on who is doing the business, the location and demand for service rendered. Howbeit, provision business is better for someone who is disciplined.
LBC CREW: What were your major distractions?
Young Entrepreneur: Like I said one is bound to be envied, there are things one can’t do alone, helping hands are being needed, you employ someone whose aim is to rob you, maybe because of bad advice from the neighborhood. Howbeit, there no excuse for failure.
LBC CREW: Okay, what are your marketing strategies; how did you attract customers?
Young Entrepreneur: Well, the first thing is God, a business owner must imbibe tolerance, friendliness with customers.
LBC CREW: In such a case where you are marketing a product for male customers, who seems to be more interested in you than the product, what do you do?
Young Entrepreneur: Well, I’ve experienced that, cases where someone takes your contact, promising to buy from you but ends up acting funny. As a woman, these challenges are inevitable. One need to resist advances and be discipline.
LBC CREW (cuts in): How do you do it, by shouting on the person?
Young Entrepreneur: No, no, no. you just say; I’m sorry, I can’t grant your wish, despite persistent tempting offers. So, there is need for when contentment. Refusal of such offers will earn respect to the lady. If a business lady who had an initial mindset of selling her product now sells her body in turn to a man, she ends up losing herself worth. So it’s better to focus, keep your head up and don’t concur to sexual harassment from men.
LBC CREW: Alright, so from where you are now in business, where are you heading to?
Young Entrepreneur: I look forward to selling in wholesales and also to have everything that should be seen in a retail shop. Then, for clothing, I desire to be a distributor to retailers, I mean selling in wholesale. Also, I did not specify earlier that I am also a dealer in palm oil sales/ distribution. It was also through a friend I got into this. This has a wider target mark as it is mostly consumed be Nigerian household.
LBC CREW: How do you market all these?
Young Entrepreneur: Well, there was a time, I got a shop to sell clothing but the landlord increased the rate within a period of one year, since the shop rent was taking most of the money and I didn’t make much sales, I relocated and brought all my business in one location. Again, when it comes to advertisement, it works like network for me. One quality service will always attract more referrals. Another thing is that I am more interested in my business turn over than making so much at once.
LBC CREW: So when starting a business, one does not really need to start big?
Young Entrepreneur: Yes, in business you can start anything and anywhere. You just need God, consistency, and determination. You also need to relate well with people. One does not need to wait till he has job or has everything to start something. Even when I was in search of a job, not like they told me that there was no job but I was being stressed with the normal statement “Go and come back tomorrow”. Infact, one of the days I went looking for a job, I almost got knocked down by a car and the driver zoomed off, that day I came back with a decision to do something. Again, one must be passionate and not ashamed of whatever business he/she is into. Don’t be too proud to start small. I remember.