Adesola Olayiwola, a banker turned entrepreneur is the Managing Director of SholsKoncept Ventures and founder of Business Innovation Academy, in this interview with TAYO GESINDE, she speaks on the reason businesses collapse in Nigeria, among other issues.
Why I quit the banking industry
Quitting banking was actually something that I had always wanted to do but sometimes one needs to get experience in some field of work before you actually start your own. I worked with two different banks; Oceanic Bank and First City Monument Bank. So I have a couple of experiences in different fields, so transitioning from being a banker to an entrepreneur was easy because I was able to relate what I learnt in banking with my own business.
There will always be challenges and they are things you have to go through so that you can grow. You have to go through the forming and stormy phases as those are the things that will help you to stand firm and face anything that comes your way. I was able to manage the challenges because I have passion for what I am doing and I had focus and knew where I was going. Financially, it was not so easy but because it was service business that I started with, I didn’t really need a huge capital to rent a shop or buy goods and so on. I was able to manage with what I had, register my business, get a call card, website and open a bank account and all that.
How to start a service business
There are different types of service business. When I started my own event business, I learnt on the job itself. Later on, I went to Lagos Business School to get some business training on event management and training. Passion is usually the driving point, when you have a passion, creativity will come to you most of the time. If I want to advise someone who will like to go into business, then I will say that passion is what you have to discover first. Don’t do what others are doing, do what you have to do because it is what you love to do. Something that if they wake you up in the middle of the night you can do perfectly without any constraint. When I started I used to do free jobs, some that pay will not pay you well but the fact that I have passion for what I was doing, when I finish each job, I have emotional fulfilment. That is a pay-check on its own. Getting paid for something like that is an icing on the cake for me. So, my advice is; have passion, focus and determination for whatever you want to do.
Businesses that people can do in recession
In this era, there are so many things people can do apart from doing service business, buying and selling, online business and so on. So many things are coming up these days that people can engage themselves in. But first of all, ensure it is something you have done a proper research on. If it is something that will need capital do something else while saving for that. There are ways that you can start something small but unfortunately we all want to start big and at the end of the day, they crumble and there will be problem. People need to really sit down and think on where they want to be in five years time and how they want to be addressed. For example, I started by selling wristwatch though I didn’t like buying and selling but I did that for a while and was able to gather money to go into service business. So, in this economic recession before you start any business, sit down, think about it, ask yourself “do I have passion for it, how do I get it done, how will I get capital to do it?” If you do all these, it will take a while but you will surely get there.
Why I am into business training
I went into business training because I have had a lot of people calling and asking me questions especially my ex-colleagues. One thing I found out was that people are somehow lost about what they want to do. Many don’t even know what their passions are. Someone once called me and told me she was going into the make-up business and I asked her if she loved it and she had the patience to do it, she said yes and added that there was a lot of money in it. She learnt it but after a while, she was fed up. Many people are like that. I see a lot of people doing stupid things for money. Some people want to start big but most times, the way you get money to start your business, if you are not careful, you will lose it the same way and go back to square one. I went into business training because of that. I have come to discover that for some people, money is not that their problem but the kind of business they can do and how profitable it is. For some people, they don’t have the knowledge and they don’t do research. So at my business academy, we help people to actually discover their passion and train and educate them on what they can do.
Combining my business with the home front
That is not easy but the point is, you give priority to things. And sometimes, I don’t have to be there because I have people working for me. So, I give orders and I supervise them.
On whether marriage can hinder a woman’s success
If you don’t have an understanding spouse that may be a huge problem and that is why every woman should always understand that part that, she must always carry her husband along in whatever she is doing. Because if you don’t carry him along he won’t have the confidence and assurance of where you will be at every point in time. There must always be communication between couple for there to be peace at home. If you separate your spouse from your business it will send the wrong signal and it will surely affect the marriage.