I became self employed about five years ago after my resignation from a Cassava Starch Processing Firm in Akure Ondo State.
What led me into business? Passion.
How? Just love business people. And mostly because, my work could not pay the growing bills and my family was becoming larger.
On a faithful day, a Lady Entrepreneur MRS IBUKUN AWOSIKA of Chair Centre Group Lagos provoked me. She told me, I don’t need money to start a business but an idea and that my first Capital is ADVANCE PAYMENT. And when I returned to the office, I met a situation where a young DIESEL and BLACK OIL (LPFO) SUPPLIER in my office gave a bribe of about N150,000 from a supply of one truck load to some persons and that led to crises. I challenged my self that this bribe was more than my 3months salary then, yet this low educated sharp was….. So I told myself I need to resign and try to get JUST ONE CUSTOMER to patronize me and I will be on TO MY FIRST CAPITAL. So, my understanding was that once you GET THE FIRST CUSTOMER, YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO MAKE THE MONEY. So, I resigned on 12/04/2012 from Akure and relocated to Lokoja and gave birth to ALPHA JEWELRY.
In Alpha Jewelry, my wife handles production and I handle sales. We started with N7,500 which we used to pay for training. Our office was out parlour and trainees were coming to learn how to make WIRE WORKS COSTUMES and later we diversified to by including BEADED JEWELRY. Our concept was 3 in 1, sell finished products, train women and youths, and sell Materials and accessories. We were on just to feed the family and soon YOUWIN came and we pitched using my wife and we won. So, we Expanded. When we handled the family pressure as in basic needs, I developed a consulting outfit and gave birth to ALPHA CONSULTS and our First major customer was Kogi State Government. We started training youths and women on Vocational Skills Development. and today we have a full fledged consulting firm which I called BUSINESS CLINIC.
The product was NEW WIRE WORKS was known in Lagos and Ibadan but not lokoja. So we have an uphill task of convincing women to use wire Works costumes. I have learnt little of marketing which helped me. I harped on the benefits and originality of our products. Also, I started from the high end of the middle income earners and public figures to wear our products. It is a hand craft, so we could produce limited numbers per day. I concentrated on women commissioners, Special Advisers, permanent secretary etc high profile women. We connected with the television news casters so we could use them as models. We learnt out method from MTN and the Telecom. When they started SIM cards was about 35,000 to 50,000 each because they wanted the big people to have it first. We noticed that big people hate common things. We give them made to order goods.
Our challenges was that competition started coming from the persons we trained. Because within three weeks they graduated and became a part of our competition.
Turn poor finishing from those hands corrupted The love of the products from others.
On Alpha Consults, we met poor orientation of business people. Patronizing professionals was not what they find relevant except they needed bank loans.
We conduct seminars and workshops and recruit staff, an arena that’s not in popular demand in Lokoja.
We managed competition with people we trained by moving ahead of the competition.
How? We had to add new lines to the wire and bead works. And become suppliers Of The material, tools and accessories so they could buy without having to send to Abuja or Lagos.
Constantly we were updating our knowledge of the trade. Remember, not long after we started YOUWIN made us richer with good cash, so we imported the wires from overseas.
Yes Capital is at the bottom of start up needs.
IDEA is first before anything else.
See how business should start..
Step 2. Project Identification.
Step 3. Market research / Feasibility
4. Business planning.
6. Sales and marketing.
When you rich execution finale will be needed but sourcing finance is easier than thought by most people…. Start small grow big. Presently I run a young school of two years (Creche, Pre-Nusery, Nursery and Primary).
MD Alpha Consult.