If you follow Padebi Ojomo, you can’t help but fall in love with her vibrant personality. This dynamic entrepreneur is so full of life that you can’t help but smile. Padebi runs the Business Savvy Chick Academy and is referred to as the client attraction genie.
#MotherlandMoguls, you definitely need more clients no matter where you are on the business ladder.
How did you get involved in business?
I’ve been involved in business for about 16 years. It actually started with my mum who sent me to learn hair making because I was causing problems at home. She reasoned that since I had so much energy, I could channel it to better use. I didn’t like it initially because it felt like punishment. But I got fascinated with the fact that one could do stuff and money would get exchanged.
I started buying and selling stuff: Adire, handkerchiefs to anybody most especially family. This experience opened my eyes to business and built my threshold for taking risks. I had never thought of getting a 9-5 job even though I studied Computer Engineering. After school, I continued buying and selling before branching out to other businesses.I had never thought of getting a 9-5 job even though I studied Computer Engineering Click To Tweet
What businesses have you been involved in?
My first registered business was Nirvana Design, an interior decorating business. I really love interior decoration most especially for homes. The second one was Blue Tangerine which was basically just a shop. I bought things from China and sold them. It was just something I did because money came in from it. I got married and started Purple Signatures with my husband. This was more like training for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
However, in the course of doing my interior decoration business, I realised that most of the money went towards purchasing furniture. Design always needs good furniture and sometimes artisans could be a pain. I started Chic Carpenter and it was a hit back to back. Though it was stressful, it was a really successful business. I had my factory and a good client base. But it got really difficult to combine it with my pregnancy in 2015 and baby came too early. I had to stay indoors for 4 months because of my baby’s health. This lead to some of my businesses going down due mismanagement.
My restless and extroverted nature wouldn’t allow me sit still for 4 months. I had to do something and that was how my online business started: Business Savvy Chick Academy. It has been an awesome experience.
How would you advise an entrepreneur trying to find her feet?
You need to start with passion otherwise, you would give up when frustration and stress sets in. It is also important to start early. Personally, I started early and it boosted my risk taking threshold. I have done businesses that failed woefully and I have done ones that succeeded. This helps because I have tested it and I see it works so my resolve is strengthened.
When you start at an early age, the world isn’t expecting too much from you. So, even when you get your fingers burnt, it’s not really the end of the world as you just learn from it. For example, I’d lose money in my business as a student but my father would still be available to pay my school fees. But as you get older, you have more responsibility and do not have the luxury to keep wasting resources.
Passion is really important but if it is not profitable you could branch out and still find ways to do your passion, maybe as a CSR.
What do you wish you knew earlier in business?
The importance of having a mentor and supportive parents. If I had more support from my parents, it would have been more helpful but I had to hide most times to do stuff.
As a matter of fact, they wanted me to get a job with one of the oil companies since I’m from the Niger Delta region. But I knew I didn’t want that kind of job.
The major challenge most businesses have is getting clients. As the client attraction genie, what would you suggest we input in our businesses?
Based on experience, people buy from people they know, like and trust. For instance, we might use a particular salon or doctor because of the relationship we have with them. Therefore, to sell you need to be deliberate. Be helpful to your clients, give compliments and be there for them.
Satisfied customers will always speak about you to others within their circle of influence. Remember, they are not just buying your product or service but the experience of you.To sell you need to be deliberate, be helpful to your clients and be there for them Click To Tweet
What’s your tip for running a home and a business efficiently?
It’s important to have a supportive spouse, be extremely organised and plan ahead. For example, I plan ahead for the food that will be eaten and for cleaning.
In today’s world, it is important to work smart. Focus on the areas you are good at and do it with joy. The others you’re not good at, you could automate. I always stress, “Enjoy, Delegate, Automate or Delete” to my community. If you are good at something, do it with joy, enjoy the process. If it’s not your best task, delegate to someone who would do it with ease and joy. You could also automate the process to make it easier or delete it from your agenda.
What are your final words for female entrepreneurs?
Do not make your small business make you small minded. Take it seriously and grow it to outlive you. It should not be a second fiddle because you plan to get married or you have a rich father. Get ready to burn your fingers and lose money but be open to learning.
Your business is like a child and needs time to grow, don’t expect it to start paying for all the lovely stuff you desire immediately. Invest in your business and by extension yourself too. Remember that whatever you learn makes you and your business better. If you do not know enough, learn it or pay to learn it. You either grow or retrogress in business so continual improvement is key. Give your business your best shot always.
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