This is the story of successful entrepreneur Dr. Chioma Agha, CEO of Swish Ideas. Chioma shared her journey as an entrepreneur at the maiden edition of the Kaymu’s quarterly event tagged Entrepreneurs’ Club which held last week, regaling how she rose from starting her business from home to meeting President Barack Obama.
Like every new business owner she went from using her house as a warehouse, piling every available space with souvenirs for her store Swish Ideas.
“There were the nights I’d cry and think of calling everything quits. But of course no one knew that. No one fully knows the challenges entrepreneurs face except fellow entrepreneurs. But I kept at my business bearing in mind my dream for my company. I was hungry to succeed and took advantage of every opportunity out there including e-commerce. I started from selling on Kaymu to owning my own online platform.
Customers will call me requesting instructions on how to operate a product and I’d tell them to hold on while I spoke to my technical team. Not knowing that I was the technical team, the accountant, the customer service…I was running everything on my own. I’d run down to where the product is and test it after which I would call them back with instructions on how to use it.
It’s that hard work and perseverance that got me recognized and selected to participate in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) where I and my fellow entrepreneurs around the Africa got to meet with President Barack Obama.
Every entrepreneur should have this at the back of their minds, even if you start small, always think and most importantly act big”.
I took home so many great tips from the event however I have narrowed down my favorite ones to these punchy points.
- Don’t use your personal social media accounts for your business. Create a business account that is consistent across all social media platforms
- Engage your followers followers. Ask your social media community to tag their friends on your pictures. It increases your reach.
- Adopt professionalism in customer service. Even if you are operating from home, answer calls about your business like a customer service professional- “Hello XYZ customer service, how may I help you?”
- Join a business organisation to network and learn from like minds- Joining organisations like LCCI expand your network and provide occasional trainings.
- If you brand your business, be ready to meet up with expectations. If your service exceeds or falls short of standards it will determine whether people keep patronizing you or not.
Know your social media community and create personalised engagements- Befriend your followers, track their conversations, know their aspirations and push targeted products to the right people.
Before you seek funds, seek business management. The first capital every SME needs isn’t funds, it's how to structure and manage their business
- 24/7 service is possible through your Kaymu store. There are no closing hours when you sell on Kaymu. Your store is wherever your client is whenever they need to buy.
- Take advantage of free business listings like the MTN Yello Directory. Nigerians all over the country can find you through the Yello Directory
There will be another edition of the Entrepreneurs' Club in the coming months with other great speakers...watch out for it