A researcher, scientist and entrepreneur, Ifeoluwa Bejide, tells AJAYI FAITH about his business
What are your degrees?
For my elementary education, I attended Ecwa Nursery and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State. I went to Redeemers High School, Mowe, Ogun State.
I then obtained a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. I also hold a masters degree in medical microbiology from the same university.
What services does your company provide?
I sell women’s clothing and accessories. I am also a fashion designer and illustrator. I also run a branding business, where I coach entrepreneurs and teach people new digital skills.
How were you able to raise funds to start the business?
I started with little capital while I was still in high school (SSS3). When I was admitted to college about nine years ago, I took it seriously. Students then started coming to me asking for different things, and I kept adding these items to my stock list. My bedroom has practically become a mini store. I thank God that I now have a physical store.
What challenges do you face in the business?
At the initial stage, there was not so much capital. So I had to start small and wait until I was done selling merchandise before buying new sets. Lack of funds did not allow me to purchase goods in bulk. But, I finally overcame this challenge. I realized that in business, capital will probably never always be enough; especially with the rising cost of things in the country. Customs clearance and import fees right now can actually drive you nuts. Also, some customers are still unwilling to pay for delivery. Initially, I only did nationwide door-to-door delivery, so that was a limitation for potential customers staying outside the country. But now we handle worldwide delivery.
Another challenge was that many clients and friends owed one, no matter how hard one tried to avoid it. And, collecting those debts is usually a challenge. But, things are looking up and there are now easier methods to collect debts.
How did you overcome the challenges you mentioned?
By testing new methods and listening to customer feedback, in order to constantly improve. Also, I now use invoicing and accounting apps. I also opened a website for my business to reduce the level of indebtedness of clients. For a customer to successfully purchase from the website, they must pay in full.
In the area of delivery, I also upgraded to a better plan with better logistics service.
How do you get clients?
Through referrals and on social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. Some customers also enter the store
How do you manage online customers?
There are different types of customers that one encounters in business. They can be calm, understanding, rude or direct. We would even meet customers who would like to defraud him.
I’ve learned to be really polite and cheerful no matter what kind of negativity I get from a client. Recently, a client told me that one of the reasons he keeps coming back to me is my humility and politeness.
Did you take any training before starting the business?
No I didn’t. Doing business comes naturally to me. Plus, it runs in my family. I have been exposed to selling items since I was little.
What is the main support you have had since you started the business?
My biggest support has come from my family, contrary to what some people say families don’t support their businesses. When I started my business, my mother did the deliveries. She brought the goods to the park, called customers and even followed up.
My sister was also wonderful. She “hypes” me and is very supportive of my business. She frequents me and refers many of her friends to me. I also have friends who carry the bags of clothes for me, advertise on my behalf and expect nothing in return.
How do you manage your business while having time to do other things?
Many people ask me this question. Although I don’t want to sound “cliché”, it’s actually by the grace of God, because it’s very difficult to explain. But, from a more physical point of view, proper planning and discipline also helped me. I spend time on my business and other things. I work very well with time. If I decide to spend two hours a day posting professional content on my social media accounts, I won’t exceed that time. I believe there is time for everything.
Have you ever thought about quitting?
I know this may sound unbelievable; but, I never thought about quitting. I don’t believe in giving up. However, I took breaks when necessary.
What are your other interests?
I have a talk show where I talk about life, vis-à-vis experiences and expectations. I am also interested in doing research.
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