Doing business comes naturally to me — Bejide

A researcher, scientist and entrepreneur, Ifeoluwa Bejide said FAITH AJAYI about his business

What your educational qualifications?

For my primary school, I attended Ecwa Nursery and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State. I proceeded to Redeemers High School, Mowe, Ogun State.

I then obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. I also have a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology from the same university.

What services does your business provide?

I sell women’s clothes 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 did you raise funds to start the business?

I started with a small investment when I was still in secondary school (SSS3). When I entered university about nine years ago, I took it as a serious business. Students started coming to me to request different things, and I kept adding those items to my stocklist. My room almost became a mini store. I thank God that I now have a physical store.

What are the challenges you face in business?

In the initial stage, there is not much capital. So, I have to start small and wait until I finish selling the goods before buying new sets. Lack of funds did not allow me to buy goods in bulk. But, in the end I overcame that challenge. I realized that in business, capital is probably not always enough; especially with the increase in the value of things in the country. The clearing and importation fees these days can really drive one crazy. Also, some customers are still not willing to pay for delivery. I was only doing nationwide doorstep delivery at first, so this was a limitation for potential customers staying outside the country. But now, we handle worldwide delivery.

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Another challenge is that many customers and friends owe one, no matter how hard one tries to avoid it. And, recovering those debts is usually a challenge. But, things are getting better, and there are easier ways to recover debts today.

How did you overcome the challenges you mentioned?

By testing new methods and listening to customers’ feedback, to continuously improve. Also, I now use invoicing and bookkeeping apps. I also opened a website for my business to reduce the level of debt from customers. For a customer to successfully make a purchase on the website, they need to pay in full.

In the delivery area, I also switched to a better plan with better logistics service.

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How do you get customers?

Through referrals, and on social media platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. There are also customers who just walk into the store

How do you handle online customers?

There are different types of customers that the business encounters. They can be calm, understanding, rude or outspoken. One can even identify customers who want to cheat one.

I’ve learned to be polite and cheerful, no matter what kind of negativity I get from a customer. Recently, a customer told me that one of the reasons they keep coming back to patronize me is because of how humble and polite I am.

Did you undergo any kind of training before entering the business?

I did not do it. Entrepreneurship comes naturally to me. Also, it runs in my family. I was exposed to selling things when I was still young.

What’s the main support you’ve gotten since you started the business?

My biggest support comes from my family, contrary to what some people say that families don’t support their businesses. In the early part of my business, my mother did most of the deliveries. He will take the goods to the park, call the customers, and even follow up with them.

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My sister is also very beautiful. He ‘hypes’ me and is very supportive of my business. He enjoys me and refers many of his friends to me. I also have friends who bring me bags of clothes, advertise on my behalf and expect nothing in return.

How do you manage your business and still find time to do other things?

Many people ask me this question. Although I don’t want to sound ‘cliché’, it really is by the grace of God, because it’s so hard to explain. But, looking at it from a more physical angle, proper planning and discipline also helped me. I make time for my business, and for other things. I work well on time. If I decide to spend two hours every day posting business content on my social media accounts, I won’t exceed that time. I believe there is a time for everything.

Have you ever thought about quitting?

I know this seems incredible; but, I never thought of stopping. I don’t believe in giving up. However, I rested when necessary.

What are your other areas of interest?

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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