Becoming a Business: Kwiksell entrepreneurs share their inspiring growth stories
Nov 14, 2022·
5 min read
It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, a global celebration of entrepreneurship that occurs in the second week of November every year.
At Kwiksell, we are dedicating this week to telling the amazing growth stories of some of our Kwiksellers. For us, it doesn’t matter if they started big or small. We know every business has a story of challenging and learning moments. After all, becoming a business requires a lot of consistent effort.
In this piece, we spotlight entrepreneurs who started small and had to grow their businesses into what they are today. These entrepreneurs share heart-warming stories of how they started and highlight some milestones they hit due to a change in tactic or deliberate innovation in how they operate.
Akinnusi Oyinkansola of Fragrance By Honeydrop and Tochukwu Akabueze of Tomay Best Entreprises tell us about starting with almost nothing to building businesses they are now proud of. Their stories are inspiring.
On starting the business
OYINKAN: I started with 6 pieces of perfume. I bought them for myself because I love perfumes. And on getting to work, two of my colleagues asked if I sell perfumes. I said yes because I am business oriented and I love business in general so I knew I could make some profit. That day they paid and I made about N10,000 profit immediately. So I knew I needed to start this business.
I saved over time and started the business with N100,000.
TOCHUKWU: I started with about 6 pieces around 15 years ago. I started by hawking on the streets, and at a point, I started selling around the Railway at Yaba. I got beat by the sun and rain. Sometimes, taskforce officials would come and pack everything and I would have to start again from square one. I never believed I would get here today, but I thank God. I would go to the market, buy some, sell, and buy more. And that was how the journey started. Now I have more than 4 shops.
Passion or a way to make ends meet?
OYINKAN: It started as a passion for me.
TOCHUKWU: I have a passion for this business
How has business been over time?
OYINKAN: Business isn’t for the faint-hearted. There are days I cry but there is nobody that wants to hear you pour your heart out. But passion helps me go on.
TOCHUKWU: So far so good, despite the state of the economy. The business has become good but the rising prices is affecting the business. But God is our helper.
How did you pull the resources to start?
OYINKAN: I did a monthly contribution for it, what people call ajo. I also saved. Then I got a promotion at work which came with some money. I also got introduced to a loan company with reasonable rates.
TOCHUKWU: Loans and community contributions.
What tough time did you have and how did you handle it?
OYINKAN: Getting a physical store was a difficult time for me. I noticed that people online don’t trust you if you don’t have a physical store. So was my wish to have a store but I didn’t have the money. Even when I finally got it, I couldn’t move in for about 6 months because I didn’t know how capital-intensive it would be. It also coincided with the period I lost my dad. I miss him. I used to tell him I wanted a store and he would encourage me. A day before I opened the store, it was still almost empty so I had to approach suppliers and they agreed to give me some perfumes for free for me to pay back after.
TOCHUKWU: On October 16, 2017, there was a fire incident at City Way Plaza at a time when business had started moving well and I was travelling to bring in goods. The fire razed all 5 shops and 1 warehouse I had there. I lost everything I had on earth which was worth up to N37 million. I thought my life would end. But thank God for some of the people I had shown the way of business and importation including a man called Okentu who gave me N10 million.
What's your success story?
OYINKAN: My store is my biggest success story.
TOCHUKWU: Through this business, I have been able to start a family. I have a wife, kids and several cars.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis to make your business grow?
OYINKAN: I don’t give up posting even if I don’t have a lot of followers yet. Even if I have only one like on Instagram, I can post up to 5 pictures in a day. I even Google some of the things I can say on my social media pages.
TOCHUKWU: I talk to God to be my marketer and advertiser. It is God who has been driving my business. I once paid a lot of money for a platform but nothing came out of it. But through word of mouth, my business keeps booming. I also reduce the prices of what I sell, which also helps me make more sales.
Three words to describe what building a business is like
OYINKAN: Interesting, sombre days, challenging.
TOCHUKWU: Good, successful, patience.
At Kwiksell, we remain the growth partners of entrepreneurs and business owners. We provide the tools that enable business growth.