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Monday, June 17, 2013

The birth of Trezorlandia.......... Abraham Lincoln and failure

I apologize, I have been MIA, my body revolted against the late nights I was keeping. Seeing as I am not ready to go over to the other side yet, I had to respect my body and take it easy. Plus the father’s Day preparations got the better of me.

I know we are expecting to continue with the Dangote story, but I can’t afford to ignore the most significant part of my entrepreneurship journey, how and when Trezorlandia was born.

The birth of a dream…..

At the interview with Tony Hadley, he asked me a question, it was one of the questions we had rehearsed a couple of times in school, but I could not give him the rehearsed textbook answer, because he had this look that made me feel like he really wanted to know. “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” For the first time, I didn’t just blurt out the textbook type answer, I thought long and hard and for some reason I said, I see myself running an online shopping business. That was the first time any thought about owning my own business had come to me and of all places for that to happen! Lol!

I got the job and carried on happily with it but I always just had this nagging feeling, like I could be doing more. I sold wristwatches on the side, Ankara fabrics too as well as anything sell-able to my colleagues. My office was not too far from the market so once again, most of my break time was spent combing the stalls. Then one day it hit me, I wanted to help purchase and deliver gifts.  This was something I had been doing for fun back in school and even at work. I didn’t know what to call it or if it was possible to build a business around that so I hit the web. Believe it or not, something that sounded like such a novelty idea already existed as Gift consulting! I immediately knew for sure that I wanted to be a gift consultant.

When you have that aha moment, you best be surrounded by “cheerleaders” or you would never take off. My brother, Kehinde, my friends on the 9th floor, Utibe and Zainab were my first set of cheerleaders. I shared my idea with them and they were even more excited than I was. I could go on and on about this but I have a note on facebook that captures the story. I cannot say it better now than I did years ago when it really happened.  If you’d like to know please follow the link below;

When you start a business, what are the first steps to take? There’s no hard and fast rule, but there should be best practices. In my case I didn’t follow any laid down principles, I just wanted to start and I did what I felt I needed to do;

  1. Shareholders: I knew I couldn’t go it alone, I needed a team. I thought of people who I could work with on building the business and involved them, my brother for PR (Public relations), My friend, Emiola for purchases offshore (I also felt she had a knack for selecting gifts) and my husband for IT. This was my own idea at the time. I wasn’t thinking of money, I still had a job and was financing most of the business from my salary.

    Another way to go though, would be to get shareholders to finance the business capital (money you need for the business), this is known as Paid up Capital. Paid Up Capital in simple terms is the amount of a company's capital that has been funded by shareholders, it can be less than a company's total capital because a company may not be financed solely by equity (shareholder’s money). Before you go this route however, do a proper analysis of your startup costs, ensure that you only spend money on the important things. 
  2. Logo Design: I went through a process of selecting a logo. I engaged about three different people and my partners and I looked through loads of logo designs. As simple as this process sounds, it was not that simple. Making decisions can be tasking. At last one of my brother’s talented friends, Munachi Duru designed the winning logo. I saw it and just knew! There was a connection and my partners felt it too.
  3. Set up a facebook page:  This is a free (everybody say “Free”, free is good) and fast way to build your market. I come from a large family and I harassed and harassed every one of them to like my page and suggest to their friends. I owe a lot of the likes I have on the page now to my brothers Adeleke and Kehinde and my sister Tolu. Till date I have never used the paid facebook adverts and I have 1,805 likes.
  4. Create engaging content: It is one thing to create a facebook page and another thing to keep it active. My head was always spinning and I read a lot online. There’s so much information out there about anything you want to do. This helped me keep my page fresh. I also realized this was an all new type of business in Nigeria and I had to educate the market on why they needed the services of a gift consultant. I put out a few notes and featured a few videos. 
  5. Company Registration: I immediately engaged a lawyer and registered the name Trezorlandia.  This has its good and bad parts especially if you haven’t got your accounting sorted. Now I would suggest you hold out a bit and do a pilot run before you go ahead to register the business. I say this because at the time of registering the business, I did not take into account the tax issues associated with it. And years went by before I really started to trade officially with the already registered name. 
  6. Account Opening: It is very important to separate your personal finances from you business finance. I am just getting really strict with this. Ensure that all your transactions, as much as possible, are done through the business account. Nowadays you have to have your TIN (Tax Identification number) before you can open a company account.
  7. Website: This I need to dedicate a whole post to, remind me later.

2013…… 16 June 2013

It’s father’s day today. I finished my delivery runs early and still made it to church, especially since I didn’t make it last week. I teach in the teen’s church and feel like I let them down when I don’t show up. A lot has happened since my last post, but I cannot begin to bore you with everything, so I picked one that made me think a lot. First I must thank my cousin Jide Ogungbesan for his feedback on the blog. I am more than proud of him :-) 

On Saturday, my mum asked me about the youwin grant! Omo, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her I didn’t get it. She would conclude that enemies are after me and ship me off to MFM prayer city camp for deliverance. No way! I mumbled something that made her believe it wasn’t out yet (may God forgive me) and truncated my visit pronto.

On my way home I started thinking about Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and co. We are told they failed so many times and yet did not give up until they fulfilled their dreams. We are then expected be encouraged by the story of these men and just follow suit, but who has read the story about how they handled these steady stream of failures as they claim? That’s the bit I need to hear about, living through the failures. Thomas Edison, they say made 1,000 failed attempts before inventing the light bulb! I am thinking 1,000!! 1,000!! Haaaa. How did he not run mad, how did he not give up? How?!  I just need to know…….

I have downloaded the biography of Abraham Lincoln; I hope I get some insights to share when I am done reading. In the meantime, I'll continue to cope the only way I know how. (watch out for my entrepreneur's survival tips later)

Entrepreneur Tips

Please refer to the top on steps I took when starting my business. They may not be the gospel, but you can get some insights as to what to do and maybe what not to do.

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