Sunday, March 24, 2013

Don’t depend on your certificate’

Mobola Adekunle-Pearse

Mobola Adekunle-Pearse is the owner of Peers Events. She tells ADEMOLA ALAWIYE why she went into the business and the challenges she faces
Why did you choose to go into business and not apply for a white-collar job?
After my masters’ degree programme, I tried getting a white-collar job but when I could not get one, I opted for business.

How long have you been in this business?
Peers Events is five years old. I started as an event planner for social and corporate gatherings, later I started having demand for accessories such as costumes, jewellery and so on. Initially, I was outsourcing these to professionals in that field but later, I thought I could do it if I got trained as well. So I decided to get the training and become empowered in that area. There’s consultancy for what to wear and use; how to wear and use it; also how to get what to wear and use for a complete event.
I began to map out costume and make jewellery embedded with beads and wire works, including bead bags and shoes.
How do you manage all these businesses?
All that I am today is by God’s grace, which is sufficient to keep me on. Determination, interest and hard work are also key factors
Who are your target clients and how do you hope to get them?
My target clients are both individuals and corporate bodies and I get them through referrals, most times.
Is the business capital intensive?
The event aspect of it is capital intensive but you could start little and as the demand for services comes in, you can get other things with time.
What is your advice to graduates in search of jobs?
My advice to the youth is that they should not depend or rely so much on white-collar jobs because there are not many out there. And even those who have pay jobs do not have job security.
They should also not depend too much on the certificate they have. They should always endeavour to have an option B.
How can government encourage young people to embrace entrepreneurship?
The government should embark on programmes to encourage the youth to go into self-employment while in the college; this can be through seminars and workshops. The youth can also be encouraged to set up small companies during their service year. They could be given small revolving loans.
You have been in business for some time now, what major challenges should prospective entrepreneurs prepare their minds for?
A prospective entrepreneur is someone who nurtures the ambition to be self-employed and, in a matter of time, will be a boss to others. Such a person should expect some challenges that are likely to make or mar the kind of business he or she plans to set up.
The challenges vary, depending on the kind of business a prospective investor or entrepreneur intends to go into; for some, it could be electricity or power and this is a problem most entrepreneurs face. Insufficient supply or lack of electricity is capable of paralysing some businesses. Mobility could also be one of the challenges of a business. For instance, if you are in a distribution business for the supply of goods and services, if you are not mobile or do not have a delivery vehicle, this could be a big problem. You will find yourself having to spend a lot of money, time and energy to deliver the products to the customers or clients. Getting a loan for this may not be a bad idea but it may attract a high interest rate.
The strength of the capital involved even when you are not starting big is a challenge too. There are lots of people out there with beautiful ideas but have no money to start up. It is important to raise funds to get the basic requirements or materials for the business.
You have to welcome criticisms. It may be difficult to get the target clients to appreciate your products or services. If you don’t stand firm to absorb criticisms of your services, one sentence could get you off balance if you are the easily discouraged type.
From experience, a lot of marketing skills are needed to get people to believe in your products or services. A great amount of fortitude is needed to convince end users that your product is quite different from those that are already in the market. Basically, these are challenges a business starter could face. But they vary depending on the product or service to be launched to the public. And the kind of brand and packaging you give to your service could stand you and your market out among your contemporaries.
How can entrepreneurs tackle these challenges?
The key word to whatever challenge an entrepreneur may face is thinking positively and thinking ‘out of the box.’
All I am trying to say, in essence, is do not allow yourself to be frustrated; do not allow your dreams to die. For every problem, there is a solution. You must be determined to execute the project.
What are the key investment principles your entrepreneurs like you must imbibe?
The key investment principles are numerous but an entrepreneur should bear in mind the following – Market appraisal or product survey is very important to ascertain the degree of demands and needs for that product in whatever location you are deciding on.
Also, identify your target clients: Not everyone needs your product; it is either meant for a few who understand its essence or for the general public who need it in their day to day activities. So identify the kind of people your service meets their needs.
Another one is the desire and readiness to please the recipient of your products and services; this should be paramount in your mind.
You are not providing this service because you are less-busy but because you want to meet the needs of a selected class of people.
Your product should have standard, to stand the test of time. This will make you bold to stand up to defend what you represent among your contemporaries. You work hard to build the company to be able to turn capital over and not going into extinction a few years after launching the business.
Users’ satisfaction before profit is also important. The satisfaction of users should be your priority in launching into the market.
You must always be on your toes in order to create good ideas on how to bring the product closer to the clients; let it be within their reach like using e-marketing, door to door services.
Lastly, let your advertisement and jingles sell your product even when it is new in the market.

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