Doing business comes naturally to me — Bejide

Narrated by Ifeoluwa Bejide, a researcher, scientist and entrepreneur FAITH IN AYAJI about her business

What do you have education

I attended Ecwa Nursery and Primary School in Akure, Ondo State for my primary education. I went to Redeemers High School, Mowe, Ogun State.

I then obtained my Bachelors 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 company 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 manage to raise funds to start a business?

I started with a small capital while I was still in high school (SSS3). When I entered university nine years ago, I took it as serious business. After that, students started coming to me to request different things and I continued to add these items to my stock list. My room practically became a mini store. I thank God that I have a physical store now.

What challenges do you face in business?

At the initial stage, there was not so much capital. So I had to start small and wait until I finished selling items before buying new sets. Lack of funds prevented me from purchasing items in bulk. But eventually I overcame this challenge. I realized that in business there will probably never be enough capital; especially considering the rising price of things in the country. Clearing and import fees can actually drive a person crazy right now. In addition, some customers are still not willing to pay for shipping. Originally, I only shipped nationwide, so that was a limitation for potential customers staying out of state. But now we deliver worldwide.

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Another challenge was that many clients and friends are in debt, no matter how hard one tries to avoid it. And recovering these debts is usually a challenge. But things are getting better and now there are easier methods of debt recovery.

How did you overcome the challenges mentioned?

By trying new methods and listening to customer feedback to continuously improve. Now I also use invoicing and accounting apps. I also launched my own business website to reduce the level of customer debt. In order for the customer to successfully shop on the site, they must pay in full.

I have also upgraded to a better plan with a better logistics service for shipping.

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How do you get customers?

Through referrals and social media platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. Some customers also just walk into the store

How do you serve online customers?

There are different types of customers in business. They can be calm, understanding, rude or simple. You can even meet customers who want to cheat it.

I have learned to be really polite and cheerful no matter how much negativity I get from a customer. A client recently told me that one of the reasons they kept coming back to advocate for me was because I was humble and polite.

Did you have any training before starting your business?

No I did not. Entrepreneurship comes naturally to me. Plus, it runs in my family. I have been selling goods since childhood.

What is the biggest support you have received since starting your business?

My biggest support comes from my family, contrary to what some people say, families don’t support their business. In the early stages of my business, my mom did the deliveries. She carried goods to the park, called customers and even followed them.

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My sister has been wonderful too. She “hypes” me and is very supportive of my business. She patronizes me and refers many of her 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 for other things?

Many people ask me this question. Although I don’t want to sound ‘cliché’, it is actually by the grace of God that it is very difficult to explain. But from a more physical angle, proper planning and discipline have also helped me. I make time for my business and other things. I work very well with time. If I decided to spend two hours every day posting business content to my social media accounts, I wouldn’t exceed that time. I believe there is a time for everything.

Have you ever thought about quitting?

I know this may sound unbelievable; but I never thought of quitting. I don’t believe in giving up. However, I have taken breaks when necessary.

What are your other areas of interest?

I have a talk show where I talk about life, versus experiences, and expectations. I am also interested in doing research.

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