So many young entrepreneurs have derailed at some point in life because they doubted the possibility of success and were possibly scared of how they would scale through the hurdles of life and make it at last.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo, the CEO of Slot Systems Limited, started out at a very young age although he did not make it big almost immediately, but the crux of his success story is that his initial efforts finally paid off.
So many years down the lane and , Ezeigbo has taken entrepreneurship by storm in Nigeria and even Africa and fortunately, his business is gradually transcending to a global scale.
Asides SLOT, Ezeigbo is the co-founder of the Tecno and Infinix phone brands, which are doubtlessly one of the fastest selling mobile phones in Nigeria currently with a reputation that means more success for them in the market.
Upon graduation from higher institutions and completion of the compulsory one year national youth service, a high percentage of youths are faced with the challenge of getting a job.
This was the case with Ezeigbo who after several trials that hit the rocks, finally resorted to becoming an apprentice learning how to repair computers but left his master within the short space of six months.
Subsequently, he ran his own independent shop not minding squatting with a friend to achieve his aim because according to him, he and his boss were two sides of a coin whose idea of job fulfillment were entirely different.
While his employer was more about the cash, Ezeigbo prided in maintaining cordial relationships with customers which is one of the secrets behind the huge growth of his customer base just within a few years.
As fate would have it, one of the catalysts behind his business boom is one of his loyal old customers he knew during the days of apprenticeship.
He intimated him on how he could possibly continue his computer repairs from a larger and more serene environment and went ahead to buy some printers for him to sell for a start.
Ezeigbo made some money and subsequently used proceeds from the money he realized to set get a new shop where he sold computers and gradually expanded his business to incorporate phone sales following so much demands from customers.
This should teach budding entrepreneurs to identify opportunities and leverage on them to grow in their businesses.
Ezeigbo’s determination to succeed pushed him to enroll for an MBA program at the prestigious Lagos Business School, and he also attended several training on how to manage a growing business well.
Along the line, he and his team decided to take a five-year route to build a strong reputation for their brand and by the time the duration elapsed, the Slot brand name had already become the most reputable mobile phone retailer in Nigeria.
As time went on, there was a stiff-necked competition among the different telecommunications networks in the country and this gave a rise to provision of poor services by these network providers.
In a bid to manage the situation, most customers purchased more than one phone in order to try different networks at the same time.
With his entrepreneurship prowess, Ezeigbo simply identified an opportunity of making dual sim mobile phones to meet the needs of many customers.
Subsequently, he approached the Nokia brand and sold his idea to them which will not only make life easier for many Nigerians who would resort to buying one phone and using two different sim cards at the same time instead of going through the stress of managing two or more phones at the same time.
However, Nokia was adamant because executing the plan would mean lesser sales for them, so Ezeigbo decided to take the bulls by the horns and embarked on a trip to China where he met a man who had previously worked with a company called Bird.
As an entrepreneur who has foresight, he saw the potentials of the Chinese man to his business and therefore invited him to partner with him to produce mobile phones that use dual sim cards.
Back home in Nigeria, Ezeigbo designed the first Tecno phone which was then built by his Chinese partner from Bird but unfortunately, it was not much accepted in the market and he embarked on more research before he proceeded to his second which had better feedback.
This should teach entrepreneurs to always seek to acquire more knowledge for the growth of their businesses.
In his bid to promote the Tecno phone sales, Nnamdi started distributing the phones for sale to retailers on credit but according to him, they were finding it difficult to get the right quantity to sell until the market started accepting their brand.
As soon as the market had adjusted, and the demands for the phones were exceeding its supply and Ezeigbo began to request an advance payment from the retailers for the Tecno mobile phones.
This enabled them to manufacture many more Tecno phones that could better satisfy the market surge and ha attested that the intoduction of Tecno phones into the Nigerian market was the turning point in his business.
Despite all the challenges, Ezeigbo and his team expanded the Tecno brand to the Infinix brand which has since been making huge sales in the Nigerian market and has already built a strong customer loyalty.
In his words: “Tecno now gave birth to Infinix. It is the same company. You can now see how the brand has evolved. So looking at the Nigerian people, you would see that a phone like Tecno will get a point when premium customers will like to use it.”
Ezeigbo’s story should go a long way to teaching young entrepreneurs that resilience matters a lot in the journey of entrepreneurship.
Do not relent and don’t stop learning even though you may experience hitches at different times in the journey.
It is normal to fail but your ability to rise to the challenge each time and not just give up will eventually pay off once you are consistent in your quest.
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