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Post-COVID: Business owners must seek to create value — Christopher Omoijiade

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Business owners create value, Christopher Ehinomen Omoijiade
Christopher Ehinomen Omoijiade

Christopher Ehinomen Omoijiade is a business and personal development consultant. His work intersects the public speaking, innovative consultancy, coaching, mentorship and media content creation spaces. He holds an LL. B degree from the University of Lagos; a Master’s of Laws (LLM) in Telecommunication and Maritime Law from the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, and over 14 years worth of experience across entrepreneurship, law, professional public speaking, business mentorship and consultancy.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Chris Omoijiade Company. The company formerly known as Attrium Consultants, operates on a vision of youth empowerment, leadership and mentorship. An upscale leadership, management and innovative consultancy company, The Chris Omoijiade Company helps businesses optimise for profitability, growth and sustainability, working with businesses, heads of industries and governmental agencies.

Omoijiade is a venture partner in several firms, and sits on the Board of several multinational firms. The award-winning entrepreneur, who is the author of “Get Ahead”, a modern practical guide to comprehensive and authentic success, speaks on many issues in this interview with Agbonkhese Oboh.

Your interests are many and your areas of expertise vary. How would you describe yourself?

A polymath; always seeking to learn more. While I subscribe to the school of thought of narrowed interests, I believe many are born to be generalists and suppressing those interests and multiple expertise would mean doing great injustice to your God-given rainbow of many colours.

Is this a case of multiple streams of income or there’s a meeting point for all your areas of specialty?

I think it’s a bit of both. First, even the Bible speaks about the parable of the talents and the servant who buried his. So, in my belief, we have a duty to invest the multiple talents we have to ensure clearly they birth the much-needed multiple streams of income.

Second, there is a meeting point of all my areas of speciality. I am blessed with an amazing team that ensures the ship sails smoothly, business concerns run by competent hands, where I provide more of supervisory/ leadership vision.

The major nexus of all my areas of speciality is summed up in a single word that describes my personal and business proposition to the world and that is “Value”.

I seek to create value in everything I do, and whether it’s one area of specialisation or multiple ones, value must be the tip of the spear to ensure you become a success in your endeavours.

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What’s best for small scale businesses in this harsh economy compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic?

I would say, clearly embrace the changes in time. The media is awash with gloomy tales of what the future holds for businesses; the sky definitely is filled with dark clouds.

Regarding the pandemic, generations have gone through their versions of crises. The only difference is that it is new to this generation; hence the anxiety and fear. But we are to make the most of every crisis and that’s something the human spirit possesses that nothing else does.

It’s unfortunate that the world has lost so many people and people’s livelihoods have been severely affected. But it’s not all bad news and let me explain why.

Every crisis, going by history, presents a new alignment and I have identified two major areas in the area of wealth transfer and also position.

Thanks to technology and partly Covid-19, the online digital space is the new playground for businesses, and it’s a level playing space for all businesses to compete globally. It is a unique chance to stake your claim in the grand scheme of things. The virus has helped to slow the fast pace of the business world, affording small businesses a chance to catch up, especially those who were ignorantly out of the loop.

I mentor some business leaders and you would be amazed about the pivotal leap many have taken in the last few months. In fact, I know many businesses that have smiled to the bank despite the Covid pandemic.

So, my first advice for business owners: go back to the drawing board to see what is working and what is not, identify if your value proposition is a relic of the past, see how you can reposition your business in line with the new reality, and finally, embrace technology. It is the catalyst for any form of business growth in this new world.

Many believe the informal sector sustains the country’s economy to a great extent. Do you agree?

Most definitely. I study successful businesses from every industry and country, and can tell you categorically how many Aliko Dangotes or Mike Adenugas a country can have, or how many big and medium businesses.

The informal sector holds a major chunk of the pie; it is on the back of that sector that nations’ wealth are built and carried to a great degree. So, it is essential that the government provides sufficient cover and economic buffers for them.

How advantageous, then, is financial inclusion which encompasses making the players in informal “formal”?

The term financial inclusion is simply defined as the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services. It is the process by which individuals and businesses can access appropriate, affordable, and timely financial products and services; whether it’s banking, loan, equity or insurance products, etc.

It carries great advantage if more individuals are captured because at the moment, there are more individuals outside the financial circle than in, vis-a-vis our huge population.

I am aware the CBN and other government agencies have been doing their best to open the doors but clearly, more needs to be done to build the trust and simplify the process to get informal players access to support they need. Imagine if we are successful to attract half of the number presently unbanked; it won’t cause a ripple but a tsunami.

Youths are becoming more materialistic than they are dedicated to hard work. What’s wrong?

Well, for one, I try not to be judgemental. But we are all products of an era and time. We grew up in a time where the responsibilities to bring up a child was a collective one. But unfortunately, everyone has shrunk into their individual silos.

I would place the responsibility squarely at the front door of the fourth estate; that is the media.

The media shape culture and perceptions and today’s global media paints a picture that it uses to attract huge numbers; but at the expense of the values of those absorbing its content. The continuous celebration of “overnight successes” Instagram celebrities, who I don’t have a problem with by the way, has fueled some fairy tale picture of the reality of the real world.

You find many young adults with no visible income stream aspiring to live lives that demand decades of hard work and sacrifice. There is a need for a national reawakening of key values, celebration and acknowledgments of achievements of young people, etc.

This and many other intentional steps would definitely help reduce moral decline.

What’s been the most challenging encounter in your dealings with patrons in Nigeria?

I would say deep understanding and appreciation for knowledge and thought leaders. Many invest in critical infrastructure of their businesses; which is important, but tend to forget the most critical aspect without which there is no business— that is the people.

Also, it’s a challenge to convince individuals to make the best investment they can make; which is in themselves and which will give the best dividends in the long run.

So I would say that the biggest challenge is appreciation. But I must also say on the flip side it’s changing with a number of businesses equally doing much more to invest in their people. For my team for example, I give 150% to guarantee their long term success.

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