Kolade Olawoyin is the Managing Director of Procare Limited. He talks to TOFARATI IGE about his business
What is your educational background?
I attended Baptist Secondary School, Liberty Road, Ibadan before moving to Oladipo Alayande School of Science.
I then studied Urban and Regional Planning at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomoso, Oyo State.
Do you have corporate work experience?
The only times I had corporate work experience was after college and waiting to pass the National Youth Service Corps. I taught at a school in Ogbomoso for about four months. During my year of service, I was assigned to a school – Success International School in Ondo State.
When and how did you get started in the business you run?
I started this company about six years ago. After NYSC, I learned photography in Lagos. I decided that I was not going to look for a white collar job. However, I had to give up photography, because it’s not my passion.
I moved on to blogging and digital marketing. I was doing really well with it but at the same time, I was scared. I just thought if the internet stopped working, (there would be a problem). I needed something to last forever. I was thinking of something bigger, so I left Lagos for Ibadan, praying to God to show me my way.
One day I went to a print shop in Mokola district of Ibadan to print some materials. While chatting with someone I met there, I realized I had an interest in printing.
On that fateful day, a woman messaged me, asking if I drew logos. I replied that I could. I then contacted an older colleague, Mr. John Oladele, and he agreed to train me (in graphic design). Later we went to meet the woman with a quote, and she paid on the third day after we met. I was amazed because I had no idea you could make so much money from printing and branding.
After that, I continued my training with Mr Oladele for about a year. After that, I started my own business and registered it.
Things weren’t easy at first. In fact, it was quite difficult for about two years to be alone.
What services does your company offer?
We offer printing and marking services. We also import some things such as metal tags, hand tags and wristbands from China.
What motivated you to start your own business?
I wanted to be myself because I believed it would allow me to help others. I’m passionate about adding value to society, and I’m already doing that by reducing the unemployment rate in the country in my own little way.
How much was your initial capital and how did you raise it?
In fact, I started the business with zero naira. There was no one to help me or help me except God. I was an apprentice and literally had nothing to start with except my faith in the Almighty.
I got my first job thanks to someone I met by chance. It is with this little money that I managed to get an apartment.
What is the difference between you and others in your industry?
We firmly believe in what we do and we give our work a touch of professionalism by paying attention, down to the smallest detail.
What major challenges have you encountered in this job?
There were two major challenges. One of them is in the aspect of delivery of goods.
The second challenge, which we are gradually overcoming, is the trust factor. Because of what internet scammers have done to certain people in the past, we had to convince customers that we were reliable and not scammers. Over time, they started to believe in us. The people who are referred to us trust us 100%.
How do you find customers?
We receive our customers mainly online, in particular on Instagram and Whatsapp. We also get a lot of referrals because our jobs speak for us. I have lost count of the referrals we receive daily.
How do you advertise the business?
I personally believe that no business can “work” without promotion. As a result, we constantly advertise on social media. We also install billboards in some major cities.
Have you ever thought about quitting and starting something else?
I never thought of quitting. I believe so much that the brand has a bright future by the grace of God.
What future do you envision for your business?
The goal is to become a major agency that serves the printing and branding needs of individuals and businesses.
What kind of support did you receive from your family and friends when you started the business?
When I started, my parents didn’t support me. My dad wanted me to have a white collar job, but I never wanted that. I held on because I believed so much in what I wanted. I remember my dad asking me if I could build a house and own a car with “this print job”? I just smiled. Today I have a testimony. In due course, they later supported me with prayers, which I consider worth more than gold.
What do you have to say to young people who want to get into your type of business?
It takes a gradual process to be successful. Rome was not built in a day.
How do you handle difficult customers?
We don’t agree to be okay. We try as much as possible to fix the hard part and make it work. Although it has not always been easy, we have not done badly in this regard.
How many employees do you have?
I have about 15 employees.
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