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Sunday, 6 November 2016

I learnt from the mistakes of my employers—Jane Iloanya

Helina Gbadegesin
CEO of Urbandealsng and co-founder of LinkUp Ng, Jane Iloanya, talks about her career, life and other related matters
What is your educational qualification?
I have a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. I graduated from the University of Northern Cyprus.
What is your work history?
Briefly, I was a freelance Information Technology consultant. I worked for basically anyone who contacted me. Later, I worked with Scratch Investment as a business manager. I have also worked with Sunkings Oil and Gas as international relations personnel. After sometime, I left to work with UAC Foods as a promotion manager.
What is the focus of Urbandealsng Limited?
Urbandealsng Limited is a N5, 000 or less shop. We import everything that we sell apart from the Nigerian-made clothes from Nigerian designers who sell their clothes for N5000 or less. The idea is to provide quality clothes at an affordable price to people. We sell the kind of quality clothes you find in malls or anywhere you find them very expensive. So you can actually look fabulous without spending your entire savings on clothes.
How have you remained in business despite the unfavourable exchange rate?
The current economy has affected nearly every business that doesn’t source only locally made products. We still sell below N5, 000 and we have some items whose prices have been upped a bit.  For now, we don’t sell above N8, 000. Most times, we purchase quality clothing items during sales, so we import them at a cheaper rate which we feel it is fair enough to maintain our promise.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I felt that I had worked in different places and I have garnered different experiences. So I felt I could put these experiences together and start up my own business. I have worked with different people and I saw how they handled their businesses. I watched my previous employers make mistakes and I also watched them grow. All of these inspired me to become my own boss.
Did you encounter any challenges when you started out?
I encountered a lot of challenges. I had to source for investors and it was not easy for me to convince them to invest in the business. Many investors are sceptical about investing in a business they are not going to profit from.  You will find this aspect more challenging especially if you do not have enough capital to start up a business. Also, it wasn’t easy reaching out to customers. It took us couple of months to create awareness for the business.
How did you overcome the challenges?
I had to convince my investors. I gave them reasons to invest in my business. As long as you know what you’re venturing into, I don’t think you will have any problem trying to convince people to work with you. I did a lot of research about the business and my co-founder, researched about the business before we ventured into it. So, we came up with a beautiful business plan and nearly everyone we pitched the business idea to, were willing to work with us.
What are your responsibilities as the CEO?
I’m responsible for maintaining the same quality we used to give customers before the increase in exchange rate. As the CEO, I make sure we do not go back on our promises.
What other things are you involved in aside from Urbandealsng?
I’m also the co-founder of LinkUp Ng. LinkUp Ng, is a social and dating app. It is more of a social app where you meet your lost friends. It is also a dating app where you can meet with new people. So if you search for some people on the app, you can easily trace where they are and link up with them. Also, the app provides you with up and coming events that you can attend be it a social event or a conference.
Have you launched the app?
Not yet. We are still building the app. The way we are designing it will wow a lot of people because you will be able to link up with friends that you have lost contact with. We will launch the app in less than a month.
How do you run both businesses successfully?
There’s not so much work to be done on our online clothing store. Basically, all we do is shop online and have our clothes imported to us. Then, we upload the clothes on the website for people to buy and we have it delivered to them. We rely a lot on feedback and then manage the business. For LinkUp Ng, we are working with the best for the app. My husband, who is a co-founder of both businesses, helps to come up with strategies that work best for the success of the business.
How do you feel working with your husband?
I believe my husband and I are a great team. We don’t mix business with family issues. This works for us because we both have the same vision. So we merged resources and came up with the businesses. We are running both businesses on a 50/50 partnership because we both contribute to the business mentally and physically.
How profitable is the business?
As long as we are making sales, it is profitable.
What do you do outside of work?
I’m very passionate about writing and I have written several articles.
What are those things that prevent youths from becoming successful?
A lot of youths are into businesses that they are not passionate about. If you search within you, there is something that you like doing. Look for a way to monetise that thing that you’re passionate about. Be precise about the kind of business you want to get into. Then the next thing to do is research about the business. Take note of mistakes that others have made in the business, correct those mistakes and take your job very seriously. Also, get feedback from your clients and improve on it.
What is your advice to youths who aspire to venture into your line of business?
If you want to be successful in this line of business, you need to ensure your customer’s details are secure on your website.Lastly, be focused and follow your dreams.

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