Studies show that every human being has at least three million-dollar ideas in their life. Sometimes, these ideas might mean stepping out on a limb, out of your comfort zone and starting your own business.
Unfortunately, to so many aspiring entrepreneurs, the thought of starting a business is often a scary one. They begin to have doubts and fears; which is only natural, mind you, considering our harsh economic realities.
Eventually, they let their fears overwhelm them and eventually, the idea dies within them. But the truth is, starting your own business is not such an Herculean task if you know what you are doing. Don’t take my word for it, but let’s hear from Start-up Consultant and founder of Pancake Hub, Mr Olajide Alex-Oni who left investment banking to start his own business.
Olajide Alex-Oni, in this exclusive interview with TopNaija.ng shared some golden nuggets on entrepreneurship.
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
My Name is Olajide Alex-Oni. Founder and Partner, Pancake Hub.
2. You used to be a banker and wealth manager for a number of top politicians in the country; what made you decide to leave all that and become an entrepreneur?
I was an Investment Banker and a Certified Wealth Manager from the International Academy of Business and Financial Management from the United States. I spent the better part of my financial services experience offering Private Banking and Wealth Management services to High Networth Individuals. I felt it was time to do my own thing after almost two decades in the Financial Services Industry and thus the reason to become and Entrepreneur and add value to others in areas where I had acquired the necessary skills.
3. Did you ever, at any point, doubt that starting your own business was the right decision, especially in the face of challenges?
I didn’t doubt myself because I knew with Gods Grace coupled with the right leveraging, support and goodwill from an Industry I had just exited, it was only a matter of time before things began to look up. Challenges are real and they are always there. Just keep thinking of your own solutions ad things will be alright.
4. Would you advise anyone to follow that same path? Bearing in mind the harsh economic reality of our country?
My advise will be to a potential entrepreneur to weight it out in paid employment for a while until they are mature and ready enough to deal with the harsh economic realities.
5. What inspired pancake hub? what made you decide to venture into the pancake making business?
After careful research we realized and found out that the Lagos Mainland did not have that ideal location that could offer great meals for breakfast or brunch. Most importantly, there was no where were one could go to to have that English or American style breakfast. With pancakes we decided we could do much more to fit the Nigerian taste buds
6. You have been running the pancake hub for about a year and half now, what is the biggest lesson you have learnt so far about running a business?
One must always quality staff who can get share in the buy in of your vision i.e. People Management. Also without good quality customer service and engagement you will just sell in vain.
7. If you had to start all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
8. What challenges have you faced in running the business, and how have you been able to overcome them?
Price fluctuation particularly during the recession – We ensured we did not compromise our quality and quantity with the hope that things would always improve on the long run
Difficult customers – With this, we always ensured we massaged every ego and gave that exceptional quality service
Dedicated and committed staff – Initially this was a challenge but over time we were able to sell the vision of the business to the support staff so they could run with the ambition and dream of the Pancake Hub
9. Most people who desire to become entrepreneurs often cite lack of capital as their biggest challenge. Were you also faced with this challenge? how did you go about it?
We were able to start of the Pancake Hub with funding from friends and family. Most importantly personal savings.
10. I’ve heard you talk about the Startup aquarium several times; what does it mean?
The Startup Aquarium is an initiative which identifies with businesses, startups and entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid who require funding to start smalls businesses with less than N100,000.00. This is the initiative which supported and gave birth to the Pancake Hub IDEA.
11. What advice would you give young entrepreneurs about starting a business?
Entrepreneurs need to be extremely patient with whatever idea they may have because nothing great is created overnight. Creating solutions is not just enough to be called an entrepreneur, you have to work very hard and give your best in order to remain competitive. Stay focused and dedicated to your dreams for your business and most importantly, stop worrying about what you do not have control over. Rather spend more time thinking about how to create solutions for your business.
12. You are a family man and an entrepreneur, most people have a lot of trouble managing these two concurrently, how have you been able to balance family life with work?
I have a good work life balance and a very supportive wife.
13. What is your personal secret of success?
Consistency and dedication to your vision will help you realize your ambition in becoming successful.
14. Where do you see Pancake Hub in the next Five years?
I see a thriving business brand around Africa
15. Finally, when would the blueberry pancakes arrive and would I get free toppings for this interview?
The rule of the game says “Ask and you shall be given”