BUSINESS LESSON 101…
Teaming up with his close friend,
How did all this start, I mean, your entry into software computing?
First, I had interest in software from a very early age. I was lucky, because I was exposed to computer at a very early age in life. As a teenager in my travels, I encountered individuals who majored in software that sparked my interest.
Having gone to school in
You've been on this road for quite a while now, so what does it take to go into IT entrepreneurship?
You must have the passion, because without it, you cannot sustain the project. You also need to have the belief that you can deliver some values through some software solutions. If you cannot deliver value, nobody is going to consume your products. Second, there must be some innovation that you can bring into that eco-system. One must deliver something that is worth paying for. You need to also develop yourself a little further always and be ready to pass on that knowledge and experience you have gathered overtime to the younger ones. So, passion, direction and innovation are keys in becoming an IT entrepreneur.
How's the competition like?
Competition is competition anywhere. If I have a good product and I can market it well and then maintain it and support it over a period of time, I will continue to enjoy my client and consumer base. If anybody is not constantly innovating with a product, you cannot remain competitive. So, to be competitive, you must constantly be innovative; look for new ideas and avenues and opportunities where you can add value. Competition basically is how best you can drive your solutions in the market and also making them cost-effective.
What business lessons have you learnt over the years?
Be true to yourself; know your shortcomings. Listen, you need to listen to the market, to your customers and also listen to the people around you such as the young ones – the mid-level ones, the older ones. You must listen to them all. You must maintain your passion and hold it strong. The day your passion wanes, get out of the business. Being true to yourself means you must know what your breaking point is, you must know what you can deal with and what you can accept.
You must also understand the environment. The Nigerian environment might not be the same environment in
How profitable is the IT business?
It can be profitable to some extent and to another extent it is not profitable. It can be profitable because I am a living example of software profitability as I have been in business for close to 21 years and I am still here. However, in
From 1991 till date, what are some of the ingredients that have sustained Infosoft as an IT company?
It is the constant requirement that I need to be on top of my game. It's just about re-inventing yourself always. Every five years, you ask yourself, where should we be going, you set new goals and put in place personal development and also your resources around you too to be able to meet up with market needs and challenges. It is more of knowing what the market requires and being able to skill yourself in that area and pursue it to a reasonable extent and look at the marketing options available to you. All of this doesn't come cheap, because retooling yourself is not cheap, too.
As a frontliner in this business, what would be your advice on starting up a software firm?
First things first, you need to have the bright idea. You need to also have the passion to follow it through. Sometimes, you might find somebody or a group of persons that you share the same idea and passion, you all can come together. But when you come together and write the bright idea down, there are several other things you must also do to help move the business. You can go to frontliners of the business to put you through or attend conferences, clinics, where you business skills can be horned. After that, you need to constantly package the products such that it would appeal to the intending customers.
You started your company as a partnership business, why do you think we do not have more partnership startups these days?
Like I have said before, you must be true to yourself and you must trust. If you don't trust, you cannot run a business in partnership and if you can't trust, there is no need for you to have a partner. When you are coming together to have and start a partnership, you must discuss everything. I mean discuss everything, including what happens if a partner dies, and get it documented. As close as you are as friends, one of the biggest evils that can tear friends apart is money. Discuss everything and agree on everything, no matter how difficult you think it might be. Document it, put it down and trust, if you cant trust then don't border going into partnership business.
There must be recognition from an IT point of view, that the world is one big global ecosystem that is interconnected – it knows no boundary. It doesn't know any language, because you can be doing something in Chinese and I can access it online and request for a translation. So, it is a boundary-less ecosystem. Government must recognise that. We have seen the impact of the social media on modern revolutions. We have seen the full effect in
E-learning is also another innovation of IT that is around the corner and it is revolutionizing the world. Do you know you can take online all courses taught in
Government must know the benefits that information technology can bring to
What is the best advice you've received?
The advice was from my father and he says always that "whatever you want to be or do in life, be the best at it". You want to be a shit-carrier, be the best at it.
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