DAVIES OKEOWO'S UNTOLD STORY x TWO GIFTS

Friday, 28 July 2017



Ahh! It's the third series of #UntoldStories and I am super stocked about this interview for many reasons. 

Can you guess? The first two people to guess right would win a gift from me. (You can answer in the comments section)

Davies is an exceptional person, a go-getter and there's so much to learn from him! If you don't learn something at the end of the interview, say it in the comment section but if you do learn a thing or two will you promise to not just comment what you learnt but share with everyone you know?

Deal? 

That settled; let's go straight to today's interview.

Hello Davies, how are you doing? Please introduce yourself

I am doing fine thank you Olori. My name is Davies Okeowo. I am a business strategist and accountant. I am the CEO -Enterprise Hill, a firm that provides business structure and financial advisory to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. I am also the winner of Next Titan Season Two and a very proud Nigerian.

Not so many people know this but when you were going for The Next titan this is what you told me ‘Dotun I am going for the next titan and I am going to win.' Did you say this for just saying sake or did you know for sure that you would win?

When I was going for the Next Titan I had a certain confidence in me. I had this conviction that I was going to win. I don’t know where it came from, I am not quite sure, but I remember that even at the auditions before I was selected out of thousands of people that applied I just had the confidence that I was going to win and I guess there was some divine touch to it because that confidence got me through the auditions, the boot camp and into the house. I got a little bit over confident at some point and I had a rude awakening but glory to God I won the show.


It is one thing to say ‘I will win The Next Titan’ many people would have said that, but it is another thing to go into the house and face all the stress and ‘wahala.’ Was there a point you were like ‘I can’t do this’ and how did you get over it?

Well there was a point I kinda gave up. After all of the confidence inspired performances to get into house, I was very fired up that I was going to win. The first task came and my team lost but I did well, the second task I did my best , but my team lost, the third task my team lost, the fourth task my team lost again.

This was a month into the show already, I had never won a task, I was the only person in the house that hadn’t won a task. I mean after every loss I would get fired up and say ‘next time we must win’ and I will do all I can but we would just fall short one way or the other so after the fourth task I just told myself ‘I don’t care anyone. If we win fine, if we lose and I get fired it Is okay.’

I had been on the eviction row about three times in a row and I just thought hmmm hmmm if it happens fine, it doesn’t no problem. 

As we began the fifth task we had a session with Mr. Bola Akindele, we were doing a task for his company that week and as we began the meeting, he started briefing us about the task with a little bit of pep talk that sounded like it was just for me. He said we shouldn’t give up no matter how often we get thrown down or rejected. He said ‘just keep going.’

I left that meeting with renewed enthusiasm and guess what, that was the first task I won! This laid the foundation for winning the subsequent tasks and the finals.

You deal with SMEs, what are two things a small business needs to succeed. There are so many in the country, we could use some help.

I’d say the willpower to succeed. This is because regardless of the challenges an SME faces what will determine whether it succeeds or fails is the attitude of the entrepreneur so if the attitude of the entrepreneur is 'mehn this industry is too tough I can’t deal and all of those stuff,' the business obviously is going to fail and for good reason because everybody is going to blame all of the external environment but if the attitude of the entrepreneur is ‘I will find a solution, I will make this business work, I have invested a lot of money, time and life so I will ensure that it works well,’ the universe will provide a solution.

The second thing I would say helps a lot of SMEs succeed would be the discipline to keep records and trust me this is fundamentally important and not many people do it.  If you have proper financial records or proper business data it aids your decision making. You’d be looking at what has happened, facts, current opportunities and using them to make decisions as opposed to when most of us just have guess work or 'gestimations' like I like to call it or sometimes you just think up an idea ‘oh I think if we do this, it is going to be fine’ but you have not even checked from your data, the last thing you did , how you performed I mean I am just trying to talk in general terms here, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur especially here in Nigeria, you need to begin to keep proper financial records.

There are a number of us who were not born rich hence we did not have some opportunities our rich friends had.  Talk to us about a period when you were just discouraged.

I also had very very humble beginnings. I think I never really looked bemused or I never really aspired to having those things my friends had.  I guess the first time such a thought crept into my head was my university days you know and that was a struggle but I thank God he put us through. I have had my fair share of challenges, my fair share of discouraging times, I have had times of having to borrow and pay fees at the deadline, I've had days when I had to walk for miles just to attend a certain training. I have had my fair share but hey, we just keep going on. 


·  
Before Enterprise Hill there were a number of your businesses (chief hustler) that didn’t survive how did you feel when your businesses failed?

Well before Enterprise Hill, I had a number of businesses that didn’t work out, one of it was Flytitude, which was an informal education company. I never felt anything because I never gave room to feeling. Here's why, I kept at that business even when it wasn’t working out. I ran Flytitude for 11 months and I did not make a Naira in sales, I mean I didn't sell one package.

I tried hard, I kept going at it and was not ready to back down. I believed in what I was doing and kept going at it. It wasn’t making money until my mentor Maureen Iyasele, the CEO Jobmag helped me identify the fact that I had this idea which is now Enterprise Hill, I had the skill to do it because I trained as an accountant and the passion for entrepreneurship because I had learned a lot about it, I was willing to help a lot of entrepreneurs and the market was there.

There were a lot of entrepreneurs who needed what I was offering. She helped me see that. It was like a light bulb gone in my head and at that point I shifted my attention from Flytitude to Enterprise Hill. I would say it ended by virtue of the birth of Enterprise Hill so I never really had time to think about it. In fact I think  I am going to do something with that business because I still believe it is going to work but right now, Enterprise Hill is the sole focus. 

As a CEO, you must be pretty busy. Everyone seems to be busy these days. What is the place of friendship in the life of a young entrepreneur?

Friendships are very important in the life of a  young entrepreneur. I am a big follower of a gentle man named Debola Wiliams and he talks a lot about the power of networks. He doesn’t just talk a lot about it; he exhibits the power of networks. His life is a testament to what networks can do; his achievements are a testament to what networks can do and I am very much aware of the fact that friendships are incredibly important because yeah you get very busy but it is important to make time for friends. 

If you have the right set of friends, they would understand your work; they would understand your dedication to your vision, they would understand the need for you to work extremely hard to get certain things done and they will be there as friends to help you, support you through the process as a young entrepreneur. If your friends complain all the time ‘oh you don’t have time for us, you just forgot us, I don’t even know what wrong with you, we are not important, is it only your business?’ please change friends. 

You need friends that will inspire you, challenge you and motivate you when you are down. Friends that will tell you you are not working hard enough after you pulled a twenty one hour day working, they'd tell you there's still three more hours, those are the kinda friends you need, you need people heading in the same direction as you, you need people who are inspired, people that will challenge you to be the very best. Having those people in your life is incredibly important.

Can you tell us the name of one young person with an incredible story that has blessed you?

 Haaaa one young person with an incredible story that has blessed me.... I know quote a number of young people with very good stories. 

Lemme see; Remi Owadokun because her story really just feeds into the narrative of the things I want to talk about and that is -the desire to improve. Take action and be the very best version of yourself. Remi at one point in her life was just pretty much clueless as to exactly what she wanted to do, she was overweight and she was just jumping from industry to industry, career to career, you know what happens to these people that are multi talented but through her drive and desire to be the best version of herself she is a bestselling author. 

She runs total makeover program, an amazing online program. Her story just gets me all the time, to see the way she inspires people and to think that at some point in her life she desperately needed inspiration is nothing short of remarkable.

You are pretty confident, have you ever been afraid, like really really afraid? What did you do
I get afraid a lot of times but fear is an emotion instigated by things that happen within the environment so I definitely get fearful but I just never let it stick. I never let it become a permanent experience. I found out that if you are afraid of something the best way to deal with it is face it confidently. If you confront, it will dissolve like it was never there. I get over confident sometimes and I become a bit cocky. I do get afraid and confront myself. If I apply myself to it I know I will overcome. If it doesn’t work I just go to Jesus and say Father what is happening? I am doing my best here; He always helps.


Mentorship! What do you have to say to young people who complain of not knowing how to find mentors or talk to them?

Well, any young person that complains about not knowing how to find mentors is not doing the right thing. Let's take a sample poll: raise your had if somebody has ever given you unsolicited advice before. I am dead certain that everyone would raise their hands. Nigerians! We love giving advice, we love helping people with ideas. Nigeria is a place where people have problems with their marriage and do marriage counseling; it’s remarkable. Mentorship is everywhere! You'd find people willing to give you directions and share their experience with you. It’s either you are looking for the wrong things or looking for the wrong people or aspiring to be more when you’ve not maximized all you have currently.

I hear a lot of people to say I want Fela Durotoye to mentor me personally and there is that gentleman in your church or work place that is a growing speaker doing some amazing things and you're thinking oh he’s my colleague I can’t speak to him. No! Mentorship doesn’t have to be from those people we look up to, you can get mentored by your peers or younger people. This is my submission and I am not ashamed. Anyone who complains of not knowing how to find mentors or talk to them is just not doing the right thing, may not be looking for the right mentors. Remi Owadokun actually wrote a book on mentorship; you should check it out.


Yep we've gotten to one of my favoirite parts of the #UntoldStories interview: 
The answers they give to these questions would help keep them in check, reminding them of what they still have to achieve and one day we hope they read this interview again and smile at how fat they've come. Shall we? πŸ˜Š

One day my company will…
One day my company will be the most effective business development firm in every developing economy across the world. We are going to be one of the greatest business consulting firms ever. Our operations are aimed at SMEs in developing economies and we will definitely achieve that.
·       
One day Davies will…
One day Davies will die and make heaven, yes . Because definitely I know I am going to be a governor in Nigeria, great entrepreneur, make a lot of money but that which is not in my control that I pray for is to die well at an old age and make heaven. 

Was that insightful or what? πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Š
Don't forget what we talked about earlier, the first two people to guess why I am super stocked about this interview would win a gift from me. (You can answer in the comments section)

Much Love
Oloriadedotun! 

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