Archive

Archive for December, 2010

future of gidi

December 18, 2010 7 comments

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a former high school mate of mine- Kayode E*. He had started a dot-com signature of his own called: GidiTalking. In his words, it will be the go-to website for all current happenings in Gidi (Lagos/Nigeria).

He already had a brief write-up on me, which he put under a section of the blog called “Future of Gidi”. I found it quite flattering. I believe that post is a compilation of his knowledge, the facebook page and past interviews. Anyway, he asked to conduct an interview and I agreed. It was another opportunity to put my new “business-like, less personal info and straight-to-the-point” self to the test.

How do you think I did?

GIDITALKING: SYLVESTER KAY-ADADE

MAY WE KNOW YOU?

Yes, you may. I’m Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade, the President of The SKA Group. For the purpose of this interview, I am the CEO of Pearl Kreations Ltd; popularly known as Mr. Buttons.

WHAT IS PEARL KREATIONS ALL ABOUT?

Pearl Kreations is a collectibles manufacturing company presently based in Ontario, Canada.

We manufacture and supply superior quality button-badges and lapel pins for a variety of corporate, personal, professional, national and international events and purposes.

Our customer service, professionalism and unequalled prices have made the brand a household name and stiff competitor in the collectibles industry.

WHEN DID YOU START OFF?

Pearl Kreations began operation on January 28th, 2008.

HOW WAS IT WHEN YOU STARTED OFF?

It started slow, as was expected, and steadily progressed.

HOW IS IT NOW?

For a company that is barely three years old, I think Pearl Kreations is doing very well. We have an ever growing clientele and scores of contracts rolling in every month.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU STILL FACE NOW?

Production is one challenge we’re presently working on overcoming. Sometimes, we get more orders than we can handle, and this sometimes prolongs response and delivery times. We however have never turned down orders; except the Client chooses to cancel. Another issue is delivery. Sometimes, deliveries outside North America take longer than expected.

To battle these issues, Pearl Kreations has two partner companies (usually contacted for very large orders). We’re also looking into acquiring more machines, and moving into a bigger place. And, with our partnership with FedEx as well as local courier services, our delivery time is improving.

IS YOUR FAMILY IN SUPPORT OF YOU?

Absolutely. My mum and sisters are beyond supportive.

GIVE US A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOURSELF- EDUCATIONALLY?

I started out at St. Mary’s Private School, Agele. Then, I attended Federal Government College, Lagos (FGCL)for my secondary education. Right after graduation, I did a year at Covenant University studying Computer Science; then another two years studying Medicine in the Republic of Benin at Houdegbe North American University, Benin (HNAUB). I transferred to McMaster University through Southern Ontario College, and presently in my final year of Health Studies/Public Health.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE BOTH OF THEM- SCHOOL AND PEARL KREATIONS?

I’ve learnt to prioritize and organize my life so neither interferes with the other.

I also finally hired people. I was initially trying to run a one-man operation. After I saw what that was doing to sales, I changed the business model. It’s a good thing I did too; because the extra hands have increased our effectiveness by over sixty percent (+60%).

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME OR YOU DON’T NORMALLY HAVE SPARE TIME?

Between school and work, I have a couple of hours to myself. I usually spend it reading books by successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, books on management and the biographies of business gurus. I also use the time to catch up on my favourite TV shows.

ON A SCALE OF 1 – 10, 1 BEING STARTING OFF AND 10 BEING FULLY ACCOMPLISHED, HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR BUSINESS?

I’ll say a solid 6.

WHY YOUR CHOICE OF RATING?

6 is above average.

We are doing very well as I said earlier for our age, but there is always room of growth. I believe that there will always be something that can be improved upon and done better. Progress and advancement aren’t goals, but constants.

I believe that mindset has helped us stay ahead of the competition and please customers. At this rate, Pearl Kreations will be a 9 in no time.

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF COMING BACK TO LAGOS TO SETUP BIG TIME?

Yes, I do. Preparations are underway. We already make regular deliveries to Nigeria monthly. Nigeria is our second largest market with about fifty percent (50%) of our orders coming from Lagos.

WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE- EXPANSION INTO DIFFERENT FIELDS?

Rome wasn’t built in a day; and I believe a big business error is to build and expand too quickly. That being said, after Pearl Kreations’ success, I decided to explore doing business in my other areas on interest. This is where The SKA Group comes in.

It is legal (in Canada), already profitable and growing steadily. A quick summary- It is a private company with businesses that span advertising, branding, clothing, education, financial services, publication and real estate. Pearl Kreations is one of its subsidiaries.

WHAT PROJECTS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH? – BIG AND SMALL

I would love to give you the list, but it’s a lengthy one. The list up until August 2010 is under portfolio on our website – pearlkreations.com. The notable ones are: the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Watchmen 2009 Movie Collection and the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.

WHICH IS THE BIGGEST?

The biggest by revenue was the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO START OFF A BUSINESS?

Before I begin to advice, I’ll tell you that you can do it on your own, but you won’t go far without God. If you want to achieve the unfathomable, go with God. Matthew 19:26: “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Now for advice, first and foremost, be absolutely certain about what you want to go into. Make sure you’re going to love what you plan to do because, at times, that’s all that keeps you going!

Secondly, know your target market. Do your homework- the necessary research, take surveys, study your competition and the industry- especially the trends. All that will help you make a business plan- which will help you stay on track. Make sure it contains your vision, mission, values, customer service plan, financial plan and marketing plan.

Thirdly, find mentors. Read about and watch documentaries on them. Learn from their mistakes. Improve your business acumen and knowledge by reading books and watching business programs.

Finally, pray and commit all your decisions into God’s hands. Don’t just pray and fold your arms though; you have to work hard too. If you work hard, you won’t even realize the money piling up. As my dad- Sylvester O. Adade, would say, “Work hard, Pray hard, Play a little; and you’ll be golden”. Also, find/make the time to relax, and spend with family and friends. Don’t get so consumed with work that you begin to begin alienate the most important people in your life. They are highly instrumental to your success.

Well, those are my two cents. I wish you all the best, certainly hope to see you at the top, and may be do business together someday.

Link to the Original

social media

December 5, 2010 1 comment

Remember, I’m working on a diploma in Small Business Management? Well, one of the courses- Managing the Small Business, exposes me to the world of business, ethics and management. As part of the course, we have different speakers come to discuss various topics, ranging from Banking and Finance to Networking. Even a couple of graduates of the course come by to share their experiences.

One of the most recent speakers was Geet Dhillon, a Social Media Marketing Expert from Eloqua Corporation (http://www.eloqua.com/) in Toronto. He talked about how social media can help improve customer patronage and boost revenue.

Companies like Dell and Starbucks, made additional revenue in the sum of tens of millions of dollars from social networking via Twitter last year for free!

Their trick? – connecting with their customers…directly! They asked questions on new and old products, asked for suggestions, listened to feedback and responded to complaints…all via facebook and twitter. By doing this, the customers feel the company cares, patronize the company, buy more products and suggest their products to friends…increasing client base and revenue! It is so simple, but highly underrated.

Coca-Cola, as of December 31, 2009 had about 5 million fans on facebook. Now, it is over 21 million. If they sent an update or survey today, they would have millions of replies with helpful opinions and positive feedback. Go to their page anytime and there will be fans having discussions and sharing photos of their fun coca-cola times. Coca-Cola sales is up 52%.

As I listened, I was happy that I already had a facebook page and twitter account for The SKA Group. Sadly, I wasn’t fully utilizing them. And, the most active company- Pearl Kreations, had just a facebook group. Before I end up sharing all my class notes lol, a keynote with using facebook is to have pages and not groups for companies and products.

Pages allow for a two-way communication, whereas groups are basically a one-way street. As soon as I heard that, I decided Pearl Kreations needed a facebook page and twitter account immediately! It took couple of days in between school and work to get the account and page ready, but it got done. The challenge would be to get all the 956 members to switch location and become fans, and what to do with the group -_-.

There was a suggestion to change the group name to Pearl Kreations Messenger. The group would work with the Pearl Kreations Web Messenger and e-Customer Service Team, and be the facebook medium of accepting comments and reviews, broadcasting important messages to clients and customers, displaying new photos of all ordered button-badges and Lapel pins, and taking orders.

I liked the idea, so it was changed. An email and facebook message were sent to explain the name change and inform them of this new page: http://www.facebook.com/PearlKreations. It was explained that through the page, we would be asking questions, hosting competitions, having giveaways and communicating more effectively.

I believe that our members understood that it was in order to be more interactive with them that we opened a page. We also opened a twitter account and asked those with accounts to follow @PearlKreations (http://twitter.com/PearlKreations/).

So that there’s no confusion, I didn’t decide to do this entirely for business and revenue, but to get closer to our customers and fans; and make the PK Experience much more than just super cool buttons, but about mega fun!

I think this move will also help create goodwill and continued patronage. So far, response has been slow, but I remain positive. I guess it is because this change was done during the exam/holiday shopping season.

Which reminds me; to mark this new change and holiday season, Pearl Kreations has select All-Me Buttons and all National Buttons which will be sold for $1.00CAD/pin. This sale began on Wednesday, December 1st and will go on up until Friday, December 10th, 2010. On December 16th, Pearl Kreations will make its final deliveries and postings for 2010 as The SKA Group will be closing on Friday, December 17th, 2010. By God’s grace, business will begin in 2011 on Monday, January 10th.

However, Pearl Kreations  might have little, private “social” giveaway before January which you won’t want to miss out on, so “follow” and “like”…quickly! lol