*This article was culled from SME Digest – a renowned SME portal in Nigeria*
In a quest to bringing you the 10 top Internet-Preneurs you should be following right now, our train landed first at the desk of the pioneer and grand commander of Mini Importation business in Nigeria and Africa, in person of Patrick Ogidi.
On this ride, Pat took us through how he started the mini importation business and future plans about it. You want to take a chilled bottle of your favorite drink, and with 101% concentration to go through this interview if you’re into mini importation business or aspiring going into it.
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Pat Ogidi, I’m an Entrepreneur with 90% of businesses based online, so I prefer to call myself an Internet-Preneur, and majorly into Mini Importation Business and a bit of consultancy and coaching business as well.
We know you to be the Chief Grand Commander in Mini Importation Business in Africa. Tell us about the Mini Importation Business, how you started and what inspired you to go in that line of business.
Back to 2009 when I just finished from school, before then I’ve dabbled into a whole lot of internet businesses, like survey and the likes. One day I landed on an advert that says, buy stuff and ship to wherever.
I clicked through and the site re-directed me to Aliexpress, skeptically, with all the doubt and everything, I bought an android phone and I received it. So the business side of my brain got activated and I asked myself why can’t I make this a business, why should I stop at buying one, why can’t I buy more of the things that people need here and sell to them.
Then, I started researching into what people want in the school environment. I bought phones, to selfie-stick and the likes.
And for the name – Grand Commander, I didn’t just assume that as most people do, I’ve been doing mini-importation business consistently and one of the persons I respect so much in the industry – Ronald Nzimora, had a shout-out on facebook one day and tagged me. I checked, and he used that name – Grand Commander, so since then some other persons took that name and referred it to me.
But majorly, the consistency of doing just this one thing, not just dabbling from one thing to another has also brought me thus far.
What were the Initial Challenges you faced when going into this business?
Lots of them, but I think 3 of them stands out and very obvious, which are; Lack of funds – you know what to do but then the funds to get it done is actually the problem. Another challenge was Doubt – people around you doubted how possible it was to make money online, reach out to somebody, buy stuff and receive it. The third one was actually the problem of Logistics – when we started, there were just few and they don’t even do business with small businesses like us, but good a thing, all this has been fixed and we keep getting better daily.
So far since being into the mini importation business, can you say it’s something lucrative and can SMEs or Startups venture into it?
I wouldn’t say because I think so, I’d say because the proofs are there. Lots of persons that have come under my tutelage/coaching have moved from nowhere to somewhere, from nothing to building a multi-million naira business around mini importation business. We have people who have left their car wash business, vulcanizer job and started their own mini importation business and are doing pretty much well.
So, yea, SMEs and startups can actually go into mini importation business and do great in it if they follow the right process and get the right coach.
I know this question has been asked like a million times to you; “What or How much is required as a capital to kick-start the mini importation business”?
This is actually one of the most asked questions as far as mini importation business is concerned and actually one of the most difficult questions to answer.
If I want to start and I have say, N10,000, what I will do is go into those portals and look for what N10,000 can import and I plan my business around that N10,000, likewise if I have N2,000. Some other person may have a million naira to start but the good thing is, no matter the capital, you can start something but that doesn’t mean every of those persons will have same results as regards profit.
When starting with N10,000, don’t expect to make the same level of profit the other person starting with N100,000 or 1 million will get. The good news is you’re making something, irrespective of whatever amount is it you’re starting with.
Now, I believe one would not just start a business without knowing the nitty-gritty of that business, is there a plan or a course a newbie wanting to go into this business can undergo?
Yes, there are lots of courses out there, but most information out there won’t lead you anywhere and will end up making you lose money. There are well-to-do trainers out there also but since this interview is centered around me, permit me to introduce you to our online class for mini importation business @ www.ecomtycoon.com
Do you think this Business will still be around in 5years from now?? Why do you think so?
Yes it will, not because there are no challenges but as entrepreneurs, we solve problems, there are bound to be challenges. If there’s any reason that will not make this business still be around in 5 years it’s still about these challenges, just like the logistics problems, but if we are able to be solving this problems, yes this business will still be around, even much bigger than it is right now.
How has the Business made you a better person?
It has helped me understand above everything that I can actually affect people’s lives positively, from the point where they were to the point where they want to be and on my own, it has lifted me from where I used to be to where I am today, so yes it has actually made me a better person in every ramification.
Do you currently have Expansion Plans? Can you share with us?
Yes, I have expansion plans as pa my training and also in the application of the business itself. It’s only a man who’s 6ft below that doesn’t aspire to grow. On the business side of it, we hope to extend our market to the international region, not just selling to Nigeria and Africans alone, we’re looking forward to selling to the US market as they are one of the biggest markets around, and also, selling to the Chinese themselves.
Then on the training, we are looking at breaking language barrier and extending our coaching to non-English speaking regions.
Who or What is your Main Inspiration: Business/Personal?
Everything around me inspires me, then my family inspires me, when I wake up every day and remember I have a family to take care of, I feel like stretching it and going beyond the usual. Then above all, the holy book instructs we make an impact in the world, hence my zeal to also have an impact, move people from obscurity to where they will look back and thank their God.
Favorite Quote you live by:
One quote I live by is; whatever will hurt you, don’t do that to the next person. I believe if the world live by that, there will be peace.
MESSAGE TO ENTREPRENEURS
What would you like to tell the person who is scared for one reason or the other to start a Business?
My advice to this kind of people is always harsh. It’s ok to be scared, but look back at where your been scared has taken you to and then compare with what putting in the work would have done for you. My advice for those who are scared and afraid to start is, don’t dabble into a business because so many people are going into it; get as much information you need, get trained as much as you can and go into that business with an opened mind.
Message to other Entrepreneurs:
Entrepreneurs should strive to grow. Don’t remain a small business forever.
To get in-touch with Pat Ogidi or enroll for his comprehensive Mini Importation course, kindly visit www.ecomtycoon.com or
Office address: Suite 78 Ogba Shopping Arcade, Ogba, Lagos Nigeria.