Emmanuel Osho is the Chief Executive Officer of Bodds IT Solutions, a hardware repair company in Ikeja, Lagos. He speaks with TOMINA EGBOKWU about his business
What is Bodds IT Solutions brand all about?
Bodds IT is a technology company with a focus on providing support to emerging and already established organisations. We strongly believe technology plays a vital role in any business whether small or big. We also understand that effectively utilised technology is an asset that boosts productivity and the overall bottom line of any business. That is why we set up the first state-of-the-art service centre, called ‘Bodds Support’, right in the heart of Ikeja where we provide support, including repairs, maintenance, overhauling, and consultations for devices, systems and organisations.
Do you have partners?
Basically, there are two co-founders, me and Elias Aderemi, who is the chief operating officer, while Michael Akinrogunde and Adedayo Daini, our consultants, were very instrumental when we started the company, and they still contribute to the brand.
As a mechanical engineering graduate, what inspired you to start up the company?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved gadgets. I remember when I got my first personal computer in 2001 – I think it was a Windows 98 – I was so fascinated with it. I have always loved computers and systems. Fast-forward a few years, I started thinking of how to start a business – I think I was 12 or 13; I wanted to start rearing and selling rabbits. When I think of it now, I just laugh. So, when I entered Covenant University, I knew I was going to start a business but I just wasn’t sure which business at that time. Right from my 100-level days, there was a problem; devices (laptop and tablets) usually got broken and fixing it was always cumbersome. That led to the birth of Alphatech, now Bodds. So, technically, we started the company before graduation from school.
What is the most important initiative you are working on now?
Right now, we are working on a lot of things as a company, but the most important thing is to consistently improve the quality of our services, while also focusing on reducing the amount of time it takes to deliver a service. We understand that everyone, individuals and organisations know how important our tech devices are for maximum productivity. So, for instance, if your laptop has a broken screen, you can’t literally do anything on your laptop until the screen is replaced. What we do is to ensure that when you send in your laptop to our service centre, you get it within the shortest period of time while not compromising on quality. We believe that by constantly investing in state-of-the-art machines and training our engineers, we can reduce the time spent and achieve mastery.
How do you drive innovation and new product cycles?
With a lot of research and study, we drive innovation using technology. We are already in the tech industry; hence, it’s always so important to be at the forefront of our game. At Bodds, we understand you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel; we can simply re-align it. So, we take a cue from a lot of companies around us and also abroad. We simply look at a model, then modify a few things to suit our business model or fit it into a new product. For example, our team has been working on a special package for companies. A support package that includes preventive maintenance, corrective maintenance, on-site service, and online and telephone support services. We’ve not seen any company in Nigeria that provides this much support and today, we already provide this service for a growing number of clients.
How is the company doing financially?
This is one thing I’m always grateful to God for. You always hear a lot of people saying that they need money to start a business; we haven’t had any investor from the time we started this business. We are stable financially by the grace of God and are excited about how much more service we can give with better funding.
Who are the company’s ideal customers and how does the company currently approach them?
Anyone with a device – laptop, cellphone, computer, tablet, smartwatch, etc. In this age, it’s safe to say everyone, but we’re truly excited about those who recognize the value in our service. Some potential customers walk in, specifically requesting a low-quality screen, for example, against our advice; it’s a typical Bodds culture to turn such jobs down.
We interact with our customers a great deal on social media and find amazing individuals and companies to propose our services to. We also are exploring newsletters and third-party ads but the most important approach we get is a referral by word of mouth.
What is your take on Information Technology in Nigeria?
I think IT is playing a very vital and critical role in society and this will even become more important in the coming years. My major concern is that everyone seems to be focusing on just the software, forgetting that they require devices to operate on, being the hardware. Many companies are hiring and training developers, but we need even more doing this for repair technicians and engineers.
What would you say has been your biggest moment as a CEO? What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every day is a testimony for me, as a lot of businesses close down everyday due to lack of funds or some other reason. So, whenever I come to work, I’m grateful to God we are able to pay all our bills as a company and still be in business. I think what I enjoy about my job is the fact that with my team, I get to build the company the way I like it; there aren’t so many restricting factors. We can choose to pursue projects that are seemingly impossible and then achieve it. My favourite part of the job is that every day is a learning experience.
Knowing what you know now at this stage in your life, and reflecting on your past, is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Looking back, I’m not sure there are things I would have done differently. I mean I’m where I am today as a result of my life’s decision.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I would probably be running another business, maybe an e-commerce business or something. I’m a very business-minded person. Apart from tech, I love business. Anything that involves exchange of value to generate money, you can count me in. I love to help build businesses as well.
Where do you see Bodds IT Solutions in years to come?
I see Bodds charting a course for the tech support industry in Nigeria, training, empowering and giving jobs to la arge number of youths in the country. Bodds would be a household name for quality support in the industry in Nigeria.
Do you think young entrepreneurs in Nigeria are getting enough support from the government?
Sadly no, and it’s very disheartening. From the inability to access loans easily to the inability to get tax exemptions, there are many challenges facing entrepreneurs in the country. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in Nigeria that can do very well with little support from the government or a slight change in some government policies.
Who are your mentors?
have a number of mentors, amd my number one is Bishop David Oyedepo. He constantly reminds me that there is always work to be done. There are territories to conquer. Though you may start small but don’t think small, have a worldwide impact mentality. Other mentors include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. I constantly learn that with time, a business can become profitable. He taught me to always have a long-term mentality. Jeff will say, ‘If you’re in it for the long term, your approach will be different.”
When you are not fixing devices, what do you do for fun?
When I’m not fixing, I’m most likely looking for other opportunities to make money. I don’t believe in having only one source of income. But I should add this: I watch a lot of YouTube videos – tech videos and documentaries on big businesses like HP, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Playing FIFA and video games are also things I do to relax.