With a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1990, Mrs. Olayinka Adegoke-Sanusi started her pharmacy business in 1993. Over time, she opened a chain of pharmaceutical stores at various locations in Lagos with the name ‘De Royal Treet Pharmacy’. In this interview with RAHEEMAH AROGUNDADE, she lists the essential ingredients for success in business.
What is your first business venture?
As a pharmacist, you can work in a hospital, practise community pharmacy or be an industrialist producing drugs. As it was back then, I had the impression that community pharmacy would afford me the flexibility I desired to take care of my family. Hence I chose to practise community pharmacy. My first pharmaceutical store was established in 1993. Others came not too long after.
What motivated you to start other businesses?
Aside that my other businesses were borne out of necessity, I always desired to contribute my quota towards the society’s development. After the pharmacy, I established a school in 2006 to train brilliant students who will be future leaders within this country and beyond.
Also, I have always dreamt of having an event centre and rental service. When the opportunity came, I simply worked on it and in 2009 started the event centre and rentals.
So far, how are the businesses doing?
Managing a business requires great effort, let alone managing more than one. At first, it wasn’t so rosy combining all the businesses; but with time, I realised I had to employ an efficient manager who ensures that all business activities run smoothly by following the Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for each of the businesses.
What major challenge have you faced as an entrepreneur?
The greatest challenge I have faced is manpower. Like they say, getting the round peg into the round hole can be quite difficult. Likewise, getting the most suitable and qualified professionals for each of the businesses posed a challenge. Getting professionals to work in the pharmacy was difficult. Also, getting education specialists and grounded academics to work in the school was similarly challenging. In the event centre and decorations, we use casual workers most times. We ensure that we have a list of casual workers who we call at any time we need their services. For the school, we employ competent and qualified teachers whom we train in-house. We also employ suitable professionals for each of the pharmaceutical shops.
What advice do you have for prospective entrepreneurs?
First, whatever business you decide to go into, have sufficient knowledge about it to prevent extremely bad situations. Being adequately equipped will prevent mishaps.
Second, adequate management of staff is very important. This is because staff management differs according to business.
In addition, having a comprehensive and unambiguous business plan is required. By doing this, you know exactly what you want to achieve. It will further help you prevent waste of resources.
Also important is the separation of the finance for each of the businesses. It is wise to know the appropriate authorities administering and regulating the activities of that specific business.
Given the chance to start all over, what would you do differently with the wealth of experience you have gathered so far?
I would avoid things that would make me lose a lot of money, which include selling on credit.
To run a successful business, what are the important factors to consider?
For a business to run successfully, one would require adequate manpower, financial discipline, appropriate timing of the business, intensive marketing and advertisements, drawing a business model and plan, and employing proficient personnel and sufficient financial capacity.
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