Odunayo Akinrinsola is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spids Logistics Limited. His success story is not only inspiring, but also challenging, and it is a must read for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to build their businesses from the scratch. In this interview with AKINWUNMI KING, explained that he searched for jobs for years without any success, which eventually led him to start a Logistics firm on a small scale and today, the business has grown from leaps and bound into a multi-million naira organisation, with rate of turnover beyond expectations. Excerpts:????
What inspired you into setting up a business after your university education instead of going after a white collar job?
The expectation of every graduate is to get out of school and get a job to earn a living. It was same for me too after graduation, but I soon realised that it was not easy as I thought it would be. I kept on looking for job but it seems the jobs keep running away from me.
Let me bring you up to speed on my experience so as to inspire our younger ones out there. After my NYSC, I came to Lagos and did several job tests but at the end, I was not shortlisted for the jobs I applied for.
Then one day something occurred to me that if I can’t find a job why can’t I create one?
That was the turning point. Fortunately for me, I have a friend who was into Logistics; I joined his team on a voluntary basis instead of staying at home making my services for free.
With that I learnt the rudiments of the business, I also did teaching job because I don’t like to stay idle.
At that time, I got a scholarship for a Post Graduate course in Netherlands and after the course, I came back to Nigeria and I decided to leverage on my experience on the business to start immediately, I reached out to some contacts.
I have been telling them what we do and how our approach will be different from others in our line of business.
God provided us with an opportunity through a contact, we got a contract from a telecommunication company that needed a Warehouse, which we got for them, that was our first job and from there on, and we started expanding gradually.
A friend later introduced me to Guinness, which was sealed also.
Our service delivery, competence and expertise in handling the jobs of our initial clients got us referrals that opened doors of business opportunities for us elsewhere.
What exactly do you do at Spids Logistics?
Spids Logistics Limited is an integrated Logistics solution provider, we are into Warehouse sourcing and management, Customized Warehousing, Inventory Management, Distribution and Redistribution of goods and services.
What we do is a reflection of our slogan- “Logistics at Its Peak”. Our drive is futuristic, always aiming for the top.
We want to be the best among Third Party Logistics Firm operating in this country. We have done jobs for Multinationals, Manufacturing Companies, Telecommunication Companies amongst others.
Does one need a lot of money to set up a business like this?
I started by understudying somebody who was also into the business and in the process I met so many people who took interest in me. So invariably, we can say that I started as an apprentice.
The most important thing is if you meet people who believe in what you can do, you don’t need huge capital to start the business, the business is all about trust and integrity.
What would you say has sustained this business this far?
With God all things are possible. The grace of God has kept us going. I must give all glory to God. Apart from that you must be a very good resource manager for you to succeed on this job, accountability also matters, transparency and discipline.
We do our best to deliver on promises. I strongly believe that a good name is better than all riches in this world.
So we committed ourselves to building and sustaining our good name. This has helped us tremendously. I always have this at the back of my mind- I have a name to protect.
Therefore, we earned the trust of our clients, who have succeeded in making us to believe over the years that when you can give us your job, you can go to sleep and we will deliver.
We have gotten referrals from big organisations, multinationals; it is because we have integrity. Moreover, we also do not joke with staff welfare, their salary is very important because they too have to make a living.-A happy staff is a healthy company.
How much would you say your educational experience helped you in this business?
I studied Accounting at Obafemi Awolowo University, I did Financial Management in Netherlands, I took another course in the US that is related to management.
Yes my educational experience has helped and is still helping me in the business especially in the area of cost management. On the other hand, it is not always what you studied in school that comes to play in the marketplace; it is all about what you can do, the people you relate with, and your perception of life and business. Because of competition I am always on my toes looking for new ideas that can give us the edge over others.
How would you describe life as the CEO, Spids Logistics Limited?
It is quite challenging, when you have a lot to think about, your family, the business, staff welfare, and the growth of the business –all of these matters to me. It is not all work and no play
. I play golf for relaxation, nobody is perfect but I try as much as possible to strike a balance between my work and family.
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I maintain a simple lifestyle, I am devoted Christian. I live a simple life. I am sociable person, but I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t womanize.
During my leisure time I like to dance, I play indoor games like Basketball, Scrabble and Chess. I love gadgets and cars but I only buy them when I think it is necessary.
Can we have a brief about your immediate family?
I got married in 2005, to the glory of God we are blessed with three children. My wife has been very supportive.
I always thank God for her. You need the support and prayers of your spouse to succeed as a business man. Like the saying goes, behind a successful man, there is a woman.
You are doing well in business, why do you suddenly develop interest in politics?
My joining politics is not sudden, I have being involved in politics since the days of SDP and NRC in the early 90s, I remember when I clocked 18, I was excited that I would be able to vote.
I was born into a Polygamous family from Ile-Oluji in Ondo state. I was born with a silver spoon but wasn’t trained with a silver spoon. I joined politics because I want to impact on the lives of people especially my people in Ondo State.
Our state is blessed with natural resources and if well managed, it will help to create millions of job opportunities for the youths. People will not have to run to Lagos to seek for better opportunities. Now is the time to make impact, and we can only achieve this for the populace through public office and the route to this is politics.
I admire people like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is the architect of a new Lagos and that is why people like me can succeed in this environment.
So why do you want to contest for the Governorship?
I have always love to put smiles on the faces of people and to do that I have to seek for a platform that I can reach out to many people.
We want to demonstrate how a peoples’ friendly government should be run. The moral test of any government should be how best you treat these categories of people – the downtrodden, those in the twilight of life and those in the shadow of life.
The first category are the children, a serious government must have a direct impact on these people.
I have identified in a way that they will feel the impact of governance.
The second category is the elderly people; they must be well taken care of, and the third category are the heath related challenged and physically challenged people, they see life as meaningless to them, they don’t see anything good in life anymore. A serious government must care for them and make them feel a sense of belonging.
You started Spids from the scratch, and now that you are going for a bigger platform, how do you translate your business experiences into running a state?
Experience they is the best teacher. I want to start by creating a good environment for investors to come into the state. I don’t joke with my staffs’ salary. And this is what I do to meet up with that obligation, we build understanding with our staff and we operate the principle of transparency.
The staffs want to see a leader they can trust, a just leader. They see the inflow and see what we spend from the company, it’s a symbiotic relationship and we trust one another, they know if the company is growing.
It is not proper to deprive staffs their salary because their families depend on it, and when there is no money we engaged in discussion and they suggest ways out of the situation.
It is even difficult to run a business than to run a government because in government there is ready made allocation coming to the state, while you source for money to run a business.
We have oil in Ondo state, we are bringing in investors that will generate jobs, the idea is that we won’t put all our efforts on the state on allocation alone from the Federal Account, so that we won’t run into problems associated with nonpayment of salaries that has affected most states in recent times
Source : Independent