Every Business Needs Innovation and Right Thinking-Chief Ubogu

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 High Chief Michael Orobosa Ubogu, popularly known as ‘Big Striker’ is the CEO of one of the fastest growing Stevedoring companies in Nigeria, Micura Services Limited. Apart from his knack for business, Michael is also into grassroots humanitarian services in sports and education and motivating young entrepreneurs through public speaking in conferences and seminars. Today, Micura is a brand when it comes to outsourcing manpower with highly trained and qualified staffers in Nigeria. This renowned serial award-winning entrepreneur and advocate of business diversification recently spoke with Mindset Media Limited and Gabrio Voice Magazine in his palatial office, how every business owners (entrepreneurs) must have financial management skills to sustain their businesses and other sundry issues in entrepreneurial leadership.


What is Retail business?

Well, to my layman definition, retail means small shop chains or sub dealers between producers and wholesalers. The person that deals on retail business is called retailer. Every retailer must know his or her market structure in order to succeed in business.

What is the major challenging factor in retail business coupled with the present economic hardship in Nigeria?

I don’t really see any challenge, it is for every business, the most important thing in business is the start-up capital, and you need money to rent a shop and put goods into the shop. As a business owner, you must have financial management skills in order to deal with everyday challenge in business. If you don’t have financial prudence, your business will definitely collapsed in due time. There are two different people in business, a man that is educated and a man that is financially educated, that is; financial literacy. You might have a PhD in any of the social sciences but go into business and failed abysmally, because you are not financially disciplined. Many people don’t know how to do business, differentiate the cost of sales, it entails how much you buy, parking of your vehicle, taxes, if you do your profit and loss account, then it gives you your unit cost. Many people only interested in buying and selling without adding their unit cost. In everyday life, for you to succeed in business, whether is retail, wholesale or manufacturing, you must be financially disciplined.

What are the gains of economic diversification?

You know I have been an advocate of business diversification over the years. You see many global chains that have succeeded from generation to generation, it is mostly they succeeded as a result of diversification of their businesses. If you remember when Alhaji Aliko Dangote started, as a trader and later diversified into manufacturing from salt,flower,cement,sugar etc.If someone like Dangote with all his might and wealth could diversify his portfolio or earning power, so every small  business should also look towards that direction. Diversification would also help, if one line of business is not working, the other line can cover up. For instance, many people don’t build houses during rainy season, so if you are in this kind of business, you are to think off the box for complementary alternative to pay your bills as building materials dealer. If you are diversifying, it should be within the context of your business. I am not saying here that you cannot go out of your business. If you are selling charcoal, you can as well sell gas, kerosene, stove, and firewood but in some cases you can start producing purified natural water but common economics says do business where you have comparative advantage. You must diversify into business you have trust, passion and market structure.

What is the secret of your business sagacity?

Knowledge is power. I cannot stop learning everyday. It is only a foolish person that says he or she does not want knowledge in life. You can learn from people, you learn from reading books online and print. For me, I wake up every 4:30am to read and 6:00am, I go to gym. I do read in the office too. As an entrepreneur who wants to succeed in business, you must have business versatility.Today; big companies are swallowing up the small companies due to competitive versatility. Small companies can as well sign MOU to do business with the big companies. Business diversification is the best option for any economy of a nation to grow. Do you know that flour mills is now producing Chin-Chin, they have done their research and found that this can pay some of their bills but not voluminous income per se. There is already a market structure for the business. It still boils down on planning, if you plan well, you succeed, if you don’t plan, you fail.


Does this present economic hardship affect your company in terms of retrenchment, which many private companies including the banking sector are embarking upon now?

We are not retrenching but employing workers into our company both direct and indirect. What you need in business is innovation and nothing more. If you refuse to innovate, you die.Before,we were working under the maritime sector, but today, we have federal government license from the ministry of Labour and Productivity for outsourcing manpower and many private companies are following suit now. For Micura Services Limited, we are looking at the future and how to grow beyond the shores of Nigeria. You must innovate and listening to your clients and provide solutions to their problems, If you must succeed in business or life.

Do you still have confidence with this present government?

Well, I still have confidence with this government; most of these problems are inherited from previous administrations. President Buhari is not the cause of the international market oil fall. Many states are not diversifying than waiting for federal government monthly allocations but Lagos State is ahead of all the states in Nigeria because of innovation and diversification to boost their internally- generated revenue over the years. Many states are beginning to copy Lagos State style of economic innovation. In the coming months, things will get better in Nigeria because of the opening market operations.

Lastly, what makes you humble in life?

God never punished Nebuchadnezzar for worshipping idol but pride caused his downfall when he felt it was his power to do great things on earth. If you can defeat pride, you can defeat any other thing in life. There is no limit to pride, when you humble yourself, even your least worker will respect you. But when your workers see you and fear you, then, there is something wrong with you as a boss. There is difference between fear and respect, as an employer of labour, your worker should respect you not fear you. If your workers fear you, when you are not there, the work stops but if they respect you, the work continues because they want the business to grow in all ramifications.




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