Debisi Omoniyi is the Chief Executive Officer, Fusion 360 Degrees, a promotions management company that integrates brand activations, promotions and experiential consumer activations online. Fusion 360 Degrees is an end result of an entrepreneur who started a journey of a thousand miles with a step. Ayodeji Ake writes
Debisi Omoniyi’s rough journey to limelight started after his secondary education. While in school, he enjoyed drawing beautiful cartoons which made him the centre of attraction. He became popular for his special gift of drawing. Every Christmas, he drew cartoons, made paper masks and hawked to make money for himself. After his higher education, instead of haunting for job, he started a cleaning business where he packed refuse on the street before the advent of Lagos State cleaning services, which turned him to a laughing stock. He was not deterred however as he still held on to his dream.
Reminiscing he said: “While I was at school, I used to draw cartoons and every Christmas, I made hats to sell. My friends would laugh at me but then I didn’t care. I hawked these things. Even when in school, when coming from Kaduna, I would buy tuber of yams, put it in the truck and follow the truck down to Lagos. At a point I registered a cleaning business I ran before PSP came up. I packed trash and my friends would just say all sorts of things.”
Omoniyi, who is one of the biological scientists Nigeria can boost of, yet chose a marketing job in an insurance company, roaming on the streets of Lagos, persuading people to buy insurance policies. To him, marketing is a field to gather experiences on how to market ideas to people, which was one of the things that gave him an edge in becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Again going down memory lane he said: “It all started about a decade ago. I started as an insurance person but while doing that, you know working on the street of Lagos selling life policies, was so tedious. For the fact that I was able to sell these policies showed me I can do anything because selling life policies is one of the most difficult jobs that anybody would ever take. I broke that barrier. I became so passionate about it and one of the things I did from a pure science background, I started reading journals, learning a lot more about marketing communications. I talked to some people and they told me they want to run some activities in Kaduna, I was asked to run a promo for them. I did that and fortunately, I was able to sell out. Then the real journey began.”
In 2009, Omoniyi thought of collating all his knowledge and experiences to start up something for himself. This gave birth to Fusion Marketing and Communications.
“Before the transition to Fusion 360, for like two years, it was very chaotic because as an entrepreneur, starting a business is very tasking. At a point, you will think you know people and the industry but it was a different ball game. Escaping that route, it was like a desert on its own but we have to get to the other side of the bridge. One thing that kept me afloat was that I was diligent. I got many offers while experiencing all these but I was committed to my passion to start up early. It took me about two years to win any major account which was the Frisland account. Between 2019 and 2012, it was very hectic. There were some many people pitching for the account but I was able to gather my experience. That was the major breakthrough. As we kept on workings with Friesland, some other companies came in and loved our work because I’m a creative person. I like to do what will make the brand exposed in terms of activation,” he said.
On challenges facing entrepreneurs, Omoniyi stressed on financing. He lamented there are millions of Nigerians who are great entrepreneurs with beautiful creative minds but lack the financial strength to establish themselves.
He said: “Retailers living in the rural area find it very expensive to go out to buy from the wholesaler. And even if they do, they have little profit margin. Another thing with brand custodians is that they don’t give credit, which is not helping. But here in our company, because we have seen enough, we give credit for not more than three days. But the finance is still the big issue. Ideas and passion drive success. There are people that have ideas but not passion and some with passion but no idea.
“For me, I had no money but the idea was there and I was above to build my passion from it. Everyone needs to know how to strive for success. We have youths that have big ideas and just needs a little drive. Every entrepreneur should strive hard with more creativity and passion.”
As a successful entrepreneur, Omoniyi said what keeps him going are his positive mindset and creativity, even when he had a lot of distractions and pressure buffeting him.
“As an entrepreneur, I have the passion about success and positivity. Anything that will drag down my positive thinking attitude, I move away from it. Even when I was facing these hurdles, it wasn’t easy as a family man. It got to a point I thought of dusting my CV to get a job but I was just too addicted to my dream. I believe that it’s when you want to hit big that’s when the major hit will come.
“For me, when I am so broke is when a payment is about to happen. So in those times, I relax and manage the situation, but in all honesty, there were so many potholes even as at now. But you need to be wary about everything. There were times clients would be on you and you will just be stressed out. I think it’s important to learn to manage people and situations” he said.