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Adebola Famoroti’s Elixir for Businesses
From computer engineering to marketing and business coaching, Adebola Famoroti finds her passion in helping many people transition from their careers into successful entrepreneurs and building lasting customer relationships, writes Vanessa Obioha
Adebola Famoroti evinced a gift of the gab right from childhood. It was a trait that remained with her as she segued into adulthood. Therefore, when she decided to wear the toga of a business coach last year, it fitted her perfectly as she enjoyed the process of imparting knowledge on others.
Famoroti, a Lagosian did not initially set out to become a business coach. Her first love was computers.
“I’ve always loved computers right from secondary school. When I got into the university it was a no-brainer that I was going to study computer engineering. So, having that combination of electronics and computer engineering was stunning, exciting and challenging,” said the business coach in a recent meeting at her office in Ikeja where she leads a team in marketing communications.
While at the university, Famoroti got the opportunity to build her own computer and kept it for a long time, with the hope that her children would see her work. After graduation, she found herself at Habib Bank where she worked in the IT department. Her stay, however, was short-lived.
“I was not just a bank person. I wanted to practice IT in an IT company and not a bank,” she explained.
Although she eventually worked with an IT company, MTech, Famoroti began to develop an interest in marketing. She approached her boss and requested to be transferred to the marketing department even though she had no formal training. Being a fast learner, it was only a matter of time before she learned the ropes.
“With my tech background, it was very easy for me to talk to clients and sell technology to them.”
Her expertise came into full view when she joined Connect Marketing Limited in 2008. By then, she had acquired an MBA in Business Management, Marketing and Related Support from Business School, Netherlands. She also holds a certificate from Lagos Business School in Account Management Process and was one of the first two Nigerians to be certified and receive a Diploma from the European Sponsorship Association in London, England.
“While I had my first marketing experience at MTech, I was eager to learn the core of marketing and I knew the best way to do that was to work in a marketing agency,” she said.
However, her boss could not fathom why someone with a computer engineering background would want to work in a marketing agency.
“But my MD believed in me. From the first day, he gave me the chance. It wasn’t easy coming into the field and seeing those who had years of experience. I struggled to adapt because I was trying to be somebody else, forgetting that I’m me. I don’t need to be like somebody else. I just need to understand the principle and apply myself to it. By the time I was able to understand that, I was able to grow. I grew in such a way that my MD was amazed that someone like me that did not have a marketing background would excel.”
From being an Assistant Manager at the Sponsorship/Brand and Strategy Unit of the company, Famoroti climbed the rungs to become the Senior Manager of that unit where she managed the accounts of top brands such as MTN, MasterCard, Pernod Picard, Stanbic IBTC to mention a few.
Despite the successes recorded, Famoroti had a few lows when she had to take a break from work to really understand her true calling. The lessons learnt from that period of self-reflection are the guiding principles in her life and career today.
Having left her job to start her own company, Famoroti today teaches businesses and emerging entrepreneurs how to build lasting relationships with their customers. Over the years as an employee, she mastered the art of customer relationships, not only with her clients but with everyone she comes across. According to her, every business has two clients, internal and external. The internal are employees, the external refer to customers. The way businesses treat these two sets of people largely determines their success.
She opined that because an employee is well paid does not mean that they would be nice to the customer. Customer relationships, she argued, must be embedded in the company’s culture.
“Customer service should be at the core value of every organisation. There should be no segregation. The employees should know that the customer who pays One Naira deserves the same respect and service as the customer who pays N1000.”
Famoroti is often piqued at how some businesses employ people with low customer relationship skills at the front desk and spend more time getting new customers without taking good care of existing customers.
“But they forget that if you take care of the customer you have today, they will spread the word around.”
In her view, no business can survive without a customer.
“If you don’t treat your customers well, your business will eventually suffer. I have seen instances where customers show impressive confidence in a business, especially during the COVID era. We need to stop advertising ourselves and make it more about the customers.”
One of the things she had realised in her dealings with young entrepreneurs is their lack of confidence.
“The truth is that most SMEs do lack confidence, and this is because of what they are exposed to. Our five senses are pretty delicate. And if you’re not careful, if you expose your senses to the wrong things all the time and you interpret them the wrong way, it sends the wrong message to your brain. So even things that you can ordinarily do, you start doubting yourself.”
Citing an example with celebrities, she said most people who long for their successes often ask the wrong questions.
“So I always ask what do you take out of this celebrity? Are you looking at their strategies and how you can apply them to your brand? Or are you consumed with negative thoughts such as jealousy? Or is your self-esteem affected? Or are you seeing something that no one else does? Many people spend time complaining about their flaws instead of getting out of their shells and pursuing their goals. With such a mindset, you have already limited yourself.”
The way she sees it, entrepreneurs need to boost their confidence to succeed in their businesses by asking the right questions.
She also pointed out the need for businesses to know their target market otherwise a business plan will not get clients for a business.
“You can have a structure and yet not have the clients. Even as a company, you can have everything in place but if you do not know your clients, you cannot get anything done. It is important that you research your target market.”
Result-oriented, Famoroti is keen on seeing her clients transition from their jobs to careers into successful businessmen and women. She does this by keeping her fingers on the pulse of the business and giving them the necessary guidance. However, she warned that she is not a magician.
With many career people toeing the path of entrepreneurship, Famoroti believes that every employee today should have the mindset of an entrepreneur.
“It is very important that an employee must have an entrepreneurship mindset because, without that, I don’t think any organisation will make you an MD. So even if you personally don’t own a business, you need to understand how to become an entrepreneur. If you want to get to the top, you must have an entrepreneurial mindset and it is not about gathering all the certificates. You must know how to manage a business,” she said.