Here on Whoot Africa, we not only showcase brands, but we also talk to the people behind those brands and have them share with us their back stories as well as give tips on how to successfully start and run a business.
Welcome to Whoot Africa’s – 15 Questions with the CEO.
Today, we will be talking with Allie Morse, CEO of Lamudi.com.ng
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and Lamudi.com.ng as a brand you represent?
Lamudi.com.ng is Nigeria’s very best and premier real estate marketplace. We launched in 2013 and already have incredible traction in the market- with thousands of visits by Nigerians and those outside the country every single day.
Originally Canadian, I have lived across the world- in the UK, Singapore and Sierra Leone. However I feel particularly privileged to live in Nigeria, and call Lagos home. Nigeria is one of the most vibrant places on earth, and the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of people never ceases to amaze me.
2. How did you get started in Business and what did it take you to get to where you are today?
With a background in business development and enterprise- building across Asia and Africa, I always knew I wanted to build a business that would change people’s lives. I think grit, determination and flexibility are the most vital skills that have helped me along the way.
Lamudi.com.ng is the result of an incredibly hardworking team. I came to Lamudi from the finance sector in Singapore, and I am passionate about building a business that embodies nothing but the best. We are excited to create transparency in the real estate sector, allowing people to find the best homes more easily online, and create a platform for the best of the industry to promote themselves
4. Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along, or did it happen by chance?
I’ve always been very passionate about building things from the scratch and watching it grow to become a great business providing services to thousands, even millions of people – which is what entrepreneurship is really about. I’ve always loved people- I believe great businesses are the result of a GREAT team behind them.
5. What do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur? And how would you describe your leadership style?
We are privileged to work with incredible partners, as well as the people that I have the opportunity to meet and interact with on daily basis- clients, customers and my team; are what I love most about my work.
My team is, without a doubt, the best part of the job. They keep me going, and their incredible energy and passion constantly inspires me and gets me excited to get out of bed in the morning.
My leadership style is collaborative, focused on how we can drive the business forward and inspire every single member of our team to be the very best.
We are incredibly excited to be changing the face of real estate in Nigeria for the better. We know that in 10 years when people think about the best, easiest, more convenient and reliable way to find housing, Lamudi will be first and foremost where they come.
7. What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
You must have drive, determination, and a deep commitment to the mission of your business. Your work is what you do every single day, and to be the best you really must love your job.
8. The Real estate industry in Nigeria is not for the faint hearted, how do you navigate this industry, and what are your thoughts on the Nigerian Real Estate market?
I think the Nigerian Real Estate market is an example of an industry where there is much opportunity to create transparency for consumers, as well as opportunities for the best of the business to set themselves apart.
At Lamudi Nigeria we work with the very best, as you can see when we visit our website. Anyone can upload their property for sale or rent, however in order to be a Lamudi ‘trusted seller’- we personally verify agents and their properties.
We believe there is huge room for growth of viable, respected businesses in this industry, and are excited to be working with the best to usher it in a new era, and mitigate some of the dangers around real estate in Nigeria. I have learned to view the business through the eyes of the customer, this is a great way to identify things we might easily have missed from the entrepreneur position.
9. What are the obstacles you encountered in your business journey in Nigeria and how did you overcome them?
I think everyone in Nigeria can speak about the obstacles and challenges. Running a business in Nigeria, you have to deal with the usual infrastructure, internet and power challenges and of course the traffic! However, I think one of our major obstacles so far has been building the confidence of Nigerians towards searching for properties online. I am happy to say however, that more people are increasingly relying on the internet for finding great properties and the fact that we are a reputable, global company is a huge plus in this business. It has nonetheless been extremely rewarding overcoming these challenges to see the fruits of your actions.
10. If you had to choose repeatedly, would you decide for or against doing business in Africa? What has life being like for you as a foreigner doing business in Africa? Would you encourage your colleagues to come down to Africa to invest?
If I had the chance, I would absolutely do it over again. Africa is an amazing place to live, work and do business; Nigeria specifically has so many opportunities for motivated, driven entrepreneurs to open up new markets and change people’s lives. I have been very fortunate to work with a number of wonderful Nigerian partners, and I would tell any foreigner interested in working or investing in Africa to ensure they spend the time finding strong local partners who know the market best. Ultimately, a partnership is about what each party can bring to the table, and I think there are a lot of opportunities for foreigners and Africans to work in partnership across the continent.
11. Why did you choose this line of business/service or product and when did you know it was it for you?
I think both real estate and technology are incredible industries, and bringing them together in a place like Nigeria opens up opportunities for both. I am passionate about helping people find properties- whether for investment or personal- in the easiest way possible. And I think the internet is an incredible tool to open up the Nigerian real estate market to the international market.
12. Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
The most influential people in my life have always been my parents, who have taught me that hard work, integrity and honesty are the most important measures of true success and happiness, in both business and life.
13. What was the BIGGEST risk you’ve taken?
I’ve made many decisions that some might, looking on from the outside, think of as unorthodox. However, I’ve always listened to my gut and weighed the pros and cons of each decision. If there is no risk, nothing you are afraid of, then the opportunity for reward is not as great. I’m a big believer that fear should be a motivator and a signal as to the direction that you should move- to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Fear, should mean go.
14. What do you think about college education? Should kids go to college now or get into business if they feel it’s a better choice? Considering some of the world’s greatest never had college education, your thoughts?
I think everyone has a different path when it comes to their own success. Formal education is a great opportunity if it’s an option, but as you say many highly successful and happy people don’t have a college education. I think the key is to always keep learning- from life and all the people around you.
15. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
Be as self-aware as possible, of what you are good at as well as your weaknesses. Always push yourself to be better at what doesn’t come naturally, and fill in the gaps with people around you who are good at what you aren’t. No matter who you are, there is always room to improve. And ultimately hard work and determination is what sets apart the ones who excel in the end. It is important to also understand what your main motivation is and focus on creating ways to grow and nurture your goals.
Keep going, stay focused on your goal and never, ever, ever get up.
If you missed the previous parts of the 15 Questions with the CEO series, please click here .