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.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and the brand and business you represent?
My name is Chris Ogunlowo. I’m the Creative & Principal Partner at Kwirkly – a growing advertising agency where we kick ass doing brilliant work and having fun. Our primary targets are small businesses. That said, we have room for businesses that are young at heart too. At the heart of our proposition is to help small businesses carve out a niche for themselves with creative work, especially in industries saturated by giants. So far, the result has been impressive.
2. How did you get started in Business and what did it take for you to get to where you are today?
Well, it wasn’t business at first. I pretty much started as a copywriter with two of Nigeria’s biggest advertising agencies. On the side, I was writing and giving talks to younger creatives’. The business side started kicking in based on the opportunities in the new economy as well as my appetite for more challenges and more fun. Kwirkly was formed to occupy an economic gap and, on the other hand, fulfill a personal desire to see brilliant work out there.
3. What were you doing before your Kwirkly kicked off?
I was working as a copywriter in an advertising agency, playing pranks, reading, ogling at dogs on Instagram and updating my blog. I still do all, except the first.
4. Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along or did it happen by chance?
I’d say both but more about Chance than a planned effort to be an entrepreneur, although I knew I was going to be selling something someday but not in the conventional sense of it.
5. What do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur?
About the business, I enjoy using creativity to help solve marketing challenges, and that is complimented with the awesome team that we have. It’s hard to know if we are even working, as everyone is having shitloads of fun. We only look partly serious around clients and prospects. Life as an entrepreneur is at one end overwhelming but fun. I love the uncertainty that comes with it. It fuels me and keeps me awake. I do have a penchant for using clever means to beat challenges, and life as an entrepreneur, provides that. It’s crazy in an amazing way. As an entrepreneur, especially as a founder, you’re everything rolled into one. Some skills will be learnt on the job and some innate talents will be re-honed, and time will be such a scarce commodity. But one needs to keep pushing, and with a good team, it’s easier.
6. What keeps you and the kwirkly team motivated?
Just the idea of doing cool, interesting and relevant stuff
7. What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
I’m not sure my list will be exhaustive. A strong technical knowledge will serve well. A good dose of Guts, Persistence, Intuition and Street Credibility should do, I think.
8. How do you envision Kwirkly in 5-10 years from now?
Possibly, opening an office on the moon
9. What are the obstacles you encountered in your business journey and how did you overcome them?
They aren’t obstacles as I get to learn from them. There are the typical challenges about making sure the team remains focus, managing tough clients, keeping the books, etc. And I think I have an open mind to almost everything and this basically puts me in the space of seeing things in a million lights.
10. How would you describe your leadership style?
I don’t know. My team members will have a better answer.
11. Why did you choose this line of business/service or product and when did you know it was it for?
It’s just cool to be able to create ideas that help push products and services. Merging creativity and business together, that is.
12. Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
I just have pieces of inspiring lessons that I’ve gathered from many people. Not sure I can sum everything up in one person.
13. What was the BIGGEST risk you’ve taken?
I’ve taken a lot of risks. I can’t rank them. Starting a business without a dime is definitely one.
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’m afraid there’s no absolute response to that. Education has its place and not everyone, depending on their pursuits in life, really needs to get a traditional education. While education has its business benefits, it’s not always necessary in every business situation. Common sense or street creds, for instance, aren’t taught in school. Or, are they?
15. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
Be clear on your idea, execute it well and fuck fear.
You can keep up with Chris Ogunlowo via his personal website – www.chrisogunlowo.com (Kindly ensure your creative seat-belts are on at all times when visiting)