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 360 Nobs Group as a brand?
My name is Noble Chibuzor Igwe; my good friends call me “Nobs”. I’m from Umuomaku in Orumba South Local government of Anambra State but was born and brought up in Aba, Abia State. I’m a graduate of Urban & Regional Planning from University of Nigeria, Nsukka with Certificate in Entrepreneurship Management from the prestigious Pan Africa University.
It’s a bit difficult talking about me but a few things stand out – I can’t have my bath with cold water, I don’t drink hot tea and I never miss an opportunity to speak Igbo.
The 360 Group is the company that I work for and they deal in diverse businesses. The 360Nobs Group comprises of 360Nobs Limited, owners of 360nobs.com, 360PR, 360Management, 360Productions, SLU…shh, and 360 Delivery Limited.
While 360Nobs Limited is mainly involved with entertainment and related businesses, 360 Delivery is a logistics company dealing in pick and delivery. However, by the end of the year The 360 Café, the 360 on TV and the 360Life Foundation will be launched by the 360 Group.
2. How did you get started in Business and what did it take for you to get to where 360 Nobs Group is today?
I’m one of those people for whom their hobbies translated into a business at the end of the day.
I’ve always loved events and while in paid employment I was flirting with event promotion and production on the side. Working as the Events and Sponsorship Coordinator for then; Virgin Nigeria, I was in contact with a lot of Nigerian celebrities and somehow the business relationship became a bit more personal and after I left Virgin, I started working as PR Officer for Mo Hits and then from Mo Hits to working with M.I. and from working with MI.. to working with Banky W.
Apart from PR for artistes, I conceptualized and started hosting the party known as SLU…shh which has been dubbed the biggest celebrity party in Lagos. In 2009, I figured that I would be need to properly set up a company to accommodate these ideas under one roof and so I started 360Nobs Limited and called on the assistance of two very good friends Oye Akindeinde and Tonia Soares to join as directors.
In 2010, I released that most of my day job salary was spent on buying clothes and I knew that was the moment to go into full time self-employment.
I can only thank God for where “The 360Nobs Group is today and believe me, it took commitment from Team360Nobs and a lot of selflessness from the people that work with us.
We practice a flat structure across the board and I think to a large extent that has contributed to people seeing the companies as theirs.
3. What were you doing before 360 Nobs Group kicked off?
I started my working career as a Fine Arts teacher in Gombe High School, Gombe during my service year then moved to Lagos in 2005 to work as a Call Centre Advisor for Virgin Nigeria and later moved to the Marketing department.
I left Virgin Nigeria in 2008 to join advertising powerhouse 141Worldwide and that was where I stopped my 9-5 career to start this round-the-clock career.
Looking back, I would say I had an interesting career with and the places that I worked helped shaped that me into this me.
4. Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along or did it happen by chance?
I knew someday, I was going to work for myself but I didn’t know the right time but I knew that the type of money and lifestyle that I wanted to have wasn’t going to come from a 9-5.
My dad is a big time entrepreneur and I knew I was definitely going to become one. I’m my father’s son.
5. What do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur?
I think what I love most is that it allows me the flexibility to be in a position that I can respond to this interview on a Wednesday at 3pm by a pool side somewhere in Victoria Island, wearing ripped denim and a t-shirt. I love the fact that I have an amazing team and even though I have not physically met some of them, we still communicate like we’ve known each other all our lives.
There’s no The 360 Nobs Group without the Team360Nobs. That’s the thing I like most about the business, the people.
6. What keeps you and the 360 Nobs Group team motivated?
We created a brand that we all love and we spend most of our time promoting and protecting it.
We constantly make every member of the team think-live- breathe 360Nobs. For me, knowing that I have a lot of people looking up to me, I do everything possible to make sure that we provide them with the resources to take care of themselves and their families.
7. What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
While I wouldn’t sit back and claim the status of a successful businessman, I think you need consistency and determination to forge forward.
Nothing good comes easy!
8. How do you envision 360 Nobs Group in 5-10years from now?
We have a plan to become a global brand out of Africa and we hope to achieve that in less than 10 years, God willing.
9. What are the obstacles you encountered in your business journey and how did you overcome them?
Every business encounters challenges from staffing issues to government policies but there’s one thing I live by, “Put your worries in the hands of God & go home to play Ludo”.
There’s no business or personal problems bigger than God.
10. How would you describe your leadership style?
I lead by being a follower and the Chief Marketing Officer. My colleagues all refer to me as “Nobs” and I listen to them on every issue relating to work and my personal life.
11. You have been criticized a lot on blogs and various websites by folks who constantly see the hole rather than the doughnut. Yet you keep coming back stronger and better with your creativity and ideas, what’s your secret? How do you handle all the negativity you get?
How do I handle all the online bashing? “Advil and Sunglasses”. (Yay Me. I have always wanted to say that in an interview).
The thing is, if your lifestyle and income keep improving with each passing day, you would realize that the most important thing is staying focused on the game and coming up with more innovative ideas to improve your environment.
For instance, we are launching “The 360Life Foundation to impact the environment that we operate in.
12. Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
My dad (Sir H.O.M. Igwe) and Sir Richard Branson!
My dad, because he proved that you don’t need to attend a University or live abroad to be successful in life, Richard Branson, because he makes his achievements look effortless and he does it in denim and a shirt. (Looks down at my ripped denim)
13. What was the BIGGEST risk you’ve taken?
Leaving paid employment for the unknown with no bank loan or investor. I mean, you really don’t win without trying and life’s too short “to eject USB files before unplugging”
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?
Here’s my sincere take on that, Get an education and decide what you want to do later. There’s no fun in hiring a lawyer to read your email or hiring an engineer to set up your email account.
There are loads of people out there with no education suffering; let’s not focus on the “few”.
15. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
Go Hard or Go home!
A lot of things will try to bring you down and if you don’t stay strong, you will go home empty handed. It won’t be easy but with determination, you will go far.
Keep up with Nobel Igwe at 360nobs.com