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 Toba Obaniyi, CEO and Co=Founder of WhoGoHost Nigeria.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and whogohost.com as a brand you represent?
My name is Toba Obaniyi, a graduate of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University. I currently run WhoGoHost Limited.
WhoGoHost is a hosting company that offers services that would help anyone get their website online in minutes. We also offer add-on services that would help improve our user experience. Some of our offerings include hosting, domain registration, Google Apps for Business, SSL certificates, Server provisioning, etc.
2. How did you get started in business and what did it take for you to get to where you are today?
I was introduced to WhoGoHost by her founder, Opeyemi Awoyemi. Back then, WhoGoHost was basically a reseller and he felt it was time to grow the business to the next level. He saw something in me and trusted me to take the business that had so much potential to the next level. I was still green around the ears, but I had passion and that was enough to start with. My passion drove me to learn, never give up, and think of ways to improve the services we offer. I believe the never-give-up attitude was crucial in getting me to where I am today.
3. Did you know you were going to be an entrepreneur all along, or did it happen by chance?
I never planned to be an entrepreneur. I was the standard student. I read my books with plans of getting employed in an IT firm and that was it. I however crossed paths with several people who challenged me and made me realize that there was more to life than following the status quo. That is how it all started.
4. Whogohost offers Nigerians the chance to register and host their domains locally; can you share with us some of the benefits of doing so?
One of the major advantages of hosting with local providers is the fact that you pay in Naira. Our clients have several payment options available to them that foreign providers cannot possibly offer. We also offer support that can attend to unique Nigerian needs. You may call us, chat us up or if necessary walk up to our office if you have any challenges. Our hosting packages are also well structured with cheaper options than most foreign providers offer. You can get started with as little as N2,500 per annum!
5. From Whoot Africa’s survey, registering and hosting a domain in Nigeria cost 5-6 times the average rate of these domains outside Nigeria; why is this so and how do you encourage people to patronize your platform where the price difference is so obvious?
That is not necessarily true. Popular foreign hosting providers offer shared hosting at a price tag of about $3.71 per month (which is roughly N7,300 per annum). This may be the cheapest option available. We however offer several options starting from as little as N2,500 since not everyone needs unlimited disk space and bandwidth (which in itself is not completely accurate). Most of our clients subscribe for the N2,500 because it is cost effective and does what they want.
From my research also, I have found some popular foreign providers that offer .com domain registrations for as much as $15 while we sell the same for N1,700. We also have a domain reseller solution that can offer even lesser prices than this.
While cheaper options definitely exist, the ability to pay in Naira and the ease of access of our support team is definitely good reason to consider us above foreign providers. We also offer .ng domain names at very affordable prices. These domains are not available with foreign providers.
6. The Nigerian business scene is not for the faint hearted, if you had to sell doing business in Nigeria in a few words to an investor, what would they be?
Nigeria is a tough market, but the potentials are definitely abundant. While others see problems, I choose to see opportunities. Eventually, when all the challenges are resolved, those who weathered the storm when it was tougher would be glad they did.
I would say that even while many complain of the tough business environment, so many have succeeded by providing solutions that no other person thought of.
7. What are your thoughts on E-commerce fund sourcing? Are there any techniques that helped you with funding your business that you would love to share with those who are still in the process of turning their start-up ideas into business ventures?
My thoughts on E-commerce fund sourcing, is that entrepreneurs should start with a MVP (minimum viable product) that they can fund themselves, and once they have reached some stage, they become more attractive to investors. WhoGoHost was already doing N1m in monthly revenues before we even considered outside money.
8. What keeps you and the Whogohost team motivated?
What keeps us motivated at WhoGoHost is our vision which is “To be the largest web hosting company in Nigeria and to be a force to reckon with in Africa.” Our clients being appreciative, also keeps us motivated and allows us to believe that it is possible to give great services in Nigeria.
9. How do you envision Whogohost in 5-10years from now?
In 5-10years from now, we envision WhoGoHost to be amongst the top Information Technology service providers in Africa and to be affiliated with many international bodies across the globe.
10. What do you love most about your business and life as an entrepreneur? At what point did you decide Whogohost was it for you?
What I love about being an entrepreneur is the challenge it brings and no monotony. It gives me the room to try a different approach, think of new and exciting ways to achieve a greater result. Like I earlier said, I never planned to be an entrepreneur. I was the standard student. I read my books with plans of getting employed in an IT firm and that was it. I however crossed paths with several people who challenged me and made me realize that there was more to life than following the status quo. That is how it all started.
11. What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
The most important skill for one who wants to be successful in business; one must have the ability to be persistent, consistent, certain, patient, an out-of-the-box thinker, and openness to feedback and criticism.
12. Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
13. What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The biggest risk I have ever taken, is the decision to be an entrepreneur and not to go job hunting at any time
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 believe education is a challenge and a big risk, as it is overrated in this part of the World because the educational structure in Nigeria makes it not worth the while spent acquiring it. The world searches for knowledge and skills, while in this part of the world it is based on certificates.
Though, over the years lots of entrepreneurs have proven that it is not based on your certificate; but it all depends on what you want to do to add value to the world.
15. What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
The most important piece of advice I will give to young entrepreneurs goes thus “if you believe in an idea, make it work, do not give up, keep trying and even when you fail, you have only learnt something new.
If you missed the previous parts of the 15 Questions with the CEO series, please click here