By Anino Aganbi
Mrs Nkoli Ogbolu is the MD/CEO of Stagecraft Promotions Ltd. Having worked in different media organisations, her experience in the advertising industry has enabled her set up a business she enjoys doing. Besides carving her niche business wise, she takes time to be a mentor to youths. Business to her is not all about making money, the margin line might count but her staff are more important. Read on.
By Anino Aganbi
How was your past working experience able to help you build your business?
When I left the university, I worked as a journalist for a magazine. My boss was the publisher of central bank newsletter until he left and started his magazine called Nigerian enterprise magazine and beauty guide. Beauty guide was a soft sell for women. We were recruited to be advert representatives for a magazine. We had to cut our teeth on jobs we may not have made a career of but it helped in boosting our CV. I attended some interviews but didn’t get the jobs offered.I had worked with someone who used to be the Managing director of an advertising firm. I was combining three different jobs. I worked as a copy writer, audiovisual manager and also produced TV commercials. After three years, times became rough for business.
My husband suggested I should look for work in an oil company. at that point I understood that my husband didn’t know that my working in the advertising fitness what God wanted me to do so that my creative spirit will come out. As luck would have it, I applied for a job with Rosabeladvertising and got the job. They were looking for writers. I got the job as a senior copy writer. I started with Rosabel in 1987 and stayed there for twelve years. I was looking after my children and it wasn’t easy to switch jobs. I left there and worked with CSA. I thank God that all of this helped me start up on my own Business in 2003.
It was very rough at first but I have been at it for twelve years. It has had its ups and downs .Right now I am able to mentor young people and help them with their education. We have a mutual beneficial relationship. They hone their skills and go to school. My spiritually is very high and I don’t believe anybody can do anything for me except God.
Give us an insight into what your organisation is about.
My organisation is called Stagecraft promotions ltd. We want to do things differently. When we create and do advertising. You cannot call me that type of advertising practitioner that goes for pitches . Whatever we do, we want to do differently. In our own small way, we want to create that impact. We do a lot of below the line stuff. When we do it above the line, we do it fantastically. I am a copy writer, so ideas determine the work. When we prepare a proposal, we look for who we can sell these ideas to for the good of the society. That is what has also led me to International Women Society where I have been secretary for the past three years. We look at ways in which we can benefit people differently through communication. People do not know the gifts they have. It is just like what we do now, publicity for publicity sake. There are ways in which you can publicize yourself without shouting. I like making in-ways into peoples lives, impacting peoples lives, through the skills that you have and then creating so much good will that it returns to you .It is like a return on investment. So, you can quantify that in kind or in cash. There are people who will pay for your services in kind. There is a saying that says even if you live in the woods, there will be a beaten path to your door because people are going to be looking for you wherever you are because of that intangible thing you have that pleases them and impacts on them.
How does your business stand out from other advertising businesses?
You have to identify who your competitors are. Basically, what we do is think. We are a think tank. We look at the society and what needs to be communicated to the society for the public good. We fashion out a campaign and go about selling these campaigns to the government. We just finished one and we called it a-z of safety on the road. It was a massive bill board campaign we ran for government. We have also sold these same templates to a lot of people and are awaiting response from them. People have to learn to use money wisely. In advertising practice, a lot of advertising agencies go under because they do not know how to utilize money. It is not every time that big money for campaigns can come your way. What is important is that when it comes, you harness it so that when one does not come quickly, you still have enough to tide you over. It is not only in advertising, especially if you are a small or medium scaled business owner. When that money comes, there are bills to pay, and we invest. Business climes are not easy at all but if you understand that, you must be swift to ensure that your business stays afloat and you are able to pay those working for you. Simplicity is the hall mark of sanity. You must be kind and compassionate to people around you.
How has creativity improved you as a business woman?
The creative process already lends itself to improving people because as you go along thinking and creating; you see new things. You also are creating for a target audience and not just for yourself. You create to suit the purpose of the people whether they are hot tempered, rich, poor or nice. In so doing you are automatically learning new things and improve on your self. You will take all kind of things into consideration when you are creating. You do not just create of the cuff. You must create that advert within context knowing what the people want. Business wise, if you are able to create a message and reach out to people, you create an impact on them. Your clients may say this message was very effective, we will retain these people or increase their advertising spend. That way, you have improved the bottom line.
How does the economy tend to affect your business?
When I first stared out, I started small from my home. I made my staff understand it was more important I paid their salaries than to open a big office. As time went by, our bottom line increased so we rented an office. We ended up paying a whole lot of our hard earned revenue to the landlord. We did all that was humanly possible to put the office together. We were going out to look for business but they were not forth coming. We were forced to leave the corporate office and came back to operate from the house. It dawned on me that I would not spend that money. I would rather use it to benefit young men and women who were educationally disadvantaged and I would be their mentor. Whatever gifts they had, they would bring to the collective in exchange for scholarship for education.