Always imagine your customer is in the room with you and keep them in mind constantly. Focus on their satisfaction with the goal. Stay open to ideas and be listening.
Amina Oyagbola has a LLB in law from Ahmadu Bello University, a Masters in Law from Trinity College, Cambridge and an MBA from Lancaster University Management School. She is an alumni at both London Business School as well as Harvard Business School and she was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983.
She started as a legal practitioner in 1986 and then moved into the corporate world, working at Crystal Bank of Africa from 1990 to 1994. She joined the United Bank for Africa in 1996 as a principal manager of legal and then became the head of the legal services division there. After obtaining her MBA in 2000, she joined Shell Petroleum Development company as the head of HR Strategy, Standards and Business Planning. In 2004 she joined MTN Nigeria, Africa’s leading telecommunications provider as corporate services executive. From 2008 through 2015 she also held the position of Human Resources Executive. In 2016, she was ready for a change and AKMS Consulting was born.
Amina Oyagbola is the founder of AKMS Consulting. She also works as a senior partner with Oyagbola Chambers and as the founder of WISCAR (Women In Successful Careers).
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Opening my own consulting firm just seemed to be the most natural transition for me. Consulting is a fantastic way for me to put all of my knowledge and experience together to help organizations to solve problems and grow. It helps me to keep my skills sharp while also contributing to the business community.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts early; usually I am awake by 4:30am. This is my morning routine peaceful time that I find supports well-being and health. I like to meditate, take a walk and have prayer time. After that, I will watch or read some news before breakfast. I’m in the office by 8:30am and I begin making phone calls and getting ready for meetings. Sometimes there is a speaking engagement that I need to prepare for. I leave the office at 7:00pm and I’m home by 8:00pm.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’ve learned that, first, you must have innovative ideas. Then comes the documentation and presentation of those ideas. After that, you must come up with a clear strategic plan, and then an operational plan. All these steps are vital in guaranteeing that you will be able to execute a plan once it is approved. This process is a very natural thing for me. I find it funny how ideas come to me at different times whether that be on a walk, while out eating or when I’m in the shower.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I don’t know if I would say that it excites me, but I’m fascinated with social media and how it has taken over our lives. There are many negatives associated with it, yet, so many positives. The possibilities of reaching customers almost instantly through digital marketing and the ability to have everything easily accessible by the click of a finger I find fascinating.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have speed and agility when it comes to responsiveness to clients/customers. It is something I have gained through years of rigor and discipline in a structured corporate environment where you must perform, achieve and deliver results. I believe my knowledge, experience and extensive network enables me to be more astute in helping my clients overcome their challenges.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could give advice to my younger self, I would tell her to find a mentor. I never had the opportunity to be formally mentored especially by a successful female professionaI really wish I had a formal mentor, I believe I would have progressed more rapidly and would have been more strategic in working towards my achieving my goals. WISCAR aims to close that gap.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That without entrepreneurs, an economy is hindered and cannot grow as fast as an economy that supports and nurtures an entrepreneurial mindset.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always imagine your customer is in the room with you and keep them in mind constantly. Focus on their satisfaction with the goal. Stay open to ideas and be a good listener – actively listen.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow my business was giving pro bono advice to some friends. As I showed them what was possible, they recognized that hiring me would add value to them and their businesses. I started with working for close friends and family and that turned in to referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. This allowed me to ensure that I was giving beneficial and quality service to my customers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, coming from the corporate world, I was not sufficiently sensitive to the price point on proposals submitted. I had to make adjustments very quickly to remain competitive. I now have a much better understanding..
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
People must know how to prepare a proposal and write it well. This is a skill that I feel we do not have enough of. When you’re bringing an idea to the table, it needs to be clear, simple and understandable. This is a skill that is critic and businesses will be prepared to pay for such a service at the right price point.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 that I have spent recently would probably be on the shoe insoles that I bought last year while on a vacation. My husband and I went on a cruise and I was speaking with the personal trainer on board. We were talking about how so many problems come from your feet. He recommended some insoles which I purchased and I noticed an immediate, significant change in my posture and balance. Overall, they have really made a huge difference to the quality of my life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft Office. It’s important to be able to navigate all the different aspects of it. It has enabled me to do a lot of the things that I need to do.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The one book that I believe has helped me in my professional life is “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I have read and reread this book many times in my life.
Another one would be “Grow Your Values” by Mika Brzezinski. It teaches you to know your value and reach your own potential. I have realized that a lot of things that I have learned through these books have had great benefits to me.
What is your favorite quote?
I have several, but one would be: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive. To do so with passion and compassion and humor, and some style.”
- Find a Mentor
- Be an Entrepreneur or have an entrepreneurial mindset
- Create a Routine that supports your mental and physical well-being
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.