Keji Olufemi Ogunjobi is the chief executive officer of Easiclean Top Managers, which focuses on general cleaning and fumigation services.
Keji started this business in 2013 and was motivated by her husband, mother and determination not to be idle.
“I did not want to be idle,” she says.
“My mother and my husband also played big roles. I just left the corporate world and also just relocated from Port Harcourt to Lagos State, and I thought of what to do that will not take my time and will also give me money and satisfaction,” Keji explains.
The entrepreneur believes in starting small and growing big. This prompted her to start by meeting with different people who were in the business. From them, she learnt the art of cleaning. As someone with a background in marketing, she was able to source jobs for them before launching hers.
“It is a wide spectrum business with so many horizons and if you channel your energy right, it is a profitable business,” she discloses.
She initially started without an office. But today, she has a physical office in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos.
With five permanent staff and other ad hoc members in her employ, Keji is redefining the post-construction cleaning services.
“Having weighed my options over the years, I realised that the business is a bit risk-free. Some people were also security conscious, especially for their female children. So, I narrowed it down to post-construction where my team and I will just go to the site, clean up and go afterwards,” she elucidates.
The entrepreneur started with the commission got from a job.
“In this business, money is not a problem. It is your ability to get people’s approval. Social media can also contribute, but, initially when I started, I had to approach people and convince them. I later had to narrow it down to post-construction cleaning and then I went to sites to hand out my flyers and I followed up,” she says.
For her, economic lull does not, in any way, affect this business. This is because people will always build houses regardless of the economic situation.
“Even if there is war, people will still build,” she quips.
Keji is a wife and mother. Many may wonder how she combines business with family. The entrepreneur provides an explanation.
“Work is work, no matter what. People try to leverage other people’s time and knowledge. At times, when a job is demanding and it affects my children, I ask my friends or family to help.”
She further says that Lagos is a land of opportunities. For her, anyone who does not work will not eat in the mega city.
“But once you are known, jobs will look for you.”
She is a participant of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Mentoring Programme, which turned out to be her breakthrough.
“LCCI was my breakthrough. It made me aware of some facts like having my business card always; the importance of accountability, finance management, advertisement, and proper business structure,” she says.
“LCCI through its mentorship has helped a lot. They taught us what percentage of tax to pay and also how to pay it.”
Where will the entrepreneur like to be in the next five years?
She says her next move is to collaborate with real estate owners and companies.
If given an option to choose between being an entrepreneur and working for someone, Keji says she will always want to be an entrepreneur.
“I have always been an entrepreneur, even while in the corporate world. I am a cleaner, designer, stylist, and I sell fabrics.”
She will also be happy if all her children eventually become entrepreneurs.
“I would love them to become entrepreneurs. That is why I am teaching them at young age to know the value of money and work for it.”
Like other entrepreneurs in the country, Keji faces some daunting challenges.
“The biggest challenge is visibility,” she says.
“I want the brand to be well known.”
She tells Start-Up Digest that she is able to handle any amount of contract in her industry.
She is equally following up with changes taking place in her industry in terms chemicals and their applications.
When asked to evaluate her growth since starting, the entrepreneur says her margins have grown 300 percent.
Many entrepreneurs in the country have mentors. Hers is Ibukun Awosika, chairman of FirstBank of Nigeria, motivational speaker and business magnate.
She has a piece of advice for her younger self.
“Keep your eyes on the prize. With the right information and right steps, you will get your destination.”
She tells those willing to start the business to go for proper training and attend symposiums that will help them grow their business.
For unemployed Nigerian youths, she counsels:
“A Chinese man once said that dollars are on the street of Lagos. If you are determined and you want to be different, do not wait for a white collar job. Start whatever you can, but just ensure you get busy.”
- By ODINAKA ANUDU