Mark Onoja, a Building graduate of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria is currently helping startup business to grow by giving tips on how to build the business of other people and claims it’s a mandate for him. His flair for building other people is spurred from the challenges he experienced while in school. He shares with TellMyStory how he turned his challenges into blessing and business venture.
How He Ventured Into Developing Other People’s Business:
After a programme was held in our fellowship in school called ‘Discovering purpose’. Then I was in 200 level so after the programme I prayed and asked God for direction. That programe was a defining moment for me and made me discover my ability in public speaking and addressing people on different subject matter. Public speaking was natural to me and I naturally have a way of commanding people’s attention. I was well known as an MC in school. So during service year, I held training and seminars for corp member. So, alongside a company we taught corp members on project management. After service year, I worked in a business development firm for few months. But at a point, I left and started doing business on my own. So in January, 2014, I started business and started training professionals based on the background I had on business and professional management, HR, Marketing, Sales, Interior training. So indirectly I started developing other people’s business from while I was in school.
His Business Venture:
I have always worked with startups. That is the vision behind what I do which I call Start Up academy. I have worked with popular brands like Fela Durotoye. I have also worked with team that conducted trainings for firms like Shell, NNPC. I have also trained individuals from banks like FCMB, Zenith, GTB. But most importantly, I have worked mostly with startups. Mostly when I meet people doing business, they always have one challenges or the other which they are facing. So I took interest in giving them advices that will help their businesses grow. These advices were based on my personal experience of challenges on how to grow a budding business.
How Startup Academy Was Born:
My business crashed in 2015 and I was taken aback. I started praying to God for a way out. But then God told me, ‘your business won’t grow except you help other businesses succeed.’’ So I followed the instruction and did my first business training on whatsapp. I gathered a few of my friends who are in different part of the country and created a group on whatsapp and did a business seminar for them. The seminar was, according to them very useful and one of them said some of the things I taught were things he learnt while tasking a business lecture in Harvard. So, I took the whole training to a new level and one of my friends suggested the name Startup Academy.
So the training started growing and I kept adding more people to the group on whatsapp, then I went on Facebook and later started conducting seminars and business were kicking up as a result of the trainings. So I deal with startups and established businesses and this whole idea of helping other business grow was God’s idea and not entirely mines. That’s why I call myself the Co-founder of Startup Academy while Jesus is the founder.
The challenges which a startup business is confronted with are numerous. I have faced such numerous challenges and that’s why I decided to help other startups based on my experience. Nigerians perception to trainings is not that positive. Sometimes you have adverts about your upcoming trainings and put in a lot of logistics but people don’t eventually turn up. Nigerians just have this negative perception about trainings. The issue of epileptic electricity is another major challenge killing businesses in Nigeria. So, an enabling environment to carry out business successfully in Nigeria is absent. Nigerian environment doesn’t favour product-orientated businesses. It is a huge challenge. If there is constant electricity in Nigeria, many businesses will flourish.
How He Tackles the challenges:
Challenges will always be there, the most important thing is how you handle it. Heaven is the only place where there is no challenge. Challenges are an avenue to be creative and innovative. So in the midst of the challenges, I always find a way. I have held trainings on whatsapp in instance where distance is a challenge. So, challenges will always be there, but it’s not an excuse.
Advise to start up owners facing numerous challenges:
Leading of the Holy Spirit, Daring big things and the challenges I go through. So, its important to prioritize your relationship with God, because if you walk closely with God, he will reveal to you your essence of existence. Also, have faith and be daring and bold. It always looks impossible until it is done. Accept failures. Many people don’t like failures but its from failure you make success. It was out of my failed business that Startup Academy was born. So failure is an integral part of success. Its not just about complaining about how bad the country is or our political office holders has failed us but find solution to the problems.
Mark Onoja is a StartUp Development Expert that focus on helping Startups and Small Businesses Grow and Double their Profit in less than 90 days. You can connect with him on: www.linkedin.com/in/markonojastartupexpert or