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Abisola Tolu-Odutola

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Abisola Tolu-Odutola


Abisola is the founder and CEO of Mumspring – the multichannel retailer and manufacturer of baby and maternity essentials.

What problem does your company solve?
Having a baby is amazing yet there are so many things to consider. What to wear? What breast pump to buy? How to bathe a newborn?… the list goes on. We make it simple by helping mums find answers to their questions and all the products they need at mumspring.com

How did you come about the idea for your business?
When I had my first baby, I felt unprepared. There were so many things I wished I had known so I could feel more confident especially in that first year. Even worse, I sometimes had to visit three to five shops to find the right item for my baby and I never could find skincare that works for my sensitive baby. Then I realised that other mums had the same issue I was having. That realisation led to Mumspring.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Resilience. Focus. Adaptability.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
When I first started the business, I didn’t have a hiring process. This led to me spending a lot of time vetting people and sometimes rushing to a decision because I needed to end the recruitment process and get back to running the company. This led to cultural incompatibility between the company and a certain employee. Our hiring process had to change.

Based on my learnings, we now have a multilayered hiring process designed to ensure behavioural fit in addition to functional and cultural fit. We also have a performance management policy that reinforces the expected performance.

What motivates you?
My motivation stems from the difference I’m making. In five years, we would have created hundreds of jobs and ensured thousands of safe births. This vision keeps me going.

How do you generate new ideas?
Where there are problems, I see solutions. That is where my ideas come from.

How far are you willing to go to succeed?
I will work as hard and as smart as I need to, but I will not compromise my integrity.

What is your greatest challenge, and how do you manage it?
Balancing Relationships with Entrepreneurship. Sometimes my venture consumes all my time. For example, while my family was having a fun day on New Year’s Eve, I had to work because I had unanticipated deadlines. My husband has been extremely supportive in my entrepreneurial pursuits. He fills in with the kids when I cannot. I would not be able to work on this dream without his unwavering support.

How do you define success?
To me, success is making a difference. If I have all the money in the world and my community and nation is not better off for it, then I have failed.

To who do you most attribute your success?
God. All my success is attributable to God.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Every time a customer tells us how much they appreciate what we do.

What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
An entrepreneur is like a zero-coupon bond investor. You invest time and money today, for future gratification. A wise entrepreneur invests today such that even when he/she stops working, the dividends increase. Those who work for others get immediate dividends, which generally reduce or stop once the job ends. The fundamental difference between employees and entrepreneurs is tolerance for risk. The entrepreneurs that last are the ones that know how to manage risk and are adaptable. Smart Entrepreneurs are Risk Neutral. The average employee is Risk Averse.

What kind of culture exists in your organization?
Our culture is a meritocracy. We reward results, effort and teamwork.
In one word, characterise your life as an entrepreneur.
Skydiving.

How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Assess the situation. Contain the problem.
Determine the underlying cause. Create measures to prevent the underlying cause.

What do you do in your non-work time?
In my non-work time, I spend time with God – reading my Bible and meditating; dance and watch cartoons with my children; watch Netflix and chill with my husband and give advice to other entrepreneurs.

What makes you happy?
Solving a problem and making life easier for people around me.

Where you see yourself and your business in 10-20 years?
Stay tuned. I’m not authorised to spoil the surprise.


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Abisola Tolu-Odutola
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