Wuraola Ayeni Ogungbola: Conquering The World One Business At A Time
Wuraola Ayeni Ogungbola is a food manufacturer, coach, mentor and entrepreneur. She is also a business consultant, who helps entrepreneurs navigate through avoidable mistakes to help them make better business decisions. The new author speaks on her almost two decades pursuing entrepreneurship and her ‘crazy idea’ to launch three books in one day.
How did you start off?
I, practically, had no help and everything has been grace, hard work and a can-do spirit. Hearing ‘no’ doesn’t crush me; it only encourages me to keep going till I get ‘yes’. I constantly needed to prove myself, as nobody believed in me. My parents are typical Africans and I don’t want to classify myself as a rebel, but I go for what I want. It has been a long journey, but God has been faithful.
Take us a bit through your journey till date?
I don’t know if I can properly enunciate what I have been through in the last 14 years of entrepreneurship, but I can say for sure that it has been God guiding me. I have also had support of my family and staff holding down the fort when I have not been physically present and I don’t take these for granted. As any entrepreneur knows, doing business here is very tough. There are so many obstacles we have to face daily that weakens, even the strongest person, but I remain standing.
Why did you think this was the right time to put out these books?
There’s never a right time to do anything. If I had waited for the ‘right time’, I would never have had anything done. Launching three books and a product in a single day is no mean feat, I remember when I said I was going to do this, and some people told me I was crazy. It means a lot to me that people see and appreciate the work I do. Initially, I developed cold feet just after I started but I am happy I was able to do it. The books, “Building A Great Brand”, “Food Manufacturing” and “Recovering From A Failed Business” are gems that I know would speak to a lot of people. Many people ask how I have been able to build my brand and scale it to a global level and the book answers these questions by chronicling my journey into building this brand I own today, including steps to take and things to avoid. Food Manufacturing isn’t just about food alone but teaching you as a business owner how to actually run your business. “Recovering From A Failed Business” comes from a place of failure as I have done so many businesses in the past. I’ve failed and learnt from them and glad I experienced those losses when I did. I want to guide others from making the same mistakes. It has been a struggle growing into what I have today and I poured out everything into these books. My message to other entrepreneurs is that you can do it; the only validation you need is in you. You don’t need anyone’s approval to do anything; your investors and people are looking up to you.
Apart from coaching and mentoring, how else do you help others?
I also do one-on-one training and this is something they can read on their own and benefit. A lot of business owners are struggling and don’t know what to do. This may be partly due to the present economic situation and also due to wrong advice or guidance. I want to see people flourish and I do this in every way I can through any means possible. I get my inspiration from travelling and road trips. When I am stressed, I get into my car and drive and it helps me clear my head. I feel businesses need to go the extra mile as many businesses are suffering. How do you transition from that phase into a global brand is the question that many ask me. As I said, I am in school now and I get so much value and insight from my learning and I am incorporating these things into my businesses and giving others this knowledge freely is important to me.
14 years later, is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Absolutely not. My journey is beautiful, perfect and something that has helped and shaped me into whom I am today. I do not dwell on failure; when I see an obstacle, I face and overcome it and look forward to the next challenge. I don’t think I want to change anything about this journey, as I don’t think I would have had a better life than this.
What has been a major incident that threatened to derail you?
Last year, in a space of about three months, I lost N7 million. I wasn’t duped, it was just bad business decisions and this was part of what spurred me to write this book so that others do not fall into the same trap I did.
First and foremost, do your assignment, background work and research before embarking on anything. Then believe in yourself, do not let anything stop you and even if no one is cheering for you, just keep doing what you’re doing and your time will come.