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Don’t stop talking about your brand —Akinola

Titilope Akinola, 24, is the Lead Planner/CEO of Lizablooms Events. In this interview with FEYISAYO POPOOLA, she shares her secrets of success in business

How did you find yourself as an event planner?

 I always want things done in a prim and proper way and because of this I had been made a member of different planning committees of events. I made a decision to work on this strength and make something better out of it. So I trained professionally as an event planner.

 What services do you render and who are your target customers?

 Lizablooms Events is an event planning and venue styling outfit for both corporate and social events as well as kiddies’ parties. Our target customers are people who have events coming up; events such as birthdays, weddings, funerals, graduations, and so on.

 What motivated you to start up your own business?

 Knowing that Nigeria has more unemployed graduates than the employed ones, I decided to start up a business rather than join the unemployed masses. I believe only one’s business is capable of paying one’s real due for what one has worked for.

 Also, I realised that there are so many events happening and most clients really don’t have the time and chance to run their event errands. So many of them fall back to hire event planners to do the job. It’s a way of solving people’s problems, making money and also making life better.

 How did you raise the initial capital for the business?

 I was able to save up during my service year. With the money I saved, I attended an event academy (Busybee Academy) where I trained as a professional event planner, manager and venue stylist.

 What is your educational background?

 I am a graduate of pure and applied chemistry from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

 What are the major challenges you’ve faced in business?

 Challenges come in different ways. For me, challenges came financially and emotionally. There were times I needed to work on my publicity (handbills, business cards, roll up banners and even apply for exhibitions). At those times when I was at my lowest, all I could do was to keep trusting and praying to God to make a way which He always does.

 Was there anytime you ever thought of quitting and seeking paid employment?

 Honestly, no.

 How did your family react to your decision to be an events planner?

 My family has been very supportive. Though they felt it was going to be demanding and stressful for me to cope with, they still gave their full support and prayers. They are the best family I could ever ask for!

 Is your business registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission?

 Yes

 How do you advertise your business?

 I advertise my business via social media networks (Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, and LinkedIn). I also don’t stop talking about my business and putting it in the faces of people (fliers and place cards).

 How profitable is the business?

 The Event Planning business comes with lots of stress and pressure but it is very profitable.

What is your staff strength?

 I have three employees.

 Do you have any mentors in the industry?

 I have been highly motivated by Funke Bucknor-Obruthe of Zapphaire Events,  Bisi Shotunde of Busybee Events, Bee Farotade of Bsignature Events, Maria-Pamella Nwonu of Nwandossignature Event, Bisola Borha of Trendybee Events and lots more.

 I am highly motivated and inspired by the works of these people and hearing them speak and learning from them help me be a better person in my business.

 What would you say is the most influential factor in your business’ success?

 First of all, GOD is my most influential factor. Then, interpersonal relationship with clients and excellent service delivery come more importantly.

 Has any celebrity patronised you?

 With us, every client is a celebrity. We take them as royalties.

 Aside from event planning, what other skills do you possess?

 Aside from organisational skills, I also possess analytical, leadership, communication skills, self-motivation as well as the ability to work under pressure.

 Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?

 I see myself and my business setting new trends in the event industry and becoming one of the fastest growing young brands highly recommended for excellent and top notch service delivery.

 If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting , what would it be?

 Be the best you can be always; don’t be motivated by money but be driven by passion. Learn, unlearn and relearn. Improve on yourself, train and become a professional. Attend seminars and conferences, do freebies; don’t stop talking about your brand. Stay true to your words and codes of service.

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