Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq Idowu is a student of University of Ibadan. He is a tutor and the founder of DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE, a company that is into importation and exportation. Adegoke loves what he does and advises young entrepreneurs to look before leaping into the harsh business environment of Nigeria. We at InterviewStories recently talked about some of the things he does and he gave his responses. Below is the interview with Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq Idowu popularly known as Umerium.
Can we know you?
I am ADEGOKE UMAR-AL-FARUQ IDOWU by appellation, a medical undergraduate student of University of Ibadan, from the department of Environmental Health Sciences, faculty of Public Health, college of medicine, UI.
What do you do?
I’ve been a tutor, who tutors in different tutorials for both A-level (Cambridge, JUPEB and IJMB) and O’level (JAMB and WAEC) for the past 5 years and still ongoing. Also, I’m a computer operator and engineer who deals with software.
Recently, I became a legitimate importer and exporter to Nigeria and different countries. I am also the founder of my organization: DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE which deals with the importation and exportation of goods across the globe.
Tell us a little about your tutoring days
I started tutoring at a very tender age. I was in SS2 when I started teaching a JAMB class. It was as if it were my gift or talent because I’m naturally endowed on how to teach. At first, it was very challenging because of my stature, but the tutorials of nowadays no longer consider all those. What they need is how knowledgeable you are and if you can deliver, which I have pretty much did. The students were also challenging, posting konk questions to me; but I always maneuvered my ways, and they always respect me. By the time I finished secondary school, I had already gained the experience, so O’level classes were no longer challenging. I was introduced to A-level but was scared at first.
I had to reject it first, then went to buy all the A-level textbooks: Biology and Chemistry, read them thoroughly, internalized them, and practised with my junior ones and friends before I later contacted them.
I started with an A-level center named Classic Advance Level Centre. I performed very well there so I was invited to Krystal Edge Perversity to take advance classes also. So from there, I moved to other centers like EAC, WINNERS Advance Centre, DISTINCTION PERVERSITY etc.
What lessons did you learn from tutoring?
Hmmm… What can I say??? There are many lessons I learnt. But in summary, teaching in general makes you know more and make you do many researches. It gets you accolades and connects you to many places. I’ve travelled to two (2) different states due to tutoring.
Then I learnt you should hold and be confident enough in the things you know. Don’t let people know your weaknesses. I was introduced to winners advance centre two years ago. My friend told me that I should be prepared that the students are very good. He was trying to instill the fear in me but I was like, “Is it not to teach? Since it is not teaching lions, I won’t be scared …” I got there and met the coordinator … so we discussed and everything. It got to the point where he asked me what aspect of chemistry and biology I took.
Actually we had four aspects for both, and I could only take two very well. But my guy had hyped me a lot in front of the man. I didn’t want to fuck up. So I told him, “Any aspect, I’m OK with it.” Knowing fully well that if he’d picked the aspect I didn’t know, I’d have flopped. But I was so full of myself, and showing the boldness and confidence. The man was surprised. He said that all the teachers he had there always chose the aspect they could teach. Very fortunately for me, he chose the aspect I knew most. I was hyper-actively happy. I went to the class and delivered an outstanding lecture. The man and the students still respect me today.
Were you paid when you were tutoring?
Sure … I collect my money per hour.
Tell us your experience about importation and exportation business
We had a strike in school. When it was getting to two weeks and I noticed that it was really going to take longer, I decided to learn something new to my handiwork. So a friend introduced me to the importation business. I was really amazed and interested. Because to market and broadcast was something I could do very well. But what discouraged me first was the bill to learn the business. I ran. Like, I asked him where I was to get 60k to learn just the basics. I went home to make research on it and found out that the training is even 100k+. I had to go back to him. But I told him that I will be paying in installments.
So that was how I started the business … I borrowed money, was in debts … seriously, during my training days. The training went so smoothly, because I had a sharp memory and knew how to adapt to things easily. So I easily grappled with it and passed all the tests.
I finished the basics of the training and started with advertisements. I started the business with zero capital. Yes … because I couldn’t afford to owe again. So … it was really hard for me, because people and customers wanted to see the goods before buying. And I didn’t have the capital to bring down the goods. Plus, I was in the school environment; I couldn’t really sell expensive stuffs, because all products I got were directly from the manufacturing companies.
I transacted with the CEOs. So getting just one of their products was even more expensive … because they sold in wholesales. But I kinda had a convincing power. So I was always able to get one. But there are some companies that can’t sell just one. They have their respective MOQs (Minimum order quantity). So I continued with my adverts, paid for some. Alas! Some of my friends decided to try me out. And they paid before I made their orders. At the end of the day, the profit on my first order was able to cover all my debts which was close to 100k.
They also referred me to some people who had boutiques. That was actually what made me blow. The two boutiques ordered for bulky goods that were really profitable. The profit I had I used to learn the premium stage of the importation training. Because I really wanted to have a verse knowledge about it. That sapped out another huge money.
What made your first attempt to be such a huge success in the business?
Actually, I was just following the instructions I learnt from the training and improving on it.
Are you saying people need to be guided before they venture into a business?
Smiles. We all know business is a risk. Knowing that fully well, you now want to venture into it without having a full knowledge about it? Then you are working towards spoiling it and will be in huge debts. Only if you are just lucky and God just decides to help you out. To cut the long story short, I furthered my training. I became an agent of many logistics companies, got my own store in China. I now deal with other countries like the USA and Russia for some wears like suits, then Malaysia for some materials, and UAE (Dubai) for jewelries.
What is the most important thing when starting a business?
Hmmm … the first thing is to have a full knowledge about it; the right source to learn it; people that know about it, that can guide you and correct you … and then your own personal interest in the business.
Do the people that used to patronise you when you started still do?
Very well, sir. You know people like quality things, no matter how expensive they are. Yours is just to give them the quality material so that you will not destroy the trust and your reputation.
Is importation and exportation what you do at DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE?
Yes … of different categories of goods, speaking of fashion as a whole … telecommunications as a whole … then gadgets and appliances and a whole.
Which categories of goods do you deal with?
Speaking of fashion, we have wears, shoes, jewelries, cosmetics and others. For telecommunications we have phones, tablets, desktops, latops and other related telecommunication devices … speakers, home theatres, bluetooth devices, electrical appliances, string appliances like guitars, musical instruments in general and many other things.
How do you deal with bad stocks that were shipped to you?
Smiles… well, I give thanks to God Almighty. None of my products has been fake. That’s why I said earlier, that you should know the right source to do your business. For me to use that huge amount of money to learn a business, it’s not something small.
What if the products got damaged?
Well, you asked “what if”. None of them has been damaged before. So I can’t really answer that question. I’ve not experienced any hazard so far in this business.
Who are your major customers?
The entire populace. We deal with wholesales and retails, globally. Presently, we are working on some goods which have to be exported to Ghana.
Do you have a physical shop?
Well, we are still working on that. But presently we have a destination where customers can meet me.
Where I keep the goods, that I see as my office, is at 26, Oke Oriowo, Off Alhaji Taiwo Street, Kajola Agbowo, Ibadan. The second destination is not permanent, because I can leave there anytime. And that is Sultan Bello Hall, University of Ibadan. Ibadan.
Did you leave your tutoring job?
Nope. I’m still doing it. I do not think I can leave it. I love affecting people’s lives positively. I do it for the pleasure I derive from it, not because of the money. The money is nothing. That’s why I decided to learn something and add to it.
Do you have people who work with you at Da Elementalz Business?
Yes. Presently I have three. But all my friends are my marketers; they receive discounts on every customer they bring.
Are they family members or paid staff?
How are you able to manage all these together with your academics?
Smiles… Well, it’s a very good question. Firstly, tutoring is never a challenge, because it’s academics. So it is even helping me the more. But in the case of the business, I exploit the fact that we are on strike to create grounds and a base to make friends and meet customers. But in general, it has not been easy. I was able to cope. That is what makes a man. I was able to manage the two efficiently.
Can you lend people money from your business?
Presently, NO. Coz all the profits I realize in the business I invest. In fact I want to move to the higher level, but the capital is not enough yet. And as a result, I’m running an investment forum to bring in people to invest in my business. That’s where I’m currently at.
How many people are into this business apart from your staff as a result of you?
Sure.. We offer a monthly mini importation training online or physical, depending on the persons interest. And we have done three training successfully of which each is like 20 students and above. So I can say I’ve built over 50 legit importers.
Were they paid event?
Do you see someone starting an importation and exportation business as a threat?
Well, it is of two sides. If I see that he/she follows the right source, I will see him/her as a partner and try moving close so that we can reason along. But if the route is the wrong one, then I see them as a threat. Because they always break my market. Although they sell the same product, but of different quality. Like, when I get a product worth ₦12,000 from the company and I decided to sell for ₦15,000. When a customer sees that that same product goes for about ₦8,000 somewhere else. People won’t know the quality stuff until they try them. So the risk is too high.
How can people invest in your investment forum?
The minimum is #100,000. And they will receive a discount of 30% in a duration of 4months max. It will be a team of ten men. Because the budget is #1M on each category of goods. But if I don’t have close to 30 entries.. Then I know how to split the money on different categories of goods.
How do your investors benefit from the investment?
30% of 100k is 30k.. Meaning they are receiving back ₦130,000 in that duration. And that is the minimum.. It can be more if the profit made on the goods are up to 100%. But in business, one just needs to play safe. So that one won’t be in trouble and debts.. And this thing is a lawyer agreement.. So I have to be extra careful.. Considering the hazards in business.. I might think I’m gonna make up to 100% profit and turning out not to be so. Then I’m in debt
What mistakes have you made in this business that you regretted ever making?
Hmm… Let me see. Yes.. There was one.. I got a product for a customer who hasn’t paid. The product was for a Nigerian but the customer is yet to pay, till now. Since then, I stopped payment before delivery. That’s the only thing I can say I consider as a regret.
Do you have an online presence for your company?
Sure… We transact online. IG page: da_ebsenterprise, FB page: DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE and presently, we are working on our website where customers can place orders and pay online directly which is 55% complete.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Well… Business is a game of risk. So stop thinking of the possibility, just do it. You won’t know until you do. While you are still busy thinking people already do what you keep thinking about and they are making it. And before anything, put God first and be religious about it. I’m a Muslim. I pray very well and do my things Islamically. I believe if we put religion in everything we do, we will surely succeed. Then they should know what they want to venture into very well before doing so.
Do you think Nigeria is good for business?
Wow wow!. That is an understatement sir. Nigeria’s economy can never be consumed by businessmen or businesswomen. Just get your marketing strategy right and you are good to go.
What do you want people to remember you for?
Do you think people need to hear about stories like yours to be motivated to do stuffs?
Well… I’ve always being a motivational speaker and an orator. So why not ? Like I said – I love impacting lives.
How can people contact you?
If my story can change lives, I will be super happy. My active line is +23470-6822-4976