Vote CRWatch 2015 Young Entrepreneurs Summit/Awards: Entry 4 – De Craftmasters Lyceum

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My name is Paul Ingiona Adie, I am the chief of party at De Craftmasters Lyceum Nigeria, a company registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission structured and ready to carry out Information and Communication Technology Solutions and services with Entertainment services.

I started De Craftmasters Lyceum around 2009 on the streets of Port Harcourt when a friend of mine whom I had talked to about the benefits of owning a website called me on phone to do his website. He gave me an advance of N40,000 and I left to go home to work. Three days later www.izzipetoil.com was ready! He was pleased with the design and the copywriting done on the website.

I kept on selling my website design service to several prospects. I printed compliment cards and distributed to people I felt can be customers or at least recommend me to someone they know who needs a website. I attended events, conferences and exhibitions just to meet new people and talk with them about my web design competencies, usually I will deploy guerilla marketing tactics like speaking up in the event, congratulating the speaker and then use the opportunity to sell my brand adequately.

Business grew gradually until I met a Healthcare Consultant who needed a website for his medical practice. On this fateful day I went into a business centre to buy something then I saw this man with the computer operator struggling to design a Logo for his alternative Medical practice, out of curiosity I drew closer and discovered that what he was trying to conceive was the Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.

I identified this image by calling out and he was astounded with pleasure and replied that if I know this logo then I was the person he will love to work with. Without knowing me previously, he offered me N10,000 ten thousand naira to start work on his corporate profile, after several meetings with him and perusal of his documents I churned out a glossy corporate profile which sparkled with great level of craftsmanship.

He was impressed with the work and will often invite me for business discussions, subsequently I was given the contract to design and host his company website. He also got another web design contract for me with an Oil servicing firm in Port Harcourt (www.jahzinsconsult.com) having being pleased with my service signature!

During these times I also did bulk sms blasting for people and also search engine optimization and registration with online Local business directories. These also provided some days pay alongside the website solutions which was my core competence.

A pastor friend of mine gave my compliment card to an Oil Services Company director (www.marsatlantic.com) who called me to Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt, showed me his corporate profile and under three days his work was ready! The sister to this director also needed a website but due to her low pricing I had to reject the offer because I know what I am worth, how a brand is perceived invariably determines its equity in the marketplace thus I had from the onset desired to be perceived as premium!

Subsequently I did a website for a Technical and engineering firm (www.useang.com) and was paid N70,000. Due to my sms marketing, I got a call from a prospect to do another website for a film and movie academy, this I did successfully and handed over promptly as usual under three days!

My personal selling efforts got me two jobs in Calabar Cross River State. The first was for a tourism consultancy (www.sutinigeria.org) and also a hotel (www.satelitetownhotel.com) I have been doing lots of jobs since then. Currently I am working on a website for a network marketing firm, another for a training firm and one for beauty pageantry.

OPPORTUNITIES

There is a cornucopia of opportunities for website design business; from churches to schools, clinics, shops, politicians, Non Governmental Organisations, abattoirs etc I implemented a wholistic marketing approach to acquiring and retaining customers thus personal selling, facebook advertising, search engine marketing presentations and fliers! Fliers are a very handy way to get your message out to targets on the street.

We also have new software solutions De Craftmasters Lyceum has developed for Microfinance Banks, Co-operative banks, Medical Laboratories, Stock Inventory management for businesses, online shop software solution etc these will bring in revenue steadily.

De Craftmasters Lyceum has also produced a popular brand song for Destination Cross River State which will be produced in high definition video for massive airplay and the audio content will be set up on MTN, GLO and AIRTEL for downloads, callertunes and ring tunes respectively which will all boost the revenue of this business.

CHALLENGES

My greatest challenge now is finance. I need finance so as to activate my new products for their respective target segments. Money is necessary for running every business so also is the website design and development business. Money is needed to push solutions to where there are most required and to also cover daily overhead costs like power supply, hosting, hardware, software, salaries etc.

With adequate finance I will think of employing more direct sale agents so as to expand our reach and provide cutting edge web solutions for small and medium enterprises. It is necessary so that the vision of this ICT consulting be not stifled but be pursued relentlessly with all dedication, creativity and focus as against the ambience of the changing customer needs!

Seeing our customers smile is our preoccupation every day, at the Craftmasters we ask ourselves: how do we make our customers smile through our web design and development services?

LESSONS

I have learnt a lot from running my website design and development consulting business. First, it is important that a businessman has integrity because sharp practices will not only give you a bad name but will worse more prevent people from doing business with you, this is so as service selling is basically a combination of a great customer experience and a sound business practice.

Also, rendering quality jobs or services or products is a must for any business that is serious to achieving its vision. Good service will always speak volumes as one good work deserves much more.

Furthermore, I treasure the idea of one customer at a time! Business I have learnt is all about cultivating warm and sensitive relationships. It pays profitably to listen carefully to the voice of the customer; his needs, worries, fears, complains and even unmentioned desires thus customer complaints are a goldmine for service improvement and innovation and not undesired noise as most people think, it pays very much to relate with the customers in a warm and friendly way so that they can return to you over and over again and most importantly recommend or advocate your services.

I have also learnt that owning a unique vision and sticking to it overtime is an important determinant of business success, it is a secret to making it in business by etching your unique footprints and getting the world to seek you.

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

Marketing is the soul of business, as it is the only activity that helps to acquire and retain customers thus boosting the bottom-line of my business. Also having and displaying a good character is very important so that your services can be recommended by many and be sought after by more!

Being a professional in whatever business you are in is important, thus you must hunger to be ahead of the competition and the customer and to provide bespoke and innovative services and solutions that truly satisfy customers.

click here to vote for De Craftmasters Lyceum

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