Ep270: Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya – You Need All Types to Build a Successful Business

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Guest profile

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya is a Sports & Entertainment lawyer and Entrepreneur. She is an accredited mediator with the Lagos High Court Multi Door Centre and a member of the panel of neutrals at the Lagos Court of Arbitration.

She has years of experience in the banking and capital markets in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. She is a Nigeria SEC-registered compliance officer, providing regional compliance, risk management, and financial crime prevention advisory support. Her broad experience in the compliance industry covers investment banking, brokerage, and fund management sectors.

Additionally, she is passionate about sports and youth development and founded the Lagos Tigers Football Club in 2012, the Little Tigers Football Foundation in 2017, and a social network for women called GFC.

 

“Delay is not denial. Things do not have to run at top speed to indicate that you’re on the right path.”

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya

 

Worst investment ever

In 2015 Beverley and her good friend were talking about doing something to better their lives. They explored different things, and her friend suggested that they get into the peanut butter packaging business.

Beverley did some research and realized that there was such a massive market for peanut butter in the US, and so she paid the suggestion more attention.

Jumping right into it

The two friends jumped right into business. They did a bit of research, came up with a name and branding. They were reeling to go. The friend even suggested that they not only do peanut butter but cashew nut butter too. They went all out with different flavors. They received an incredible reception when the butter went on sale.

The clashing of two personalities

The butter was selling in their hundreds, and everything was going great except for the two business partners’ personalities.

Beverley is brash and rash, while her friend is very detailed and a risk manager. And so the two kept clashing whenever they would have different business ideas. Beverley, especially wouldn’t take feedback well.

Things turn ugly

Beverley wanted things done in a rush, while her friend would instead take things slow. Beverley was also very emotionally driven and would often react irrationally during disagreements.

Things got so bad that one morning Beverley woke up and changed all the factory locks locking her friend out. This was the last straw that brought the butter business to its premature end.

Lessons learned

Solve problems rationally

You don’t have to react immediately every time you are confronted with a problem or a misunderstanding. You don’t need to act on whatever comes to your mind first because sometimes the first thing you think of doing could put you in jail.

Develop emotional intelligence

People who have high emotional intelligence tend to be better leaders, teammates, and colleagues. You can have the best skills, you can be the best, but what is the point if your emotional intelligence is so low?

Draw the line between emotions and business

It is unnatural to expect your business partner to agree with everything you say and vice versa. You will often disagree, but it doesn’t mean that you should take it personally.

Meet people halfway

Everybody has their reference point, so meet them where they are and find ways to complement each other.

Everyone has something unique to offer

Everybody has different skill sets that add value to your business. If you keep measuring other people by your standards, you’ll never be satisfied.

Andrew’s takeaways

The ugly side of business

When books talk about building a successful business, they never talk about the ugly side of the hustle. It takes blood and sweat to build a business. Most books won’t tell you this.

Slow and steady wins the race

Don’t be in a rush to become successful. Take your time to build a stable business, and you will create an empire.

It’s not just about you

You may be the business owner, but your business’s success is not just about you. It’s essential to think about the well-being of all the people involved in building your business, including all the stakeholders.

You need different qualified people to build a successful business

To be successful in any startup, you need people with different skills. You need a salesperson, a product person, a marketer, an accountant, and many more. These people won’t always get along, because they’re coming from different places. Figure out a way to keep everybody together.

Actionable advice

You need to know deep down and intuitively whether this is for you or not at all. Don’t flog a dead horse, but at the same time, don’t give up too soon.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Beverley’s goal for the next 12 months is to focus on creating digital content. She has another brand in the works right now, and her podcast Develop Your A-Game. Beverley plans to concentrate on these two projects for now.

Parting words

 

“Stay consistent and authentic.”

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya

 

Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community we know that winning investing you must take risk, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. This episode is sponsored by a Stotz Academy which offers online courses to help investors better manage their stock portfolios, aspiring professionals to learn how to value any company in the world business leaders to make their companies financially world class and even beginners to implement a simple lifetime investment plan. Go to my worst investment ever.com slash Academy to get free access to my short course called six ways to lose your money and six strategies to win where I share the six lessons I've learned from all of these darn podcast interviews. Well, fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz and I'm here with featured guests. Now you got a bear with me. I'm going to work through this name. I'm going to see if I can do it. Beverly. I booked Koba on Yay, john. Yeah. Well, Beverly, welcome to the show.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 01:10
Thank you so much.

Andrew Stotz 01:11
Are you ready to rock?

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 01:13
I am Yes.

Andrew Stotz 01:14
All right. Well, you know, we've made a lot of attempts to get together on the phone. So I'm really happy to have you now on the show. So maybe you can take let me let me just read introduce the audience to you. And then after that, I want you to take a few minutes to tell us about you. But Beverly is a sports and entertainment lawyer and entrepreneur. She is an accredited mediator with the Legos High Court multi door center and also a member of the panel of neutrals at the Legos Court of Arbitration. She has years of experience in banking and capital markets in the UK and Nigeria and is the Nigeria sec registered compliance officer providing regional compliance, risk management and financial crime prevention advisory support abroad experience in the compliance industry covers investment banking, brokerage and fund management sectors. Additionally, she is passionate about sports and youth development and founded the Legos Tigers football club in 2012. Yay. And the Tigers, the little Tigers football foundation in 2017, as well as a social network for women called GFC. My goodness, Beverly, take a minute and filling further tidbits about your life. And all right now, Beverly, okay. Yes, we got we got our we got our, um, our lines got crossed there. So just now, I'm just gonna mention this for just a second is for Cecilia. We're gonna restart that right now. So I'm going to say, Beverly, take a minute for any further tidbits about your life.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 03:11
Okay, so thank you so much, Andrew, I'm really, really happy to be on this show. Okay, so about me, I am always say that I wear so many hats. I am a mother of three, three very boisterous kids. I am a sports and entertainment lawyer. I'm a mediator. I am also into policymaking. I'm just an all round person, I suppose I'm, I'm just I'm just an ordinary person who loves doing many things in my career life, and also in my professional life. And right now, sports and entertainment are my two main areas of focus. I feel like these are areas where the continent, the African continent, really needs that, you know, that boosts it these are two areas that are very, very big in, in Africa, in Nigeria, so I am, you know, playing my part to help these industries rise and grow by, you know, rendering my legal expertise. But also, you know, I'm really proud of my football club that I've established. It's tough. It's not easy, but I really enjoy like seeing the smiling faces of the players that calm you know, right now knock down. The parents are like, when are we coming back to play football? When are we coming back? So that gives me so much joy that I can impact in my own way. And in niche areas that I really, really love sports and entertainment. So yes, that's me in a nutshell.

Andrew Stotz 04:56
Like you've got a lot of energy and you bring it to those kids and they Give it back to you, I'm sure.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 05:01
Yes, trust me they do.

Andrew Stotz 05:04
An interesting. All right, well, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, and then tell us your story.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 05:18
Okay, okay. So, you know, this is actually the first time I'm talking about this publicly. So bear with me, I might get a bit emotional. Back in 2015, you know, like I said, I get involved in many things, it's something that will always be part of my personality, and I make no apologies for it. So back in 2015, a good friend of mine in the financial services sector, or B, you know, we were talking about, you know, what he's talking about how to, you know, better our lives? How can we, how can we do more? You know, that's the ultimate question, what is my purpose? How can I fulfill my life? How can I do things that will make me feel fulfilled? So, you know, she had this, this sense that that urge to do more, and we got talking about different things we could do. And she actually brought up Hey, why don't we, you know, do something in the agricultural sector. And because my mind wasn't really ripe, I wasn't too sure what she meant. I was like, Okay, I'm open. Like, let's talk, you know, what, what, what do you think we can do? So she suggested we come up with the butters. peanut butters. And I was like, What do you mean? She goes, Yeah, you know, the butters peanut butter we don't have? Well, back in 2015. It will shock you, Andrew to know that we didn't have a well packaged locally manufactured peanut butter brand. Can you do that? It's shocking. It's shocking. I mean, during my research back then, because, like one thing about me is I have a very obsessive personality. I read everything about peanut butter. And I was shocked to learn that I think in the US, it's like, I don't know, it's up there, like the top five most popular foods or something. So I said, Wow, the market for peanut butter abroad is huge. So why, why, you know, why do we have this so we started investigating researching ob, and I came up with the name of the brand, the brand is called Who on earth, who, who are in our language, ob Anya from the Ebo tribe in Nigeria, which is kind of located in the south eastern region of the country. So our language is called evil. So, you know, we're just, you know, looking for names. And somehow that name just stuck Earth, you know, the world's Earth. What Earth food so the name stuck. And, you know, she produced a few samples, and I thought they were amazing. Share the samples with my network. We had how many samples we had peanut butter samples, we had crunchy, smooth, you know, the favorites. And then the ingenuity is he also said, let's do cashew butter. It's nuts. Right now These can all can all be ground. grinded. So yeah. So we did cashew, and we did it in flavors. I mean, it was really, it was really forward thinking at the time, you know, back in 2015, a cultural market was literally about to, you know, go to new level. So we were really, at the, on the pulse of what was going on, and the reception we received was incredible. You know, it wasn't like we were selling out, you know, in thousands or anything, but, you know, the thing about our market is very few fmcgs, that, that that would be the fast moving consumer goods, that industry is really still dominated by the big conglomerates. So, in terms of selling out thousands of units, even as that now I can tell you that successful local brands still do not sell in the thousands, you know, we're still averaging hundreds of units. So, you know, we were in it to try and make an impact to try and be part of this wave of change. And yeah, you know, we both found our step our way, you know, I'll be is very detailed. She's a risk manager. I you know, I'm a bit more brash and rash. I I do the PR, you know, I would go on, you know, talk about our brands in different places, but unfortunately, I guess, you know, I was new to business and, you know, I I ever get, I guess it's it's difficult, you know, this is the first time I'm really talking about this. Yeah, but um, yeah, there were a lot of mistakes that I made. back then. You know, this business is not easy. You have to have a, you have to have a mature mind, you have to, you have to be able to take a lot of pain, as well as the good side. You know, there's so much emphasis on the great sides of business. And I'm glad for this podcast true because there's a lot of difficult times in business a lot of difficult times. And I guess I wasn't prepared for those difficult times. I wasn't prepared for the clashes that we had. And yes, some of those clashes were caused by me, you know, when I think about some of the feedback she gave me, you know, I will never forget what she told me I have a lot to myself. And that hurt. It hurt me. You know, I, I'm a very, I see myself as a dynamic person. People that meet me say, Wow, you got energy. Beverly, you're up at doing. And I like that part of me. But you know, one thing I've learned since 2015 is delay is not denial delay is not denial has become my new catchphrase. Simply be simply because sometimes things do not have to run at top speed to indicate that you're on the right path. You know, there's something to be said for taking things slow and taking things steady. You know, 2015, that was five years ago, I think I was quite a different person, then. I believed more in, you know, the catchphrase, the need for speed that was like, everything about me was fast, fast, fast, you know. So I mean, to be honest, I haven't completely let go of that trait. I still am addressing some of those, those impatient issues in my life today. You know, my team will say, my goodness, he wanted now this is zero. So I'm learning that, you know, you have to work at a pace that is, you know, realistic, it's not about you. It's not just about you. And I think that was maybe the Miss part of the reason why, um, maybe a big reason why what didn't work out. Because I had, I had my way of looking at it. And maybe that way of looking at it wasn't in the best interest of the whole business as a whole. It was still very much from my angle, you know, so you know, it's a regret. Who knows where it could have gone, but I don't regret it totally. Because if that hadn't happened, I don't think I would have I would have developed my career in sports, I guess, look, the way I look at it. We have so many chances in life to do different things. So when one door closes one door another door simply open. So, you know, yeah, who on earth was the big Brad that never quite made it? Right.

Andrew Stotz 13:06
Um, you can let me ask you, can you? Can you remember recall? The worst day? Or the time that you kind of knew it was over? Ah, yeah.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 13:20
Oh, wow. Okay. So very interestingly, it got to a point where it was just difficult to communicate again, I had my issues and I wasn't confronting them. I think the day I knew it was over was the day I am, huh. Yeah, it was the day. I got the factory locked. Yeah, that was pretty. I was pretty rash. I don't know. I guess I acted very emotionally. I was very emotionally driven. And I don't know, I got upset about something. And I, I just, I just changed all the locks mattered. So she couldn't access it. Yeah, it's quite raw. It's quite raw. Because I'm thinking about it now. Like, wow, I you know, but you know, that I've also made peace. And I've, you know, I've asked for, you know, I've apologize for some of my actions. And those actions, you know, when you're when you're having and I guess that's also why I fell into mediation because I realized I'm not you don't you don't solve problems by being rash or by not confronting your problems. So my rash response to perhaps genuine issues I had an also genuine issue she had I just, you know, I just closed off and did something really, really unacceptable. And I'm sure people listening will think what's How can you be in partnership with somebody and that person goes and blocks everything off? so well? Yeah,

Andrew Stotz 15:10
it happens. It's interesting. I'm curious, what lessons did you learn from this?

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 15:18
Okay, so again, I learned being rash when you are confronted with a problem with the misunderstanding, you don't necessarily have to, to act immediately. You don't need to act on whatever comes to your mind first, because sometimes the first thing you think of doing

Andrew Stotz 15:43
and put you in jail, yes. Yes, exactly.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 15:48
And that is a side of me that I had to, you know how to grow up a bit, you know, how to grow a bit some, I call it emotional intelligence. It's funny, I am now such a big believer in, in, in developing emotional intelligence, because it is people who have high Ei quotations, that tend to be better leaders that tend to be better team, teammates, and, and colleagues, you know, because you can have the best skills you can, you can be the best, but what is the point, if your Ei is so poor, you find it difficult to work with people, because every little thing irritates you or niggles that you you know, when you're running a business, it is unnatural to expect the fads, your partner, your business partner will agree with everything, you You, you, you, you say, and vice versa, not everything your business partner will suggest are things you may not necessarily agree to. But it doesn't mean that you should take it personal, I think I couldn't draw the line in the past between, you know, taking things personal and looking at this from a business perspective, things that affected the, you know, suggestions about around the business, that perhaps were not my ideas, I would look at it as Oh, but my suggestion wasn't taken. So I've learned, I've learned from 2015, that you have to kind of also meet people where they are, everybody has their own personal reference point. And it may not be personal, it may just be their reference point. So you know, where we could have complemented each other? Well, she is the risk manager, so she can see clearly where the risks are. But I am, okay, I'm just gonna, you know, do the networking and go round and network and meet people and move quickly, you know, so sometimes, perhaps I, I didn't, you know, I took for granted that those skills are actually complementary, and it's by no means how do I say this, you cannot measure a fish by a goat, they have two different skills. So that's the way I now see life. Everybody has different skill sets that they bring to bear. So using copper, measuring other people, by your standards, you never be satisfied, you'll never be happy. So that's one thing I've learned everyone has something unique. And, you know, we came together in the beginning for a reason, because we felt, you know, we're friends and we can complement each other. And, you know, if somebody gives you feedback that is constructive, shouldn't take it personal. You know, when she said your your lawn to yourself, I should have looked,

Andrew Stotz 18:50
I should have sat down and had a little chat. Yeah. Somebody said, they God gave you two ears and one mouth for recycling.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 19:01
Exactly, exactly. Well, let's

Andrew Stotz 19:05
do that. Let me summarize what I took away from your story. There's a few things that come up in my mind. The first thing is that I while you were talking, I just I opened up a spreadsheet of the financial performance of a company that I started with my best friend 25 years ago, and it's a coffee works my coffee business. And nowadays we have about 100 or so staff, and you know, it's a successful company. But for the first eight years, we lost money.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 19:38
Thank goodness,

Andrew Stotz 19:39
wow. And it was brutal. And, wow, we started just before the 1997 Asian crisis. So for three years, we just, you know, awful and somehow we stayed in and kept our friendship and our relationship together and built the business but the point that that made me open that up and remind myself of the eight years is the idea that I always tell people, you know, if you want to learn about starting up a company, don't talk to me, go buy a book, they're all out there. And they tell you all about the good side of starting. But when you reminded me of is that, you know, does it tougher side, and they don't often talk about it. And we found a book called I forgot the name of it. But I got it, I got to get it. I used to, I used to have it, we call it the Bible. But basically, the guy said, he said, you know, you know, the big world of business and all of this, and he said, You're not in it. You're a small company, and you're going to get nothing, and everybody's going to squeeze you out, and they're going to want cash. And you the only way you're going to be able to survive is to realize that you have to fight for everything you get. And absolutely, when we when we read that, you know, both of us, Dale and I both read that and we're like, yep, we got to fight to survive. The second thing that I take away was what mom used to always say, which is slow and steady wins the race.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 21:09
Absolutely.

Andrew Stotz 21:11
And then absolutely. Another thing that you said is, it's not just about me, you know, what I've learned is in business, we oftentimes talk about a runway and say, You know how much capital you have to finance your runway. But I oftentimes say that there's an emotional runway, you know, then people need to know that this is going to take off. And you could still have cash, but run out of the emotional runway. And so it's important to think about all the people, you know, involved all the stakeholders. And then the final thing is that to be successful in any startup, generally, what you have to have is, you have to have different skills, you need, you need a salesperson, you need a product person, you needed the execution. And, and those people don't always get along, because they're coming from different places. But exactly, figure out a way to keep everybody together, you're not going to have it. So those are some of my takeaways, anything you'd add to that.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 22:10
And just to bolster what you said about in business, you need, I would say different parts of the army, you have your infantry, you have, you know, the guys that go to the front line, you have the infirmary, you have all these different parts, and then you have, you know, the captain that you know, stands at the front you need, it's I can't stress so much, how much you need all these different parts to to support a business. And sometimes when you are at the early stages of business, you are wearing so many hats, you are the accountant, the PR, the marketer, the sales, and those stresses can take a toll, which I think is also kind of what happened with us as well, because you're operating from I'm in fact, now I can see clearly now like the song,

Andrew Stotz 23:07
because clearly the rain is gone.

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 23:12
Now the rain is gone, I can see where the pain points in our relationship came from because, you know, I'm there like, we need to market we need to go on every station and talk about his product. But then she on the product development side is like, Look, we need to slow down, we got to deliver Still, we need to deliver we need to finish this product, the product is still, you know, at the time packaging was an issue not like now where I always say, you know, there's always the foreigners that pave the way and take the pain. No packaging is so easy. But back in 2015, it was a nightmare. So there were all these pain points that we were experiencing, because we were doing something so new. And of course, there wasn't much money. So we had to absorb all these different roles. And you feel the tension because you're you're in so many different roles. And that's something that business owners need to realize. That's why the accountants don't agree with the market as sometimes because the market has won more money. The accountants are like, Look, we're checking the bottom line, it has to balance the books. So I would say, you know, be easy. I love what you said about how your business I mean, not that I love that you bled dry for eight years. Nobody wants that. But the truth is, I love the end story, which is you stuck it out that long. I mean, there's another lesson because some people may say you need to know when to do you need to know when to just close things. You know, there's so many ways you can look at a book for you. It clearly worked out. You just need to know deep down and intuitively whether this is for you or not at all. Look at dead horse, but at the same time, don't give up too soon. I know we gave up too soon, again, because of all the issues surrounding, you know, things that just happened and decisions that I, that that I took unilaterally because I was like in a hurry, and I just wanted us to just move you know, you know, it's so many things happened, in a way no regrets because, you know, we kind of we kind of did something that made people sit up and take notice we kind of, you know, got other people thinking, Hey, we can do this too. So now you have other not butter manufacturers in the Nigerian market? Definitely not as many as you would expect. It's crazy to think that five years later, they still not that many, they're less than five. It's so we were in a good market. Yeah. I mean, I'm not going back to that line of business for sure. But, you know, no regrets. It was there.

Andrew Stotz 25:59
It was alright. Yeah. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 26:04
Oh, my number one goal is digital content. I am really fully embracing you know, that digital content is the way forward. This podcast we're on right now is another amazing example of digital content. So I'm going to be focusing on you know, just yeah, trying to do something with another brand. I've got that in the works right now. My podcasts develop your A game. Yeah, I'm gonna be working a lot on that and see using my legal expertise into that, too. So what is space?

Andrew Stotz 26:41
Actually, we will watch it in 12 months from now. Let's follow up.

26:45
Well, yeah.

Andrew Stotz 26:47
listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. Remember to go to my worst investment ever.com slash Academy to get free access to my short course. six ways to lose your money and strict six strategies to win. As we conclude. Beverly, I want to thank you again for coming on the show and on behalf of a starts Academy. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya 27:18
Yes, I do. Just stay consistent. stay consistent and be a stay authentic.

Andrew Stotz 27:25
Beautiful, beautiful. Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and most importantly protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.

 

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About the author, Andrew

Dr. Andrew Stotz, CFA is the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research, a company that provides institutional and high net worth investors with ready-to-invest stock portfolios that aim to beat the benchmark through superior stock selection.

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