Kris Oziofu Ero is a TV/Radio host, event emcee, a public speaker, a serial entrepreneur and a child and family wellness advocate. With an experiential background in communications and brand management, she now owns and runs the WellBabyNG brand, which is a multi faceted business platform that creates and aids in the creation of solutions that promote optimal wellness.
For instance, they ran the WellBaby radio show for nearly 3 years, a blog, and they plan events where they bring stakeholders together to stir up conversations. They provide communication/branding services and they are developing a line of lifestyle products for families.
In 2016, Kris was listed as one of 50 women changing the face of Journalism in Nigeria by the Women in Journalism (WiJ) Initiative.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US
I was living with the Amnesia condition at the time, and I knew I had to do something in the line of helping people make right lifestyle choices, also coupled with the fact that as at then, that was all I knew as I had no memory whatsoever of what my abilities were. I pondered on several ideas while I built up the courage to re-enter the entrepreneurial world. However, once I decided on what I wanted to do, the first thing for me was to get the right name which was some exercise in itself. Then I needed to decide if getting an office and full staff was a feasible idea. Working from home then was my best bet. Looking back now that was the best decision for me as I didn’t have to carry along the unnecessary baggage of over-head costs in my early years
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS?
Nothing is as fulfilling as knowing that what you do is something that improves the health and wellness of people by promoting right lifestyle choices and positive wellbeing. I have explored other business options, but now it is like everything I have done before has found a place in one home. I love what I do because it literally excites me thinking up different ways to make the world a better and safer place for children and their families and to actually see people buy into it is awesome. Beyond that however, there is this knowing in my spirit that I have found my place, my purpose.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT THIS IS GOING TO WORK?
The moment I decided on what I wanted to do, I hoped it was going to work and I wondered how long it would take. I asked myself, who does not want to lead a healthy life? Who does not want to bring up children in optimal wellness? Who is not seeking solutions and information to help improve family life? When I started receiving positive feedback, I got my confirmation.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE HIGH COST OF RUNNING BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA?
I didn’t really need that much capital to start with, so what came from self and family sufficed. In some instances I went into partnership arrangements, where I did not need to pay cash, nor have, or own certain infrastructure to get the job done. I do believe in the power of collaborations.
HOW SOON DID YOU START MAKING PROFITS?
It did take a little while, the margins are still not where we want it, but we are good.
BRILLIANT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR SERVICES?
When you consider the circumstances within which I started, it was not that easy at all. I still wasn’t familiar with most marketing tools, I had lost touch with a lot of people in my network. And yet I wore most of the caps. So, yes, initially, it was with sheer “doing it afraid” and a heavy reliance on my family and a few others to spread the word on my behalf that it was done. However, now it is a different story of course.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE HIRING STAFF AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM?
I was honest with myself at the beginning; I knew I was not ready to carry the burden of building a permanent team so to speak. Instead what I did and still do is work with volunteers and contract staff. Even then, I find that I still get to do a lot of the work. At this stage, I can’t afford not to be on top of things.
YOUR GREATEST SKILL/STRENGTHS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY BEEN OF HELP IN STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Self motivation is what pushed me at first, then there is creativity, which it seems I have in bucket loads. I shock myself sometimes with my level of resilience. My oral and verbal communication skills as well as my experience in corporate management and branding also come into play
DID YOU HAVE TO GET A FORMAL TRAINING OR QUALIFICATION TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?
Aside my formal education, I have had over 10 years working experience in management positions in several outfits, I have received trainings in TV/Radio presentations, public speaking, brand management and communications which all make it easy for me to do several things under the WellBabyNG umbrella. I am currently undergoing a Wellness Coaching Course.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SOME TIME NOW, WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
The importance of building an effective money management culture and the wisdom in having a mentor.
ANY LIFE EXPERIENCE THAT HAS PARTICULARLY PREPARED YOU DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR WHAT YOU DO NOW?
Yes. My life changing experience with amnesia made me realize the importance of wellness and the need to creatively spread more awareness so more people get to make right lifestyle choices.
CHANGE CAN BRING OUT A PART OF US WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED, WHAT NEW THINGS HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I have always been entrepreneurial, but what WellBabyNG has specifically done for me is open my eyes and mind to my ability to truly touch lives, to be a change agent. I have also learnt that I am the only one that can set the pace when it comes to determining the growth and creativity of my business.
This is helping us as we are in the process of rebranding our other business “Crosses and Dots” which is primarily centered on PR/Brand Communications services
THE GREATEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED AND BY WHO?
This might sound corny, but my husband almost always tells me to strive always to not separate my personal inclinations especially when it comes to integrity and my values from business decisions.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ESPECIALLY IN NIGERIA?
There are people who have skills yet know nothing about what to do with them. I do believe every woman must first of all think themselves capable of achieving anything they want to, it is very important because the entrepreneurial terrain can sometimes be a deterrent to one’s dreams especially if you are a woman. Believe in yourself, build a strong network of influencers, be bold enough to market your brand with no apologies and always always be ready to learn, to be better at your craft.