Welcome to the “Minding My Business” feature where we give you insight into some of the brightest female minds today in business. The aim of this feature is to get you inspired, excited and educated about the business journey, thanks to our amazing features.
Now, let’s dive into this week’s feature with the brains behind the revolutionary logistics brand Jand2Gidi, Ujama Akpata and Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya.
Ujama Akpata & Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya, Co-Founders Jand2Gidi
Do African logistic companies have the same credibility as many international counterparts?
We believe that credibility is usually down to individual values, not location. There are dishonest people all over the world so the decision to run ethical, transparent and honest operations is an intentional one. We can only speak for Jand2Gidi’s intentional decision of running a credible business. This has spoken for us over the years and our clients can rest assured that their goods, funds and trust are all in the best hands.
What has been the impact of technology on your operations? Talk us through any advancements since you first began and now.
When we began we started with a completely manual process from start to finish. This was tedious because for a year plus of running Jand2Gidi it was just us the Founders who were running operations. For example, we would manually write our receipts for each shipment, attach them and then send SMS notifications to each receiver, notifying them that their parcels had been dispatched. Also, a client seeking to get a shopping address overseas could also do so during our working hours. How inconvenient!
The impact of technology on our business has been huge. We are now able to send out automated tracking updates, receipts etc are handled via payment processors and online invoicing platforms. Clients are also able to create an account and get a delivery address of their choice 24/7, 365 days a year. This has led to a significant increase in our conversion rates as compared with the days of manual processing. We are in the growth phase when it comes to our tech and we are constantly fine-tuning it to enhance customer experiences from enquiry to delivery and finally, after-sales.
Should investors be taking more interest in investing in logistics and why?
Investors should, and have been showing a keen interest in the logistics space. We are just waiting to be seen by them!
Logistics is a critical industry in world trade and we know that everything stops without logistics. The mode of delivery may change but the need for support services rendered by our industry will forever be in high demand, especially with the consistent rise in e-commerce. There’s no value in selling wares when the orders cannot be fulfilled right? This is how valuable and lucrative the logistics industry is to the world economy.
Is it important to have a mentor when looking to run a business?
It is important to have a carefully selected mentor in business. One that aligns with your goals, is experienced in business/career and has your interests at heart. Standing on the shoulders of giants who have gone ahead of you is also important. You can learn from their mistakes and glean wisdom from what they have learnt along their journey. It saves time, losses and unnecessary mistakes on your part.
In addition to mentors, you also need sponsors who would always mention your name in a room full of opportunities.
Customer service is key in business. How has Jand2Gidi made sure their customer service is up to par over the years?
At Jand2Gidi we see ourselves as a customer service business that renders delivery services. It guides every step of the process – how calls are answered, how issues are resolved and how clients are kept informed.
One of our core values is ‘Customer Focused’. The customer is generally at the centre of our thoughts, actions and processes as a business. How will our J2G Troopers (as we fondly call them) perceive this? Will this step in the process make life easier for them? How will this service aid their business? Can this make them happy? These are a few questions that shape the services we render.
We are able to enhance customer service/satisfaction through the hands-on and practical training of our team. They are also aligned with the big picture i.e. the vision, and they know that every client interaction is a step towards success.
The logistics industry is a male-dominated industry. How is Jand2Gidi changing this narrative?
Jand2Gidi has changed this narrative by showing up and showing out in its service delivery. We have shown staying power over the years, and we continue to break the bias that this is a male-dominated industry. Clients generally may not pay attention to the gender of the Founders but they focus on the customer experience. Our focus is on bringing an exciting experience to each client, and we can do this regardless of gender.
Jand2Gidi is 10 next year. What a milestone. What have you learnt from working together over the years?
This question may be best answered in a HUGE book! We have learnt lessons of a lifetime in our 9 years thus far and we are super excited about our upcoming milestone. It has truly been by the Grace of God.
Some of the things we have learnt are as follows:
- Being able to take ‘no’ for an answer
For example, pitching your business to investors and hearing repeated no’s can be discouraging but we now understand that it’s a learning opportunity. It is an event and not a failure on our part, and our time will surely come.
- A healthy partnership makes a healthy business
We understand the value that our partnership has added to the strength and staying power of our business over the years. There are other factors that affect the health of a business e.g client base, cash flow, client feedback etc, but at the foundation of these factors rests the relationship between the promoters of the business.
- Teamwork makes the dream work
Together you can achieve more. Every single employee is important and the minute they understand their important contribution to the team, they surpass expectations.
- Keep records of everything in your business from finances to photographs of the team and processes, etc. Record keeping provides data that helps businesses plan better and forecast
- Consistency is key. Show up every day and give it a 100% every time.
- Change is the only thing that is constant in life. Be willing to make changes to your business as technology improves. Continue evolving.
Amazing words of advice and key insight we hope you have enjoyed reading.
If you would like to get featured here, send us an email at Pulse@twmagazine.net. We can’t wait to hear your story!
Photo Credit: Jand2Gidi