Behind the growth of Smuv, a creative and design agency

Hi Ability, what’s your background, and what are you currently working on?

First off, thank you for having me here at The Founders, I really
appreciate for reaching out.

Now back to your question. I remember dropping out of varsity some
years back due to financial constraints, and since then I have worked on
different ideas and launched a few businesses, which are now defunct.

Soon after, my music distribution business (my closest to success) went
bankrupt and got shut down due to the inability to raise more cash from our
then investors and external ones.

Then, I fully made my way into the creative design space, freelanced a
little to regain my glimpse of the freelancing world and then earlier this
year I co-launched a Design agency, which goes by the name Smuv Design
Agency
, with my co-founder, Light Nduka and trust me, ever since, we’ve
been steadily meeting new heights and now I wish I had taken this route
3 years back.

Smuv-creative
Smuv Creative
What motivated you to get started with Smuv Design Agency?

My passion for perfection accounts for the reason why I started Smuv.

Looking at the ever-increasing rate at which startups are launching in
Nigeria, of which most of these startups deploy badly designed
applications – some of which also have badly written codes.

My instinct as a creative person and entrepreneur moved me to start a
business around this sphere and offer solutions that will help upcoming
tech startups launch their first application with the best user experience
and interface, coupled with a well-functioning application.

Our core offering is design, covering user experience, interface design, and
branding, while development comes at the center of the project. Our
reason for this pick is affected by the fact that there are so many badly-
designed apps with the worst experience in the Nigerian market and our goal as a business is to help curb as many bad designs as possible, install great
experience and watch as their business take a step higher into capturing
users and doubling sales day in and out.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Well, what works for us, may not work for others. In our case, we just put
our stories and work out there and watch as people reach out for
inquiries.

Sometimes, we do some cold-emailing, although not the most effective
means for us.

And for customer retention, we just offer the best service and they keep
returning or refer more people.

 
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

Just a one-time charge, or a monthly retainer, depending on the kind of
project.

What are your business goals for the future?

Well, my business goal is nothing short of the bigger picture, like
becoming one of the biggest and highly sought-after design agencies in
Nigeria, and also to expand our staff base from 2 personnel presently to
a larger figure.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources for you?

Wow! Thank you for asking this question. I love to recommend books and
currently on my favorite list is Zero to One by Peter Thiel, followed by
Good to Great, which was recommended on Techpoint.

Lastly, but definitely not least on my list of recommended books is the
Holy Bible, I make sure to start my day by reading the Holy Scriptures.

Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?

Like I stated earlier, in our case we did nothing short of consistently
talking about the projects we’ve worked on and utilizing means like SEO,
LinkedIn and cold-emails.

What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?

In similar interviews like this, I hear people mentioning the “bad Nigeria”
like a lack of electricity and costly internet data. As for me, none of these
were/are the issues.

My biggest problem lies in the heart of entrepreneurship – which happens
to be the hard stuff that comes along with the challenge, like sacrifices
and sleepless nights.

Yet above all, we have yet proven that obstacles don’t define us, it in fact
makes us stronger and in my case, I hire people that are better than me
and performances have improved.

If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?

I would build a social life and continue doing Smuv.

Have you had any failed business?

Hell yes! I mentioned it earlier in the first question. I used to run a near-
success music distribution startup, Caketunes. We had to shut down due
to a lack of extra capital. Although we were generating some revenue, it was too poor to keep the operations running.

What are some sources of learning you would recommend for
entrepreneurs who are just starting?

I would say up and coming entrepreneurs like me should cling to YouTube, not
the “bling-bling” side of YouTube, followed by Udemy and Skillshare, if
you have some cash to spare.

On these platforms, one can learn to become a better entrepreneur and
build their goals on it.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If you are looking to get started as an entrepreneur, my advice to you is
that you are wasting too much time. Just do it!

As for those that are new in the business like me. The road is tough but
the future is bright.

And lastly, networking in any business niche is very key to success.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

My LinkedIn is a great place – My LinkedIn Profile

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we are hiring to fill the position of a UX designer and Fullstack
developer with at least 5 years of experience.

Interested persons should mail me at [email protected]

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