Hi Arira, what’s your background, what are you currently working on?
I appreciate your kind gesture for having me here. I studied Agricultural and Environmental Engineering at the prestigious University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
In my university days, I was a petty-trader. I sold kerosene and eggs to my hostel mates which wasn’t much of a success. I tried selling my web design and development skills to the persons at my reach, but nothing much came from there. Most of the persons I contacted wanted free jobs. I also tried selling honey which failed drastically, though I learned many lessons from there.
Later on, I built a web-app called Verdbox. A complain and solution suggestion website which was somewhat a success until we ran out of funds and technical know-how to scale.
I then went on to build a marketplace for buyers and sellers called Bluevos. With little on our hands and much competition in that area, we decided to niche down the marketplace to just Nigerian-made products and brands.
Later this year, I decided to solve the bookkeeping deficit of Nigerians and their businesses using a tech solution called Bluevosbooks. I love this part we’ve chosen. We’ve got a clear roadmap for scaling and profitability.
What motivated you to get started with Bluevosbooks?
I love to share with you the genesis of how Bluevosbooks started. Please stay with me.
I’d read ‘’Retire Young Retire Rich’’ by Robert Kiyosaki last year in February 2019 and he said something interesting about the habits of the rich; he said ‘’the rich keep record of their daily financial transactions’’. I was ready to change my financial status so, I started keeping mine.
I did this on paper for about a year. When I had an accident, I lost my former records so I decided to get a new one to start another bookkeeping.
Over time, I decided to drop my books and use Evernote – a mobile app to do my daily bookkeeping. To know how I did financially the previous month, I just checked my records.
The decision I made to keep track of my daily financial records, was life-changing for me.
One day, my brain was bored with less productive thought coming in, so I decided to task it.
What will that be?
So, I went forward to create a web-app for myself to keep my daily records. I finished building this web-app and discovered that my friends and family also needed access to this web-app. So I increased the features on the web-app. When I first built this web-app, I called it Onerecord, but later changed the name to Bluevosbooks.
Of the 40million registered businesses with SMEDAN, 82% of these businesses don’t keep their financial records, 13% who do, don’t do it consistently. This bad business practice has caused most businesses not to have accurate financial planning data and low business growth knowledge. To solve this deficit has been my motivation.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retained customers?
First, we had to create awareness about the importance of keeping financial records for individuals and businesses using paid ads. This made us reach a wider audience with our brand message.
Secondly, we use the affiliate marketing system to get more hands to sell Bluevosbooks to prospects who get commissions doing so.
To keep our customers, we establish a good customer relationship by always asking our customers relevant questions about their experiences using Bluevosbooks and, ensuring dissatisfactions are corrected immediately. This has always worked for us.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
Our business model is a subscription-based business model.
Our users pay a yearly subscription fee of $5.61.
What are your business goals for the future?
We hope to be the best provider of bookkeeping solutions that will make bookkeeping easy and fun.
We’re targeting a 22% market penetration in the near future and a staff strength of over 300 members.
What have been the most influential books, podcast, or other resources for you?
I will be very personal here.
My best book to date is “The lean startup” by Eric Ries. I will recommend this book to any startup.
Lastly, my greatest resource has been the Person of The Holy Spirit. I wouldn’t have done much without him.
Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?
For us, leveraging the resources of others has been our greatest strategy. We could outsource our marketing to another brand, and share profit from sales.
Secondly, talking about what we did and why we did what on Bluevosbooks, using social media, was another great marketing strategy for us.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
Our biggest challenge was getting our first 100 paying customers.
We had to overhaul our marketing strategy and discovered that outsourcing and using affiliate marketers will be the best option for us.
Another challenge we’d to overcome was hiring good talent on our team to cover for the technical part of Bluevosbooks.
At some point, we had to give out equity to get productive hands working with us.
If you had the chance to do things differently, what would you do?
I will increase my network building ability and always improve Bluevosbooks.
Have you had any failed business?
The one that left me with many lessons was my honey business that failed drastically after investing all my savings to start the business.
I later tried building a business out of Verdbox, but ran out of funds so we had to abandon the project.
What are some sources of learning you would recommend for entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Entrepreneurs like me who are just starting should seek good mentors in the field of endeavor, and be ready to learn from their own mistakes.
My own business mistakes have been one of my greatest sources of learning.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My advice will be that:
Entrepreneurs like me, shouldn’t waste time building a perfect product if they don’t have any paying customers.
We should be ready to fail and learn from our failures.
Our greatest source of learning will come from our unhappy customers, so we should know how to deal with that.
Where can we learn more about you?
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, we are hiring to fill the position of UX/UI Designers, Fullstack Developers, and Marketers with at least 3 years experience.