Chinazom Arinze, in a recent episode of the Smartpreneur TV show, shared her entrepreneurial story and how it has been for her running a rental service platform in the automobile industry in Nigeria. Chinazom is the founder of Autogirl Ng, a service for renting cars, boats and jets. The platform also enables people too put their cars up for rent so as to make extra money.
In 2022, Autogirl Ng was recognised by investor and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu and his team and Chinazom was selected to be one of his mentees. She is also an alumnus of the Future Females Business School. Autogirl Ng was nominated as automobile brand of the year at Scream Awards 2021 and Zeroace Awards 2022.
Here are 5 key takeways from our discussion with the female founder:
- There is no harm in organically growing your business before seeking funds from investors. This will only boost your chances of securing funds as investors would clearly see how serious you are and the viability of your business. People can only see potential in what you have already done with business and how far you have gone without any form of support. Therefore, if you can boostrap and grow your business to a certain level, it will definitely help you communicate effectively with investors. You would also be armed with the necessary information such as projections and what a particular amount of capital would do for you if given. Investors want to know that you have done your homework, you know what strategies work and the ones that fail. This way, they can trust you with their money.
- You could excel in any industry regardless of your gender. The automobile industry is still largely dominated by males, especially in Nigeria but Chinazom was able to establish her own brand within the industry and carve a niche for herself. Gender should not be a discouraging factor when choosing a business line. All that matters is your interest in the sector and how ready you are to be committed to delivering what you promise. These days, people are starting businesses in industries that are generally left to a particular gender. We have successful furniture makers and designers who are female and nail technicians who are males. Business ideas are developed by anyone who can conceive the idea and believe it enough to nurture and expand it.
- Your competition might be your inspiration , figure out the difference. This is your power as an entrepreneur. What others might term your competition, see them as your source of inspiration. Learn from their mistakes and be better. The sky is big enough for all birds to fly. That said, do what you’ve set out to do and your customers will identify with you.
- Your business name should reflect your values. A business name is any name. It is part of your brand, your offerings and all that customers should expect when dealing or transacting with you. Hence, you have to carefully choose a name that will resonate with the kind of products you are selling or the services you render. There must be a connection between your business name and your values. For Autogirl Ng, Chinazom revealed that “GIRL” is also an acronym for Great service, Indispensable quality, Reliability and Love.
- Do your research before starting your business in order to know the gaps in the market. Before starting out, Chinazom was fully aware of brands already operating in the automobile space. She had to do her own research to know what was obtainable and how she could fit in. This is a valuable lesson for those who are thinking of starting a business soon or later and the lesson is that in order to reduce the work you need to put in, you should consider market analysis and research so that you do not repeat the mistakes of orders and waste precious time in focusing on what will not yield positive outcomes.
To learn more from the stories of entrepreneurs in your sector or the industry which you are planning to delve into, watch the Smartpreneur TV show every week on these stations:
▪︎STV Lagos on Fridays (9:30am to 10:00am)
▪︎ITV Benin on Fridays (4:30pm -5:00pm)
▪︎RSTV Port Harcourt on Saturdays (11:00 am – 11:30am)
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