Most people wonder how start-ups bloom into successes. The best way to find out is by ambushing one CEO who has just returned from an early morning jog, his hands childishly cradled around a large fruit dish of freshly cut mango pieces.
What made you start up Interface Consulting?
The desire to become who I am now, what I prioritised and considered my priorities. It looked a little blurry then, but ten years down the road you look back and are grateful. It’s not about material things but how I have grown and developed personally. Imagine yourself in a room full of people who are talking about you and you wish more than ever that you knew what they were saying. I wanted to influence that. I wanted to have that power to make them talk about me in the way I wanted – to say that I was a good father and a great boss.
Did you fear failure?
A lot! But my decision was based not on fear of failure but on fear of what may happen if I clocked forty and was still working for someone else. Forty with a swanky job, free cars, free airtime and a wife and kids who were used to DSTV every day. You can’t be forty forever, and there will always be fresh blood in the company moving to push you slowly out. Then reality will set in. You can as well forget about starting up a company at that age. Or you could try, “honey we’re going to have posho and beans from now on, just until my company gets afloat.” You’ll be surprised if the remote does not land square on your face!
And so in 2001 he decided to leave the world of being employed. Reflecting back he said he would have gotten a job at 30 if things had not worked out by then. His wife was supportive although her support was more of a selfish kind because at least she would get to see him over the weekends. It was tough having to stay in Soroti during that time, worrying about whether the company would kick off, and how on earth you would get out of debt before your girlfriend dumped you.
There were times when I was known for dressing in thread bare trousers. At one time a close friend pitied me so much that he offered me a job, but I declined the offer. I knew what I wanted then. Lorna my wife believed in me, and now she believes even more because of what she sees.
You know it’s easier to make career decisions when you’re single and unattached. But once you have responsibility, everything changes.
Do you feel like you have arrived?
Not yet. We are far from there. There is so much that needs to be done! The company needs to be systemised, although there is a huge relief now that work is being done and delegated – that I cannot take for granted.
You talk about systemisation. How do you expect to achieve that?
Engaging an E-myth International Coach to help. Also through continuous support from PixelSpoke. If I could take your department as an example for instance, you need to draw up the communications policy – that is, how we communicate with the Clients, Partners, Staff Employees, communication material and so on and so forth. Faith is going to develop the financial systems, that’s what I would love her to do.
You know many people who leave this place only realise how much they have gained after they have left to senior positions. It may sound like I’m pitching for my company when I talk to my employees about wanting the best for them, which I suppose is a natural thing for an employer to do, but in reality I am simply looking out for you all. You may not know it yet but two years in a place can define a person’s career.
What about you?
I dream of leaving a legacy for others to follow. I want this company to grow. But more importantly, I want the people who pass through this company to impact positively on others.