According to his interview with Nairametrics, Nnamdi said;
“So I went to China and got a guy who had worked with a company called Bird then. Bird was into phones but they got choked and lost market share. I met with the guy and asked the guy to let us do something. I came with that name and I registered it here and brought the guy to Nigeria. And that was the high point of our business. We came together and I designed the first Tecno phone, Tecno T101. We started it but the market did not accept it and we also had problem with the dual SIM not working together and we had to make corrections and we came with Tecno 201 and that was a bit accepted by the market. But we were basically giving marketers on credit to sell the phones and then pay us later. And I was funding it all alone.”
“Since I was funding it alone, we were finding it difficult to get the right quantity to sell until the market started accepting us. What I now did was to make them pay in advance, I mean the dealers. So we started using their money to order the products. This was around 2007. The introduction of Tecno brand was the turning point of our business.”
“Like I said, Tecno is my baby and we kept improving. I knew a day would come when the middle class would accept Tecno. Initially, it was a phone for low income people but based on improvement and upping our game, the middle class had to accept it and when the economy went down in 2008 that helped Tecno to move to the top. Since purchasing power had dropped, they had to go for something that have same capabilities but cheaper. So with N15,000, you could buy a Smartphone and thank God for 3G network. The advent of 3G network actually helped Tecno to move up. So students who could not afford to buy phones in the range of N30,000 could buy one for N15,000 and enjoy features of Smartphone like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and so on.”
Today, Nnamdi Ezeigbo is a phenomenal success story in Nigeria and indeed Africa. From a humble repair man, he has built a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR company and one of the most recognizable brand in Nigeria.
There are many lessons in this story. Pay attention to your business no matter how small it is today, it can be the seed of a global company tomorrow. Integrity in business is extremely important, it will open doors for you, and speak for you, even when you are not present.
When you see opportunities, grab it and run with it. Nokia refused Nnamdi’s idea, Nokia was mighty and Nnamdi was nobody, but today because Nnamdi believed in his idea and grabbed the opportunity, Tecno is everywhere, and Nokia is dead. How are the mighty fallen? Run with your idea, and this too will be your story.
Keep improving your products and services every day. Nnamdi kept improving Tecno steadily until it became an accepted brand in Nigeria.
Most importantly, the greatest investment you will make is an investment in yourself. As a business man, if you can afford a business school, enroll. Don’t waste your time crying over the economy of the nation, there is nothing you can do about it, but there is a lot you can do about your own personal economy.
Improve yourself and your personal economy will improve. At least, let us all start building our H2i (Helping Hands International) Business passionately.