#LadyBossQuickFive: “Go for quality! Always ensure you are doing the best and giving the best that you can,” Blessing Abeng, Founder, Disha & Startup Grind Lagos

Image credit: Blessing Abeng

Blessing Abeng is a branding and communications manager dedicated to helping entrepreneurs identify their value, identity and unique point of view. She helps brands communicate with their team, target audience, partners and investors. Blessing creates unforgettable experiences that reflect the personality of brands and convert strangers to loyal customers, friends, and community members. She is the Co-founder of Disha, Co-Director for Startup Grind Lagos, a mentor on the African Entrepreneurship Awards platform, a WIMBIZ associate and a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Alumni.

She has worked with brands like Heritage Bank, Dark and Lovely Africa, MTN, Lights Camera Africa, Alomo Bitters, Victor Ehikhamenor, African Alliance, Lemi Ghariokwu and so many other global brands.

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Blessing shares the inspiration behind establishing her companies, an important hiring lesson all business founders must imbibe and top 3 tips every female entrepreneur must incorporate into their daily routine. Lean in!

1. What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?

Personally, entrepreneurship is an outlet to make an impact in people’s lives by creating solutions to their pressing needs. What I love about entrepreneurship is that it rewards you for service. You get value and they get value. It’s a two-way street.

Image credit: Blessing Abeng

2. Tell us the inspiration behind establishing Disha & Startup Grind Lagos

For Disha, we realized that in this information age, being able to communicate across borders and have a consistent brand has become increasingly important and it is even getting easier. However, it takes time, money and efforts to build a globally-competitive site. So, we decided to create a platform for individuals to build one-page sites from the comfort of their mobile phones for just $5 with no technical skill required.

If you can use Instagram, you can use Disha. We also noticed that people who used Linktree are migrating to our platform because it gives you a professional and globally competitive look and feel.  We also went ahead to figure out SEO and ensure you can have your domain or host it on your existing website if you just want to use it as a link in bio

For Startup Grind Lagos, we identified the knowledge gap that existed in Lagos – such as how entrepreneurs were knowledgeable about the solutions they want to provide but lacking in knowledge in areas such as finance, branding, paying tax, policies, hiring, etc. a We decided to bridge this knowledge gap and every last Saturday of the month, we host a meetup with a thought leader with great experience to give us practical tips on Startup Grind.

3. What “Oh, Shit!” moments have you had since establishing your business and how have these mistakes shaped you to become better?

Wow! There are plenty and I am struggling to pick one. I loved to hire people with potential; and while this wasn’t necessarily bad, I didn’t create a balance. I had to learn how important it is for skill, potential, values and culture to be balanced in an individual. You can’t teach 3 of these things, you can only teach a skill. I also learned how important it is for an employee’s personal values and culture to align with your company values as well. One of our team members suddenly kept dropping the ball, and we lost several clients.

However, I didn’t fire him because I thought there was more to it. We endured his behaviour for 6 months and almost lost the business. The bad habits started spreading to other team members and I learned, that your company culture is as good as what you reward, tolerate and punish. I learned an important hiring lesson that day and our business has taken a great turn for the better.

4. If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?

I’d pick Genevieve Nnaji. I’d ask her about the challenges she faces as an entrepreneur and tell her how I can solve some of those challenges. Even the most successful people need something.

Image credit: Blessing Abeng

5. Your top 3 recommendations for entrepreneurs in our community?

i. While it’s important to know as much as you can about your field/industry, it’s also important that you glean as much knowledge as you can about other fields that interest you. It’ll help you hold intelligent conversations and build relationships with people.

ii. Don’t just network. Focus on building relationships. When you meet people, don’t just bombard them by talking only about you and your business. Rather, listen to them, know their needs, add value and they will never forget you if you nurture the relationship.

iii. Go for quality! Always ensure you are doing the best and giving the best that you can. We need to stop giving mediocrity if we want to compete on a global scale. Stay attentive to policies. Be aware of the changes happening around you. Be very quality-minded.

 

The Leading Ladies Lady Boss Quick 5 Series is a weekly interview series focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.

Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to lead@leadingladiesafrica.org and we just might feature her.

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