Mr. Wale Adeowo is the MD/CEO of Adedaas Group. Bearded and handsome, the company has continued to grow and diversify. Popularly known as the ‘Finger King’, the name of one of his subsidiaries where they handle small chops, cocktail and outdoor catering, YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, AZUH ARINZE, stopped by at his office, inside Sura Shopping Complex, in Lagos Island, on Wednesday March 15, 2017, and they had this chat…
Why did you choose to become a businessman?
Maybe it’s because of my parents’ background. My father was an entrepreneur, my mother a caterer. Having gone through that informal training, when I finished my degree, I had it at the back of my mind that I was not going to do a white collar job.
What do you like most about being a businessman?
Having people under me, taking them off the street and giving them employment.
What do you hate about being a businessman?
I will still go back to the Nigerian context – it’s not having capital to expand the way you would like to.
In life and in business, some people attain success, but find it difficult to sustain it. Where do you think they normally get it wrong?
They get it wrong when they have the mentality that it’s my business and want to control everything. I think when you move your business to a certain level, you must be able to see yourself as a separate body, then you bring people in as partners. That way, it will enable the business to live – after you have died.
If you had not gone into this line of business, what else would you have done?
I would have been an accountant.
In your line of business, what stands you out from the other people?
Passion for standard and quality. I want to be the best. I want to stand out.
What is your staying power?
It’s God, it’s that determination to succeed.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is my religion, my faith and the economy. My faith is against taking loan from banks and you need money to do business (laughter).
The last time I came here, you were known as Adedaas, but now it’s Finger King, why the change of name?
Adedaas still remains its mother. I realized that this is the type of name that is associated with what we do. Adedaas is the group’s name while Finger King has plans of going with food, because we have plans to go into outdoor catering. And so that you don’t explain to people what you do.
With the experience you have so far, what would you say makes a good businessman?
Focus, honesty. If you have these two things, you will win the hearts of people. Many people can’t do business without looking back.
What makes a good businessman?
A good businessman has to be focused, dedicated, determined and optimistic.
What is the commonest mistake that most business people make?
In the Nigerian context, once they start making money, they feel they have arrived. They think that all those money coming in is their money. And they refuse to expand, rather they start buying luxury things, they dip their hands into the capital.
You also have another business, 911 Drinks, how is it doing?
It’s still functioning, but I gave it to my brother to manage.
What does it take to make it in your line of business?
You must be honest. And people must get value for their money.
Who do you look up to as role model?
I look up to Dangote and late Yinka Folawiyo.
Can you summarize yourself?
I’m a focused person, God fearing, humble and I have phobia for failure. I don’t take no for an answer. I believe that nothing is impossible.
Where did you grow up and what fond memories of your childhood can you share with us?
I come from a very humble background in the hood (Ojodu Berger) and that exposed me to a lot of challenges. It wasn’t easy growing up in that area and you wanted to be up there. It’s an area where people don’t value education. You see people making it without going to school. It can make you feel like ‘what are my going to school to do?’ My father had many streams of income, so I followed him. He was a hardworking man; he was into block making, furniture, he had a saw mill, hotel, etc. So, having that kind of experience, I will say, I took after him.
Tell me some of the schools you attended…
My primary one to three was at CMS, Bariga, before we moved to Ojodu. I went to Olowora Primary School. Then, my secondary school was Isheri Grammar School. I did a diploma programme in the university before going to FUTA, Akure, to do my degree in Business Management.
What course did you do for the diploma?
I did Business Administration.
How did you meet your wife and what’s her name?
My wife’s name is Titilayo. I met her when I was working as special event manager at Coca Cola. She served under me. So, we got talking and the rest is history.
How many children do you have and what are their names?
Hmmm! Let’s leave that.
You don’t want to talk about that?
Your marriage, I want to believe, has been on for years. What would you say has kept it going?
Trust! My wife trusts me. You have to learn to trust each other even though she knows you are telling lies sometimes.
How do you do business together with your wife?
It’s not easy; you have to be a very disciplined man to be able to manage any business with your wife. Once you are disciplined, there is no problem.
Away from work, what are your hobbies?
Once in a while I do club. Also I do go to cinema with my wife.
It’s obvious that God has been nice to you, what more do you want from Him?
I thank God. Yeah, He has done everything, but like Oliver Twist, you will always want more. so that when they are counting rich people in Nigeria, I want to be among them (laughter).
What excites you most about this business?
People calling me to say thank you, we love what you are doing.
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