Welcome to another edition of the Unusual Entrepreneur Interviews and today we have here with us unusual entrepreneur Adedeji Opoola. He is the Co-founder of lazyappetite.com, an online takeaway website that makes it easier than ever before to find a restaurant near you and order a meal directly online. It’s a place to order, recommend, and experience meals from various restaurants in Nigeria.
In case you are not familiar with this business idea of food delivery, here are some encouraging facts according to Silicon Africa;
“Started 4 years ago, Eat24.com, a food-delivery startup in San Francisco has now more than 150 employees, covers more than 850 U.S. cities, gets more than a million unique visitors a month, and will generate more than $150 million in sales by the end of the year 2012.
The food delivery market is growing, and fast. In Europe, Berlin food delivery startup “Delivery Hero” Just merged with Foodik, seeking more access to new international growth opportunities.
In India, BigBite, is growing fast. In Indonesia Klik-Eat can’t handle the demand from restaurants. Innovation is spurring as well. Tacocopter, a new food delivery startup in Silicon Valley, is going one giant step further, using Unmanned Drone Helicopters to deliver the food even faster to its customers.”
Take it away Adedeji!
Interview Questions Part One
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Awakening the Spirit of business
- Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your business?
I am Adedeji Opoola, Co-founder of lazyappetite.com, an online takeaway website that makes it easier than ever before to find a restaurant near you and order a meal directly from the website. I have an Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree from the University of Lagos.
What do you do?
I am the CEO/Project Manager for Lazyappetite.com and a computer network/infrastructure specialist.
How do you do it?
This is interesting because our role change from day to day but essentially, I work day and night to ensure the Lazy Appetite platform runs efficiently and that our clients, both the restaurants and the customers get value every time.
Why do you do it and who do you do it for?
The desire to see Lazy Appetite cement its place as the leading food delivery portal in the country and provide meals without stress to everyone on demand is the raison d’être for all the sacrifice. I am a strong believer in self-actualization so I guess that’s a great part of what drives me to keep working every day.
2. How would you describe your entrepreneurial journey into the world of business?
I’ll say it’s been equal parts exciting, frustrating and rewarding. There are times you want to pull out your hair and then there are those times when things go through that bring you so much joy but I learn new perspectives every day and that keeps me going.
Were there any key incidents or life changing events that inspired your decision to become an entrepreneur?
No, not really, I just really believe that I can make a difference. I believe everybody has an entrepreneurial spirit in them and it’s just a matter of whether one is bold enough to act on it.
3. When you started out in business, what specific idea, purpose or vision was your key driving force?
I would say my key driving force is the aspiration to reach my full potential and like I said before, I am a huge fan of self-actualization. I also do not really fancy having a boss. Let’s not get that wrong; I respect and learn from all my previous bosses but I generally didn’t feel I could reach my full potential under them.
4. What is your take on the general notion that entrepreneurs should build a business around what they naturally love to do?
From my perspective, building a business around what you love to do is great only if there is a market for it where you intend to launch the business. I don’t see a point in building a business around say television production just because you love it, if nobody in the area has a television. So I’ll say in business, think of the market before passion or anything else.
5. What is your personal life mission as an entrepreneur? That is; what contributions do you want to make with your life or what would you like to be remembered for as an entrepreneur through the businesses you create when you die?
I want to be that entrepreneur that every student, graduate, workers and aspiring entrepreneur looks up to and says “He believed he could make a difference and he did, so why can’t I”. Beyond being simply an inspiration for others to achieve all that they can, I want to affect real life people with the businesses I create. Lazyappetite.com is a firm movement in that direction. By making quality and a great variety of meals available to everyone without stress, we free up time for you to enjoy life’s moments and worry less about where to get your meals.
6. What would you describe as the purpose of entrepreneurship? That is; what role do entrepreneurs play in the world?
Entrepreneurs shape the world we live in; they change the world every day. In fact, I believe entrepreneurship will solve a large part of the economic problems we are currently facing in this part of the world. Entrepreneurs shape economies and this is why many countries strive to create the best working environment for them.
Interview Questions Part Two
STRATEGY: The unusual execution of business best practices
7. How do you identify business opportunities and what metrics do you use to measure their viability?
I am a fan of low capital start-ups, this doesn’t mean I don’t think big, but I focus on these because they are easier for me to setup. I basically sit down and think about what I know people want and write them out.
Then I ask the major question? How many People “NEED” this? (Note that the word is need, not want as there is a huge difference. Those who need your product/service define your loyal market, not those who want it). I carry out real market surveys (Just means getting out and asking people).
The next thing is to create a business plan so you have a very good idea, if you will actually make any profit from the business.
8. Do you have mentors, business coach or external consultants that you work closely with to grow yourself and your business? If yes, to what extent would you describe their impact on your business? If no, are there any particular reasons?
I do not have business mentors but I do have some people I admire. Some of the people in the cast of Dragons’ Den UK version are very instructive- Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis, James Khan and Deborah Meaden. Peter Jones is my favourite because he explains businesses in the best way he thinks they should be run. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to watch Dragons’ Den UK version, I have learnt a lot from it.
9. How do you strategically use your time as an entrepreneur? What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs use their time for?
I have a tablet that I use to plan my day; it is a life-saving scheduling device for me. I read anytime I get some free time and I play when I need to relax. As for key activities, I recommend that entrepreneurs try to read whenever they can or like me, watch tutorials that will help you grow yourself and the business. Always leave time for playing, for friends and family as they are very important in your life.
10. How do you generate profitable customers for your business? What unusual approaches do you adopt for marketing your products/services?
I am a huge fan of social media marketing and search engine optimization, especially because of the business Lazyappetite.com does. Business partnerships are a good way to market your product. I also employ traditional methods like radio and flyers but all these depend on the product you are dealing with. As I said earlier, in identifying business viability you need to answer the question “Do people need this?” I believe if this was answered correctly and these people know about your product then you will make profit from their purchases.
11. Many entrepreneurs complain about not succeeding in business due to lack of adequate funding, what is your take on this matter and how do you cope with funding issues in your business?
It is true, a dearth of funding is a major setback in many start-ups; in fact this is my reason for concentrating on low capital start-ups. If you had done your business plan correctly though, you would have foreseen the need for more capital at certain stages of the business and made the moves to get it. If you cannot foresee getting any investment at those stages the best thing to do is to not start-up at all than to hope for miraculous money to save you at that stage of the business.
12. When starting out a new business, who are the likely possible partners or professional service providers you would recommend every entrepreneur work with?
Starting a business usually requires a lot of surveys, planning and management. Professional help may be required depending on the business, but generally I’ll suggest getting a business entry consultant and market analyst. These people will give you valuable advice as to whether to approach the market at all and if so how to approach it.
13. The pricing of products/services is always an issue for entrepreneurs, what unusual approach do you take when it comes to pricing?
Pricing is very important in any business as it sometimes determines if consumers will favour your product or competitor’s product. Price can only be arrived at after you have drawn up a business model; the key thing to note is that your price should not break your business model. Don’t sell lower than you can afford because your competition is cheaper as this is usually the case. If you know your market will buy into quality and this is the reason for your higher prices then stick to it. This is the model Peak milk has used over the years and this is the reason for its success.
Interview Questions Part Three
MISCELLANEOUS – Resourceful Recommendations, tools, books, and ideas for unusual entrepreneurs
14. Since you became an entrepreneur – someone who solves problems for people profitably; what has been your most outstanding accomplishments in the context of business?
Well, Lazyappetite.com is growing rapidly and currently concluding partnering with some major restaurant brands in the country. We are currently the leading online food delivery website in Nigeria. We are a dedicated team of five, two hardworking programmers; Kunle Adedayo and Shope Johnson, Social media guru and sales partner; Nubi Kayode and Ahmed Adeyanju. We all work very hard to be the best.
15. What would you describe as your major setbacks and what lessons did you pick from them?
I’ll say that the restaurant recruitment phase for Lazyappetite.com was quite major. It was very difficult to explain the concept to restaurant owners because the platform wasn’t fully ready yet. We have moved passed that phase now though and I now clearly understand the need for a working prototype while marketing new products.
16. Were there any particular questions you expected me to ask that is beneficial to entrepreneurs and I didn’t? Kindly share with us such questions and their relevant answers here.
What is the plan for the future?
Let’s just say I will be taking it one day at a time to build a brand experience for all stakeholders in LazyAppetite – co-founders, team members, restaurant, and of course our users; also looking forward to scaling up to serve other cities in Nigeria, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Until then, if you are reading this, go visit LazyAppetite.com and tell us what you think via twitter – @LazyAppetite, or our Facebook page. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What more would you like to know about the unusual Adedeji Opoola? You can ask him further questions below in the comment section and I will be sure that you will get an answer directly from him.
Also, what did you learn from this unusual entrepreneur? What lessons, what philosophy of his strike you the most?
Adedeji has shared his unusual story with you, now is time to hear from you. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!