First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Obiechina Okoro: It was difficult to cope when the virus first struck, especially during the government-mandated lockdowns, but we were able to adjust to the new normal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Cifwep.
Obiechina Okoro: After unsuccessful attempts to be admitted to a higher institution, I worked in different industries for about 5years.
During that period, I had no knowledge of how the Internet worked. Back in high school, I was naturally attracted to science, and I always thought I would have a career in the engineering sector.
In 2016, I studied basic programming online through free courses and YouTube tutorials. With the little knowledge I acquired, I was able to work on small websites and blogs for close friends.
Seeing the potential and the lack of tech startups in the Eastern region of Nigeria, especially in my location, Anambra state, I founded Cifwep designs in 2018.
How does Cifwep innovate?
Obiechina Okoro: When we launched Cifwep in 2018, we only provided Website design services, but within the two years we’ve been in operation, we’ve expanded our services to include Mobile App development, all facets of Digital Marketing, and most recently, due to popular demand we introduced an app for Tutorials Ctrl-v academy.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you’re coping?
Obiechina Okoro: The pandemic affected my business positively, to my surprise. We saw an increase in profit this year despite the economic state of the country.
My guess is that more people searched online for services they would’ve under normal circumstances or visited a physical store.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Obiechina Okoro: I had to lay off a couple of my staff because I found out the hard way that they didn’t share my vision.
It was something I had known for a while but didn’t take action on time. Sadly it had to cost me some of my clients before I decided to let them go.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Obiechina Okoro: My anxiety has been acting up lately due to a lot of stress. As a startup, my business Cifwep is not run like a conventional business with regular working hours, for me at least.
Sometimes I work throughout the night to meet clients’ deadlines, which has really affected my mental health. I deal with stress by delegating tasks to my staff to have “me” time.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Obiechina Okoro: My region has competitors such as Mastersweb and Brangenius agency. I plan to “stay in the game” by ensuring my brand remains relevant and maintain my online presence.
To that effect, earlier this year, I commissioned a revamp when I realized my website seemed dated.
Your final thoughts?
Obiechina Okoro: Two years on, I still have no regrets in starting a business. I have garnered a bunch of experience and have also positively impacted my society.
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