by frontiers | November 16, 2017 4:17 pm
IN a world where people easily cave in to difficult situations, the Managing Director of Gladtrico International-an indigenous oil servicing firm, Chief Eric Ebozele made good results out of every unpleasant phase he had encountered. From his days at the University of Benin in the 1990s to his teething stage in oil and gas industry, the ingenuity in him turned difficult scenarios into success stories. With hindsight and sense of fulfillment, he narrates how this resourcefulness saw him building a multi-million naira company after his first contract of N15,000 in 1991.
IN the beginning: I was brought up in a broken home. It was not easy then for me but I am a man who always turns any opportunity into success. My Mother was working as a nurse then in Bendel State while my father was a civil servant in the same state. My grandmother who raised me up was a petty trader and my step father was a business man. My mother was always ready to assist financially if the need arose. She would always look for ways to advise and to make sure I was not carried away by the kind of wayward life some of my peers were involved in. my step father will always send me to assist him in his business which gave me the pre-knowledge of accounting/bookkeeping, it also gave me an insight into sales strategies. My father was a very busy man, he gave me little coaching regarding my general lifestyle. My grandmother was the first to introduce me to business. I was going to the market with her where she sold fruits and food items. I assisted her greatly, with sales. She ensured that my siblings and I did not lack. My upbringing played a major role in my business orientation. I actually made use of all the business avenues I could explore during the time I spent with my parents, grandmother, and stepfather.
On starting and turning point in business
Nobody mentored me other than myself. It was my determination and hard work that propelled me to where I am today and I have not attained the height of greatness the Lord has set for me. I am still working hard towards it. I will keep exploring, making use of all opportunities that come my way. Gladtrico has distinguished itself in the oil-servicing sector,
Can you tell us the story of Gladtrico?
The story of GLADTRICO actually started in 1991 when I finished my NYSC programmes. It was informed by my experience from the barbing saloon and being raised by my paternal grandmother who thought me petty trading at a tender age. I registered my first business, Gladtrico Industries Enterprises, with my NYSC allowance which I saved during my one year service to my country. Based on this registration I started looking for a company to be registered with as a contractor. I got registered with Nigeria Gas and Gladtrico was awarded a contract of N15,000. It was to supply some items. I took a night bus to Alaba international market in Lagos to do the purchase so that I can come back the following morning to make the supply. I started making little progress with the little companies around. Nevertheless, the contract conditions were not totally favourable to Gladtrico enterprise. I decided to do an upgrade in the company’s registration by registering, Gladtrico International Limited. My passion for business and determination has kept this company going for over two decades.
Can you refresh your memory back to a certain event that made a lasting mark on you?
The six months Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, strike engineered my first venture into business. During the long strike, I never wanted to be idle, so I took a decision to go to Warri to live with my elder sister who had a hair dressing saloon. I came up with an idea of buying a clipper to cut men’s hair. I created a space inside my sister’s hair dressing salon where we started the barbing business. This opened my mind about doing business after my graduation. I was making money daily. It really encouraged and awakened the business sense in me. What I would like to say is that no time is to be wasted. That should be done by using your brain to create goals and working towards them I am grateful to the riot because it played an important role in making me who I am today.
If you were to make an assessment of how far you have come considering where you are coming from, how would it look like?
When I was establishing my business, I focused on short-term and long-term goals. My short term was to outgrow my local business. I knew I will eventually compete with the giants of the oil sector.But first I needed to know my strength and weakness to be able to actualize my goals The business environment can create a strong competition and my aim was to be able to actualize my dreams of growing the size of my company to a world-class servicing establishment, by distinguishing my company from others. One of the key factors was to focus on customers’ service which is being done by assembling the best team if possible because my team is the face of the company. My greatest dream is to be able to take the company to the greatest height by maintaining my lead because I know my business better than anyone.
On lessons to be drawn
We need to be proactive to deliver quality and services consistently. Consistencies in service, transparency with clients are things we don’t joke with. The lesson to be drawn here is that hard work, determination and constant work upgrade can be achieved when you believe in yourself. As someone, who built his brand single-handedly in a harsh business environment what were those factors that kept you on track?
I built the company alone in a very harsh business environment. Like I mentioned earlier, my growing up was with business minded people. My grandmom, my step father and my early venture into barbing gave me an insight into business. I actually had a shop in the 90’s where I sold electrical materials I purchased from Alaba. I had to deny myself gratification because no business succeeds on day one and I knew that being an entrepreneur does not lead to instant wealth. I knew I had to work hard for a long term goal; I worked hard even in the face of what seemed like failures sometimes. I remember when I had to borrow from money lenders. I was once asked to use my first car as collateral. It was not easy but in the face of all these, I kept my steadfastness.
Naturally an entrepreneur
I am naturally an entrepreneur, who is blessed with a mind of generating ideas. I never for once relented in my old ideas even as I continued to pursue new ideas. Risk-taking is another factor that assisted me as a businessman. A business man should be ready to take a risk about some good business proposals that come your way. My family has been instrumental to my success. My family is the source of my strength. To me, most especially when it involves taking some business risk. I like to socialize, I make friends and I can take part in discussions that can be beneficial to my business. It is good to build respect, reputation, alliance along the way, hopefully, one can get people to listen and trust whatever he says. Building relationships as an entrepreneur is very important because no business is an Island.
On distinguishing principles
I value dedication, integrity, accountability, transparency, honesty, productivity, and passion. Passion for business is an essential aspect of my business.
I have an undying passion for the job I do, with that in my mind, I am always relentless. I try to partner with companies in and outside the shores of Nigeria to enable me actualize my goal and widen my business boundaries. Gladtrico has established technical and trading partnership with some foreign companies such as: Citadel International Security Services Limited, Nanjing Nanze Precision Metal Producing Company Limited, China.
for sheet piles; Hunan Shinestar Steel Group, China for line pipes, ZILTEK PTY, Australia, Stopgap Inc, USA for foreign procurement of tools and equipment, Metpro Europe Limited, and evans Evans piling, UK for foundation solution.
Culled from Vanguard
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