Etop Ikpe is CEO of Cars45. He was previously the commercial director of Konga, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms, and formerly the CEO and co-MD of DealDey, West Africa’s answer to Groupon. Cars45 raised a US$5m Series A round earlier this year.
Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
Implementing cost-cutting strategies during economically challenging periods. Overcoming this meant focusing 100% on what was best for the business and ensuring that all decisions were void of subjective interference.
Through my years of entrepreneurial activity, I’ve had the opportunity to provide direct and indirect employment to over a thousand young people and I’ve seen them develop over the years. Contributing to the development of young people and creating job opportunities in Africa makes me most proud.
Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
My greatest weakness would be my impatience in strategy or process adoption within the company. Sometimes we see things very clearly and it seems very simple to implement, but when driving change across a lot of people, it takes time to actually get going and become a habit. I’ve therefore learned to include the adoption period into our implementation timeline in order to provide better estimations on a project’s success period.
What conventional business wisdom do you disagree with?
Fake it till you make it. I think it’s completely misunderstood and has lead to a lot of poor business practices. People should understand that every entrepreneurial journey is different and there is great value in starting from the bottom.
Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you started?
How important it is to study corporate/finance law and get accustomed to the principles of corporate governance.
Name one business opportunity you would still like to pursue?
Translating languages between people automatically without any reference to physical devices. Communication is the greatest driver of human interaction. If we could all easily understand each other, there is a greater chance of an overall improved quality of human existence.