Temitope Ogunsemo is the CEO of Krystal Digital Network Solutions, a Nigerian technology company that develops and deploys customised software applications for education institutions.
1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
More often than not, entrepreneurs say that their biggest challenge is getting capital to start their businesses, but, for me, my major challenge was getting the right people to understand Krystal’s vision and work with.
When I started in 2010, I encountered the same challenges with most of the people I had on board. Many sought … money instead of clearly understanding the idea and long-term goal of the company. Thus, there were constant conflicts, which slowed our growth. As the years progressed, I learned to embrace the seasons of change, [which are a] test of character and [contribute towards] self-development.
I also learned to embrace the diversity that comes with meeting and managing people from all walks of life. This has helped me become a better leader.
Today, I … embrace people who are thirsty for the vision and, in turn, willing to make huge sacrifices that would benefit the … company.
2. Which business achievement are you most proud of?
My greatest achievement so far has been the birth, growth and value delivery of … Krystal Digital Network Solutions Ltd. Krystal Digital emerged as a result of my difficult and frustrating experience when I attempted to get hold of my academic transcript.
In a bid to tackle such issues, I developed a school information management system for government-owned secondary schools, spearheaded by King’s College, Lagos. By virtue of the value proposition offered by my organisation, the principal of the school liked the product so much, he asked other principals in his network to adopt a similar technology, and Krystal Digital was born.
The MySkool portal, our flagship service, … provides a personalised portal-based solution for … school[s]. It helps simplify processes and makes all … [records] … accessible … via the web and or mobile application (app).
Today, we have several institutional clients, made up of government-owned high schools, across the country.
It is … a great joy … that we have been able to change the status quo with our flagship product and other … information management solutions.
3. Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
… Dealing with recruitment and handling management issues, … [and] trying to strike a balance between them. It is pertinent to state that these issues form the crux of every business and as such must be managed carefully.
I have … embraced the season of failure, learning and capacity building that I have encountered over the years. Hence, these seasons have formed major life-learning skills for the future.
4. Which popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
One of the myths I strongly disagree with is the popular saying that: “Successful people go alone.”
Over the years, I have discovered the need for collaboration and mentorship, which reveals that business is competitive, but also collaborative. Owners, especially inexperienced ones, who keep to themselves miss out on opportunities for learning, networking and growth.
… [In terms of] having mentors, it is notable to say [that] they help guide through the startup process, [and] provide a valuable source of information, encouragement and inspiration.
5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?
When I started to build my team, one of the biggest lessons I learned was the understanding of sieving out those who … [did not buy into] the vision and goals of the organisation. I realised these individuals created a cultural misfit and, over time, transferred these nonchalant attitudes to other members of the workforce.
The performance and growth of every organisation lie in relationships and [the] strength of team members. Coupled with this, it is ideal to get individuals who would buy into your vision, the structure you intend to create, as well as the problems you intend to provide a solution to.
In a nutshell, a team should be a group of people with like minds and passion, so much so that the goal to be achieved is in sync with everyone.
I took these lessons and channelled them into building a team that will be able to complement me both professionally, in the workplace, as well as personally, in everyday life issues. Today, I can confidently say I have a team that can take over the world.
6. Name a business opportunity you would still like to pursue.
We propose to design The Educo Solution, an e-learning solution designed to encourage students to learn at their own pace and accommodate the custom-learning experience in the Nigerian education system, [which has] several limitations.
The Educo Solution … initiates custom-learning and teaching methodologies by providing gadgets and interfaces that … [enable] learning based on needs, preferences and availability.
For reference, we have harnessed a cloud computing technology that unlocks the high door of tech education, and education at large.
The accessibility of information, stored remotely on the cloud servers of apps, makes it possible to access the courseware and educational material from any device connected anywhere in the country.
This innovative learning platform transcends the four walls of the classroom and entrusts the power of learning to each and every willing individual. This platform seeks to liberate learners and educators alike [by] providing them with a library of electronic resources to either study or teach.
This product would be customised to suit teachers and learners alike.