Uju Agbasi is a chartered accountant with a BSc in Accounting from Nnamdi Azikiwe University. When she’s not busy running her online referral platform, iRefer.ng, she enjoys capturing images of remarkable moments, and spending time with her family. She talks to Connect Nigeria about bringing her dream to life using digital tools.
CN: Why did you decide to start iRefer?
I wanted to create an online platform where people could shop for quality services and products conveniently, to build a brand so trustworthy that customers could go to sleep after patronizing us.
I am very excited about this dream come true, because it finally took shape about six months ago, even though I’ve mapped it out for quite some time now.
I decided to use the digital tools at our disposal — Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp and very sparingly, Twitter —to test-run the business. The vision is to build a solid website and a user-friendly mobile app.
CN: Who is your target audience and in what ways does iRefer.ng help them?
My target audience are business owners and consumers. I like the role I play in the middle. I help the business owners grow their business by maximizing visibility of their brands on all iRefer.ng platforms, which in turn generates sales. I ensure the consumers get good value for their money.
CN: How does a referral service generate revenue and make profit?
iRefer.ng generates income through commission from sales or subscriptions for advert placements on our social media pages.
CN: What steps do potential clients have to take?
Potential clients pay for a slot, indicate their preferred days of the week and we run accordingly.
For referrals, customers call to ask for specific services or products, we find clients who can provide said services and oversee the sales process to ensure the customer is satisfied.
CN: What has the feedback been like so far?
iRefer.ng has enjoyed good feedback that spurs us on and teaches us as well. We are also excited at our steadily growing client and customer base.
CN: How do you stand out from competitors; what’s your unique selling proposition?
There is such a large space in the digital market that I do not classify them as competition in that sense. Our eyes remain primarily on our goal which to ensure that online businesses are transacted with ease and in a scam-free zone.
For people who buy through us, they are assured that they do not have to worry about the products or services falling short of their expectations as we go to great lengths to avoid “stories that touch”, including buying some products and testing their efficacy first; we are beating our chest and saying to you, “bank on this because we bank on it.” It’s a circle and our own brand is in the equation.
CN: Which professionals inspire you, and why?
Interestingly, I am inspired by strangers who often have no idea that they are inspiration. I speak of customer service representatives of various institutions that I have come across who have warmed my heart with such excellent and personal service. A part of me just soaks the experience in and stores it in my memory as something very worthy of emulation.
CN: Which books have helped you as a businessperson?
- Google isn’t a book but it’s everything!
- SMarketing by Tricia Ikponmwonba
CN: What is your long-term vision for your business?
The vision is to host my business on a website, build a user-friendly mobile app, and expand our client base beyond Africa.