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Over 150 Nigerians Have Participated In CPPL Training – Kalu

Chinwe Kalu is the COO of Customer Passion Point Limited and also a founder/presenter of Chinwe-Kalu-COO-Customer-Passion-Point-Liited-and-founder-presenter-Doveeyes-with-Chinwe-Kalupopular radio program Dove Eyes on City 105.1fm. In this interview with our reporter, the beautiful mother of four speaks on issues affecting small scale business in Nigeria, family and other sundry issues…

Your educational background/training?

I attended Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Yaba Lagos. I have a BSc in Chemistry and an MBA (Finance) from University of Lagos.

Can you share your growing up experience?

I grew up in the academic environment because my father was a lecturer. He taught Business Maths in University of Lagos. My parents lived apart, so I would say I grew up with some family dysfunction. I stayed with my father during the school term and with my mother during the holidays. The academic environment I grew up in shaped my life core values. My parents believed in me and encouraged me to be the best I could be.

What is CPPL all about?

Customer Passion Point Limited is a value creation firm that is positioned to support -small, growing and medium sized organisations to create value through consumer insights. This we do through business marketing consulting and training / development. We sit with these businesses to understand their issues and develop appropriate solutions to address them. We also serve large organisations to implement their strategies for which they do not have in-house capacity. We believe that the Consulting and Training go hand-in-hand to ensure that our clients are able to implement the solutions we proffer through well-equipped and skilled staff.

What led to CPPL monthly training and how long have you been doing this?

I happen to be the Head of Training in CPPL and the CPPL Monthly Training Program is our flagship program. It was our attempt to help businesses strengthen their commercial activities in times of economic turbulence. We came up with four modules to enable them position their products and services in the market, sell those products and services while managing their customers professionally to ensure ultimate satisfaction. We also tell them how to plan their offerings as projects so that they deliver on schedule and within budget. That also makes their customers happy. It has been interesting nurturing the program to where we are now. We have held it every month since July 2014. We have trained over a 150 people from more than 50 Nigerian businesses. That is not a bad start.

What are the problems facing small scale and growing businesses in Nigeria?

I think that all businesses, big and small, are grappling with the turbulent economy at this time. The major issue with an ailing economy is that peoples’ buying power is weakened. People are unable to spend money as they would love to because they just cannot afford to. Business owners are concerned about how to keep their businesses alive through these times. Under normal circumstances, as they incur more operational costs from inflation, they pass that on to customers. However, they cannot do that now. The onus is on them to find creative ways to sell their products and services profitably. That is a major challenge.

What solutions would you proffer to these problems?

Even though these appear to be difficult times, I feel that as business Consultants and Trainers, this is our finest hour. This is the time they actually need our services. This is the time we can actually help businesses keep their heads up.

In times like these, businesses must put their best feet forward. They must be spot-on with their products and services. That means they cannot be ignored. They must be sure what their customers need. They must know what their customers are willing to pay for these products and services before they bring them into the market. They must sell aggressively. They must continually engage their customers through as many communication channels as possible. They must meet them where they are. They must understand competition. They must be professional in their approach. All these require skills, creativity and sound experience that most Nigerian businesses do not have. That is what we bring to the table. We enable them position their products and services in a manner that ensures they remain relevant in the market place through our consulting services. Then we train their staff to ensure they can sustain our proffered solutions.

What challenges are you faced with in this business?

Our major challenge would be that our services are not tangible. Those are a bit difficult to sell in our part of the world. Business owners find it difficult to see how we can make that much difference. We knew we would face that challenge, so we came into the market prepared. We know that with consulting and training services, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we get a chance to work with them, and they get the desired results, they have more confidence in the solutions we come up with. When we train their staff and something ignites in their hearts and they perform better at work, they will naturally send us more people. Our pricing is also one of our strategies- good enough to motivate us to deliver excellent services and yet affordable for the business owner.

How can young professionals be more proactive and proficient in their work?

Young professionals need to pay more attention to developing themselves to become more effective. It requires more than just going to work and having a job description. It requires paying attention to detail. It requires an attitude of excellence. It requires developing personal habits that ensure good use of their time. It requires building themselves up through reading wholesome materials which facilitate personal growth. It requires developing core values and disciplining themselves to live by them. We don’t see a lot of that among young professionals. When they think of growth, they get more degrees, they go to foreign universities to get more expensive certificates. However, it is not about those certificates and degrees, it is about strength of character and commitment to excellence. That you cannot learn in school. You work on yourself to build that.

You also run a programme on radio, what’s the programme about?

My program on radio is called Dove Eyes. It is a faith based motivational program targeted at young women in particular. However it is gender friendly, so anyone can listen to it. The idea is to encourage people to live their best lives and fulfil their purpose here on earth without unnecessary distractions. We encourage Godly living and values on the show. It airs on City 105.1Fm at 6.30pm on Saturday evenings. I counsel or get guests to tell motivating stories. We have had people like motivational speaker FelaDurotoye and his entrepreneur wife Tara. We have had Life Coach LanreOlusola, gospel music singers like Lara George, Modele and Sasha. We have had great women of God Pastor MrsNkoyoRapu, IfeanyiAdefarasin and Nike Adeyemi. We have had magazine publishers like Pastor Bola Olawale of Gem Woman and Paula Rumm of Motherhood-In-Style. We simply tell the young ones that we were all created by God with tremendous power to fulfil destiny. The thing is that for most of us, that power lies dormant. We all need to activate it to live our best lives. That is Dove Eyes for you.

How do you balance work and the home front?

For most women, it’s not very easy, but I am lucky that at this point in time, my family dynamics are such that I can juggle it all. My children are away from home in school for most of the term. It is just my husband and I at home. So I cope well. My husband sometimes complains but we manage ourselves well enough. It was not always like this and so I am very grateful to God that I do have the time to do the things I do now. When the kids come home, I deliberately slow down a bit. However, they are all old enough to understand that they now have to share me with my other passions.

What challenges do you think youths are facing and how can they overcome those challenges?

Nigerian youths have the major problem of not having role models. No leadership. They assume life the way we live it in Nigeria is normal. Nobody tells them any better. So they succumb to global and local social pressures. They succumb to the norm of living lives without values which seems to be ‘the life’. How do we build a future for them with such low life values?

What should youths do to maximize their full potentials?

Young people should understand that life is a gift. Their youth is their greatest asset. They should not waste it. They should enjoy life, but that is not what life is all about. They must take responsibility. They must develop habits that will ensure they win in life. They must live by Godly core values; otherwise, they get to fifty and look back and realize how much they wasted life.

What’s your philosophy of life?

I live by certain core values-13 of them. I have often told people that if you find me doing anything that negates them, please call me to order. Honesty, integrity, authenticity and humility are non-negotiable for me. I live a life of giving-of myself, time, money and resources. I am content yet aspiring. I think that comes from my parents, because of my upbringing. In times past, lecturers and civil servants were very content people. People get into trouble because they are not patient. So I learnt to be patient towards God, to wait for Him, and that helps me to be same to others, especially those who are seemingly less than me by way of experience, exposure, prosperity, education etc. I remain positive and expectant of God’s goodness, mercy and favour; I try to live fearlessly-of the unknown, man, death or the devil. I reverentially fear God but not anyone one or thing else. I live boldly and courageously by in faith in the Word of God. My default is the Word of God. I will pray, believe, say, walk and act on it despite my circumstances. That is not always easy but I choose to live that way. Finally, Excellence- I give everything I do my best shot. If I must do it then I must do it well. People who know me will attest to the fact that I just aptly described my philosophy of life. This is how I live.


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