Can you introduce yourself as an entrepreneur and what you do?
My name is, UGO YOUNG VICTOR ATAKULU. I own multiple businesses; I’m an hotelier, a restaurateur and an engineer.
How many businesses do you do, and what do you consider your niche in these businesses?
I do five businesses, and my niche in these businesses is basically the high quality of services we offer and at very affordable prices. So long as the service offered is of very good standards and is going for an unbelievable price, now that’s a catch.
Do you consider these very profitable businesses?
Of course, I consider them very profitable businesses. Anything in the hospitality department, is basically highly profitable, pending on how you run it anyways.
What can say about the operating environment?
Ok, first things first, due to the class of the type of service I intend to offer, my operating environment has to be really classy, and even though the environment doesn’t measure up to what I might want, I have to make sure to convert it to what I want based on the vision I have for the place.
Is government policy aiding or suppressing your business?
To be honest, as of now, it is suppressing my businesses. There are so many government policies/restrictions right now that do not favor the hospitality business.
Has the tax regime been favourable or otherwise?
Honestly, I can’t say if it’s been favorable or otherwise because we’re expected to remit vat monthly, and the customers pay the vat, which we then remit, so there’s no loss really.
Business was bad generally during the lock down, how did that affect your own business?
The lock down period was terrible, my businesses were closed, I had no interest in opening thembecause there would be low patronage and id still have to pay my workers, not the mention the putting their lives at risk of contracting the virus from the use of public transportation.
Are there restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic at this time that affect business negatively?
Of course, especially for the restaurants, we are still on phase(IV) lock down, where it says people are not allowed to seat in the restaurant, It can only be take out and deliveries. As such, we don’t tend to make as much as we should, because people just order from home and we know very much that people spend more money when they go out.
Would you pride yourself as having the best of staff and how do you ensure that they are proficient at what they do?
Well, my staff are decent enough but they can’t possibly be perfect, they are still learning, so best you can do is monitor and supervise them and hope for the best but generally speaking I’d give them 70 per cent.
You talked about social media having a positive impact on your business, would you mind telling us how?
In this modern days, you don’t have to employ foot soldiers to advertise your business, now you could just advertise it online on social media and you get to reach people far and near, and they get to see the goods and services you offer, which if you ask me is much more effective and less stressful as compared to the traditional means of advertising, so social media has really helped my businesses and is still helping my businesses.
What are your future plans for each of your business, where do you see them, say in the next five years.
In the next (five) years, the urban air brand especially I do hope to make a franchise. So yes in another five years we should have other branches, and I hope to expand the hotel as well, so yes in another 5years we should have a couple more branches in various states of Nigeria.
Any advice for folks who want to come into your line of business, what should they bear in mind?
Honestly, they should bear in mind that these businesses have absolutely no guarantees, you can only just set it up to the best way possible and hope, believe in God, give your best and hope for the rest. You also have to keep working for the business, just to make sure it gets to the level and standard you want. Make sure you give it your best that’s pretty much it.