Lanre Akinlagun is a marketing professional who decided to establish online drinks store because of his passion for drinking and absence of accessible drinks stores to most Nigerians, particularly during weekends’ ceremonies in Lagos. Lanre only had his secondary school education in Nigeria. He acquired his higher educational qualifications from London College of Communications and London Metropolitan University. Having worked for 12 years in different capacities such as marketing, sales in entertainment and technology industries, he founded Drinks.ng. In this interview, Lanre, the lover of drinks, spoke with Enterprations on how he established the company, which generated over N65 million profit within its first year of existence.

Why Drinks.ng?

I simply took a plane, trust me it is not easy. My core skill set is digital marketing and I have done this for 12 years now.  I first got the confidence with my last role with IBM, which took me to Silicon Valley frequently. I joined the iROKOtv team as an early executive member which initially brought me back to Nigeria occasionally. It was on these trips I spotted the opportunity to start drinks.ng as a viable business prospect in the e-commerce space for Nigeria.

The idea or concept emergence     

I came home to prepare for a friend’s wedding and asked to handle the drinks.  After visiting the marketplaces, I was shocked at what I had to go through in order just to buy drinks.  I thought there had to be a better way, then I began preparations to build what you know today as drinks.ng

Mission at the outset

Basically, to build the biggest and best experience for people to buy drinks in Nigeria

Success attribution

I have quite a number of role models both dead and alive. All featured business men from the men who built America; Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. All these names are synonymous with innovation and big businesses in America. They all built empires and created advances in business and technology.  As the people who are alive today, it would have to be Ashish J. Thakkar, Aliko Dangote, Pascal Dozie, Brian Voakes and Chief Joe Asien. All these men have touched my life in one way or the other, some more directly than even they realize but they have excelled in their fields and raise the bar to new heights for us as Africans.

Lagos: The right location

Business is all about location and we intend to be everywhere across Lagos and then Nigeria. The location is all about population, spending power and access to parking.

Potential total market size and growth

As recently as last week, the Nigerian spirit market was estimated to be worth over two billion dollars annually with the total beverage market at close to 12 billion. Nigeria is a large thirsty nation and we are still in the elementary stages of our distribution funnel. Right now consumer spending is low, distribution is poor and exposure is also in the early stages.

drink-lanre

 

Image Credit: Techpoint

Key elements for starting and running drink sales business

Product knowledge

Accounting

Marketing

Distribution

Partnerships

Dealing with competition

Our business is focused on solving the challenges we feel we need to crack and we are doing that brick by brick. As for competition, I always say there is always going to be competition they are always welcome.

Responsibilities as the business owner

My main task is to motivate the team, build the company and make the right decisions in order to make sure the company is progressing in the right direction. It’s also important that I maximise our partnerships and identify new opportunities that the business can capitalise on.

Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs

Make sure you have a good accountant and be prepared to give up your life for your dream.