Sydney Imuetinyan Aigbogun, CEO of CashBox (also Cashboxng) an online saving platform, in this interview with Daily Sun hints on the reasons behind the creation of the brand.
Aigbogun, an Edo state indigene who schooled and has been living in Lagos all his life is also a graduate of Finance from the prestigious University of Lagos.
Before Cashbox, he has worked and have experiences in consumer finance, asset management and foreign exchange trades.
Nigeria is regarded as a country with tough business environment, what have you been doing to grow Cashbox Business?
Since we started CashBox, we’ve been boot strapping and always finding ways to grow our business and make users have a better experience as they save money. To reduce cost of operation, we’ve had to be hands-on on everything. Almost all of our work is in-house, we contract very little things out, that has helped reduce our cost.
Can you give details of Cashbox services? How old is Cashbox?
CashBox was founded in January 2019. We are an online savings platform or you can call us an online “piggybank”. We are helping thousands of users cultivate a healthy savings habit. Users can easily download our app on android and iOS, link their ATM card to the app and create a savings plan stating how much they would like to save and the frequency swell. Everything is controlled by the user from the app.
As the CEO, what motivated/inspired you to go into such business?
I have a background in finance and have always been looking for ways to make financial process smoother and was to everybody, both young and old. CashBox is just that. CashBox is easily used by young people as well as the old. It’s a way of helping everyone make smart financial decisions. We didn’t want the saving process to be done like the traditional way most people are used to. With the help of technology which we heavily rely on, it has helped us achieve a lot and even do a lot more in the future.
Since last year, businesses have greatly been disrupted by Covid-19, how has your business been affected and what did you do to ameliorate the negative consequences of the pandemic?
COVID was a shocker to the world especially businesses, no one ever imagined the world would shutdown. The moment everything shutdown and we had to work from home, myself and the team had a meeting and we knew we just had to make the best of what we had. We had to come up with a narrative that would make sense to people and encourage the to save while the world was “locked down”. People weren’t going to work, no eat out, no cinemas, no social event, so it also meant people weren’t spending money. So we started campaigns on social media encouraging people to start saving the money they would have ordinarily spent when the world was normal and that really drove our savings pool higher.
As an entrepreneur, what is your business philosophy?
Running a business is very hard especially in this part of the world, but with a great team, it makes the burden easier. I believe customer is King while the staff is Queen. With this thought, it makes life of an entrepreneur a lot easier for me.
What are the big lessons you have learnt about doing business in Nigeria?
Our population is key and every business should learn to use that to their advantage. Also, nobody is going to help you at the initial stage, it all rests on your shoulder,. But with a great product and a never say die attitude, the business will grow and before you know it, everyone starts coming onboard to help out.
What advice do you have aspiring or young entrepreneur?
I advise everyone to just get up and start that business. That idea you are nurturing, don’t waste too much time nurturing it, take it to the market and let the market guide you. Too many entrepreneurs waste time as the idea generation stage and almost never get their product into the market for fear of the unknown.
What were the initial challenges you encountered in your journey of entrepreneurship?
Lack of funds. That’s one of the things that kills businesses. Bank aren’t helping, Government isn’t doing enough, and for someone without a rich family, it’s a lot harder. That’s where ingenuity comes in, the never say die attitude.
What have been your worst moment as an entrepreneur?
At our early stage, it was when I used to have so many meetings with prospective investors that never yielded anything. It used to be so frustrating. So instead of all the many meetings, I channeled my energy towards our product and that has yielded so much more.
Is there a new addition to Cashbox services in the pipeline?
Yes, we have so many things planned in the next 9-12months, but I’m not letting the cat out yet, just keep watching our space.
Nigerians are scared of online transactions, how would rate your process so far?
People were initially scared of CashBox, especially our first 6 months in operation, but right now that’s no longer a worry for us. Our presence online is very visible and they see so many reviews from users saving with us, seeing these reviews gives new customers confidence in us.
Presently, how widely dispersed are your clients and who are the types of clients that should patronise your services?
We have clients all over Nigeria. As long as you have a smart phone and internet, you can save with CashBox from anywhere in Nigeria.
Based on your experience, what advice can you offer on how to survive in the tough business terrain of Nigeria?
It’s tough, but you have to be tougher. Problems will always come, but when you’ve made-up your mind never to give-up, the problems really wouldn’t scare you. Most importantly, have a great team is key, people who believe in the same vision with you.
What has been your toughest moment as CEO, and how did you scale the hurdles?
Waking up to so many errors with our app and complaints from customers, that is an experience that I wouldn’t forget. We had a lot of errors going on, people couldn’t save and the app was having issues. My team and I didn’t sleep for almost 48hrs till we resolved the issues. This happened in our first year though and we immediately put in measures for it never to happen again.
What makes Cashbox different from other similar online services?
We are not just focused on getting people to use our app, instead we are focused on our customers. We are helping them make smarter financial decisions. We are also big on research and development, we are constantly coming up with features and ways to make financial transactions easier for everyone.
As the CEO, tell us about yourself, name, education, work experience etc
My name is Sydney Aigbogun, born in Edo state but schooled and been living in Lagos all my life. I have a Bsc Finance from the prestigious University of Lagos. I’ve worked and have experiences in consumer finance, asset management and foreign exchange trades.
How do you see yourself and your business in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, I see CashBox being a pan African company located in different parts of Africa and beyond, we should also be listed in the stock exchange by then. In 10yrs, I should have stepped down as the CEO while someone else appointed by the board takes that sit.