How to Spot and Utilize Opportunities in the New Normal

How to Spot and Utilize Opportunities in the New Normal

  • Post Category:Interviews

The virus has given the world a new word phrase “new normal”. It sounds funny but here we are to embrace the new life.

What Next After the Covid-19 Pandemic?

The pandemic caused a shift from how things were done to what should be done. The situation threw nations and people off guard with a blow on economies. So many people had to kiss their jobs goodbye and businesses folding up on daily basis.

People are getting discouraged, frustrated and fed up with life but here is a message of hope—you can settle well into the new normal.

We thank God the situation is improving but you need to be rightly positioned to get the best out of the new normal the world has found itself.

In this interview, our guest will open your eyes to things that individuals can do to upscale career wise and in business so as to meet up with the demands of the new normal that COVID-19 has introduced us to.

There are opportunities that lie in this new normal.

Kola Olugbodi is the CEO of Background Check International, the pioneers of the background screening industry in Nigeria which came into existence on the 21st July, 2004. He is the Author of “Through It All: Memoir of My Many Trials and Triumphs”; the book captured his challenges in life from childhood to 50 years of age.

He started his career at National Population Commission as a Youth Corps Member after finishing from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria as a graduate of Demographics and Statistics.

He later moved to North South Bank but he left to become an entrepreneur after getting a revelational understanding of the proverb that says when you work for someone it is to meet your basic needs but business brings you into wealth.

Mr. Olugbodi is a husband of one wife and the father to two blessed children, a 19 year old boy and a girl who is 12 years old.

What will be your Hallmark achievement in life?

My Hallmark in life is to impact lives for God and for good.

What career accomplishment are you proud and happy about?

My greatest accomplishment is the fact that by God’s Grace, I pioneered the first background check company in Nigeria and West of Africa. I thank God for granting me the privilege; I’m happy and proud about it.

Doing the Unusual in Nigeria, how was the journey?

The journey into starting Background Check was really rough.

My encounter with a rich stark illiterate man who owns a bakery opened my eyes. I noticed while in the bank that the salary earners only come once in a month to do just one thing─withdraw their salaries while the businessmen would come several times; then I thought as it were, these business people are the ones paying our salaries.

The experience with the man and the proverb I talked about earlier led me out of the bank. I didn’t know the business to do so I tried many things. I tried catering business alongside my wife but I felt this is not what I want so I started a commodity business which unfortunately ran into troubled waters and problem started. It really messed up our lives as a couple because we lost everything we ever gathered in life so to say. I went into the business of sachet water and later haulage but all didn’t work. At a point I heard about the multilevel marketing business and bought the combo pack but I didn’t make any serious headway.

I was struggling, did so many things until God led me into Background Check.

I didn’t have enough money to start but only had the idea. I started from the sitting room of one of my cousins in Lagos, used his desktop computer to type my proposals and drove round Lagos to drop them. As the first staff of the company, I was doing a lot of work at the same time; the secretary, the driver, the business development executive and to top it all, I was the CEO.

It was very rough having to fight doubts and skepticism; many banged the door on our face but we were dogged and patient. I believed so much that it was going to work and gradually things began to fall into place with the first client to the second, third, fourth and the rest is history. Companies started making use of our services.

As I speak, Background Check is gradually becoming a must use for organizations in Nigeria and we are also selling the idea to homes and individuals.

One of the greatest things that gladdens my heart is that background screening has now become an industry in Nigeria. We give glory to God we pioneered it.

Which is ideal, to change career or stay on a particular career path till success comes?

There is no one answer to this, if your career is not changing you, change your career. There is no point sitting on a career you are not progressing on or something not working out the way you would have wanted.

For instance when I was with National Population Commission, I loved it because I studied Demography which is the study of population. The only thing I didn’t love was the fact that it was a civil service and at a point I believed I should be able to make more money from bank despite my love for it. Getting to the bank I felt I needed more despite the money.

I will not advise you to stay on a career if you are not finding fulfillment. Determine what gives you fulfillment and if you are getting it where you are stay and if not, please move on.

Many do what they don’t have passion or interest in. Develop yourself in what you have passion and interest in.

Working somewhere is more than the salaries; gaining experience should be more of your goal. Career is more than making money

What typical career path can one chooses?

The best career path to choose is the one that flows along with your talents and natural gifts. If you are going to choose any career, let it be what will suit your passion, interest, what you love doing so much. If you love construction, don’t go and sit in the bank. If you stay on a career that you don’t have interest in, you will just be miserable.

You need to work where you are not just working with your head but with your heart; very important.

What should be considered when choosing one?

Study a course that will enhance your innate gift endowed talent. Gone are those days you go into the university to do just any course. Be sure of what your talents and gifting are

Work where you will be able to utilize your talents

Gather necessary skills that will enhance your gifts

Be computer literate

Mr Kola Olugbodi on the new new normal

With the pandemic forcing everyone to adjust to the new normal, what should professionals prioritize?

Develop yourself skill-wise. Read the book “Who Moved My Cheese”

Move to another cheese station that you have skill and talent for. Rise up and face reality. It is now business unusual.

Part of the advice I also give is that you think of what you can start on your own (side hustle)

How can people who lost their jobs to the situation pick up their lives?

I want to encourage someone who has lost a job to know this is not the end of life, there is a tomorrow for you. You will not die this way. I believe strongly that when a door closes another opens, it is not the end of the world. Opportunities disguise itself with crisis; be patient, become observant, put on your thinking cap and be prayerful. Harness the opportunities to your advantage.

Start a venture of yours no matter how small while still seeking for another job. What can you start? What’s your talent? Like a story in the Bible in Matthew 25, the time to trade with your talent is now. Discover yourself and start trading with it. Some comedians evolved during this pandemic and started their career from social media and people started following and gathering influence. The gift of a man will make room for a man and bring him before the nobles. Be courageous to start.

If you are interested in Agriculture, start small. Don’t think there are no opportunities around you, look for them. Don’t just be idle.

When life throws its blows and all chips are down, what can be done?

Look up to God for help and leading. Look up to the high heaven. This is the time for everyone to turn to the Lord. I’ve been in this situation before and until I cried out to God nothing was working. He gave me this idea and it’s been thriving for more than 15 years now. I know so many things people will try may not work but consider God, get your idea from Him.

When all chips are down, maybe it is time to seek the real purpose why you are in the world, and enter it by faith.

Be ready to try many things till you get to the real thing.

So you may fail many times, but you will succeed at last if you don’t give up

Since the announcement of 5G technology there’s been fears about the future of work, how can business owners and professionals position themselves without losing out?

One thing is obvious; everything is tilting towards the internet and technological advancement. Everything is gradually going digital. Everybody should start thinking of E-commerce, Apps and other languages of technology. So to be relevant, improve yourself along this line so you won’t be left behind.

What advice will you give to young professionals?

  • Be humble enough to go into internship with organization. The jobs are not really there again and the pandemic only aggravating the hopeless situation we have found ourselves all over the world. In order to make yourself relevant be ready to be an intern even if you are not earning like you think you should. You are gaining experience, honing your skills, you are getting better at your trade and with time you get paid for the experience and value.
  • Seek Mentorship. If you want to go very fast, go alone but if you really want to go far, you will need to go with somebody. You will be sitting on the shoulder of a giant, somebody who has already gone ahead of you
  • Be computer literate, this is important now.
  • Be ready to be a non-conformist because some things are going obsolete. Don’t settle for the status quo. They keep moving the cheese. Be proactive, be there ahead.

What is the future of business?

Computerized & cloud computing. It’s all about digitization, Internet based, Artificial intelligence at work, Virtual and everything going Mobile.

The future of business is consistent re-engineering and re-invention. Nothing will be normal again, be this in mind.

Your words to Entrepreneurs in this new normal.

This is the time to embrace creativity and innovation. Have your eyes opened and your ears to the ground. Gather all the opportunities that lie in your ways in this new normal.

Don’t be afraid to try many things. What you don’t try or start there is no way to know if it will work or not.

Don’t be afraid to fail. When you are failing it means you are trying something and you will perfect it, get it right in what made it to fail. We call it “Failing forward”.

I hope all that I have said will do somebody good. Thank you and God bless.

It’s been great learning from you sir. This is what I can call Wisdom Load for career and business in the new normal. Thank you so much Daddy Olugbodi for making out time to share this wisdom with my dear readers, we all appreciate you sir.

We say long live Background Check International!

Dear reader, it will be a delight to read your take home point from this discourse, do well to drop them in the comment section.

Till we meet next month by God’s Grace if Jesus tarries, drop the fear and lay your hands on positive ventures. Acquire the required skill and don’t be scared to do it afraid.

Much love for you!


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