Meet the founder of 'What Next, Coach?'
Hi Stephanie, thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Can you tell us about yourself before we get started?
You’re welcome! My name is Stephanie Onwunali and I’m a Business Coach & Strategist. I partner with ambitious entrepreneurs to develop and implement the best strategies for scaling their small businesses. I’m British-Nigerian and currently moved to Nigeria to set up shop here too.
Can you explain more about what it is you do at your company and the inspiration behind ‘The What Next, Coach?’
The business is in its second year and has gone through so many changes. When I first set it up, my core focus was on helping young professionals figure out “What Next?” in their personal life and career because of a need I saw in myself and others in my peer group. Now, and over the last few months, I shifted my primary focus to Business Coaching & Strategy for small businesses because first of all, I get the most joy from working with businesses and seeing entrepreneurs bring their visions to life – that’s a journey I love being a part of. Secondly, I know how expensive it would be for small businesses to pay for ‘Big 4’ consulting services so I want to bring that quality at an affordable rate given that I have a ‘Big 4’ background.
What qualities does it take to become a coach?
You honestly have to care for and like people. You have to believe in them and be willing to help them move forward in the best direction for their chosen endeavours.
What are your biggest values in building a brand?
Relationships are everything to me and I also have a strong affinity for integrity.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Hmmm, I genuinely love what I do and I have great ambitions for what I want it to become in a few years. There’s a lot of work to be done and I can’t do them in bed, haha!
You’ve had some fantastic opportunities in the media including BBC, Daily Mail and Enterprise Nation. What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Yes, I was very blessed in 2017 to have relationships and favour that paved ways to these opportunities. The biggest achievements for me are undoubtedly the collective opportunities I’ve had to impact my clients positively via the work I do with them. The biggest acknowledgment of this , though, would be when I was invited to a roundtable with the Business Adviser to the UK Prime Minister in July 2017.
What difficulties have you faced since transitioning from a career Auditing to starting your own business? How long do you have?
Lol! If I was to point out the most challenging one – it’s the constant experimentation and lack of stability. Running a business is a massive experiment and even with my exposure and experience, the only way you’ll know if something will really work is by actually doing it and learning from it. Being a perfectionist, this is not ideal but it’s the only way I get to move forward and accomplish greater things.
Can you share the benefits of having your own business?
Nothing honestly beats having the time to do the work it takes to bring your vision to life.
What advice would you give to people who are still working but thinking about making the move to self-employment?
Work with a coach or trusted advisor to assess first of all if your idea will work, understand your risk appetite and then create a transition plan that matches that appetite so that you don’t put undue pressure on yourself to make it happen so soon. You can even start your business on the side till you feel ready to make the move. Lastly, if an idea has been on your mind for a while and you’re hesitating on acting on it because of valid concerns, just ask yourself, “If I never try to see what this could be, would I be okay with that?”
What questions should all entrepreneurs be asking right now?
They should be asking their clients/customers how they can serve them better. It’s a great way to spot potential innovative paths that can move their business upwards. They should also be asking, “what are the threats to the relevance of my business?” and “Am I in the right market for what I’m offering?” – But if they do strategic business reviews often, they should be able to spot the answers to these often and plan accordingly.
Where do you want The What Next, Coach to be in 12 months time?
I’m almost too scared to say it because it’s that BIG (for me anyway!) but I’d like it to be an oversubscribed business whereby, I’m having more clients than I can handle which would open up opportunities for me to start hiring and developing internal talent as well as develop products around the brand.