“When I started my business, there were difficulties in different stages but nobody can see that now. Before you can mold something, there would be challenges behind it. To some people, they think that I just came out overnight because of what they have seen on social media, but it has not been like that”
Speaking on how he has been able to merged business and pleasure together successfully as conglomerate business CEO, Obinna Iyiegbu popularly known as Obi Cubana maintained that the nature of his businesses is based on fun-seeking and one cannot run the business without having pleasure.
In his words, “My business is likened to a clinic where people take away the stress and gives them happiness in return. When people are stressed as a result of work pressure, they come out and we offer them wonderful treatment. They come to our environment, listen to good music, eat good food, drink and they leave happy. So my business runs alongside pleasure and that is why I can mix business with pleasure and get away with it,
My brand is happiness, we breed happiness while making money. That is what we major in and we plan to do other things in the future but for now we major in entertainment and hospitality”, Obinna explained
The Cubana Group is a hospitality and entertainment brand with chains of hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs, located in the heart of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Imo State. The hotels and nightclub brands are part of his investments as he has other businesses he manages.
Obinna who spoke on The Green Room Unlocks, a Fidelity Bank Youtube Channel recalled that his business success story, contrary to how social media made him appeared as he made it overnight.
The Anambra-hailed business mogul stressed that it has been a very long journey even though social media has made it seem like everything was rosy and happened overnight.
“We have been working hard, building the foundation of our brand for years and faced a lot of challenges during the process but today, compared to how we started over a decade ago, we have made significant progress and later this year (October) we would be celebrating 13-years in business”
He stressed further that those challenges he faced in his business are a result of the insecurity crisis in the north, saying he had business in Abuja at that time and it became a bit scary.
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“We had to move from Abuja to Port Harcourt. In fact, Port Harcourt also came with its challenges and had to relocate the business to Owerri and from there we later move to Lagos, Victoria Island, and Ikeja.’
Counting the losses from the global pandemic outbreak on his business, he said “Covid-19 period was another difficult phase for us because it was a time when we are just at the boarding stage in Ikeja before the country went on total lockdown for months and this really affected almost all businesses in Nigeria, especially, we in the entertainment and hospitality space.
Naturally, nothing is rosy and for the past 10 years, there has been progress. No matter the challenges we face, we overcome and that is what life is all about, it cannot be rosy all the way”
He said the success he recorded today was as a result of 13-years of hard work and relentless efforts in building his brands, saying there is nothing like cut soap, one has to work for your own ‘soap’. Youths must take away the get-rich-quick syndrome because patience, diligence, hard work, and particularly integrity are unavoidable traits for success.
“I remember the post I made on the 10 years’ anniversary of my brand talking about how difficult it has been, and someone came to my comment section and wrote “10 years? me I no fit wait oh” that shows the make it quick mentality. I want to be like you overnight, success does not work that way, you have to look at the story behind the success”
“It took me 13 years of hard work. There is no shortcut to success, you have to follow the process. God’s blessings come differently; it might make some people very long and some people a short period of time but irrespective of that, you have to work very hard and be focused, there is no free money out there.
Commenting on the importance of integrity in business operations, Obi Cubana keenly noted that what lacks these days is integrity; people generally have to keep to their words. If you have business agreements with people, establishments, brands, you have to as much as possible respect the agreement and you would see them coming back to work with you and this will open doors for you.
People would start talking about your brand and referring you to other people because of your integrity. These are some of the things people have to learn and apply, it is a natural key opener to success.
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“When I started my business, there were difficulties in different stages but nobody can see that now. Before you can mold something, there would be challenges behind it. To some people, they think that I just came out overnight because of what they have seen on social media, but it has not been like that.
There have been challenges, but we have been working very hard. People still think I have made it but I have not. I am getting there. I am focused. I know what I want to be and the legacies I want to leave behind as a human being, I am not there yet but I am on the right part”, Obinna explained.
If there are any pros and cons of being a socialite and having a huge network of people, he explained that the nature of his business made him socialise because it is built around people and they can’t do without them, adding that people are their networks and they would always come back to patronize them.
“My business is people-based and along the line, you might have some issues with these people but your ability to manage every situation is what matters because we are all unique in our different ways”
About how he always cool of stress after a hectic business day, Obi said he reads a lot and learned in the course of traveling.
“At my leisure time, I seat and try to visualize my next step. when people are saying wow! You have done well; you begin to think of the next step, you have to keep wowing them, because the moment you become irrelevant in the scheme of things, your time is gone. You can see people talking about me because I have made progress and things are working well and we have to keep it that way.’’
Narrating his darkest moment in business, the Anambra indigene billionaire said there was a time when he felt like giving up on his business prior to the Cubana brand when his business got affected by some demolitions that happened at the time in Abuja.
He said, “The incident really affected my business and I decided to leave for South Africa to hustle, and luckily for me, I did not get a Visa, as simple as getting a South African Visa was then, I did not get it. I was frustrated. I had to move on but on second thought, I realized that everything I have always wanted is here, there was nothing else I needed outside the country, then I went back to my plan B. I started working hard, praying and I started putting everything I visualized to practice and it started yielding positive results and here we are.’’
How he has been able to manage both his business and Instagram fan base, the business celebrity said making things real and keeping it better as made it easy for him. “I wake up sometimes and I don’t even know what to post, but I try to post what will motivate the next person. When I post certain things, it is not because I want to show off, I want to motivate someone”
If I help someone and I post it, I would do a write-up to let you know that you can also do it to encourage people. I think my mood for the day determines what I post and I am trying to keep it simple as possible”
On his parting advice for the young people, ‘Don’t get carried away because you want to be seen out there. Don’t get distracted by other people’s material things or their ways of spending. Don’t buy a Lamborghini because someone just bought it, you can buy it at your own time. Keep it real, keep working very hard, and be focused on whatever you do.
There is nothing like ‘soap’ out there, work hard for yourself and have integrity as a human being, be as nice as possible, there are a lot of opportunities in Nigeria, he stated.
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