Easy going, warm and down-to-earth are words that best describe ESV Olugbenga Collins Rotimi. He runs his real estate business, Rotimi Olu & Co. His good-natured personality is perhaps one of the reasons why his real estate company has risen so quickly to become one of the biggest and reputable real estate practitioners in the country, in less than their 9 years of operations, so far. The big news is that his organization was recognized at the recent 6th City People Real Estate Awards which held in Lagos two weeks ago. It was an excited Olugbenga Rotimi and his team that mounted the stage to pick up their award. Shortly after, the well-dressed CEO who was looking resplendent in his sparkling white native Agbada spoke to City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) about the company’s aspirations and why he chose to practice in Abuja when he could’ve settled for any of the South-West states flourishing in real estate business.
Congratulations once again on the award you just received, please, share with us how you feel at the moment.
Thank you very much. Like I said earlier, it makes us feel very great. It makes us feel recognized in what we are doing. We also feel this is a call to responsibility and it demands that we do more. So, we feel very great and very pleased about the award.
Tell us, how old is your outfit, Rotimi Olu & Co?
We are nine years old. We were exactly nine years on the 20th of April this year, so we will be clocking ten years by next year April. So, as estate surveyors and valuers, we are ten years in the profession.
I understand you’re based in Abuja, but why Abuja?
Oh, okay, I started my career as an estate surveyor in Abuja. But of course, we have branches here in Lagos. As a matter of fact, we have two in Lagos, that’s one in Victoria Island and the other in Ikeja. We also in a couple of other states, kano, Kaduna, Kogi state and a few other placers. So, the choice of Abuja is just that we have been there from the start and we believe from there we can reach out to so many other states.
How has the real estate climate been in Abuja compared to other parts of the country, would you say it’s been flourishing?
Yeah, of course, Nigeria and indeed the whole world is going through a particularly difficult situation right now but it’s not been so bad. I can guarantee you that it’s been generally okay. Obviously, you will not compare some few states with what you have in FCT, but sure, when you have contemporaries like Lagos and some few other states, they can be slightly better in terms of volume. But I can tell you, Abuja is a good place. It has a very friendly environment to do business. Abuja is quite good.
What would you say stands out your outfit considering that real estate companies are springing up every single day? What is that strength that you would say you possess above others?
I would not say that we possess anything above others. I won’t say that. But one of the things that we feel good about is the client’s feedback which is always very important to us. The sort of positive and encouraging feedbacks we get from our clients give us this confidence that we can do more and even do better than what we’ve done. Obviously, the feedbacks have been very great. We’ve been receiving some awards. Those feedbacks are like a call to greater responsibilities to us. They also tell us we can do much better than what we’re currently doing.
About nine years when you started, you must’ve had to contend with some challenges. What were these challenges and how were you able to deal with them?
It’s like every other business. One of the greatest challenges you would have when starting a new business newly is acceptance in the market. You’re not a tested brand. Though we are chartered estate surveyors and valuers but when you have not been tested and you are not known, there is every tendency that people will want to ask a couple of questions. They want to know about your credibility before giving you business. You can imagine, for instance, a particular client of blessed memory now, she wanted to hand over a property to us for management then. She asked us to give her a guarantor before she could do business with us. I mean, for an organization to be going to look for a guarantor? But I guarantee you the brand is already known today, nobody asks us for such things anymore. Our records are there to speak for us. What people do now is to check our reference, check what we have done and what we are doing and they decide they want to do business with us. So, those are some of the challenges we had to contend with at the time we started.
I’m sure you’re looking at expansion, which parts of the country are you looking to move into soon?
Of course, we recently opened our Kaduna office just last month and we’re looking at opening some other few offices in the South-south. We are looking at some choice locations that we feel will be very productive for the organization. One of the things we’re looking at is the availability of business and people welcome our brand. So, we take it one step after the other, but I can tell you it’s already a part of our plan. If not for the pandemic that shook the world last year, we would’ve opened some offices here and there. But like I said, we just opened one last month and we’re still hoping to open more. Right now, Port-Harcourt is our next agenda before we move to other places.
Any last words for your clients and others looking to do business with you?
Yeah, there is no other word for them than to say thank you. Without them, we cannot be here. Without them, we cannot be anybody. Like I usually say to my team, our clients are the king. They dictate the tune for us and I appreciate them. They should expect a more productive Rotimi Olu & Co. We are going to be much more responsive in our coordination and dealings as we journey further. We intend to also improve in other areas that we’re lagging behind and do a whole lot more than we have done. And for the team members, they have made this happen, this is one of the things expected of us. As a team, we must continue to strive to get more awards such as this one and awards can only come when you do well in your area of calling. So, we look forward to better years as we continue to push further.