Innovate & adapt… all the time

Mimi Ade-Odiachi, Managing Director, Omar Gardens

Renowned Nigerian business owner emphasises on the importance of learning and resilience

It was a big moment for Nigeria’s Mim Ade-Odiachi when her mother handed over the family business to her in the 1990’s. She’s been in the landscaping and gardening business for over 30 years now. When she took over the business, Omar Garden’s was mainly a florist company. Since then, it’s grown and earned the reputation of being one of the best landscape companies in Nigeria. The success has even earned her a title from her social media team, they jokingly call her; “the Overlord.”

Like any other business owner, Mimi Ade-Odiachi was worried and concerned about how things would play out for her business when Covid-19 lockdowns set in. The minute she heard word about AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp Launched right after the pandemic hit, she signed up. She describes it as the best thing she ever did during the lockdown.

“We were all under lockdown and I didn’t know what the future held. There was a lot of uncertainty. The AMI scenario planning tool got me thinking about what we could do to continue earning money during the lockdown. A few weeks down the line, we ended up transforming our idle nursery into a garden centre that could accommodate walk-in clients in line with the government restrictions which led to a rise in retail sales. Gardening had suddenly become a thing that many wanted to do while in lockdown,” she said.

Mimi Ade-Odiachi in her garden

Initially, Omar gardens only focused on business-to-business clients which was their main sales driver. Through the AMI business survival bootcamp they began looking outside the box and started seeing a rise in demand for retail business. Soon after she applied to join the AMI Survive to Thrive programme together with 4 other key staff members.

“I like the fact that I took part in the programme with my team. It forced us to think together as a team. I learnt how to communicate better with my team and clients especially during the lockdown which strengthened our customer relationships and opened up new avenues for growth.”

Managing inventory was another big achievement for Omar Gardens. As the owner of the business, Mimi spent a lot of time organising inventory. Using the AMI Inventory tool she managed to organise all her inventory and began looking into retail sales, calculating costs which ultimately helped her price more accurately. “I was busier than I had ever been and by the time the lockdown was lifted we were all energised because we had hope. We are now actually making more money compared to what we would make two years ago. We are committed to achieving all the goals that we set as a team when we joined the programme. It was the best thing that happened to me during lockdown!”

Mimi describes her journey with AMI as one that not only helped her stay in control of her business but remain resilient. Today, she chooses to encourage entrepreneurs with these words… “No matter how bad, every storm runs out of water. Stay true to yourself. Face the storm and try as much as possible to tackle issues with a clear mind. The kind that is willing to learn until you find a way out.”

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