Sydney Imuetinyan Aigbogun is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of CashBox, an online savings platform aimed at encouraging Nigerians to inculcate habit of savings.
For young Aigbogun, the Marginal Propensity to Save (MPS) in Nigeria is low and as a result, people need to be enlightened on the need to adopt savings as a way of meeting both the transactionary and precautionary motives of reserving a percentage of earning in safe keeping.
Established three years ago, CashBox is already delivering on its mandate, helping a legion of Nigerians meet their saving needs unlike in the past.
Baring his mind on the journey so far, the CashBox boss said: “CashBox was founded in January 2019. We are an online savings platform or you can call us an online ‘piggybank’. We are helping thousands of users cultivate a healthy savings habit. Users can easily download our app on android and iOS, link their ATM cards to the app and create a savings plan stating how much they would like to save and the frequency as well. Everything is controlled by the user from the app.
“Since we started CashBox, we’ve been boot strapping and always finding ways to grow our business and make users have a better experience as they save money. To reduce cost of operation, we’ve had to be hands-on on everything. Almost all of our work is in-house. We contract very little things out and that has helped reduce our cost.”
A good number of businesses have shut down in the past few years owing to what analysts called the “Start big syndrome.” Apparently learning on the curve quite early, Aigbogun elected to start CashBox his own little way, doing things internally that would have otherwise be contracted out. Not only has this proved to be an effective cost-saving measure; it has also succeeded in building the skills of in-house staff, who would play a huge role in the company’s quest to expand across the Africa sub-region in the next few years.
According to Aigbogun, training in Finance at the renowned ivory tower, the University of Lagos, influenced his decision to incorporate CashBox and test some of the ideas he read in books in terms of practicability and relevance.
He continued: “I have a background in Finance and have always been looking for ways to make financial process smoother to everybody, both young and old. CashBox is just that. CashBox is easily used by young people as well as the old. It’s a way of helping everyone make smart financial decisions.
“We didn’t want the saving process to be done like the traditional way most people are used to. With the help of technology which we heavily rely on, it has helped us achieve a lot and even do a lot more in the future.”
In the past two years, the health pandemic caused by the global coronavirus brought a major shift in the manner of doing businesses. In government or private enterprises, a paradigm shift became necessary even as managers unable to improvise either closed shops or found new ways of coping.
So how did CashBox navigate those difficult times occasioned by the dreaded virus? He respoded: “COVID-19 was a shocker to the world especially businesses. No one ever imagined the world would shutdown. The moment everything shutdown and we had to work from home, myself and the team had a meeting and we knew we just had to make the best of what we had.
“We had to come up with a narrative that would make sense to people and encourage them to save while the world was ‘locked down’. People weren’t going to work, no eat out, no cinemas, no social event, so it also meant people weren’t spending money. So we started campaigns on social media encouraging people to start saving the money they would have ordinarily spent when the world was normal and that really drove our savings pool higher.”
In elementary economics, profit is regarded as the major drive of private business. This is largely true but for Aigbogun, running a business goes beyond making money. The customer must be well treated if he or she is expected to sustain patronage. A great team is fundamental to the success of any business, he says.
“Running a business is very hard especially in this part of the world, but with a great team, it makes the burden easier. I believe customer is King while the staff members are Queens. With this thought, it makes life of an entrepreneur a lot easier for me,” he added.
The purchasing power of the naira may be low and most Nigerians do not earn big.
Regardless of the situation, the CashBox boss said savings is the way to go for anyone desirous of meeting his or her needs, given the fact that economy both at the micro and macro levels can take a hit for the worse without warning.
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