The Founder's Feature; Eunice Etemesi
In this month’s article we speak to Eunice Etemesi, CEO and founder of Uniq Travels. She speaks to us about being disciplined to one's own set of rules so as not to be controlled by other people's rules.
Eunice tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.
Uniq travels is a travel agency company that offers unique experiences and personalized services for our clientele. We always go the extra mile to give the highest level of pre-sale service and after-sales service to our customers.
I started this business three years ago in March 2016. I had a background with an airline company and I was good at my job. Thoughts about starting my own tour company had been on my mind for some time. Eventually, the boss I had at that time, transitioned to a new role and I got a new boss with whom our relationship was a little strained. I took this as a sign from God (on a light note) that maybe that was the time for me to start out on my own.
When I started out, being a small brand, I did not have clients. People who I would interact with were not willing to work with me because they did not have any confidence in me and my ability to deliver. When I worked for an airline company, the name and the brand easily opened doors and made sealing deals stress-free. Whereas when I started my own business, people did not have the confidence in me. There are months when I would go to work and for a whole week or more we wouldn’t receive a single customer interaction.
I remember my friend once telling me “being in the service industry, people will refer clients to you. Never let someone refer clients to you and they find your office locked because you gave up.” For this reason, I kept our business doors open.
Gradually we received our first customer and from there the customer base grew. I went into business knowing fully well it was not going to be easy but eventually it would be worth it.
What are some of challenges you have faced;
- Getting new clients, this by far at the beginning was the most difficult. Consistency and good customer service has seen us grow to the customer base we have today.
- Allowing customers to make delayed payments; it’s important to charge a premium (slightly more) to clients requesting credit so as to manage cash flows and liquidity.
- Getting systems that work; especially as the business begins to scale.
- Mentorship and guidance; It’s important to speak to people who are genuine and walk the talk even if they are in different industries than one is in.
Without a doubt we have made many mistakes along the way, I think this is part of the learning process. It is important however to focus on maintaining good relationships with stakeholders and to solving issues amiably. Allowing customers to pay after their travel is a big mistake. At this point the customer no longer needs your service….and the list of more pressing commitments that they can place above your payment can become endless.
- If you don’t have your own set of rules, you’re going to be controlled by other people’s rules. Set the rules and set the standards. People who work with you will work with your terms and conditions.
- Give personalized service; I have learnt how to make business more personal, I send personal gifts to my clients when they are going through good times and bad times.
Have you ever thought of giving up?
At the beginning yes, I thought of giving up a number of times. Now I am realistic and optimistic. I know that even if clients don’t call today, they will call tomorrow. I am aware of the greater economy and the cycle of things. I know what is in my control and what is not. Now I take each day as it comes and give my best to each day.
Do you take time for yourself?
It is important to take time to enjoy your own products and services, whilst paying the company for it! In this way, one is able to give an authentic review of their products and services. I can speak about about Cape Town, Dubai and a number of other places I have visited by taking up some of the packages offered by Uniq Travels.
You are very confident about your fashion sense where did that come from?
I am a sanguine and my language of love is affirmation. Once I look good and I affirm myself that I look good, I just run with it and I don’t second guess myself.
What are your go to accessories?
A bag, lipstick and lip balm
What is your style sense?
Casual, Classy and Chic
Eunice Etemesi 0722 165721
Dressed by Sarai Afrique Fashion House