AWOVI is a coaching, consulting and accounting company designed to increase productivity and profits for small businesses.
Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Griselda Togobo founded the company in 2010.
AWOVI Consulting is poised to launch its first eBook and a networking group for like-minded business owners.
Why did you decide to start your company?
I decided to start my company after having my son. Being a mum made me realise that my current life and schedule did not support my aspirations of being a hands-on mother. So I made the decision that was needed to facilitate that change – to run AWOVI as a commercial business.
The concept for AWOVI was founded in 2008 when I noticed the need for more accessible and trusted business advisory and support services for small businesses. Small businesses need advisors they can identify with, who are ready to tailor their services to their customers’ needs and challenges – be it cash, young families or 9-5 jobs.
My friends and family were constantly bombarding me with enough questions to make me realise that there was a need for business advisors that people could relate to and work closely with. I started running it as a business 2010.
How was your company name conceived?
AWOVI is my “day” name. In Ghana, where I come from, children have day names in addition to their christened names. Literally, AWOVI means “little Thursday-born girl”! It is also conveniently an acronym for A World of Vision and Inspiration.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I started with an engineering degree and did an advanced degree in Industrial Systems and Management. After my masters I joined an international professional services firm where I studied and qualified as a chartered accountant whilst performing a variety of roles within the firm.
My experience ranges from auditing to advising large multinational corporates, SMEs and public sector organisations on how to improve their processes and be more efficient with their resources. This offered the opportunity to go behind the curtains of many companies.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
My mum has been a great influence in my life. I grew up working in her construction and textile companies. I hope that I am also able to pass the entrepreneur’s mind-set on to my children.
What are you working on at the moment and can you describe your typical working day?
I have a mix of coaching and consulting engagements going on at the moment. I am currently also working on my first eBook and a mastermind group for like-minded business owners. In fact, I have no typical day. I live by my to-do list, which determines my priorities for each day. My working space alternates between my home study, kitchen table or garden. I love the freedom of making my day what ever I want it to be.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
The highlights of running my business have been around having control over my time and structuring my business around my family. It is difficult achieving this balance with a 9-5 job. I work even longer hours now that I’m self-employed but this is completely on my own terms and time really does fly by when you are having fun!
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
I would say the hardest part of running your own business is staying motivated. It is really tough being on your own so you need to go out there and network and more importantly surround yourself with like-minded business owners. This is why I have created a mastermind group of action oriented, positive mind-set entrepreneurs with a common goal of growing each other’s businesses to new levels.
Are there any business resources you’ve found indispensable?
Although I love the resources on the Internet, I have to say my local old-fashioned library has been my number one resource. Seriously, you will be amazed by the quality of business books at your local library.
It is a win-win situation – each book borrowed is a direct vote to keep the library open during these tough economic times, it is a greener way of enjoying a book, I save money and keep my book shelve free for only those cherished volumes that I just can’t live without. I love my local library.
What has been your proudest business moment so far?
I have several proud moments. Any thank you text, email or call from any of my clients makes my day. I am proud everyday I am able to do what I do, helping people create the business they want and need to enable them pursue the life of their dreams.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
It is actually a biblical quote from Ecclesiastes 11:4 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap”… I think this pretty much sums up how we should approach business.
My take on this verse is that conditions are never 100% perfect so just do what you have to do! That is what I try to do each day in my life and business.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
My mum is a great inspiration in my life. She had several businesses at a point, along with 9 children. I have just one child and I don’t know how she managed it all!
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a consulting and coaching business?
Start small and focus on your clients. You don’t need huge capital to start a service business. Your ability to survive and thrive as a business depends on your clients.
You need to put all your hang-ups aside and think about just how you can go that extra mile for each and every client. That is what separates a mediocre coach, consultant or accountant from a potentially great one.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2016?
My goal is to touch the lives and businesses of over 1000 business owners each year. I want to empower them to create more wealth and time in their businesses so that they can be liberated to live their best lives.
Griselda, is there anything else you’d like to share?
For all those seriously considering making some big changes in their lives, my advice is to just go for it. I know it may sound daunting but each baby step forward is a step closer to your dream. Life is not a dress rehearsal so let’s stop settling and start living our best life now.
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Griselda Togobo was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
The Twenty Ten Club is an award-winning networking organisation designed to connect, inspire and support Black female entrepreneurs. You can also find Twenty Ten Club on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.