Interview with Chidi Lemchi as he takes on a new challenge as owner and CEO of L&S Limited
Chide Lemchi is a Class 2 ALI Media Fellow and CEO of L&S Limited (Previously Manager of Research and Intelligence at Business Day Nigeria) See Chidi’s profile
Please tell us a bit more about your transition, what influenced this decision?
In my career spanning over ten years, I have always known that I would make the transition from being an employee to starting my own thing. I began to toy with the idea of starting a business last year but I didn’t have clear timelines of when I would branch out and begin. I was dilly dallying but this indecision was quashed after I had a conversation with Mr. Isaac Shongwe at the beginning of last year when he visited Nigeria and I shared my vision and idea with him. The vision I wanted to pursue started getting clearer and eventually crystallised after our meeting at Stellenbosch, Cape Town in December 2015. I was emboldened and influenced after I had a long conversation with Baba Isaac, as I fondly call him. I got back to Nigeria and resigned from BusinessDay Media. Though my MD/Publisher refused to accept my resignation, I was certain that I was making the right decision and ended up convincing him to accept my resignation. The climate was ripe for my idea and I seized the moment. Looking back today, I have no regret. I am grateful to ALI Media because if I hadn’t met Baba Isaac or been selected to join the Fellowship Programme, I would have still been in the valley of decision thinking when the right time would be to step out and start my own business. So essentially, I would say I was influenced by Baba Isaac and ALI Media Fellowship.
Where to next? And how long do you see yourself working in this new role?
The next move was to set up my own firm called L&S Limited. It’s a research, media and consulting firm. Although it is a start-up, it’s an organisation that will outlive me.
What does this move mean for you as a distinguished individual in the media sector?
This move gives me the platform to experiment with a lot of ideas, be more creative and contribute my quota to the development of the media, data gathering and analysis in Nigeria and Africa in general.
Would you say that the ALI Media Fellowship Programme and your peers, who are part of this programme, have helped to shift your decisions? If so, in what way?
To a large extent, my peers who are part of this fellowship have helped in shaping my decision. I am inspired by everyone in this Class 2; particularly by Ramah, Mumbi, Toyosi, Antony, Peter, Samson and Adesuwa. As a matter of fact, I am collaborating with Samson to set up an online media news portal. I also share a lot of business ideas with Mumbi, this to a large extent creates a pan African relationship/platform which is part of what ALI Media Fellowship Programme intends to create. And I definitely do look forward to future collaboration with other members of the class. The ALI Media Fellowship Programme has been a great platform for cross breeding of ideas and meeting of shared goals and purposes.
What are some of the lessons you would like to share with others who might be considering such a move?
One of the important lessons that one has to imbibe before setting out to start your own business is, first of all, to have a service or an idea that meets a need. The primary purpose of business shouldn’t be profiteering but meeting a need. The second lesson should be to develop a backbone because you’re going to be getting a lot of “no’s”. If you lack courage, you will chicken out even before you start. The third lesson is that you must have a ready or target market. If you have a service that meets a need, mixed with courage to succeed regardless of the operating environment and, lack a ready or target market, you will give up. The fourth and final lesson is, you must be willing to collaborate or build synergy with friends and colleagues who are either in your line of business or understand the market better than you do. Collaboration multiplies effort.