Exclusive Interview of Abiola Adediran of Genea. Edited by Powered Magazine
In the realm of wealth management and family office services, Abiola Adediran stands as a trusted partner dedicated to nurturing wealth, fostering long-term prosperity, and safeguarding legacies. As a Partner at GENEA FAMILY OFFICE, Abiola brings a wealth of expertise, insight, and a genuine passion for helping families navigate the complexities of managing their wealth. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of exploring the insights and expertise of Abiola Adediran.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I Abiola Adediran, grew up as the first of four children in an average middle-class family. Growing up for me was marked by very strict discipline, and I was often surrounded by people who were much older than me, and I learned a lot from observing and listening to them.
I started out as a science student and studied project management technology. I also qualified as a chartered accountant while I was at the university. My professional career began as an investment banker at Oceanic Capital in Nigeria, after which I moved to consulting at one of the Big 4 consulting firms, KPMG Professional Services, where I was involved in statutory audits and other advisory engagements for clients in the financial services industry, mostly banks and insurance companies.
I left as a manager and moved into the investment management industry, where I worked as the group chief financial officer of Coronation Group. I had oversight of multiple businesses and was instrumental in growing them into sustainable businesses. During this time, I was also involved in setting up and managing a single-family office, Tengen Family Office, that managed the assets and affairs of the promoters of the businesses.
My work in the last fifteen years has focused on delivering cutting edge strategic transformation for businesses and creating sustainable impact and returns for all stakeholders. I now run an independent, boutique multi-family office, Genea Family Office, which provides innovative advisory services to wealthy families and enterprises, helping them to build lasting legacies and preserve their wealth for multiple generations.
What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?
The biggest challenge I’ve had when starting my business has been building the brand to grow and scale. More often than not, consulting businesses are about the exchange of intellectual knowledge for value and are usually very hard to scale. I needed to build a business that would thrive without me and could generate and execute client mandates without relying on me. I was able to build a unique model that allowed me to leverage technology and a virtual consultant consortium to serve more clients and grow the business.
How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career?
I enjoyed a great deal of success in navigating my career, and I was fortunate to be able to access the right training, exposure, and mentorship that gave me a lot of leverage and helped me harness my strengths and improve my weaknesses. I don’t dwell on my past successes, but I’m always quick to move on to the next big thing and reach for more because I believe that the possibilities are endless and you only get as much as you reach for.
I’ve also had my share of failure, and this has helped me develop the staying power and determination to manage difficulties and the resilience I need to press through challenges and cut through complexities.
What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?
It has been about clearly defining the target market we serve and understanding their needs well enough to be able to create unique solutions that solve their problems. We remain nimble and quickly adapt to changing market trends and customer preferences while leveraging technology as much as possible.
What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?
I’m motivated by the desire to make an impact and leave a lasting legacy. I’m also of the opinion that adversity does not last forever. Setbacks and failures are a part of life, and when the going gets tough, the easiest thing is to look for something to blame and play the victim, but rather than do that, I choose to change how I think about hardship. I try to see the lessons in hardship and how I must change and evolve to become a better person and make better decisions by using the experiences to grow stronger.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field?
My advice to new start up founders would be that they should decide what is important. They need to have the ability to see through what is not very important. Although tempting, fancy office spaces and exotic branded stationery are vanity progressions. Having a tested product or service that people are willing to pay for and getting more people to know about it and actually buy it should be the focus at the early stage.
Another thing is the fact that entrepreneurs don’t just need money; they also need support. I’d encourage them to get business mentorship from experienced business leaders, attend meetups within their industry or local community, and seek out online support via forums and groups. You’ll be surprised at just how willing others will be to help and offer advice for free.
Lastly, they should stay focused and ensure that they understand the purpose of what they are doing because it’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects.
If you find that you are heading in a direction that doesn’t support your business purpose, you risk derailing due to potential distractions.
How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture?
We leverage technology significantly in running business activities. From managing virtual teams to executing client mandates and meetings online, we use different technology tools to ensure that tasks are done on time and maintain a good level of productivity.
In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture?
We seek customer feedback to improve our product and service offerings and ensure that we’re changing with the realities of the business environment. We use insights from customer feedback in new product development to ensure it is tailored to their needs.
What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?
A new form of globalisation that recognises interdependence and the good of humanity based on the collective actions of countries, businesses, and people will start to emerge. As a result, companies will change their governance and business management models with a greater focus on corporate social responsibility and the well-being of people.
Another trend is the accelerated rate of digital transformation through the use of AI, which will force companies to take radical steps to adopt technological advancements and modernise their culture, organisational structures, measurement systems, and operating architectures. Even if the organisation is ahead today, we have to be continually prepared to change, take calculated risks, and fail fast, or the business will get disrupted.
The use of an on-demand workforce will increase, especially with the increase in global mobility. Organisations need to understand and learn how to engage and retain on-demand talent with improved people management programmes, strategies, and tools to create value for an on-demand workforce.
What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path?
The most rewarding aspect of my career path is that it prepared me very well for the entrepreneurial path I’m currently pursuing. I had the opportunity to develop the depth of my expertise as a transformational business strategist, cutting across critical areas of enterprise building.
Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?
Transferable skills like problem solving, communication, critical thinking, showing initiative by proactively handling situations and finding answers to questions without direction, and leadership skills using interpersonal skills to coach and develop others are skills that are critical for success.
How has working remotely or online impacted your business/venture over the past year?
Working remotely has allowed us to scale and increase the reach of our business beyond our local geography. We’ve been able to leverage virtual teams/consultants and serve clients in other jurisdiction without having to move or set up offices in multiple locations.
What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers/business further?
For those looking to transition from a professional career to business, they need to be prepared before they launch out. They need to have a clear and compelling vision of what they are meant to be doing, develop themselves by developing relevant skills that help develop resilience, and understand how to build a business from scratch. They should also test their ideas and ensure that they are sustainable and profitable before they decide to make the move.