And that's our Niche as Speech Therapy Specialists!
Mrs Florence Kemisola Shekoni is a Speech Therapy Consultant and Specialist; CEO of J&J Calvary Hearing and Speech Centre; a mother of three (the first two whose acronyms make the name of her company "J&J" for Jeremiah & Jemima) and wife to a very supportive husband. She bagged a degree in Special Education at the prestigious University of Ibadan with a major in Audiology and Speech Pathology. To prepare her for an entrepreneurial feat as a Speech Therapist, she earlier worked with Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council during her national youth service as a corp member, and proceeded to Pyscho-educational Consultancy Services (PECOS), and then finally to Eko Hospital Plc with the Audiometrics and Speech Therapy section of the Ear Nose & Throat clinic.
A DECISIVE BEGINNING
With a passion to develop the hidden potentials in children, the company, she says, was registered in year 2000, but was officially launched in 2006 when the office was acquired to run the pet-project.
Previously, she had skeletally run the business from home where she often conducts the programmes with various clients on the basis of scheduling visits to the clients’ homes. She ran a mobile office!
BROADENING THE BASE
With limited resources and starting capital as an issue, Kemisola, with the support of her husband - Taiwo had to map out strategies to reload a start-off while running the business from home.
They designed flyers, banners, employed the use of random bulk SMS and referrals to network some more clients. They also signed up partnerships with organisations such as the Down Syndrome Associatoin, Autism Centre in Lekki, Private Special Children Schools and some other Health Management Organisations - from where they could easily get referrals to their centre.
Having successfully discharged 12 Special Children (who had recovered normally) since inception, from a number of therapeutic programmes ranging from their five mapped core strategic areas in Speech, Behavioural Modification, Cognitive Development, Vocational Training and Hearing; an assessment or case study is usually often done first, then a special recovery strategy or plan is then drawn to last for a period of time in the therapy. Usually there are often different recovery plans/strategies for a kid/patient/client even with the same anomalous condition.
For persons stuttering, having delayed speech, learning disability, impaired hearing and voice disorder, they are just the needed managers and experts who've pitched a tent in the minute special one (1) out of every ten (10) normal births.
SURVIVING THE CREDIT CRUNCH
As it seems like every business is apparently being affected by the global economic meltdown. Cash flow even from many clients has since receded. But for J&J Calvary Hearing and Speech Centre; they adopted a rather psychological approach to their clients when it comes to displacing the cash flow to the right coffers. They hoisted it on Re-orientation - that the hope of those children who are in dire need of speech therapy must not be jeopardised. For the major fact that lives are being moulded is enough reason to convince a tight-ward to let go of the cash.
THE PLACE OF MENTORING
As a believer, Kemisola says she'll never ignore prayers as her first channel of mentoring with God. She also has a ready source of professionals who she communes with from time to time who have been in the business terrain and amassed so much experience as to help a toddler walk uprightly and not totter in failure and error.
On the row call was the highly respected Dr. Christopher Kolade (the former Nigerian Ambassador to the UK) who is in fact the chairman of their Advisory Board, Dr. Dada Olu Sonibare (her boss at Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council) among others, and her amiable husband - she reiterates.
One of the virtues she was thought by Dr. Christopher Kolade was to highly regard Self Management which already incorporates Time Management to get a maximum output or end result.
ADVICE TO INTENDING FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS
She sums her advice up in 4 "Ds" of Personal Attributes/Skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur:
She gave credits to a generous international organization - Goldman Sachs (world's largest investment bank) in collaboration with EDS (Enterprise for Development Service) of Pan African University in Nigeria, who launched the 10,000 Women Initiative to train women entrepreneurs all over the world through the CEM Programme (Certificate for Entrepreneurial Management) from which she was a beneficiary as a Goldman Sachs Scholar.