Q+A with Chinwe Onyeagoro
Co-Founder and CEO of PocketSuite
Chinwe Onyeagoro is the Co-Founder and CEO of PocketSuite, an all-in-one app for independent professionals to run their business. In this Q+A, Chinwe discusses the joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur, the best and worst business advice she's ever received, and how she continually defines and redefines success.
Chinwe pictured above with PocketSuite Co-Founder and husband, Yang Forjindam, and their children, Uma and Yang Jr.
Tell us about PocketSuite.
PocketSuite provides an all-in-one suite of tools in a mobile app for an entrepreneur to run and grow their business. All a small business owner needs to do is download the app and they can have more efficient systems for scheduling, collecting client information, signing contracts, getting paid, messaging clients, and so much more. We provide tools that help entrepreneurs not only run their business, but also grow their business. That’s the power of better business software built for entrepreneurs.
You spent some time in consulting before starting your own business – can you speak to how that experience launched you into entrepreneurship and helped you start PocketSuite?
Consulting is a fantastic training ground for entrepreneurship because I got used to solving so many different business problems from the point of view of different companies and industries. At PocketSuite we have 67 different industries that we serve with custom software, so my job is still to solve problems for businesses in different lines of work with innovative software solutions. For me, the evolution was about taking those consulting skills and bringing them to the small business owners I was most passionate about seeing succeed.
You engage with small business owners frequently. What are some of the most interesting concepts that you’ve seen and the most valuable things you’ve learned from working with entrepreneurs?
There is so much innovation happening all the time in small businesses. From better client onboarding experiences to better service delivery to efficiency, many of our best updates to the PocketSuite app came right out of suggestions from the entrepreneurs we work with. These small business owners are tireless in finding a better way to do things and giving their clients a better experience.
The models that excite me most are when we see entrepreneurs getting creative and adapting best practices from other industries. A few of my favorite examples are when we saw dog trainers and fitness professionals take a page out of the telehealth book. At the height of Covid, they went online and started offering training and coaching services via Zoom and PocketSuite video conference. Same deal with beauty professionals who literally had to close shop based on state and county mandates. They were so resilient. They organized beauty boxes and set up subscription services for their clients. They were able to recoup some of their lost income from those quarantine hacks.
And best of all, those entrepreneurs sustained these business innovations long after the worst of the shutdown period, and are now earning more than they were before Covid.
As an entrepreneur, what’s some of the best and worst advice you’ve received?
The best pieces of advice I receive are from the PocketSuite community whether they are from entrepreneurs using the platform and making feature suggestions or from investors with some special industry or operational knowledge who really want to understand our vision and want to see us succeed.
Some great advice I received from an investor is, “Don’t draw any big conclusion or take major action - positively or negatively based on just one day, one week, or one month of data. Watch the trendline over several days, weeks, or months depending on the size of the experiment/investment, that way you don’t pull the plug on something that just needed more time to ramp...”
The worst advice I have received is usually too generic to be helpful. If clichés truly helped people, everyone would be successful.
How have you defined and redefined success – both for yourself and for PocketSuite – as you’ve progressed through the entrepreneurship journey?
For PocketSuite, our vision will be realized when anyone in the world with a serious interest and some talent can get certified or licensed in their chosen profession, get repeat clients, and hit those high-income numbers working for themselves on our platform. Our success is completely linked to helping thousands of small businesses grow and thrive.
For me, success is about making sure every member of the PocketSuite team achieves their potential. I’m one person and I can do a lot, but with a team beside me working at their best, we can move mountains. This African proverb says it best, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think when I started my entrepreneurial journey a lot of how I defined success for me was about my individual contribution. But as I have grown as an entrepreneur, I learned I can do so much more by focusing on recruiting great people, being a good leader, and helping my team grow.