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A technical note (case) on Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story
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Nnamdi Ezeigbo:
The Slot Story
Henrietta Onwuegbuzie
Henrietta Onwuegbuzie prepared this case as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or
ineffective handling of an administrative situation.
Copyright © 2014, Lagos Business School. This publication was developed through field research. No part
of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted
in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without
the written permission of Lagos Business School.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story
The Entrepreneur
“Young man, how old are you?” Nnamdi looked up, confused, and before he
could answer, the next question was slammed at him: “Young man, where were
you born?”
Nnamdi knew the game was up! The interview process started six months ago, and at
the onset, he had submitted a sworn affidavit stating a date and place of birth he could
no longer recall. He had scaled through various stages of the interview process and
was now at the final stage, when the shortlisted candidates were required to present
their original documents. The panel of five - four men and a lady, appeared pleased as
they looked through Nnamdi’s documents… or so it seemed until a frown crept up on
the face of the lady. The candidates had been asked to come for the final stage of the
interview with original copies of their credentials. The female panellist had noticed a
discrepancy between the date of birth on the sworn affidavit Nnamdi submitted six
months earlier, at the beginning of the admission process, and the original certificate
he now presented.
Everything had been going right until this moment. Nnamdi was among the 20
finalists selected from 1,500 candidates, who had passed the first stage of the
recruitment exercise at ExxonMobil. The numbers had been whittled down to 20 as
they went through various stages of the selection process. Only eighteen candidates
were required, and Nnamdi had made it among the 20 candidates invited for the final
round of interviews. Assuming he already had the job, Nnamdi had called his mother,
who lived in the village, to give her the good news. The sudden turn of events was
therefore most devastating for him.
Nnamdi realized he had made a mistake and managed to explain the truth:
“I am actually 26 and from Abia State; since the required age bracket for the job
was 28-35, and preference was being given to those from Akwa Ibom, I changed
my age and state of origin to fit in.
The previously impressed panel members were no longer so pleased, and one of them
asked him what he had to say for himself. Before Nnamdi could mutter the apology he
had on his lips, another panel member commented:
“What can he have to say? A man who could lie about his age and place of birth
to get a job at ExxonMobil will one day go out and tell others that he owns the
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
It was obvious that Nnamdi had lost the job opportunity, and he left the interview
regretting his action. He resolved never to lie again or do anything dishonest, no
matter the situation. In his words:
“I made up my mind to be a man of my own words, to stand up for what I
believe and live with integrity.
Nnamdi continued his job search. It had always been his dream to get a good job in
the oil and gas industry, where he could earn a good salary, take care of his younger
siblings and live well. Unfortunately, no other opportunities came his way.
Growing Up
Nnamdi studied Electrical/Electronic Engineering in Yaba College of Technology. He
then went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering at Lagos State
University (LASU). He later did a Masters in Information Technology at Ladoke
Akintola University, Oyo State. After his first degree, he participated in the
compulsory National Youth Service (NYSC) programme, after which he hoped to
obtain a good job at an oil company. He was the first of nine children and, because a
lot was expected of him, Nnamdi wanted a highly paid job. So he set his sights on the
oil industry. He applied to many oil companies and was finally short-listed for the
opportunity at ExxonMobil, which he lost.
Further attempts at getting a job in an oil company were not successful. So, as Nnamdi
had a basic knowledge about how computers worked, he decided, out of desperation,
to join a friend, who ran a computer repair business. He hoped that by learning
enough, he could eventually run a similar business, while anticipating his dream job.
A Fresh Start
Nnamdi decided that all he needed to start up a computer business was practical
experience in the field. He therefore approached his friend, Felix Adekunle, who
owned a computer repair business in a part of Lagos known as Computer Village.
Felix’s venture was located within a cluster of computer technicians and traders, who
sold branded and cloned systems as well as spare parts. They also carried out repairs
on computers and other electronic equipment. Fortunately, Felix was willing to let
Nnamdi apprentice with him.
As Nnamdi learned how the business was run and how to do repairs, he noticed that
his friend was cheating undiscerning customers. He charged them way beyond the
cost of repairs. There were instances when a customer was charged as much as
N30,0001 for a repair that cost no more than N300. In some cases, the only work done
on the computers brought in for repairs was replacing the computer cooling fan (that
cost only N300), or removing accumulated dust that caused the system to malfunction.
The bill for similarly simple operations could go as high as N40,000, while Felix gave
the customer the impression that more expensive parts had been replaced or that the
repair was complicated. The charge appeared to depend on what his friend felt the
customer could afford to pay. This disturbed Nnamdi, and he took it up with Felix,
who simply saw it as “business.Unfortunately, this way of charging customers was
1 The approximate exchange rate is N165/$
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
common practice in the cluster. Nnamdi did not like this, and when he had an
opportunity to carry out repairs, he charged much less while still making a reasonable
profit. Over time, customers began to notice that when Nnamdi did their repairs, the
bills were drastically lower. Eventually, most customers preferred to have Nnamdi fix
their computers, even when Felix was available to handle the job.
One day, a customer invited Nnamdi to his office to fix his faulty computer. When
Nnamdi got there, he noticed there were two faulty systems. The customer explained
that he only wanted one fixed, because he had been told by a technician, that the other
system would cost him N60,000 to repair. Nnamdi, however, offered to work on both
computers. On examining the second system, after fixing the one he had been invited
to repair, Nnamdi found, to his surprise, that all he needed to do was remove the thick
layer of dust it had accumulated and to replace a part that cost just N400. On
informing the customer that both computers had been fixed for a significantly lower
charge than expected, the customer was shocked! He could not believe that the
computers could have been repaired for the amount Nnamdi billed him. Being a
pastor, he broke out into an effusive prayer for Nnamdi and paid him. Nnamdi left
feeling fulfilled and glad to have been of help.
Stormy Times
Increasingly, customers came into Felix’s shop requesting that Nnamdi handle their
jobs. Customers sometimes even refused to leave their jobs with Felix if they could not
speak directly with Nnamdi. Felix did not like this situation, and friction started
building up between Nnamdi and Felix, who noticed he was losing his customers to
Nnamdi. In addition, Felix no longer felt comfortable charging customers
extortionately in Nnamdi’s presence. His relationship with Nnamdi deteriorated over
time, and after a couple of disagreements, he asked Nnamdi to leave his store for
The situation left Nnamdi, who had scarce savings, in a very difficult position.
Although Nnamdi had plans to eventually start his own business, he had not expected
this sudden break-up. He hoped to leave after he had saved enough to rent a place of
his own and set up a similar business. At this point, however, he could barely afford to
rent a place. Moreover, he had unfinished jobs for customers and needed to find a way
to conclude them.
There was a restaurant near Felix’s store, so Nnamdi decided to sit in front of it, so that
he could spot the customers when they came looking for him. He could then return
their fixed equipment and inform them that he was no longer with Felix. While
Nnamdi hoped to find another place soon, he continued to operate from the restaurant
for some time. Customers would meet him there, and he would either go to their
offices to solve their problems or take the systems home to fix.
He worked like this for a month until he was fortunate to find a friend who ran a
bookshop. His friend was willing to sub-let a small corner of the bookshop for him to
set up a computer repair base. With a few tools, a table and a chair, Nnamdi was
ready for business. Customers who went looking for him at his old location were
directed to his new address by friends he had been careful to inform, and business
In that portion of the bookshop, Nnamdi worked till very late at night and was back
early the next morning to ensure he was available for his customers. He did a good
job, and his charges were considered more reasonable than those of other computer
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
technicians. He also built strong relationships with customers and got many referrals
through them. While in the bookshop, Nnamdi decided to register the business. He
wanted a business name he felt was both easy to pronounce and signified his strategy,
which was to position himself as the preferred choice to meet customers’ computer
needs. So, in December 1998, Nnamdi registered the business as, “Slot”. During this
period, Nnamdi met Nkechi, who became his sweetheart. They courted for some
months and soon after, decided to get married in spite of his scarce means.
Better Days Ahead
Nnamdi’s fortune took a turn for the better the day Mr. Idowu, one of his old loyal
customers, came looking for him. Mr. Idowu had gone to Nnamdi's old location in
Computer Village, and was directed to the bookshop. After exchanging pleasantries,
he expressed surprise at finding Nnamdi squatting in such a small space in a
bookshop. He exclaimed, “Nnamdi, you deserve more than this!” He then offered
Nnamdi an opportunity to raise the funds he needed to get a better business location
as soon as possible. He told Nnamdi he could supply him with printers from his
company, which he could sell. Nnamdi was to use the money from the sales to rent an
office space and could repay the cost of the printers after he had settled down
comfortably. This proved to be a very successful means of raising funds. Nnamdi was
allowed to display the printers in the bookshop and, within three months, made
enough money to pay N280,000 to rent an office space located across the road from the
bookshop. Gathering his few belongings, he ended his six-month tenancy in the
bookshop and opened for business in his first proper office location.
Nnamdi’s customers easily found him as the new location was close to the bookshop.
Demand for his services kept growing and reached a point where they could no longer
be managed by one person. Nnamdi decided to engage his brother as his first
employee, as he could not afford to pay much. As more business came in, he gradually
employed his brother’s friends. This arrangement, which lasted three years, worked
well for Nnamdi.
By 2002, the business began to involve more complicated transactions and a much
higher level of sales. Nnamdi realised it was time to employ experts that could sustain
the company’s operations and help to build a strong brand. Nevertheless, he did not
want to dump the team that had brought him thus far. He therefore decided to lay off
his first crop of staff in a way that would give them a bright future. He met with his
brother and his friends individually, asked them what goals they had for the future
and offered to support them financially. A number of them wanted to study abroad,
and Nnamdi promised to cover all the costs entailed once they secured an admission.
A new crop of staff was recruited through adverts and recruitment agents, and Slot
continued to thrive. Nnamdi ensured that all his employees understood the ethical
principles on which his business operated. He made it clear that no compromise
would be accepted and was quick to dismiss those who did not abide by these values.
Nnamdi was also mindful of staff welfare. He paid his staff according to what he
could afford, irrespective of what the industry practice was at the time. His staff were
generally happy with their welfare package, and staff turnover was low. Sadiq, the
Head of Finance, who had worked with the company for six years commented:
“We have a good welfare package. Besides our salaries, all staff receive a mid-
month bonus. There is also a package for staff getting married, for births and
bereavements. The amount varies according to the level of the staff involved. We
are generally happy with our package. Also, every one of us, including the
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
cleaners, has direct access to the MD, besides our bosses. Top managers like me
are given a house after working in the company for five years…I currently live
in my own house, and I have an official car, a Toyota Corolla, 2012 model. We
are like a family, and Nnamdi is like our big brother. He scolds us when we go
wrong and shows us how to correct our mistakes. I have learnt a lot about
management from him”
As the number of retail outlets increased, an HR system that provided a transparent
recruitment system was put in place. All applicants went through a test and interview
process and, once successful, were recruited into various positions. All new members
of staff went through an orientation process during which they were informed of the
company culture and the ethical principles expected of them. Before the end of their
first year, they were invited to a dinner with Nnamdi, who would tell them how Slot
began and the central role of ethics in the company. This was reflected in the
company’ mission statement:
“To build a truly indigenous company with sound ethical principles and a
commitment to adding value to all its shareholders- customers, employees and
The new staff members also had the opportunity to share their views, based on the
months they had spent in the company, and make suggestions that could move the
business forward.
Growing the Business
Nnamdi expanded the operations of Slot from repairs to include sales of both branded
and cloned computers. The clones also provided a useful source of spare parts for
repair jobs. Slot was growing even faster than Nnamdi expected. The growth was
further driven by the transition from the use of typewriters to computers, which
started in the 1980s. The business grew so much that by its ninth year, Nnamdi was
negotiating the purchase of the two-storey building that housed his first office space.
An agreement was eventually reached with the property owner and Nnamdi bought
the entire building for N100 million.
Although business continued to be good, Nnamdi could see that the computer
industry was fast becoming a commodity business, and that there was need to
proactively diversify. This period coincided with the Nigerian government’s decision
to privatise the telecommunications industry. One of the two major African
multinational companies that won licences for mobile telephony in Nigeria was MTN.
They needed marketers and thus engaged agents who sought retail chains they could
collaborate with as distributors. Willing retailers were trained and subsequently sold
GSM products on behalf of MTN. One of the marketers approached Nnamdi, and he
accepted the proposal, because he saw it as an opportunity to diversify into the
growing telecoms industry. By the time the training was over, Nnamdi had
understood what it took to play in the telecommunications industry and became one
of MTN’s major distributors. In addition, Nnamdi stocked most of the well-known
mobile phone brands like Nokia, Samsung, BlackBerry and LG.
Slot soon became customers’ preferred destination to purchase mobile phones.
Nnamdi’s resolve to maintain high ethical standards, made Slot stand out in an
industry where fake phones were commonly sold. Slot became known as the store that
sold guaranteed genuine phones. The company also offered related products such as
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
phone accessories and services such as repairs, back up and transfer of content from
one phone to another.
The Telecommunications Industry in Nigeria
Nigeria’s telecommunications industry had been previously crippled by the
government owned and run telecommunications ministry known as Nigerian
Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). The privatisation policy undertaken by the
government in the 1990’s brought a significant improvement to the
telecommunications industry in Nigeria.
In 2001, the government initiated a liberalization and privatization policy. NITEL was
sold, and a number of multinational GSM operators won licenses. Preceding the policy
change in 2001, NITEL, Nigeria’s only telephone provider at the time, offered
expensive and poor quality telephone services. This resulted in high customer
dissatisfaction. The privatisation policy changed the market dynamics, and
telecommunications became one of the fastest growing industries in Nigeria. Statistics
showed that mobile phone penetration in Nigeria was as high as 69%2. With a
population of 170million3, Nigeria was easily among the largest mobile phone markets
in Africa.
The growth in the telecoms industry in Nigeria created jobs, spurring
entrepreneurship in the sector. Over the last two decades, several small-scale
businesses (SMEs) specialising in marketing mobile phones and recharge cards have
been established.
Major GSM operators in Nigeria include multinationals like MTN, Airtel and Etisalat,
which have a market share of 45%, 21% and 14%4 respectively. They operate
alongside Glo, the only national player in the GSM industry, which owns 20% market
share. While these stakeholders continue to meet the demand for communication
across borders, there is still room for game-changing actors to come in as the services
they provide have progressively deteriorated due to overcapacity. The industry is thus
back to having many customers thirsting for better quality services.
The market for mobile handsets however continues to thrive. On one hand, the
growing middle and upper class willingly pay a premium for expensive phones that
meet their high tastes and provide snob appeal. On the other hand, the larger market
segment of price-sensitive customers make affordable, functional choices. Mobile
phones have thus practically become a staple item that can be found in almost every
2 Buddlecomm, Nigeria- Mobile Market- Overview, Statistics and Forecast,
(April 2, 2014)
3 World Population Review, Nigeria Population 2014, (April 2, 2014)
4 Industry Data, Market Share of Mobile Operators February 2014, (April
2, 2014)
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Proactive Innovation
Nnamdi was constantly looking for new ways to meet customer needs. For instance,
the erratic services provided by telecommunication companies made it common for
many people to buy two to three phones with SIM cards from different operators. This
was to avoid dependence on just one network, which may not be working when
needed. To reduce the inconvenience of having to manoeuvre multiple phones,
Nnamdi thought of providing dual SIM phones. He also thought that including a
torch-light feature in the phone would be a great help because the erratic power
supply in Nigeria quite frequently left people stranded in the dark until power was
restored. Nnamdi therefore arranged for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
in China to manufacture the first dual SIM phones with a torch, under the “Tecno”
brand name. The Tecno range of phones were affordable and comparable in
functionality to more expensive brands like Samsung and BlackBerry.
The first shipment of Tecno phones sold out as soon as they hit the shelves in 2006.
They appealed to the many, especially young people and price-sensitive customers,
who wanted phones that could perform important functions, without emptying their
pockets. This new product was the first brand owned by Slot. The innovation
produced a drastic increase in Slot’s sales and profits. It heralded one of the major
transition points to a significantly higher level of sales in the history of Slot.
Customer Promise
Slot provided guarantees on the phones they sold and sometimes offered free delivery
services. One of Slot’s customers explained that he called one of the Slot branches,
when he needed to replace a phone he had bought in the UK. The phone had fallen
from his pocket and the screen cracked. He was not even sure the phone would be
available in Nigeria but decided to try Slot. According to him, the Slot staff member he
spoke to told him she would check with other branches and let him know if they had
the phone he wanted in stock. She not only called him back to say they had the phone
he wanted in another branch but offered to deliver it to him free of charge. Further, he
was amazed that the despatch man from Slot not only delivered the phone to him
within an hour but also expressed concern when he saw the cracked screen of his
phone and offered to take it back to the store to see if they could fix it. Even though
they were eventually unable to fix the phone screen and returned it to him, he was
blown over by their service:
“I didn’t know this man from Adam…I was surprised that he not only delivered
the new phone on time, but went the extra mile to try to fix my broken phone.”
This level of service made Slot popular among customers.
Another planned innovative initiative by Slot is the Word Reader, an educational e-
book tablet that will contain all the textbooks required in secondary schools in Nigeria.
Slot intends to retail the tablets for N20,000 to private schools and to give them free of
charge to public schools attended by children from low-income households. Mindful
of the erratic power supply in Nigeria, the batteries of these tablets have been
configured to last two weeks, once fully charged. The tablet innovation was aimed at
providing a means to improve the educational plight of less privileged children, while
ensuring profitability from sales to more affluent market segments.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Slot opened up more branches within and outside Lagos, as the demand for their
products and services continued to increase. Wherever they went, they stood out.
Nnamdi could not believe how much money he was making in spite of the fact that
many other similar companies had sprung up.
Slot became internationally recognized for its outstanding level of sales. The business
continued to grow based on sound ethical principles and a strong belief in treating
people well. On any given day, Slot stores were bustling with customers (see Exhibit
3). Staff were usually overwhelmed with a store full of customers. In spite of the huge
customer patronage Slot enjoyed, their prices remained competitive. Indeed Slot’s
prices were many times lower than those of other mobile phone retailers.
Nnamdi’s growth drew the attention of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
like Apple, Blackberry, Samsung, Nokia and LG. The volume of sales they were
making through Slot increased their interest in developing a closer working
relationship with the company. One of them decided to make Slot one of its major
partners, who would enable Slot receive significant credit lines. However, the OEM’s
policy required that due diligence be carried out on third parties before finalising such
arrangements. This was to ensure that the potential partner measured up to the OEMs
code of conduct. As Nigeria’s reputation for business ethics was not the strongest, the
process, which normally lasted one week, took them three weeks for Slot. At the end
of the process, Slot was declared free of any encumbrances and was awarded a credit
line of $2 million worth of goods. Other OEMs paid Nnamdi to have their phone
stands in each of his retail outlets. By 2012, Slot had almost 30 retail outlets in different
States. Nnamdi smiled as he said, “When we go to a new place, they actually thank us
for coming.”
Slot became a major attraction for international mobile phone brands that wanted to
enter the Nigerian market. It not only had a wide retail network but also a high
volume of die-hard loyal customers. In Slot stores, it was frequent to find customers
willingly waiting on a queue for attention. They preferred to queue in Slot rather than
go to other stores, where they could get quicker service but risked being cheated.
Growing demand drove the opening of new outlets as shown in Exhibit 8a. When
requests for Slot franchises started coming in, Nnamdi welcomed them. He saw
franchises as a cost-effective means of expanding his reach. In addition, he considered
it a safe way to give Slot a presence in regions of the country that were more difficult
for him to reach directly.
In recent years, terrorist attacks had become common in the northern states. Non-
indigenes were frequently the first point of attack and, as a result, many major
businesses run by non-indigenes of the north, had pulled out of those states. Nnamdi
and the majority of his staff were from the south-eastern and south-western states of
Nigeria. It would therefore have been dangerous for him to send staff to establish new
outlets in the northern states, even though he would also have employed people from
those states to work with them. Franchisees originating from those states therefore
represented a safer strategy to reach those regions. Based on the advantages
franchising presented for Slot, Nnamdi decided on a 30% franchising model, such that
30% of all their branches would be made up of franchises.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Tough Choices
By 2012, Slot had grown into a company with over 30 retail outlets. Nnamdi
coordinated the affairs of the business from the head office in Ikeja, which now needed
more staff as well as storage space. It was therefore decided that an office extension
attached to the existing building should be constructed. A contractor was engaged to
execute the task and, within a year, the new building was completed and equipped for
use. Everything appeared to be going well until the regulatory authorities came
knocking one day. They informed Nnamdi that the new extension was an illegal
structure that would have to be pulled down because it did not fall within town-
planning regulations. Nnamdi explained that he had engaged a construction company
to erect the building, and they made him understand that all required permits had
been obtained. Further investigations however revealed that the contractor in charge
of the project had actually paid a bribe to some authorities to allow him go ahead with
the building. None of this had been communicated to Nnamdi, who was shocked to
know what the contractor had done. The tone of the discussion of the officials, who
had come to inform Nnamdi of the breach, suddenly changed to that of a negotiation.
They made Nnamdi realise that the building could remain standing if he paid them a
bribe of N1 million. Nnamdi refused to bribe them, and decided to appeal to higher
authorities in a bid to find a way to resolve the case. Nnamdi explained:
“When we discovered that the contractor had gone against the law and polices,
we tried to use our connections to find a licit solution to the problem. I remember
speaking to the commissioner and trying to see if he could help us. All attempts
failed because we were not ready to pay the bribe.”
The official Nnamdi met investigated the issues and told Nnamdi that he could not
help him as he had refused to “cooperate” with the officers in charge by paying the
bribe. The next day, Nnamdi received a letter, ordering him to pull down the building
within 24 hours. He was now torn between the tension of paying the N1million bribe
or pulling down a building that had cost him N8 million!
A similar scenario played out when tax officials visited Slot. The officials were
accustomed to finding businesses that defaulted on tax payments. They would usually
arrange a “settlement” with the owners of such businesses, which entailed receiving a
significant sum from the company as a bribe while giving the company time to
regularise their payment. They however encountered a different scenario when they
visited Slot. All its tax payments were up to date, and Nnamdi was not willing to
entertain their small talk, which hovered around “finding something for the boys.
This terminology was generally understood by all. It was a way of speaking that
meant, “We know you are clean, but give the boys something to make them happy.
Nnamdi knew that if he ever gave in, he would have to keep doing it, so he always
refused. Over time, the officials realised that Slot was not one of the companies that
would make them “happy.Further, they were powerless before Slot as Nnamdi
made sure that the company complied with all regulatory requirements.
Customers also knew that Slot honoured the one-year guarantee on phones bought
from their stores. This was not the case with other operators, which frustrated
customers who asked for refunds on faulty purchases. Slot employees, on the other
hand, would either exchange the product or refund monies, once it was established
that it was a genuine case of a factory fault and within the warranty period.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Nnamdi encountered a number of challenges in running the business. It was
increasingly difficult for him to get the quality of staff he wanted, and the recruitment
process was getting more and more strenuous. He realised that Slot would need to
begin to develop the calibre of staff it wanted to hire.
It was also a challenge to find people who shared the ethical principles he valued. On
a number of occasions, some of his staff had tried to defraud the company. For
instance, one of his staff in charge of credit sales, took advantage of his position to
collect money from debtors, without remitting it to the company. When eventually
Nnamdi felt the level of debt was getting too high, he got involved in trying to redeem
the debts and decided he would personally call up or visit owing customers. He was
surprised when a number of them mentioned that they had paid back through his
staff. On verifying their claims, Nnamdi realised that his staff had not been striking
names off the debtors list, because he had been keeping debtors payments in his
personal account rather than the company account. The incident ended up being a
police case.
Though some checks and balances were in place, Nnamdi also relied on trust. He
however realised that for the business to grow bigger, he would need even more
checks and balances. He did not want to appear as if he did not trust his staff and
consequently lose the refreshing family atmosphere that was a core part of the
company’s corporate culture. He would have to address this challenge before
continuing with his plans for expansion.
Another challenge Nnamdi experienced was the high cost of setting up retail outlets.
For security reasons, each outlet needed a vault, and this raised the cost of operations
Slot Today
There are currently 40 Slot retail outlets in Nigeria. Of these stores, 30% are franchises.
Computer sales and repairs constitute approximately 20% of their business, which is
now dominated by the sale and repair of mobile phones and GSM products. The
company turnover, which was approximately N6 million in 1998, rose to N1 billion by
2005 and has continued to rise in billions5. Even Nnamdi was amazed at how well the
business was doing6.
Slot has since won international awards as a result of its ethical practices and high
sales records. In 2009, Slot won the Nigerian National Integrity award. In 2010, it won
the award for the most outstanding ICT/Telecom Entrepreneur of the Year. In
addition, it won the Nigerian Telecom Dealer of the Year award every year from 2011
to 2013; Mobile Phone Dealer of the Year in 2012; the Nokia award for the top
wholesaler in Nigeria in 2012; Most Outstanding Telecoms/IT Retailer of the year 2013;
and Best Mobile Technology Company in 2013. Further, Samsung nominated Nnamdi
to be one of the torch bearers at the 2012 London Olympics. Nnamdi also received an
5 For competitive reasons, the case subject prefers not to state the exact company turnover as at 2013/14.
6 Interestingly, Nnamdi’s friend, Felix, continues to run only the same small office he had, while Nnamdi
was apprenticing with him in 1996
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
award from the Little Saints Orphanage, one of the charities Slot supported, for their
outstanding contribution to the orphanage. In the last three years, Slot Foundation has
provided a scholarship scheme for ten secondary school pupils from Little Saints
orphanage in Lagos. Scholarships were also provided for 20 university students of
Umuahia origin, in Imo state7. Nnamdi was from Umuahia, and this gesture was his
way of helping people from his state.
Besides these structured forms of assisting others, the extended family system
common in most African countries made it quite normal to have people requesting
informal financial assistance from Nnamdi. It was not rare for friends and relatives
who were in financial straits, to come knocking at Nnamdi’s door. Many of them
received the help they requested, but if Nnamdi felt his assistance was being taken for
granted or abused, he would refuse firmly.
Nnamdi recently concluded an Executive MBA programme at the Lagos Business
School. While he has done very well with Slot since its inception, as the business grew,
he felt the need to equip himself with more knowledge and skills. He dreamt of taking
Slot to even greater heights and realised that an MBA could help him achieve his goal.
Slot currently controls 49% of Nigeria’s fragmented GSM market. Nnamdi intends to
establish at least 100 retail stores in Nigeria before looking out to other African
7 Imo state is in the Eastern region of Nigeria.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 1: The façade of a Slot outlet
Exhibit 2: Nnamdi in his office
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 3: Inside a Slot store
Exhibits 4: Awards won by Slot
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 5: Nnamdi carrying the Olympic torch in London in 2012
Exhibit 6: SLOT Systems Profit and Loss Account from 1998-2005
Cost of Sales
Gross Profit
Operating Expenses
Directors' Remuneration
Auditor's Remuneration
Admin Expenses
Total Expenses
Net Profit/(Loss) before tax
Net Profit/(Loss) after tax
Retained Earnings b/f
Retained Earnings c/f
The financials from 2006-2013 have not been made public for reasons of confidentiality.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 7: SLOT Systems Balance Sheet from 1998 - 2005
Non-Current Assets
Current Assets
Cash & Bank Balances
Receivables & Prepayments
Total Current Assets
Current Liabilities
Payables & Accruals
Net Current Assets
Net Assets Employed
Financed By:
Share Capital
Shareholders' Equity
Retained Earnings
Total Liability and Equity
Source: SLOT Systems Limited
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 8a: SLOT Systems Branch Network Expansion
Portharcourt 1
Apapa 1
Victoria Island
Ikeja 2
Ilorin 2
Ibadan 1
Medical Road
GSM Village
Ibadan 2
Ilorin 1
Apapa 2
Portharcourt 2
Citi Mall
Source: SLOT Systems Limited
Nnamdi Ezeigbo: The Slot Story ENT-C-06-1-14
Exhibit 8b: SLOT Systems Branch Network Expansion
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