S.T. soap used to be a household brand name back then, but here is what happened that made the brand go into extinction.
In 1979, with only Five Thousand Naira (N5,000), Alhaji Safiriyu Tiamiyu started S.T Soaps Limited from his home and later built a state-of-the-art factory in Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State. Despite his limited education, S.T. recognized the significance of advertising and marketing and invested a considerable sum in radio advertising. The brand’s jingle on Radio Nigeria and other media outlets still evokes nostalgic feelings in people today.
By the early ’90s, the company had grown from soap production to producing polythene products and had over a thousand employees, most of whom were residents of Ijebu-Mushin.
However, in 2004, the factory workers began clamoring for a staff union, which S.T. was not in favor of, as he believed it was not appropriate for a sole proprietorship enterprise. The staff protested and abandoned their tasks, which eventually led to a confrontation with the police. This did not go down well with the people of Ijebu-Mushin and created chaos in the village.
S.T. was eventually framed by one of the villagers and arrested on allegations of kidnapping and ritual murder, which led to a prolonged court case that was eventually dismissed because Alhaji S.T. was found not guilty of those allegations.
Following these incidents, S.T. was unable to regain his footing, and so was his company. He later fell into depression, which drastically changed his life. He later died on October 5, 2020, after years of battling an undisclosed illness.
End of story.
Here are 3 Lessons on people management and business success that can be learned from S.T.’s story:
Firstly, effective communication is vital in any business. S.T. failed to communicate effectively with his employees, leading to the protest that eventually led to his downfall.
Secondly, as a business owner/manager, it is essential to treat your employees with respect and create an environment where they feel valued; and their opinions matter. People management is an essential skill for every business owner/manager.
Lastly, it is crucial to be aware of external factors that can impact your business. Efficient communication is an integral part of conflict management. S.T.’s inability to manage the aftermath of the staff protest led to the involvement of the police and eventually the villagers, which ultimately ruined his business. Guard against reputational risk at all costs.
I wish you success.
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