This entrepreneur started two successful businesses in radically different industries. Learn all about her favorite communication tools and philosophy on management.
Esther Asante isn’t someone content with just one job; in fact, she’s not even satisfied running just one company.
In 2009, this powerhouse entrepreneur founded Virtual Linguistic Solutions. She spent the next several years developing it into one of the leading copywriting and translating companies in Ghana. But by 2015, she was ready to spread her wings even more. Not only did she take on another fulltime job as a commercial and quality manager for Swissport Ghana Limited, she decided to start another company: Organic Trade & Investments (OTI).
Asante’s goal for OTI was to build a responsible online store that specialized in promoting and selling organic, non-GMO commodities. All of which would be sourced directly from the small towns and villages where the raw ingredients were produced.
And OTI is achieving exactly that. She explains the details of her newest venture passionately, saying, “There are more than 100 articles on sale, from unrefined fats and pure essential oils to spices, aromatic plants, gum copal, plant sweeteners, dyes and insecticides. Our products are 100% organic and made by the indigenous people of the land using traditional methods. We believe in eradicating poverty; hence, we advocate for fair trade.”
In addition to selling responsible commodities directly to consumers, OTI also acts as a distributor and manufacturer. With so many spinning plates, strong communication is key to this company’s success. But because OTI ships to Egypt, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Japan and Italy, and works with suppliers all over the world, facilitating strong communication isn’t exactly simple.
To overcome this, Asante relies heavily on technology. Facebook messenger, Viber and WhatsApp help her handle customer inquiries. And for conferences with prospective buyers and suppliers, she turns to Business Skype. And just like that—with only a handful of tools—Asante manages a global business from the comfort of her office in Accra, Ghana.
OTI has seen rapid growth during its first few years, and Asante’s passion for the industry and focus on quality have been a driving force behind that growth. She lends insight into her management practices, saying, “You can be powerful and successful by being respected and not feared. To create a sustainable business, one needs to value its people, meaning both the company staff members (executives, junior managers, workers, etc.) as well as the buyers and stakeholders.”
She goes on to say, “Running a company comes with challenges, but also a lot of benefits. You learn to be: responsible; tolerant in your dealings with others without necessarily compromising on your principles; fair; persistent without wasting time on unnecessary things; and, approachable and friendly without tolerating any disrespectful manners from anyone.”
So, what’s next on the horizon for this always-growing entrepreneur? “To be able to plant and harvest some of the crops myself, like a true professional would do,” she laughs.