Welcome to the latest edition of Suite Spotte’s Member Stories Series where we feature the lives and achievements of the talented people who make up our Go-To-Grow Community. Whether your story is similar, or wildly different, we know that you will be inspired by how our members work independently, yet collectively, to achieve success.
Ebvomien (Ebe) Osaigbovo, CPA and Founder of SWM Planning
Ebe Osaigbovo considers himself an outlier; from his Nigerian roots to his natural aptitude for math and finance. Raised in a Chicago suburb (Oak Park) by parents who emigrated from NIgeria, he thanks them for his enduring entrepreneurial drive and the values of hardwork and accountability; which have served him well in building his own thriving business.
With a CPA and 10 years of financial services experience under his belt, Ebe established his company, SWM Planning (Smart With Money) in 2017. SWM helps individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals in three ways: financial coaching, small business CPA services, and income tax planning & filing.
Ebe found that the COVID-19 relief programs for impacted small businesses were a critical resource for many business owners, but also caused much confusion and anxiety for most. HIs client base grew because he was able to reduce the complexity of the programs with clear, concise communication; and advise his clients on how to leverage the safety net to keep their businesses going through the pandemic.
Entrepreneurial Spirit and Self-Determination to Achieve the American Dream
Ebe witnessed his father’s humble beginnings to build a new life for his family in America. From driving cabs to working in fast food restaurants, his father eventually launched a successful medical device repair business. His mother’s drive to contribute to the financial success of the family led her to work at a Garrett Popcorn Shop, and then on to a career in healthcare. Through the professional journey of his parents, Ebe witnessed the feasibility of the American Dream.
Embracing his parent’s drive and self-determination, Ebe and his siblings set high expectations for themselves. He fed his burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit at a young age by offering seasonal landscaping services for his neighbors. As he moved on to college he applied what he had learned from his parents and his small landscaping business to other money-making ventures — a dropship operation for home decor, the sale of affiliate products online, and insurance sales, all while keeping his studies a priority.
The Great Recession was in full swing as Ebe approached his final year of college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To stave off any challenges he may encounter finding a job after graduation, he wisely added accounting to his arsenal, with a double major in Accountancy & Finance. Ebe’s sales experience proved to be a valuable differentiator among the CPA community. He had developed strong relationship-building skills and had what many others didn’t…he knew how to sell. To this day, his reputation for building strong client relationships serves him well.
Ebe defines success not just about making money. From visits to Nigeria and seeing the devastating poverty, along with his own parent’s journey taught him not to take life’s opportunities for granted. He saw a need and an opportunity to leverage his knowledge and business skills; and in 2017 took a leap of faith when he started SWM Planning right here in Suite Spotte.
Embracing Life Through Family and a Little Levity
Ebe relishes spending time with his young son and wife Jeannette. His greatest priority is ensuring that his son grows up with as many opportunities as possible. He loves teaching him new things and watching him grow. Asked how he’d feel if his son follows in his dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps, Ebe eagerly replied, “Maybe I’ll invest in him!”
Common stereotypical descriptors for an accountant such as an introvert or number-cruncher, don’t come close to describing Ebe. He’s a bright, witty, fun-loving guy who uses levity when taking stock of a situation. Not one to mind a good party with fellow CPAs, Ebe is also fond of travel having recently enjoyed a trip to Niagara Falls.
Adapting and Growing in Suite Spotte’s Coworking Community
Living only two blocks from Suite Spotte’s Forest Park workplace, it was only a matter of time before Ebe walked by and his interest was piqued. He joined Suite Spotte the same day that he toured and met Sue Reardon, Co-Founder & Community Connector. It didn’t take long for Ebe to take advantage of the Go-To-Grow coworking community to support him as he faced the fiscal challenges of all new businesses: balancing client growth and expenses, and managing for scalability. He stayed focused on growing the business, while Suite Spotte ensured that his workplace needs adjusted in line with his business needs.
Many CPAs fall into a trap of growth tied to seasonal tax work. Ebe knew he needed to expand beyond that if his growth goals were to be achieved. He took a risk and invested in an online advertising resource that targeted year-round clients who trusted SWM Planning for their monthly accounting services, as well as ongoing financial advice. This growth area coupled with his COVID-19 relief financial services quadrupled his revenue in a year.
Ebe is many things — a father and family man, a CPA and finance wiz, and a highly driven entrepreneur. He is also a living example of ambition, grit, humility, and graciousness. Working with like-minded members at Suite Spotte keeps him motivated and focused. Whether offering ideas or embracing ideas from others, Ebe recognizes the value of belonging to a flexible, welcoming community that has your back.