Country: Lagos, Nigeria
Business: No Left Overs
Partner School: Pan-Atlantic University
"When you satisfy your clients, they actually become the arrow head of your sales force - incredible!"
I started my business in 2007, making Moin-Moin, which is a traditional Nigerian bean cake. My first clients were limited to family and friends. We didn't have a clear strategy and what we sold was not equal to the effort we were putting in. We couldn't make enough money just selling Moin-Moin, so we began catering for small events.
Today, No Left Overs has the capacity to cater parties and events attended by hundreds of people. In addition to my two restaurants, which specializes in traditional Nigerian cuisine, I offer large-scale catering services as well as a cooking academy.
Our two main challenges were location and cash flow. Location was a problem because we cooked from my kitchen at home, and we had to turn down a few large orders because it was too small. At other times, we had to contract additional staff that cooked all night in my house! There was no privacy and I knew I was pushing the goodwill and patience of my family beyond acceptable limits.
Secondly, our clientele only paid us after delivery. Ordinarily that should not have been a problem but we didn't have much cash and every new and bigger client we took on increased our requirement for additional working capital, which was difficult to get. The banks would rarely lend to us. When they did, the interest rate was too high.
Through 10,000 Women, I realized that not everyone could – or should – be my customer. I began to be more discerning in choosing my clients, and we adopted a policy of receiving payments in advance.
As the quality of our services has improved, we’ve been able to negotiate better prices with our clients. As a result of these changes, we’ve experienced tremendous growth. Our client base has increased and revenue has grown thirtyfold.
The most significant change for us has been staffing. We have hired nearly 50 additional employees, including an accountant, and we also hire temporary workers depending on demand.
And most importantly for my family, we have moved the business into a commercial kitchen – so we finally separated my residence from the business. A BIG relief for everybody!