Note: Caterbakes team and your very lovely chef are available to cater for your events and ceremonies across Nigeria
Good day to you from Chef Wale’s kitchen.
Today, we are going to be talking about a subject that is going to empower you. I have never shared this secret before. It’s a real life event how I started my Kitchen with less than $50
I believe if it worked for me, surely it will work for you.
This is very personal to me However, I have to share this knowledge so you can understand that money is not what is stopping you from achieving that great dream of yours.
HOW TO START.
It is said that about 70% of SMEs shut down their business in the first 2 years of operations.
Why is this so?
To start and maintain any business, you must possess the following attribute or pay for the service of someone that has it.
1. Financial intelligence
2. Realistic Marketing Strategy from a Sales expert.
3. A manager who understands structure, monitor growth and can help curb your weaknesses and excesses once the money starts pouring in.
If you can possess this three, you are good to go.
So Lets Start.
If you have limited capital and you do not even understand how to get OPM (Other people’s money) to kick start your business, then you have no option than to start with what you have; and that’s what I did.
What did I have? I had skills.
- I’m a good cook
- I have a phone
- I knew my target market and customers.
I had sat down and took time to decide where my market was and who were my target customers. I choose the middle class; the working population who would not mind that my branding is zero; who are not so rich but rich enough to afford me.
They only needed to do me a favour; Eat my food and you are my follower forever!!!. You see, I had great self confidence in my ability to cook. I believed and I knew I was the best.
Where I met my first challenge was; How do I market the banks (Which was my first target market). The truth was: the idea of walking into a bank premise and speaking to them scares me terribly and sent shivers down my spine. I prayed to receive strength, none came.
I thought my prayer did not work. It was later I realised that the strength was in THE GOING. Later that day, I had a brilliant idea that made me. It worked like magic.
What did I do?
With fear and trembling, I went to my first bank, straight to the counter and I told my first would be customer that I sell so and so and I have brought for her FREE TASTING!!!!!!
To my uttermost surprise, 4 people shared it. The lady I gave the food told me to sit down tight and she advertised my product to the whole bank; encouraging them and telling them the testimony of how she enjoyed it. THAT WAS THE BEGINNING.. They ended up ordering for 6 more packs (Payment on delivery)
I went to the second bank WITH THE SAME STRATEGY. They seem not to be interested (But collected the free food) I also dropped my contact as I did not have a business card . They said they would call if they needed more.
I had not taken 20 steps from the bank when they called me and told me to bring more packs. That day, I marketed my first 6 banks and they moved from pipeline to satisfied customer that same day!
What I learnt:
- Nobody asked where my kitchen was, if I had licence to cook or what my name was FOR ALMOST 3 YEARS OF DELIVERING AND SATISFYING MY CUSTOMER.
- I went to the ladies first and not the men. E get why!!!! lol (The men got in line later)
Another thing I realized was; in any department I marketed, I only needed to get ONE customer. As I come to deliver to that customer, you will hear things like;
- Aunty so and so… what are you eating now?… Who is that boy?… What is he selling?… And I’m hungry too… Then, one of them will summon courage and call; Excuse me, Do you have an extra pack? That makes two customers till they all become your customer then your friends. #winks
The Greatest Enemy You will Encounter
Fear Of The Unknown: What if they don’t buy; what if they embarrass/shun me; What if I can’t talk.. A million “what ifs”. Counter them with; What if they buy everything and the demand is too big ? What if I’m the answer to someone’s hunger?
Believe me, you will be grounded if you cannot conquer the fear of the bad “what ifs”.
- Learn a skill and be the best at it.
- Identify who your target customers are
- Identify their location
- Develop a strong strategy to enter the targeted market (For example, Limited free sample)
- Fill up your pipeline; Get as much company as you can.
By the next 6 Months, I had 12 banks I was supplying to and I had enough money to rent my first commercial Kitchen… Oh! I never mentioned I had no kitchen… lol
For those that reads to these stage, another secret: Even in your target market, know who is your focal point For example, You need to understand that you will receive better reception in the customer service section of the banks because of the nature of their job and they are paid better than those on the counters. The marketing department is another part of the bank or sales office that will be very receptive ; This is because they are also marketers and they feel you are part of them. My point is: NARROW IT DOWN!
Finally; Understand that this is just the starting point. You need to graduate from this level to a level where you have to learn how to structure your company, measure growth and manage your employees, time management, book keeping, mergers and acquisition etc..
Chef Wale Loves You and comment to ask questions and I will sure be available to answer all your questions.