BY AYO ALONGE (AYHALLIDAY@YAHOO. COM)
Her business, according to her, could not have thrived to any extent but for the commitment and passion she has put into it. Interestingly, she appears to be having fun doing business, while still making her cool money, up to the point that demand is considerably on the increase, so much that she considers it quite challenging meeting the demands of her numerous customers and clients spread across several shopping malls in town.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, Moyosola Daramola shares the secret of her success in business, the prospects, challenges, and lots more.
How does it feel like being in this type of business?
Normally, I am someone who loves doing things differently. I often tell people that I am not the business person but on getting into this business, I feel elated because I am not only proud of what I am doing, I am glad I am doing it differently. Now, I see myself in a different way, that’s a business person (laughs).
Tell us about your organisation.
At Mo Foods Enterprises, we pride ourselves on our ability to produce qualitative and hygienic edibles for individuals, households and organisations. We started operation with the market introduction of Mo’s peanut snacks (kulikuli) which has received several accolades by our esteemed customers.
What led you into this business?
It’s actually a very funny story. I was posted to Kebbi State in the North for my youth service. I had to learn a lot which included different kinds of foods and languages. You should know that Northerners like sweet things, so anytime I went to the market, I bought stuffs like kunu and the kulikuli. In fact, some people started calling me Kunu and again I wasn’t used to seeing kulikuli here in Lagos. I went on eating the normal kulikuli till my fellow junk- loving friends introduced me to this extra tasty and spicy kulikuli. My taste buds couldn’t help but get hungry for more. I traced the house of the seller and bought some on returning to Lagos. My mum, who is a teacher, took some to her school to try and sell, and it was so interesting to see that teachers bought and some even paid in advance expecting she should bring more the next day. With the little she sold that first day, I realised I had made the money I used in buying it. It was then I realised this was good business while awaiting a good job. My brother, that was how I started.
How do you control quality and price to still maximize profit?
To maintain quality control without increasing costs requires streamlining the production process so the finished product meets our quality standards. We put this in place and we try to deliver high quality products that set themselves apart from the others in taste and value. We also provide quality service, support, and a better-than-average margin to our distributors. Actually, we have plans to increase sales annually by 65% over the next five years. We also hope to improve gross margin percentage over the current product line and maintain that level. It’s also in our plans to add to our products and services to meet market demands, again at high gross margin and improve on inventory turnover. We also reduce the cost of production while maintaining the high quality of the products. We can be sure that, in no distant time, we can provide jobs to our host community. That, to us, would be quite rewarding and fulfilling.
Did you face any challenge when you were going into this business?
Yes, like all small businesses, I didn’t have enough capital to start up. Mobility too was big a challenge for me at the inception.
Do you think you make enough money in your business? make enough money in
Ok. About making enough money, I would say no, I don’t make enough money as I feel I should be, considering the prospects and opportunities in the business. In fact, I have lost a few opportunities but I am amazingly proud of this. You have no idea about that (laughs). I see my business thriving beyond my expectations within a short period.
Do you think the government has provided the needed enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Nigeria?
Let me tell you something. In 2014, I applied for You WIN, a Federal Government initiative to help youths with great business ideas. Though my proposal wasn’t approved, I feel the Federal Government is trying but I think they can do better by making these resources equally available.
What are some of the challenges you face in business?
Our major challenge has been the usual challenge of every business outfit, and it has to do with corporate funding and limited scope of operation. Presently, our mode of operation is highly confined to sourcing out the production. This, we believe, enhances our profit margin and expansion. We are conversant with the existence of competitors in this business. These competitors are those that are currently into the production of similar products such as plantain chips, coconut chips, potato chips, and a host of others. Even new entrants that may want to start toeing the line of producing the same product with us constitute a challenge for us. On our part, we have team members that are experts in this field. They include food technologists, nutritionists, and the like. Aside these people, we also have a research team and its membership cuts across different disciplines. This research team is saddled with the responsibility of conducting periodic review of the production techniques and improving on the quality of our products. Of course, it is regrettable that in Nigeria today, patents are arbitrarily violated at will. Regarding this loophole, our best strategy is to ensure that we stay on top by consistently producing quality products that will always meet our customers’ demand.
Are you satisfied with your achievement in the business?
There are a lot of opportunities that abound in this business. Firstly, the prospect of profit maximization, which is the sole aim of everyone venturing into business, is very high for this business. It has the tendency of yielding over 60% profit margin. At present , due to lack of adequate capital, we outsource the production of the peanuts snack (kulikuli) and as a result, the extracted groundnuts oil that is supposed to serve as another product line is being left to the contractors in the northern part of the country. We intend to start producing ourselves as soon as we get the proposed capital outlay so that extracted oil can add to our product line. Our target markets are retail outlets, supermarkets, campuses, roadside traders and others. At present, we control the UNILAG market with over 38,000 student population and other numerous customers within the state. If we are satisfied? No ooo! Even the wealthiest people are never satisfied with their success in business. There is always room at the top. So, I am aiming at taking this product outside Nigeria. God help me!
What can you say has kept you in business?
Our mission involves building a household name foods firm in and outside Nigeria. We constantly strive to supply what the consumers are asking for, and continually review what is available in the market place, and what is not; improving on what is available and providing new products and services which will assure our success in a market driven by consumer demand. This mission is what I have committed to do and this has kept me in business. Also, the passion for an uncommon product that I have always wanted to have is a huge boom for me. Nevertheless, the feedback and comments I get from my customers wow me always. Having said all these, I am endeared to do more.
So, what makes you unique from your competitors?
As said earlier, this is not just the random kulikuli seen on streets. It’s a combination of natural spices which makes it taste like Kilishi. It also has medicinal ingredients that aid healing .
Any plans to expand your business in the nearest future?
Yes, yes. I have great plans to expand the business in the nearest future because not only is demand on the increase, I find it difficult to meet demands most times. So, I am definitely looking at expansion, beyond the shores of Nigeria. In the next 10 years, we see Mo Foods Enterprises having its own landed property and dominating the foods processing industry in the country.
Source : SunOnline