When asked to scribble down a few lines as touching starting a business, Christy, as she is popularly called, gave a write-up seasoned with experience and practicable hints. Enjoy the read.
“Start Small, Finish Big”, I had this saying pasted on my wall for several months and as I looked at it daily, I just knew I was tired of coming back from long theatre hours with a backache that probably needed the excision of my entire spinal tract , just saying…Ward rounds constantly ended with ‘racuna eyes’ and right ‘fascioparesis’. I was just tired! I considered the future and I realized I needed to have more than medicine if I was not going to end up dependent on anti-depressants.
This brings us to what does it take to start a business? Simply put, passion! Passion will keep you up writing the business plan and drawing ugly logo patterns all over that jotter that dares to fall into your hands. Passion will keep your day occupied with executing it, gathering funds inclusive. Passion will make you not give up when it looks like it is time to. Oh, be careful of what you are passionate about though. You are on a safer course if your business idea offers a needed product/service in your environment. Also, if you have been able to make your target population see why this your new product is exactly what they need next.
The first time I was the sole boss of a business was in junior secondary school. I wore alphabet-shaped earrings to school, which turned out to excite the girls in my class, as they wanted to wear their initials, or spot an XO (hugs and kisses), XX, XY, with their earrings as they had relentlessly admired on me. They pleaded with me to bring their choice alphabets for sale, and before I knew it, I was selling to people who were not even in my class.
In Clinical school, the very first product I sold were umbrellas. It was the rainy season and I could not imagine it as a market that could fail. Recalling the statement from some people while trying to sell it to them, “why hide from the rain, umbrella is for females because of their hair “. I eventually sold all the umbrellas after months of display at the Print Place shop in Alexander Brown Hall. I did a mini-dance when the last umbrella sold and a big tongue out to my close friend who told me, “Why, will you even think of selling brellas? “. Golden Nugget; a little research on the willingness to uptake your business product from the targeted consumers, could save you from the metronidazole taste of business.
Asides the umbrellas, I also stocked handwoven bags and every piece was bought in few days. See, the difference! The next call, probably a wrong call, nightwears. I still have a good number in my wardrobe. But am I bothered? Not really. Why? They are non-perishable, non-seasonal items. I will sell them on a future date, to a consumer base keener on nightwears. If the dollar fluctuates favorably, my profit margin will escalate with it, “simples”! I would not try this with perishable goods, of course.
All these myriad of events were before Street Mayo was opened two and half years ago. Street Mayo was birthed because my friend, Dolapo, felt it was horrible that hotdog could not be purchased next door. Doye, another great friend, was not comfortable with bringing just hotdog down to UCH; he loved the burgers he used to eat at Agbowo. “Why not bring the entire fast food crew? “ He suggested. Remember, my passion to have a future with more than pallor and icterus; with this as a running theme, I dived into the challenge. Now, not only have I brought mayonnaise to light up the street, Suya also came on board for the “pepper them gang”.
Have I left any stones unturned? YES. Have I had my fair share of business bitter pills? YES. Will I quit “Mayo and Pepper“, embracing only pallor? NO!
[Christianah Adeloye, 600L Medicine and Surgery]