Ever so often a brilliant bulb comes on in my head with an idea hovering within.
I am not the dullest knife in the pack, so my genie lamp does come on frequently you know 😉
Hatching good ideas seems to be a pastime, but the big question is what do I do with all the hatched ideas that I incubate?
Sometimes, nothing at all! A lot of times I share them with others who go forth to continue with the hatching!
Nevertheless, I have recorded a few successes here and there, one of such is that I am here talking to you!
Another happened several years ago, when my dear husband was on assignment in Lagos.
I wasn’t prepared to return to the formal workforce again, because I wanted to have time for my young ones. I looked around, saw the need to provide quality culinary and baking services, so I jumped in with my two feet.
It was not an easy feat with the ups and downs of Lagos, but the three years spent doing that business, were exhilarating, financially rewarding and extremely tasking.
I started out with a team of six staff, consisting of a cook, a baker and his assistant, a driver and service girls.
We started à la carte meal supplies to corporate enterprises that required our freshly made finger foods and huge pots of jollof rice, stew, pounded yam and soup etc for their workshops, training’s, meetings.
It was a crazy time. We would sometimes start work at 4:00a.m. in order to get every thing ready and deliver to the customer by lunch time and race through the infernal Lagos traffic jam with a customer calling every five seconds to know if you are almost there.
Sometimes, it required prepping stuff the day before in the evenings in order to meet deadlines.
I would come home worn out but satisfied and we got lots of referrals from satisfied customers.
Within the space of a year, I outgrew the space that I had rented inside the shopping complex and I needed to secure bigger space.
With money in my pocket I went hunting for land to purchase. Purchasing a parcel of land, I built and equipped a bakery and modern kitchen from scratch coupled with a little office for myself and a staff cloak/relaxing room.
Several learning obtained from the experience:
- Catering business is a grueling business but financially rewarding!
- You work harder to ensure the success of your own business than any other employment.
- Learning how to effectively manage a retinue of 10 full time staff and several ad-hoc staff (the staff number grew within a year) with all their quirkiness.
- Customer is key to your business. Keep your customer happy and you grow your business.
- I actually started putting a cookery book together but….
- I became not only a Business Owner, but also a Manager/Supervisor, Procurer, Human resources Officer, Accountant, Marketing Executive and all the hats that needed to be worn.
- I invested and gained a property from the process.
- I provided employment opportunity for others.
- It gave me extreme satisfaction to prove the naysayers wrong. At the initial onset, even my husband was not too keen on the idea, until he saw me buy my first bus cash-down. NOT ON CREDIT! To obtain loan in this part of the World is no piece of cake, especially when a business is viewed as a new venture.
When I started building the bakery/kitchen without any form of loan but the sweat from my brows, he was amazed at my tenacity and success.
Sadly, our nomadic lifestyle of moving from one Continent to the other made it unfeasible to effectively run this business from afar.
Another day, we could share more brilliant bulb ideas over a cup of coffee!
Now I am looking at other possible ventures, let me go and put on my thinking cap.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
In response to The Daily Post prompt Brainwave
What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Regale us with every detail of the idea — the idea itself, where it came to you, and the problem it solved.