19 Jun Research essential for start-ups — Akindele
Fimisade Akindele, 24, an author and lawyer is the CEO of FimiesDessertsVille, a confectionery outfit. She speaks on how she acquired skills for the business through personal development, in this interview with IFE ADEDAPO
What kind of business are you into?
Basically, we render desserts catering services at all kinds of events, which including wedding parties, birthday parties, private events, as well as at corporate gatherings. We also take orders on celebration cakes, slushes, smoothies and more for all occasions.
How did you start the dessert catering business?
It all began with the interest I had in baking coupled with regular experimentation with different recipes on my own. I developed diverse culinary skills. All these spurred me into turning my skills into a business. My mother often said categorically that she was certain that I would be the one to take on the line of her profession because she is a baker and provides outdoor catering services.
Basically, my interest and readiness to carry out personal researches on cakes and other desserts gave me the push I needed to start up something. Well, let me add that I never really thought of going commercial with the self- acquired skills. I just wanted to get myself familiar with various recipes since I believe no knowledge is a waste. However, somewhere along the line, my interest turned into a burning passion that I was convinced that I needed to embrace it by rendering services to people.
How did you build up the skills you acquired?
I read books and asked questions. Most importantly, I was willing to learn from more experienced people. This is because no one is an island of knowledge. Also, in this type of business; it is not possible that one’s skills have been completely developed because there will always be room for improvement. More so, the more willing you are to face constructive criticism, the faster you learn from your past mistakes and consciously try to avoid any reoccurrence.
What do you do to impress your customers?
We try as much as possible not to remain stereotype when designing cakes as well as in our desserts presentation. This is because this business is very competitive and sensitive. We always make sure that there are beautiful presentations that will get customers as well as their guests impressed with our services at all times. This is just as important as how the cake or any other dessert tastes. We also try not to be jittery of trying out new recipes and including such into our list of varieties.
Where did you get your start-up capital?
I took out part of my personal savings. I save because I am very prudent when it comes to spending. I also got assistance from my parents who have been extremely supportive financially and in other areas, right from the onset.
If you turn back the hands of time, what will you do differently?
The truth is that I do not think there is anything I could have done differently, because I did not just stumble into the business, I had plans to go into it and I went according to how I had it figured out in my head.
What are the present challenges you encounter?
The only major challenge we face at the moment is out of state delivery of cake jobs to customers. We come across customers who are really interested in patronising us but when we tell them it will attract extra cost, they tend to see it like some sort of exploitation. But the truth is services like that always attract extra charges since we work with delivery companies that render prompt and professional services to the satisfaction of the customer by delivering right at their doorstep.
We are very positive that this will definitely get better overtime, when we start rendering delivery services at a much subsidised rate. However, customers within our proximity enjoy next to free cost of delivery. Also, this issue of delivery does not affect our desserts catering at events because we are always fully represented by our team of reliable staff.
What keeps you going despite challenges?
In any business, there will always be challenges. Therefore, we don’t completely rule out the possibility of having one at some point in the business because everything cannot be smooth sailing. So when we face these challenges, we do not let it affect our productivity and professionalism; rather we see them as a stepping stone into achieving more laudable feats in the management of the business.
Also, we are really blessed to have very loyal and encouraging customers who show how much confidence they have in our services. They don’t turn their back against us in cases when we encounter some challenges. Most of our customers make the work easy and even pray for us.
What expansion plans do you have for your business?
We are working towards opening a cake bake shop very soon where we can also sell to walk-in customers who just want to buy cake cut-outs to eat right away and not necessarily want to order cakes for occasions. That way, we will be giving customers more flexible choice of having a taste of our lovely treats and then decide if to order larger sized cakes.
We are also going to start professional baking classes soon, where we will train interested students on stages, techniques and intricacies in baking and decorating. Every other expansion plan is still under wraps and will be unfolded in due time.
What are the things a prospective entrepreneur should know before starting a business?
The first and most important thing is to carry out several researches and source for information on how to go about the management of that particular business. You must be adequately informed and aware of what you plan to go into. This limits the possibility of a collapse of the business along the way, and also ensures the growth of the business by making it profitable. It is also important to know if the business will be fully capital intensive so you can strategize on likely ways to get enough capital to kick-start the business. It is also important to get familiar with those already successful in the business so they can put you through.
Aside this business, what other areas of interest do you have?
I also write books. I am a proud author of four published books, with all four of them currently approved and used as literature texts in both primary and secondary schools in Ogun State. I try my hands on a lot of skills and always get something out of them. I can also plait hair and above all, I am a lawyer already called to the Nigerian Bar.
I am currently channelling my energy into building my desserts business because that is where I find genuine satisfaction regardless of what I studied in school.
Are young entrepreneurs receiving enough support from the government?
It depends on what you mean by enough support. What really matters is how much a young entrepreneur can convince their clients or customers based on expertise and professionalism no matter how young. That way, they will draw clients close and in turn receive support in the form of continuous patronage as long as they can deliver even much more than expected.
How can unemployment best be addressed?
If more establishments are opened in the country, it will encourage the unemployed to apply.
The government and private bodies also need to be sensitised on the importance of giving jobs to those who actually deserve the positions based on merit and not out of sentiment or influence from such applicant’s connection.