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10 Important things to know about raw food business

If you are looking for one good Small business Idea you can start with a small capital in Nigeria, ranging from N50,000 to N100,000 to even with a starting capital like N500,000 to even 1Million Naira, then food business might be one of the many you may try. Ideally, it is naturally one of the first things that people will suggest to you, especially for those looking for businesses they can start at home.

Well, here are 3 few reasons why food business idea is popular in Nigeria.

how to start food business in Nigeria
Foodstuff Business in Nigeria

1. Nigeria is a agrarian nation with lots Agricultural trading activities here and there. Many of our ancestors or grand parents, were (are) either Traders or Farmers, and this practice is still common in many rural communities till today, where many fathers are farmers, while the mothers are traders. Articles online about history of Agriculture as it relates to trading in Nigeria explain better on this connection and the growth.

2. Food business growth in Nigeria and Africa generally have consistently been huge. And in spite of how huge our production capacity is and many shortchanges that come with unfriendly business environment, the undeniable fact is that we still can’t feed ourselves, hence you must buy raw foodstuff constantly – as such moving food from one point to the other to meet growing demands have opened up a lot of food business opportunities for Nigerians. And the growth projection is still very promising.

3. Food business is a very profitable one. Oh, it is – for sellers or middlemen in Agricultural value chain, so don’t let anyone tell you it is not. This is so, because food is a natural consumable. We use/burn it off and press for more to stay alive. May be, this is why there are tons of food quotes online today like “Food is life”, “Good food good life”, etc. Lol. You don’t even need to study the science of food to know food is essential to life, hence why the business of food will always thrive. It knows no recession, doesn’t want to know you earn little or you are not paid – people will rather borrow and avoid some luxury to ensure food supply is regular, so it comes first or trump others, because it makes sense.

Global food market  future growth and inNigeria

But that said, running a successful raw foodstuff business might seems easy on the surface and inviting that as you are reading this, you can’t just wait to make orders for your first food stocks supply. Lol.. Well, it requires certain things and it is never a walk in the park business, that you just jump into – otherwise you crash out as you scratch in..

Looking for answers on how to start a foodstuff business, where to buy agro products in the North, or many other seemingly foodstuff retailing business questions all require quality Information.

And getting answers to these are simple, through researching online or asking questions, but there are certain things Google may never tell you about food business failures except you learn on street. Hence, I have compiled this useful information on what you need to keep in mind as you hope to start a successful food business enterprise on day in Nigeria.

So, here we go.

  1. It is not as easy as it appears but worth the stress – You must have seen some people starting the business and packing off in months, yes they are many. The truth is that some are not cut for the business and many factors are accounted for that. It is requires many things and you need to meet the doers like Mrs. Nini, to put you through on things many people outside will not see. But, hey, there is good money and gains in food stuff sales. If it is never making sense, people won’t be going into it. I know many women and men around me, who started small but they are highly successful in the trade today and have passed on the traits and trading skills to their offsprings.. A young distance relative I know was being helped by my father to monitor her house building project as a student of Osun State College of Education. She will go up North to monitor yam buying activities for the mother and was making huge gains that she eventually started her own.. Today, She’s happily married with other further degrees, and she is still at Oja tuntun market Ile-Ife, with a big yam sales shop. You can decide to upgrade the business to a less stressful one like many will do, It’s cool. You can read about how Chief Mrs. Toyin Kolade Fisolak’s Furniture who also started small from following her mum and became a millionaire at 21. Now, she’s one the most successful educated Yoruba women in trade today. I first learned about her when I discovered she sometimes sponsors some of Ooni of Ife’s projects. You can do it too.

2. You will do well in it, if you are industrious – Selling raw foodstuff is not just for any body. You need a whole lot of things; enterprising spirit, marketing skills, ability to travel to places to scout for best seller, how to price well and knowing who should be your customer among many others. Raw foodstuff is one common thing some people buy on credits, because they can not do without eating. If you are not careful, a single family expecting one salary that may never come may wreck you. Many people are quick to sell out and prefer to be begging for their money. It is a common thing in the business. Not bad though but sell to people you know have proven to stand by their words. Don’t be selling foolishly because many may end up not paying till you can’t make restock anymore. And that’s the end. The rest is once upon a time. I was once selling foodstuff. Be wary. Well, some people are just gifted in coping with all of these. So, If you are one of those, then you are lucky. Go for it!

3. Good Customer Attitude: This is also very important. Your personality will determine how successful you will go in some businesses and buying and selling is one. This is because you will always have reasons to be haggling price with customers. There may be some that will be rude to you or may behave unruly to you, you need only one thing and that’s wisdom. That’s why it requires good personal relation, heartwarming spirit and patience. Yoruba will call it Oyaya, karamasiki and Suuru. Words like “Thief, come and pick it now, because na steal me sef steal am” – can be very insulting to buyers. Yorubas will say also “Aje ko gba” – It means “fine, e no gree, next time”.

Dealing with some people can be very hard but you don’t need to let them push you to the wall to say nasty words to them. Funnily, someone who leaves your shop for somewhere else might realize you truly have the best price after searching every where. But if you have insulted, no one will come back o. Rather take time to convince. Conviction is the winning trick in selling. Something like this “Ah, my sister, you can ask around here o, I sell one of the best yams in this market”, or “Ask of Sisi Buki Onisu in this market, they will tell you I’m straight forward” or you say “buy from me o, I promise to do you well”. Just try and assure them that they are not making mistake for patronizing you and convince them for best deal.

3. Have a mentor in the Trade: One of my bosses will say, find a leader for anything you want to do, it will save you many things. You walk through their feet and you learn gradually. Don’t start a business with blank idea, hoping to figure it out, yet you don’t find it important to find someone who will constantly guide you. Look around, you will see many.. You will see many of Iya Muji, Iya Esther that have been in the trade for decades, who possibly were born into it. Seek their opinion constantly. Buy their Idea and pick their brain by sharing from their wealth of Knowledge. Don’t be a loner. Never walk alone like my Liverpool club will say. Lol

4 Do your planning Carefully: If you fail to plan, Obviously you are planning to fail. One peculiar problem with many people who crashed into the business is the pointer to poor planning. Someone living in a big estate of middle class people, who suddenly lose his or her job will gatecrash into opening raw food stuff shop in the estate forgetting most rich folks prefer buying from markets than buying in the neighborhood. And before you know it, they are the one who will consume all the foods they intend selling. Ensure that there is a ready market for small consumers if you will be selling in a neighborhood, otherwise move to the market area where the rich and poor come to buy daily.

5. Be financially disciplined. One common thing among first time or inexperienced retailers generally is the poor culture of keeping financial records, hence they spend what the Yoruba call “Òjú owó and èrè” – spend business capital and profit unknowingly. You can never be successful in buying and selling with this trait, and food stuff can be worse. Ensure you separate business purse from personal purse. It is important.

6. Keep your stocks very safe in an hygienic environment – Animals, especially rats can ruin you if you’re not careful. Before my eye, I once saw how rats destroyed big cartoons of noodles stocked up in a shop. In three days from Friday to Sunday, they destroyed the boxes, fed on the noodles anyhow that it becomes hard to manage to resell. She had to throw most away. No one will buy a product with visible signs that something has eaten the wrapper. Not even in this age of fear of Lassa fever that is linked to rats infested food. Stocks transported from different parts of the country can come with certain rats that might have travelled from Jos down to Ibadan with the goods unknowingly. Ensure to always put safety measures in place to do well in food stuff business. Buy rat killers, fumigate your shop regularly and avoid contamination.

7. You need the ability to take risks and make quality buying and selling decisions: Like in almost businesses, one good quality that uniquely sets out good entrepreneurs is the ability to take good business decisions by avoid some, when it matters and to try calculated risks. I have seen someone who bought a basket of tomatoes at N6,000 from a farmer without asking checking markets very well – this is the same basket that they sell at Akinola Market in Ipetumodu Osun State at N4,500 and she ran into loss at reselling point. Before you buy, check many places to be sure someone is not playing fast one on you or as they say in Yoruba, rubbing paint on your head. Lol. Buying right is key. Don’t gamble, ask questions here and there before you pay.

8. It is Scalable: Don’t put all your capital at once even if you have the means. You can start little and it is better to do that and watch growth. This will also minimize risks. And if you don’t have huge capital naturally, no qualms, you can start little. I once read online someone asking if N500,000 is enough to start raw foodstuff business, and one guy answered that she can’t make it like thing, that she needs at least 1million to begin. I read and smile. Many people want to grow tall in a day. It is just not possible. Raw Foodstuff selling is one good business that I think anyone can start today with as low as N20,000 with daily profit of N2,000. Yes, you heard me right. I have engaged in some small little businesses in the past and one of those I always can’t forget the experience is buying and selling of Yam & plantain. See, my guest post on NigeriaSME blog where I wrote about small businesses you can start with N20,000. I hope you find them interesting.

Raw foodstuff business in Nigeria

9. Be Strategic to cut Cost when starting with little capital : Shop Rent problem is one thing I have heard from many people. The truth is that you can start without shop, with little house to house supply. A woman has been selling a crate of egg to me, every month since I moved to a new site. And she has no shop but from home. She has established a good numbers of customers in a new site with barely 50 houses that can afford eating eggs. Frankly, food business is also a small business you can start from a space in front of someone’s shop. Just look for someone in a different business segment. It could be in front of an Hairdresser’s Shop, A tailor’s shop, or in one busy area like around a petrol station etc. Yes, beg for space – It could be a little corridor or frontage. Don’t rent shop yet if you have little capital to start with. People make this mistake a lot. They have one small business Idea like this, and the first thing they start thinking of, is how to buy a container makeshift, or start asking around that “I’m looking for shop o” and you move around town to see many container shops locked up already. I saw a container shop with phone number of someone wanting sell. Called her to enquire, she said 100,000 and starts telling me how the container wreck her starting capital while building it, such that she doesn’t see money to buy stocks in it again. She said, she’s not happy selling sef. That container has been there for almost 6months now. No buyer.

Mallam selling rice and beans starts with wheel barrow first, right inside market or that Igbo guy selling phone accessories in same wheel barrow. It is because they have realized they can actually start little. So, you can too. Scout for a space, make a big table to put your stuff, and get an umbrella, a long sitting bench, basins or bucket to put your stuff. Now, visit local markets or farms. Make good bargains after researching on selling prices in your area and factor your cost of transportation and you are good to go.

10. Sell different types of food stuff: As in mix it. Yes, it good to specialize. Oh, I sell only bags of rice. But there are days that a single customer might not come for your rice. But if you mix raw food stuff with palm oil, vegetables oil, melon Egusi, dry fish etc, the possibility of someone saying I need something is high, and you can make little gains from many things to make good profit. One good thing about this is that there are unlimited numbers of things to sell, because many Agricultural products are seasonal, so finding supply for one thing or the other all year round is sure.

I hope you find this a bit helpful? What do you think? Drop your comment.

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