You must be ready to swallow insults to succeed in ‘akara’ business’
When and how did you start this business? I started the business about six years ago with only two mudus of beans. I was into food vending before I ventured into akara frying. Nobody taught me how to do it, I discovered it is just my destiny. Whatever I try my hands on, I do it perfectly.
It is obvious that you enjoy huge patronage when compared to others in the same business, what is the secret?
It is God, my brother. I have even heard people accusing me of using charm, saying that my akara balls are not ordinary. But one thing I tell them is that you don’t need to use charm before customers can patronise your business. Just be prayerful and hardworking. Actually, it was not easy at the initial stage, but anyone that tastes my akara can’t resist coming again. Some of my customers come all the way from Arab Road and Federal Housing axis. The secret is this, I insist on neatness, both in my appearance and the business environment and always ensure the oil is not too much on the akara. Besides, left-overs are always discarded; they not carried over the following day. It’s either I give them to my children or share them to neighbours. Again, the manner of approach matters. You must be ready to swallow all manner of insults to succeed in this business.
How profitable is the business?
Yes, the business has really paid off. On a good day, I can finish as much as 13 mudus of beans in a day. The peak period is mostly in the evening hours and on Saturday mornings. I’ve been able to support my husband in training our children in school through the proceeds from the business.
What are the challenges you face in the business?
The business can really be stressful and demanding. I wake up as early as 4.30am every day to start preparing the beans and go to bed as late as 11pm. Again, I don’t have a shade under my head. Due to the disturbance from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), putting up a batcher is ruled out. That alone affects my business, especially during the rainy season. Another major challenge is the competition in the business. Some people would just decide to start the same business within the same environment you are doing yours, just because they see you are prospering. If you don’t know what you are doing, you will be forced out of business.
What advice do you have for your fellow women and mothers who idle away at home, depending on their husbands for the family upkeep?
Left for my husband, I would have not ventured into this business. But I just had to, because leaving the entire responsibility of raising the children for him alone would not be good enough. So, women should learn to support their husbands by doing something meaningful, no matter how small.
Mrs Juliana Chinwuba