You must be ready to swal­low in­sults to suc­ceed in ‘akara’ busi­ness’

Daily Trust - - ASO CHRONICLE - By Emma Elekwa

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.

Photo Seun Adeuyi

Mrs Ju­liana Chin­wuba

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