How Branding Transformed My Garri Processing Business into a Profitable Venture – MD, PonyfarmHouse, Kazeem Lamidi Adedoyin

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Managing Director, Pony FarmHouse, Mr Kazeem Lamidi Adedoyin

For entrepreneurs who have had to take the long, tasking walk to building successful ventures, it is different stories with a central message: consistently implementing best business practices and a readiness to be flexible and unyielding in the face of challenges.

Such is the experience of business expert and entrepreneur, Mr. Kazeem Lamidi Adedoyin, Managing Director, Pony FarmHouse, who shares on his Facebook page this piece on his transformative journey into large-scale Garri processing and production . Mr Lamidi Adedoyin was Brand Manager Tropical Naturals Ltd(Makers of Dudu-Osun Soap)..

Lamidi had entered into Garri production with little knowledge of its business side. According to him, like many others, he believed that he had all it takes to have a successful business, but his experience as an entrepreneur would teach vital buisness lessons for intending business owners

“I had traveled to Oyo, Iseyin, Kila, Oja Odan all in Oyo and Ogun state to have first-hand information about the raw material, operations, markets, pricing, profitability, etc. I visited several Garri wholesale markets in Ogun and Lagos state to get necessary information on market dynamics, pricing, and preferences. I packaged this with the technical knowledge of the business I had and jumped into the business” he said

“All the while I was making those preparatory efforts, all my attempts to meet and learn from a commercial operator proved futile. The one that eventually gave me an audience was almost out of business. All he told was that I should try to get a mechanical fryer in order to reduce operations cost.

I could tell by the situation in his factory that he only came there to meet based that very day based on our appointment. No evidence of recent production in that place. I was not surprised when he called about eight months into my business that he wanted to dispose the factory including all its facility.

“By that time, I had suffered my first, second, and third falls in Garri business. Even if I had wanted to produce in his facility because of its strategic location, there was no way I could raise the fund. I was heavily indebted to my cassava suppliers from Igbo Ora. I had laid off my machine operator and his assistant. I practically became my own machine operator, with the assistance of a thirteen years old boy – son to one of loyal manual fryers.

“The factory/operational demands completely tied me down that I could not do any market runs again. All my concern that time was how to get raw material and keep the factory running. I completely depended on those women that used to come around every five days to pack all my stock. I was losing out so fast and I was holding on so tight not to let my business fall entirely.

It was one day in 2019 that one of my old friends in corporate industry visited me at the factory – after a long talk, he advised on three things, which I decided to follow out of frustration of lack of further initiatives.

“Number one thing he said was that I should take a three weeks off the busy operations, that heaven would not fall if the factory operations stopped. I used a week during that time to visit my hometown to see people and places that I had not visited in almost 10 years. Truly speaking, that journey alone gave a lot of opportunity to take my mind off the tiring business and I came back refreshed, though not completely.

“I came back to embark on the second part of my friend’s advice. This time, I was no longer concerned about the quantity of stock leaving my factory on a daily basis. I followed the lead of my friend to approach corporate customers, who can pay for the premiumness of my product, part of which was the staff cooperative members of one of the companies I had worked for. I would make the supply to their different outlets towards the end of the month through which the product is distributed to many of their staff who subscribed to it. By the first week of the new month, I have received my payment. That was how my branded pack was birthed” The MD said.

Sharing on the events that led to a total transformation in his business Operation, he wrote “The third advice was not so easy but I began to implement it, my entire business orientation changed completely. It had to do with refocusing my priority in that business. This I found difficult to explain here but simply put, it’s about letting go of my emotion so that I could see the business side clearly.

Looking back today, I totally agreed that I was completely emotional about the business. I did not want people to say that I have failed. I always try to keep the operations running despite my struggles with its profitability. I found it difficult to relocate to a better strategic place because of the structural investment I had buried at Oluke. I was so stupid and stubborn business-wise as much as you can imagine.

“Eventually, the cassava scarcity of 2020 kicked me out of my comfort zone and I relocated to Kajola where I began to implement one of the most strategic key success factors of Commercial Garri Processing Business, which was having my own cassava farm. It was at this place that I first tried one of the best operational strategies that have worked for me.

I have once told the story of Partnership running of the operations with one or two proven factory staff, which allowed me to tactically shed some costs which could have made the business a loss. A win-win partnership arrangement that makes my staff take ownership responsibility even if I do not step into my production facility in two weeks. This same strategy, a saving grace for commercial garri operators using manual frying, I have replicated in two other places.

“I have been producing garri at Elekokan since the beginning of this year because of the raw material advantage it offers. I do not run in search of raw material around different farms in the area. I have established a system for doing that. I do not busy myself about the factory operations too much any longer. I have established a system and relationship that handles that perfectly. These days, my major priority is getting the right market that is willing to pay for my garri and ensuring that I satisfy those customers so that they can always come back.

“Possibly, if those commercial processors I approached at the onset had given audience, I might have long abandoned the business out of fear of failure. If they had told me the obstacles ahead, I might have looked somewhere else for the future I seek. In another sense, having access to the right business mentorship right from the beginning might have made me avoid those stumps and obstacles that made my garri business endeavors this interestingly interesting”

According to Mr Kazeem, the journey of Commercial Garri Processing Business is not an easy one. However it is extremely tasking, demanding and profitable. He further alludes that business approaches both at entry and during operations matter a lot and Understanding the dynamics of business is equally, highly essential.

You can contact me by clicking the link below to get a copy of my e-book on HOW TO RUN A COMMERCIAL GARRI PROCESSING BUSINES PROFITABLY, https://wa.me/2348100975775 Or visit selar platform via http://selar.co/m/FarmHouse to get a copy

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