Mrs. Abosede Adesheto Aduniayinde is a 69-year-old provision shop owner. In this interview with Women in Business, she shares her challenges and experiences in the business environment and why start-ups need determination to thrive.
What informed your decision to start a provision shop business especially considering your age?
I was a banker. I worked with the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria for 19 years after I finished my high school at Ijebu Ode while I was also pursuing a higher degree. From there, I moved to First Bank of Nigeria. Because I had a very active life, I was not comfortable just staying at home doing nothing after my retirement so I decided to use the experience I gathered from the bank to open a provision shop.
By the Grace of God, when I left the bank, I was thinking of what to do. I stayed at home for a few months, I went into buying and selling of gold and it did not work out because people will buy and they will not pay. I then went into selling and buying cloths, with still the same result. So I decided to sell and be paid directly, not on credit.
One day, I saw one of my girls, she is a teacher and she told me she also has a provision shop which is doing well. I then decided to start mine, and it has been a rewarding journey. It was not easy at the beginning, I had little cash which I used for the construction of the shop after which I started with about two crates of soft drinks and I must say, to God be the glory, it has been successful.
What motivated you to keep the shop running especially in the face of slow business?
What motivated me to open the shop is the opportunity to interact with different people and to tend to the needs of the different people that come to my shop on a daily basis. Also, the fact that I do not like sitting ideal is enough motivation. At least when I come to the shop, I will do a little cleaning, clear some things and in the process, exercise my body rather than sitting down all day long doing nothing.
There is this thing in this generation that once you are old, you cannot do anything again; you have to be inside, I don’t agree. My Bible tells me to till and toil until the end that Jesus will come, and if we don’t till and toil how will we eat? I know I have children that are there for me and are helping me, but at the same time I don’t need to depend on the children forever. I have to do something with my time. It is using the time that motivates me rather than sitting and doing nothing. At this point if you do not work, your muscles will go to sleep and that is the end of it.
I just don’t want to stay at home doing nothing because it does not bless anybody. Now I am outside selling things even the little that I have sold, it is giving me peace. My motivation is I am doing what I desire. I wake up at the time I want and I sleep at the time I want. When we were in the banking world you were working for someone but now I am working for myself.
How much did you start the business with?
I started the business with about N200,000 for both the construction of the shop and the little provision that I put in the shop at the beginning. By the time I went to the market to buy goods for the shop, I had about N30, 000 with me and that money has multiplied many times.
What challenges have you faced thus far?
When I opened newly, people stole from me because I used to sit inside the shop and leave some goods outside and as soon as they noticed that nobody was outside, they stole.
Also, at one point, I had a woman who used to help me in the shop, I was away from the shop when my son died and when I came back, I realized N50,000 was missing from the shop; the goods were not there and the money was nowhere to be found. Since then, I decided to do it on my own. Many businesses face such challenges and that’s why many provision shops are manned by their owners.
What advice do you have for people that want to venture into your type of business?
They should be determined and have a positive mind. There is a place you will get to where it is not really about the shop giving you money but you want to do what pleases you. Instead of waiting for my children, I have something to sustain myself. When they finally bring in something, I put it back and reinvest it. The shop is not about just starting but you have to reinvest. What I have put into it, I am happy and that is my gain.
What is your educational background?
I attended Saint Saviour’s Primary School, Ijebu Ode and Muslim Girls Secondary School, and then I went to Adeola Oduntola for my Higher National Diploma (HND). When we were young, we were told to speak good English because we were taught by English people.