Maryam Dankofa is the CEO of ‘Yumtumfoodndesserts’ based in Zaria, Kaduna State. In this interview with Daily Trust, the graduate of Geography from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said women must be consistently creative and put in a lot of hard work in whatever field they venture into to excel. She says women must be twice as good in the business environment and in whatever they set out to do because, for every small and medium scale business, men have dominated it, even those that are known to be trades for women; and many believe men are more determined and accountable and would naturally seek the men to contract.
Tell us how you started ‘Yumtumfoodndesserts’
Cooking has always been my passion, since I was little. I learnt from practicing from many cook books, YouTube videos and other social media apps especially Google, and Pinterest have always being my number one place to go to for new recipes. I started my business in 2016 because I have always wanted to be self-employed and own a company.
How much was your starting capital and how lucrative is the business?
As funny as it may sound I started with N10,000 which my husband gave to me as trial and error money when I started baking. Later on I started making pancakes, shawarma, pannacotta, chocolate mousse, French pies etc
And to answer your second question, yes the business is very lucrative. I think there is no business that is not lucrative, you just have to carve your own niche and find people that require your services and you sell to them. I can remember when I started baking there was a day I got orders for cupcakes from Kaduna and I made so much money from that order. I was really proud of myself that day and because the business was just picking up then, it boosted my confidence.
How do you attract customers?
Social media has been very effective and efficient for me. I advertise my products on the different social media platforms. I also get referrals from people that have patronised me, and it humbles me when I am being trusted in that regard.
What are the challenges you face in this venture?
Power supply has been our major challenge over the years and it is not getting any better, so I am always fueling the generator.
What advice will you give to women in business?
Starting any business is not easy. Whether it is picking the business idea, creating a business plan or attempting to secure funding, a lot of things can go wrong. However, with a solid idea and a strong support system, a woman can become a successful entrepreneur.
So I would suggest that they first advertise their business; tell anybody who cares to listen about what you do, including your friends, family and even acquaintances because the people around you are always your first customers and it serves as an easy way to kickstart your business and to ensure that when it comes to the product or service you are selling, you will be the first person on everyone’s mind.
The second advice is; you should network with other women business owners. I think there are a lot of like-minded women building businesses like yours. So when you are in the network, it becomes easy for you to get new clients, investor, or even lead to other opportunities.
Our businesses should be such that they solve societal needs and are something meaningful. Starting a company is not always easy, and it is critical women work on something that means a lot to others, that way it fuels their passion and encourages them to do more.
Women that are business owners must be decisive and have concrete goals. Some feel women are not decisive and for the business to stand the test of time, women need to be bold. They must be diligent in solving problems and challenges along the way. In doing so, they will have more time and resources to grow their business and must also ensure that they have a clear picture of what they want to accomplish as entrepreneus.
Having concrete goals will allow them to create more defined objectives that will, in turn, make it easier to execute their goals and make their entrepreneurial journey a little clearer.