The Fidelity SME Forum is a weekly radio programme run by Fidelity Bank Plc. to educate, inform, advise and inspire budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria with knowledge and expertise that will enable them build sustainable and successful businesses. In this episode of the Fidelity SME Forum, Chief Executive Officer of Nuts About Cakes, Nike Majekodunmi shares her insights on How to Build a Sustainable World Class Brand in the Hospitality industry.
Question 1: Tell us a bit about the early days of your venture.
Nike: Thanks for having me again. Ive been at this now for over 10 years. Its been very interesting, challenging in the beginning. I think a lot of the tough decisions earlier on was trying to decide when to go for the business 100 percent.
I was working in electronic payments and I found this love for baking and then I started to do it side by side and I did that for a while until it became a viral business and I could see that there was some good direction and then I decided to go into it full-time.
Question 2: What was the trigger that made you say you can do it full-time?
Nike: Well, the trigger was actually my husband putting me out of the house and telling me to go and get a shop because the house was inundated with cake boxes and all sorts so I guess that was partly the trigger.
He had also seen that there was good opportunity here and I was getting busier and I wasn’t sleeping much, I was baking through the night and working during the day. So eventually I think you just know within you that there is something here lets go for it.
Question 3: What was the inspiration for the name, Nuts about cakes?
Nike: I have always liked nuts, so we were initially were called Nuts about Nuts because I did a lot of my baking with nuts. I started off with cookies actually and it was cookies with nuts and Bonnies with nuts and Muffins with nuts but the whole nuts thing wasn’t picking up in Nigeria so we decided to go into cakes and just to tie it all it we called it Nuts About Cakes which means crazy about cakes.
Question 4: Today you have four locations, tell us what challenges and opportunities came with that growth.
Nike: The first store we had we opened over ten years ago and that was at Saboth plaza in Osapa London along the Lekki express way. It was a difficult location because nobody knew where we were, the roads weren’t done yet, it was in a plaza behind another plaza and I think we just realised that we had to move out.
Location is the very key in business and we moved to Lekki phase one. We only occupied one room in that building and everyone thought we were crazy but I knew where we were going.
From then on, a few years ago I went to business school. I went to Lagos business school and that gave me a lot of gum shun to be able to go ahead and open up a production hub and start opening up stores.
Question 5: How have you added on new services and products and when do you decide that its time to add or remove?
Nike: It took a little while. I always knew that I wanted to have a caf to support the bakery so everything that is served at the caf is made at the bakery, the bread and the pastries, etc. I think it was really looking at our customers and seeing what it is that they would require. So if you do cakes you want to support it with something else like pastries so you’re not just doing celebratory birthday cakes but you also have the pastries to go for the events.
With a bakery its almost a no-brainer to include bread but how do you go about including bread? Do you want a stable one or do you want a variety for the family? And I realized that my customers were mainly young people, families and they require these things on a daily basis.
So, we just started expanding and it was almost a no brainer when people started asking us, Do you teach people? and I said okay, Ill open up a training school and then we started teaching people as well today.
Question 6: What would you say are the key drivers of your success?
Nike: I think definitely God plays a huge role in everything that I do and also support from family. I have fantastic support from my husband, from my family, from my parents as well. They also have encouraged me at each point to go for it.
For people out there Ill also include training, understand what it is that you’re doing, not just in terms of the actual technical part. In business, passion alone cannot get you there. You also need to have some business acumen. You need to understand how to run a business, how to be profitable, how to do your numbers, how to set up business properly, etc. Its a variety of things and luck I guess.
Question 7: How have you selected and trained the right people?
Nike: Its been interesting, its not a 100 percent perfect but I think its very difficult to have a business if you don’t invest in your people. Your people or the employees actually make the business, they’re there every day, you have to delegate, you cant do everything yourself.
We train our staff, we meet on a regular basis, we have different incentives in the company, we do employee of the month, we have communities within our business, we have groups, we have team leads, were constantly trying to imbibe the culture which is fun culture; we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously.
We’ve done silly things, like a dance video, not about cake stuff, dance video online and we take pictures of ourselves all around the shop, we just try and make sure that everyone is involved in the company.
Question 8: Tell us about your online technology strategy and how you’ve leveraged it.