From Cottage biz to Large biz in 5days.
On the 23rd December 2019, as I walked through the shops of Osu trying to fix my phone, I received a call from Paa Kwesi whom i Have never met before but he said he was giving my number to a Nigerian businessman who will later call me in relation to my business.
Truly, two days later I received a call from Mr. Segun who confirms that after watching my Interview on Restoration with Stacy show, I would be of great assistance to his business. Then I ask. “What business are you into sir?” He replies, plantain chips. Woow, his answer hit me so hard and I was wondering for a second what exactly he needs me to do.
We further exchanged emails and later he sent me his proposal. He needed me to visit his factory at Ogun State, Nigeria to offer training for his staff and most importantly help them get the taste of their chips just like mine.Hmmmm and that was a difficult decision to make. My Delema at that point was if I’m willing to shed off my trade secret. Several days and Mr. Segun waited for my reply and after consulting with my advisor, I said yes to Mr. Segun.
And so on the 5th of January 2020 I packed and flew to Lagos to assist Callisto Investmemt improve on their Plantain chips business.
On arrival I got some rest and prepared my notes and read through the PowerPoint presentation including some recommendations for Callisto Investments.
At about 7am the next day, I was picked up and we drove for 3hrs from Agbara Estate to Ogun where the factory is located.
You won’t believe what I saw. A very big Plantain Chips factory well stocked with all the equipment’s as well as a full production line. The staff welcomed me and we had a tour of the entire facility.
From the shed of the raw material to the storage of the finished product. I felt as if I was in a different world and for a second didn’t feel like returning back to Accra.
During the tour I picked up some errors at the factory and during the training we addressed the issues. I had brought some samples of my Plantain chips and we compared both quality in terms of taste.
After 2hrs of theory we begun the practical training. Starting from the arrival point of the raw material where the biggest problem was.
What I noticed was that their preservation method was not right. They had bought plantains for a week hoping it will ripe in a couple of days but they were still green. The other challenge was the type of Plantain they were using. Another challenge was the way they handled the plantains. I demonstrated how to preserve and by the next day all the Plantain where ripped.
At the factory, the challenge was that the Plantains stuck on each other and the crunchiness wasn’t there.
Here I was surrounded by big equipment’s i haven’t used before cos my setup is a manual and cottage business setup. However, the principles of application were the same. And so for two days i had to learn how the machines operate and how it affects the product and the taste of the chips after production. I noticed that the temperature used earlier was at 700 degrees but we reduced it to 400 degrees and we saw great results in the final product.
Every effort to get the product right was put in place and trust me we realized we were producing more in a day and everyone enjoyed the outcome of the final product.
I was more than happy to have added great value to the Callisto family business and though we are competitors it felt great to support another in an area where they admit they needed to improve.
I also learnt a lot from them knowing now how to operate from a well-equipped Plantain chips factory.
I’m in constant check up with Mr. Segun after I returned back home to take care of my business. And this is what he said.
“Thanks so much. All is well with us, by the grace of God. Progress is slow but in the right direction. We are still abiding by the lessons we learnt from you. So far, market feedback on the quality of the chips post training remains positive. We intend to keep it that way, as we explore additional retail outlets. Kind regards”.
I cannot end this story without saying a big thank you to Mr. Seguns wife. She is an amazing woman and a great support to the business. Her warm reception before I left Nigeria still lingers on. Mummy your eba and vegetable soup oooo.
That was the best meal ever had in all my trips to Nigeria. Thank you for reading this blog. Share, Subscribe and like it as well.