JUNE EDITION: (ALL MEN AFFAIR) TWTYE-- TIME WITH CHEF NII



The monthly edition interview section with Young Entrepreneurs exclusively to THE HOTSPOT GHANA (KUMASI'S GOTO DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY) presents the ALL MEN AFFAIR this JUNE. Young startups in Ghana can get inspired by the answers these hardworking Entrepreneurs provide on TWTYE. The Interview below was with CHEF NII, CEO of NIIS GOURMET FACTORY. ENJOY THE INTERVIEW BELOW.


    1.  TELL US ALL ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT KIND OF PERSON ARE YOU?

Nii is extremely reserved; he loves and appreciates all art forms especially music, yet can’t dance to save his life. He loves to cook, read, swims and works out a lot.

He is also fashion forward, and aims at putting the needs of others before himself, especially the needs of children.
Finally, God is his foundation and centre

     2.  TRY TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS ONLY.
God

Family

Others


      3.  DO YOU FOLLOW SOME SPECIFIC SELF-CONTROL MECHANISMS TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO KEEP WALKING WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING SMOOTHLY AS PLANNED?

Firstly, I go to God and cast all my Cares upon Him because He cares for me ( 1Peter 5:7). I go to God a lot.

Secondly, I have a couple of friends I go to for advice who tell me the truth no matter what, regardless of how I feel they will tell me the truth.

Thirdly, I drop everything hit the gym then go swimming, the gym enables me to channel my frustrations and also helps me to clear my head. Swimming then allows me to think clearly and also wears me out so I can sleep.

Finally, I intentionally drop everything I am doing and take the time to enjoy with my family and friends, making memories, so I can be reminded of the most important things in life.


      4.  WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT? DOES IT RUN IN YOUR FAMILY?
I believe it was God given, because I started trading back in primary school buying and selling sweets to my peers. In Junior High School too I remember I used to copy music and videos on CD’s and sell them to my friends, and in senior high school too I started a t shirt business with another friend, also sold gadgets to my peers so I guess its God ordained.

However, I learnt the hard work from my mum, she is such a hard worker and my father taught me faith, and how to believe God and His timings.

     5.  WHAT WAS YOUR KEY DRIVING FORCE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?

I remember back in High School during our management class the teacher went around asking each of us what we wanted to do, and when it got to my turn my answer was “I don’t know yet, all I know is that I don’t want to work for anybody”, I tell you this sparked an argument which lasted the entire period everybody thought that was stupid, everybody has to start from somewhere, that it was impossible, so on and so forth.

That moment stuck with me and I was determined to prove them wrong. Statements such as “You Cant” and “That’s impossible” only push me to work harder.



      6.  WHERE DID THE IDEA OF YOUR BUSINESS DERIVE FROM?
So the thing is I really love cake, and wondered why I couldn’t always have it available to me, such as being able to have it in the fridge and have a bite whenever I wanted, and put the rest back whiles it was still fresh, or be able to share with a friend, or be able to travel with it whenever I wanted. 

So upon research and practice and a lot of consultation we came out with our first product Niis Cake in a Jar, after two years of *youtubeing* and practicing we eventually added regular cakes and food.

      7.  HOW DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH A NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
The business started on a very small scale, I made cupcakes for events of my friends and they loved it and started ordering, and that was not the intention at all, I just liked to bake and cook and feed people because I believe food makes people happy. I tell you Jollof can end a war.

Anyways, this was when I was in my final year of college, so what I would typically do is to take orders only on weekends, then go home bake and deliver. By the time I was done with college, the business was registered and we were good to go.

About the name, I wanted a name that was indigenous to Ghana and could encapsulate the type of food I wanted to make; very good food (gourmet) made in Ghana (Niis). Also wanted a name that will get people asking questions, especially about Ghana, so once I came up with the name I started enquiring from friends, everyone loved it, except one of them who said, giving my business a Ghanaian name will limit me to Ghana and reduce my prospects, he was like “Why would you like to give your business a Ghanaian name?” I was like “Why not?” and this is where we are.


       8.  HOW LONG DO YOU STICK WITH AN IDEA BEFORE             GIVING UP?
Before I move with an idea, I should have done my market research before. So until I know it’s viable I wouldn’t move at all. Also, most of the ideas I come up with are aimed at solving problems, so it’s only a matter of time.

But most importantly, consider quitting if:
     1.  You can’t stop thinking about what else you might be doing with your time or resources instead.

       2.  That “other things” keep calling you.

       3.  You have lost your passion and are constantly distracted.

       9.  What are your hidden inspiration sources? How do you               generate new ideas?

I know that I have personally come up with some of my best ideas when I have been away from work, either working out, swimming or on holiday. Recognising this has actually helped me to be more efficient and optimise my performance at work.

This is because it gives you an opportunity to pause, take a step back, re-evaluate your processes and procedures and identify how you can streamline then and make them more efficient. It also gives your brain the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate, and trust me that’s when the light bulb and eureka moments happen.

Finally, for me a big realisation was that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Also that health, rest and varied experiences are indispensable to creativity. More working hours doesn’t necessarily mean better results.

       10. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PRINCIPLES YOU FOLLOW         TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER RELATIONS?

Firstly, I don’t believe the customer is always right, yet a customer can always be treated right.

Secondly, people are more important than profit, because with no customers the really is no business.

Thirdly, people will always remember how you made them feel, and that will determine whether they will come back or not.

Lastly, there is nothing like bad feedback. Feedback is feedback whether it’s positive or not. It’s what you do with the information gotten that’s most important.

       11.DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A WINNING FORMULA          FOR BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR?                WHAT IS YOURS?

I don’t think there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur; however, I believe there are certain critical measures you need to be put in place.

You need to put God at the centre of it all, He is the source of life, gives life meaning and really without Him we cannot do anything (John 15:5)

Also, you need to surround yourself with the right people. People, who believe in you, will encourage you and will not allow you to quit no matter what. Because the thing is, after you have failed so many times and your dreams seem so far away, impossible, and no longer feel as tangible as before, it’s these guys that will keep you going.

Finally, family is everything. They will always be there no matter what, thus its necessary you keep them even closer.

       12. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FOLLOWING TOPIC:     ARE ENTREPRENEURS ORIGINALLY BORN AS SUCH OR    THEY ARE RAISED TO BE SUCCCESSFUL?

I believe entrepreneurs are born, yet need to be raised properly to be successful.


      13.WHAT WAS THE TOUGHEST MOMENT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED IN YOUR BUSINESS PRACTICE? HOW DID YOU SUCCEED TO GET OVER IT AND MOVE FORWARD?

The toughest moment was convincing my parents to allow me to pursue this career choice. It was hard, ended up having to leave home and chase this dream, it was hard, went through depression, lost the will to live, but God surrounded me with the right people who refused to let me give up. God kept me going and still keeps me going.

      14.SHARE SOME OF YOUR FAILURES AND THE BEST LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THEM.

I don’t believe there is anything like failure, but rather lessons learned. I mean I have burnt a lot of cakes, missed deadlines, yet I don’t stop. I keep going, and only aim to get it right and do it better than the last.


      15.WHAT WOULD YOU ADVICE TO THE START-UP      ENTREPRENEURS IN GHANA? 

      a)  Aim at solving problems and your business will thrive.

      b) Also try and be as authentic as possible.

      c)   Remember people will always remember how you make them       feel and that is what brings them back.

      d) Whatever venture you aim at pursuing should be something you are in love with. If you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else, that is it.

       e)  Finally, God should be your center and foundation


NEXT ON TWTYE (ALL MEN EDITION) JUNE EDITION IS WITH DR. SONNIE BADU

















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