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I once heard a story about a family. The Family Poor no be here! They could barely feed. I can’t even remember how the story began because I was more interested in the ending. Sometimes, I to look at my Pay check, and wonder how people survive in this country. How can a family man with little or no income pay his house rent, feed his family and pay the fees of his kids?

 I look at families that live in what we call the Batcher Quarters and I wonder how they manage. Imagine a family man earning N40,000 every month in a City like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and even Owerri. With the rate the Government Schools are failing and dilapidating, private schools are the only options left. Even the Mushroom-backyard-room and parlour private schools are increasing their fees. You can barely see a Private School that collects less than N20,000 as School Fees. The times get as e be. So, I wonder, how these people survive with the squad that they are training in their Batcher Quarters.

Back to my story. Things got so bad for this family that they couldn’t afford their house rent anymore. So, how can they afford the school fees for their kids and other basic necessities? One day, a concerned friend took the man’s wife to a church program. During one of the meeting sessions, one of the Speakers called out the woman, held her hands and said “I see money in your hands. You will touch money”. This woman was not feeling the vibes as she knows that she was a poor human being. Then the Preacher went further and asked her “Can you cook?” The woman replied in the affirmative. But she wondered what her hands had to do with liberating her family from extreme poverty and how cooking will put money into her hands.
So, the story had it that she was encouraged by everyone around her to start. Now, hear me! This was long time ago and it happened in Aba.
So, let’s examine how she started her Food business.

The first thing she did was to conceive an IDEA. Do you have an idea? Or you just want to start a business because other people in your neighbourhood is doing well in that business. Anyway, her idea was to start a “MAMA-PUT” Business.

The next thing she did was to raise CAPITAL. She borrowed something like N2,000 from a concerned friend who in this case was an Angel Investor because it was an interest free loan. Most times, such loans are just to encourage the person to start something so that there will be no excuse not to start. You should know that START UP CAPITAL is not only for RE-CURRENT EXPENDITURES but also for CAPITAL EXPENDITURES. Now, tell me how N2,000 can buy all the Pots, Stoves, Plates, etc. that she need to start the Business. Of course, the Money borrowed was just for buying the food items to cook. Now, listen to me! RAISING CAPITAL IS NOT JUST ABOUT RAISING CASH. Look around you, there are items in your possessions that could form as ASSETS to start your business today! You must not wait until there is Money to buy all your dream equipment. Look at that Grand Pa’s Sewing Machine beside you. Look at that egusi and pepper grinding machine that has been in the backyard since you were born. Look at that bicycle that is wasting at the corner. Look at that Table that has one bad leg and nobody is using it. Just look at what is around you that could fit into your IDEA. Use it! If it is not your own, go and meet the owner and tell him or her that Uma said that “the Master would have use of it”. Be Bold. Try it! Better Days ahead!

The third thing she did was to find a good LOCATION. Location is very important in Business. Where is your business Location? Is your Business Located where the MARKET of your Business is? Your Potential Customers is your Market. She went to the popular Ahia Ohuru (New Market) in Aba and got a location.

The fourth thing she did was to develop a STRATEGY. There was a woman who also runs MAMA-PUT business in the Location she located. The woman sells her food in the afternoon when the Market People will take lunch from 1pm till evening. So, she allowed this our new Business woman to use her stall from Morning till she comes in the afternoon. So, our woman got what she wanted. Another Strategy was to enter the Market small. So, she bought few cups of rice and arrange small MAMA PUT for the first week.

The next thing she did was to STAFF her business. Most times it is not easy for Small Start Ups to employ someone immediately that start their business. It is because most of these small businesses are personalized. That is “ONE MAN BUSINESS”. But, again, look around you. There are Potential Staff everywhere. That your nice church boy that you like sending on an errand. That neighbor’s child that can do anything. That pre-NYSC girl that is always at home. There is always someone you can convert to a staff and most times all they just need is feeding and transport and an opportunity to learn something new. Just try it! For this woman, she picked her House-maid and they went into the Market with their MAMA-PUT.

The sixth thing she did is to CREATE HER OWN NICHE! According to the story, her food was too tasty. Don’t ask me any more question. The Pastor had told her that she was DESTINED TO COOK and she never knew this all her life. It is possible that she knew but did not know how to start. What are you destined to do? Or, what do you like to do? Before the owner of the stall comes for the Afternoon shift, our business woman has finished selling her food. What was so special about her food that the demand grew? Her Niche! Something about her Jollof rice. Don’t ask me what it is. I was not there.
Can you guess what will likely happen next? In business, when you know that your Market is selling, you need to consolidate your Customers.

The seventh and eighth thing she did was to BUILD HER CUSTOMER BASE and EXPAND her business. The few cups of rice she was cooking was no longer enough for her customers because some people will finish eating their breakfast and still buy the one they will eat in the afternoon. So, the afternoon MAMA PUT Woman began to lose her Customers. See wahala! If na you, wetin you go do?

If you realize that the person you are trying to help by allowing her to use your stall space from morning to 12 noon to sell the same thing that you sell is now taking your customers who now preferred to eat from her MAMA PUT in the Morning and buy for their lunch, what will you do?

  1. Tell her to stop using her space?
  2. Find out what she is doing to increase her sales and improve yours?
  3.  Fight with her and call her witch and customers snatcher?
  4. Tell her to start paying rent?
  5. Swap shift with her and let her sell in the afternoon after you?
  6. Do something to spoil business for her?
  7. Be happy for her and continue with your business?

Be sincere, what will you do? Watch out for EVERYDAY PEOPLE next Monday as we conclude on this story. Meanwhile, drop your answers to the above question in the comment box below. Predict what the Owner of the Stall did when her Customer base dropped and win a recharge card of any network.

Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day!


  1. Honestly,number 2 and 7.I thought you were about to describe how to cook stew.haha

  2. Hahahahahaha! You have a good heart naaaa! Make stew keee?

  3. Nkiruka, is that what you will do or what you think the woman did?


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