Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo is the founder of August Secrets, an online healthy baby and toddler food solutions company.
She is a wife and a mother of 2 children and has a Masters degree in International Affairs from the University of Lagos and a Diploma in Child Nutrition (in view).
Augustsecrets Nigeria provide 100% natural, homemade cereals for the Nigerian child and recently launched a book; Augustsecrets Meal Plan Book.
In this interview with Woman.ng, she tells us how she started her business.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US.
The journey started as a hobby since childhood, I have always loved good food, so when my son wasn’t eating well, I started trying on my own. Sharing my food trials gave birth to Augustsecrets informally in 2015 and I started formally in July 2016. It’s been challenging and fun. I am living my dream.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS?
I have always loved children. I was a teacher. So if a child is not eating well, I cringe. I am just doing what I love.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT THIS IS GOING TO WORK?
My pastor, Sam Adeyemi always teaches on value addition. Anything that will add value to the lives of others will usually work, so that is the belief that keeps me going.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE HIGH COST OF RUNNING BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA?
I raised the capital with my personal savings, popularly known as ‘ajo’. I am good with managing my personal finance, so that helps me a lot to pull through.
HOW SOON DID YOU START MAKING PROFITS?
I can say within the first 3 months, but that was when overhead costs were not much, unlike now.
BRILLIANT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR SERVICES?
I market value. I give you value. I help you get your child to eat healthier, then you pay me. I don’t market products. I market health.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE HIRING STAFF AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM?
I must say I have been blessed with good people as my staff. So what we have done is to create a structure for each person to follow and show you the consequences of defaulting in your duty. With this, the staff can even judge himself or herself. I also try to love them genuinely. That is very important.
YOUR GREATEST SKILL/STRENGTHS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY BEEN OF HELP IN STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
My tenacity. I don’t take no for an answer. I can also say my ability to multitask. I have also been blessed with strength. I hardly sleep until I have achieved my set goals.
DID YOU HAVE TO GET A FORMAL TRAINING OR QUALIFICATION TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?
I have enrolled in school to get a certificate course. But currently, I employ professionals to work with us part time because we believe in standard products and services.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SOME TIME NOW, WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
I sincerely don’t have any regrets. All that I know now, I learned on along the way. However; if I could turn back the hands of time, I would have had my first and second degrees in Infant and Young Child Feeding.
ANY LIFE EXPERIENCE THAT HAS PARTICULARLY PREPARED YOU DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR WHAT YOU DO NOW?
Yes, at a point while growing up, my mom and my grandmom always teach me about patience and longsuffering when things are not going well. My mom is a disciplinarian. I used to think she hated me because of the training she gave to me to be an independent young girl. Today, I thank her for that training as it has really helped me to pull through difficult times.
CHANGE CAN BRING OUT A PART OF US WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED, WHAT NEW THINGS HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I think it’s my ability to multitask. I never knew I could do the things I do now.
THE GREATEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED AND BY WHO?
Be proud of your work and know your target market, do the work, don’t just wish- by Mrs. Ini Onuk.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ESPECIALLY IN NIGERIA?
ORGANISATION: Be organized. Know what you want then go for it. Avoid distraction. Set priorities so you can balance your domestic duties and your business.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Patience. Foresight. People-management.