By Anino Aganbi
Flora Takim Ndifon, MD/CEO Flan Bedding, is a proactive person who runs an NGO for adult literacy together with most catholic parishes. A dedicated person who has spent most of her time raising her children, she decided to take her knowledge further in developing her Business and making a name for herself. When push comes to shove, she prides integrity above all. Read more.
A dedicated person who has spent most of her time raising her children, she decided to take her knowledge further in developing her Business and making a name for herself. When push comes to shove, she prides integrity above all. Read more.
What prompted you to go into this line of business.
A few years back, my daughter was to go to school. We needed to make bed sheets for her so we went to the open market.
We were not satisfied with the service we got. I asked myself how many mothers would want to sit down that way and sew bed sheets. We could also give them the comfort of doing this without so much stress.
We take that away from them and do bed sheets directly for the school. A child going to the boarding school not only gets his or her uniform and other things but also his or her beddings. The addition of local content into beddings in homes and guest houses was quite interesting for us to do in style.
Most of my friends felt I was going into the wrong line since Tejuosho market exists. It might be there but it does not give you that style you need.
There might be so many fabrics in Tejuosho , you need a skillful person to go through those fabrics and recommend one that will enable you have value for your money. A couple of people might have bought sheets from the market but after one wash, they cannot use that bed sheet again.
What can the government do to help SMEs?
In fairness to the government, there has been so much awareness towards supporting small enterprises. There are organizations that support in terms of educating, you have to know to be able to understand what your needs are and to be able to manage what you have appropriately. There have been a number of workshops but I believe more can be done.
What has been your growth process over time?
For a small business, growth is always difficult to measure. You practically use up everything you have got on one thing or the other. In terms of clientele, there has been a sign of growth. Looking at it from these perspectives, we have something to show that we are growing. We started out having butterfly machines, but now most of our machines are industrial. We have a bigger generating set to run them.
The number of clients has also increased over the years. Clients in most cases make it difficult for small business because they do not appreciate your service. Only very few clients acknowledge you to say great service. For a small business person, that acknowledgement goes a long way in motivating you to do better. If a client can show a bit of appreciation and criticize more objectively, those mistakes will be noted. If you go to china for better products, you will pay more. It is not rocket science, a little bit of appreciation goes a longer way.
What motivates you?
My motivation is inspired mostly by my staff. These people depend on me; I need to keep them going. It does a lot in motivating me. It is like looking up to somebody and whoever is being looked up to is challenged to want to do more, to sustain the structure for others to hold on to. I am so excited that I am doing something most people didn’t think about. There are so many opportunities to tap into if you look around.
When I started this business eight years ago, most people were skeptical about the line of business I chose for myself. Some years back, I had to withdraw all the beddings I had supplied because they had issues with them. My integrity matters more to me. I knew how much I was going to loose by taking that action. Subsequently, we gave those beddings to charity.
Where do you see your business going in a couple of years?
I might not be much of a dreamer but I believe one day, these same children who lay on our bed sheets in school would come to buy our bed sheets for their homes. Flan bedding has a whole lot of prospect.
When you do so much work and you are not favoured, it looks as if you are not doing any thing. There are so many people who work so hard but have nothing to show for their endeavors. In every thing, we need Gods intervention and favor.
What challenges have you come across as a business woman?
Power supply has been a very great challenge for me. As a result of this, we have been living on generator. The work attitude of the artisans is another trying issue.
They do not take their work seriously. Some people might not feel fulfilled in their calling. Being a tailor is a skill that can take care of you for life, but truancy plays a big role in the lives of these people. Being an entrepreneur can be challenging. You are the marketer, store keeper, head of designs, in charge of packaging, you are practically doing everything yourself and almost at the same time.
You can not afford people that will give you your money’s worth because they are looking at bigger corporate organizations. Those are the challenges small businesses suffer. The banks toss you up and down. They ask for all sorts of things. How much collateral can a small business have to get money? These challenges are peculiar to most small scaled enterprises.
Advice to upcoming entrepreneurs?
Young women who want to go into business should be true to themselves and true to their dreams. There is no business that starts on a large scale. There is always a beginning and behind every business success is a story. If you are starting a business today and you think that what is paramount to you is the image you are going to be creating, you might not get it right.
Instead, think about building the structure from the simple perspective to the complex stage. Business is a matter of growth. You need to be able to pay salaries and improve on each stock you take, if you start from a grandiose way, you might not be able to keep it up.