Mr. Emmanuel is the C.E.O of Roenex Peanuts, a peanut production company he started fully during his NYSC in Niger State. He tells us how discipline and overcoming fear helped him build his business.
DA: What inspired Roenex Peanuts?
Emmanuel Roenex: I was inspired by my Father. My Father sees me as a lazy son and he thinks I don’t like to work. When i was still in school, there was no way I could have a job and still go to school and concentrate well on my studies, so I just had to endure and make sure I completed my studies so that i could concentrate on the work I wanted to do.
The second thing that inspired me to expand, was when I got my peanut sealing machine. I started this business from the scratch and if could earn enough to get a sealing machine, then i could equally achieve 10x what i was achieving before.
DA: When you got the idea, what steps did you take?
Emmanuel Roenex: It all started like a joke, I just wanted to know how to produce peanuts, not for sale but just for personal consumption. When I finally learnt how to produce, the first batch I produced, I took to school for personal consumption.
When I got to school, the story changed. My room-mates and friends loved it, so I ended up selling it instead of consuming it myself. That was how I stated producing more and more. But during my school days I never knew it would become as big as it has today.
The idea came out fully during my NYSC. That was when I bought my first sealing machine. The sealing machine was what changed my mindset. I started producing sealed peanut and that was what propelled the idea of going fully in to the peanut business.
DA: Did you learn how to make peanuts from a professional in the business? Or how else did you learn, and how are you able to produce in large quantities?
Emmanuel Roenex: No I did not learn how to produce peanut from a professional, I learnt from a friend, because it started out as something I wanted to do for personal consumption.
Produing in large quantity is still a challenge for me but I am working hard to purchase a machine that will be able to produce in large quantities.
DA: How were you able to raise fund to start-up and how much did you raise?
Emmanuel Roenex: Raising funds was not a challenge and I did not use much capital to start up my peanut business, I started from the scratch using tools which we already have at home like cooking pot and stove. I started with less than 5,000 Naira which I got from the feeding money given to me by my parents.
DA: What major challenges did you face and how were you able to overcome them?
Emmanuel Roenex: The greatest challenge I faced was producing in large quantities and marketing my products, because I am extremely shy.
To overcome this challenge, I had to step up and face my weakness because I knew that if i allowed my weakness to overcome me, i would not go far, so i decide to the things i feared most and step up my game.
DA: At what point did you begin to outsource labour and how were you able to get the right people manage them?
Emmanuel Roenex: I began to look for people to assist me when the business began to grow and i knew I couldn’t handle every part of the production process. Getting the right people to work with was very challenging, most especially because i am using my house as my factory, and you have to be mindful of the kind of people you bring to your house.
DA: How were you able to scale your business and what are other strategies for scaling packaged foods that small businesses can imbibe?
Emmanuel Roenex: I started packaging in various quantities, I have the 75cl bottle which is the largest, the 35.7cl bottle, the 20cl bottle is medium size and the last is the sachet. This gives room for a wider range of buyers, some want to buy in large quantities and if you have only the sachets, they would not buy.
DA: What is the profitability of the business?
Emmanuel Roenex: The business is quite lucrative when decipline is applied. Starting up this business needs patience and so much energy, you don’t need too much capital for start up, 10,000 Naira is enough to startup this business.
DA: What is your advice to talented people looking for white collar jobs that feel they do not have enough capital to start up their businesses?
Emmanuel Roenex: The only thing I can tell them is let your skill provide income for you, whatever skill you have, don’t hide it inside of you, bring it out and put it to work. Don’t just seat down, fold your hands and start blaming the government. Let your skills earn income for you.
DA: How can we place our orders, and how can we reach you?
Emmanuel Roenex: You can reach me through my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Roenexpeanuts/, 08034160918 and firstname.lastname@example.org
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