Book Review: One-way ticket – My uninterrupted life journey from pot to factory
Title: One-way ticket: My uninterrupted life journey from pot to factory
Author: Duro Kuteyi
Publisher: Markcelenz Limited
Reviewed: Gloria Elemo
This year, Duro Kuteyi joined the ranks of authors in Nigeria with his debut book, ‘One-way ticket: My uninterrupted life journey from pot to factory’.
The impactful book is divided into five chapters. Starting from the very foundation to critical nuggets for shaping a business successfully; each chapter tells a scintillating story of his life’s journey into the entrepreneurial world.
In the preface, the author emphasizes important skills and values that help shape a successful SME – resilience, and concern for humanity.
The author describes the book as a deliverance tool for those who struggle between life in SME and that of paid employment and a light for those who are grinding against the harsh current of the Nigerian reality. For the average person, it promises a tale of how to be extraordinary in your ordinary average life through sheer determination, resilience, and doggedness.
In the first chapter, the author exposes himself as an unapologetic learner; a trait that has served him well. This trait has helped him master the art of “borrowing brilliance” from others and customizing it.
Earlier on, he learned that problems do not usually disappear, they come packaged in another form and it is best to face them squarely. One would tend to pity his childhood story of hard farm work dilemma either from his father’s home or school, however, the discipline of tilling the ground to the art of buying and selling being ingrained in him from childhood gave him a solid foundation.
In chapter two, he gives a snapshot of his teenage years with fascinating stories of how he challenged the status quo, and myths and how he used creativity to demand justice and get himself and others out of trouble spots.
Here he focused on the impact the teenage years can have on adult life and admonishes parents and caregivers to make use of this period to build teenagers with life skills that would serve them well in adulthood. He shares the picture of the first design of the SUCO product; this brings back memories.
Kuteyi in chapter three shared his journey from being a youth corper and his short stint with paid employment to entrepreneurship. A trait worthy of note is his constant self-evaluation and reflection of his life and what he wanted to achieve.
The self-examination and constant reflection helped him to shun the luscious temptation of money for more worthy aspirations. He was also not afraid to get his hands dirty to make his dreams come through and this showed in the success of the plantain chips business he started. He also showed how he made the transition from paid employment to entrepreneurship without empty hands doing what was legally permitted as a civil servant.
The fourth chapter depicts the title of the book, as the chapter suggests that employing strategy is fundamental to the growth and success of Spectra Foods and the author recommends strategic thinking for success in all works of life.
He demonstrated this with examples of how he was able to position his products through strategy. He also mentioned a myriad of challenges that await an entrepreneur including dishonest staff. But he had strong words for those who want to or are on this journey. “You must be brave; you must be dogged and determined”, he admonishes.
In the last chapter, he exposes the very heart of Spectra Foods to provide Nigerians with quality and healthy, yet affordable foods.
He admonishes SMEs never to compromise on quality and standard. Also from this chapter, we learn from him that the part of SME success can be rough and tough, but one must encourage oneself and stand firm. “Quitting is not an option”, he warns.
He also touched on a critical point, which is the enabling environment that the government can provide in making SMEs in Nigeria thrive better.
The journey of Kuteyi is one many embark upon but not everyone gets to the finishing line or close to it, therefore Kuteyi’s book is important and beneficial, especially to the Nigerian community.
Dreams are often aborted; aspirations fall to the side when challenges come up. Many times, SMEs fail not just because of the lack of an enabling environment, but also because they do not have what it takes to stand firm, especially in rough terrains such as Nigeria. It tells you that being super intelligent or having a certain high level of brilliance is not a requirement for success and that the average person who dares to dream and is willing to do the work required has a chance at success.
This book gives a matter-of-fact perspective on what it took Kuteyi and Spectra Foods to survive in the Nigerian SME space and these nuggets of wisdom resonate not just with budding or established SMEs but the average Nigerian who wants to succeed.
The values and skills that were highlighted as most important were resilience, doggedness, being a perpetual learner, and strategic thinking. One of the things that resonate with me is family support. This was important in the success story of Duro Kuteyi and Spectra foods. The author enjoyed the support of his family; from his late brother, his wife, and his father-in-law. This underscores the benefits of having the backing of those closest to you in whatever you are doing.
Did the author achieve the objectives of writing this book as highlighted in the preface? Yes, he did. While the book appears to be just a snapshot of his whole story, it is well told to reflect the important elements that contributed to the success of his SME journey.
I, therefore, rate this book five over five and recommend it to all who require guidance for the SME journey, to those already jaded by the Nigerian factor, and to those who have no dream of being an SME but are perpetual life-learners.
I wish Duro Kuteyi a wonderful 70th birthday and I pray that God spares him to be continually impactful in the society and world at large.
I pray that you will write many more books that would be road maps for those who seek light in their tunnels and as an inspiration to the world. Congratulations to the latest author in town.