It was the 5th year of business operations for Bunny and Mac Enterprises and a lavish celebration was being planned, and deservedly so. The company had literally died and resurrected in that time while steadily growing on all fronts. Even in the rough post-COVID business environment, they had successfully pivoted and stayed profitable. They had won also won an award for being one of the best places to work in Nigeria, and the company culture was genuinely supportive and positive.
Anne-Marie who was the founder and chief executive officer (CEO), sat in her office and cried good tears as her dreams had started becoming reality. The past 5 years had started off as a roller-coaster until the stability came, when she opened herself up to receiving and implementing good business advice.
Bunny and Mac Enterprises had started off as a side hustle from her home. Anne-Marie had always had an eye for interior decoration and she frequently redecorated her home. Some members of her local church met biweekly at her home for their Society Impact Review meetings and often the conversations strayed to how beautiful and ambient everything was.
It wasn’t long before she started receiving requests to transform their spaces. Since she had a very engaging 9-5, she would offer to do these on weekends for free, while they paid for only the materials she used. They were her people, so she didn’t think of billing them for something she did as a hobby.
The hobby had transformed into a business when one of the people whose home she’d redecorated asked for her account details to appreciate her. When she got the credit alert, she literally fell off her chair. It was the equivalent of 6 months of her salary! She finally comported herself enough to call and she was further blown away by what she heard.
“You are unconscious of the great gift you have, so I decided to pay you what the going market rate for the work you did is. I think you should consider making this a business, it would generate a lot of income for you,” Aunty Ayo told her.
Anne-Marie opened an Instagram Account for Bunny and Mac and started posting her work there. Orders trickled in slowly at first until the work became such that she couldn’t do single-handedly and that was where the trouble started. Because she couldn’t meet up with orders and thereby disappointed several clients, she was ‘dragged’ on social media and had to shut everything down after a year.
It was a bitter experience and she decided that business was not her thing. Aunty Ayo had been out of the country for 6 months and summoned Anne-Marie as soon as she returned. “I read about what happened on social media and I wanted to hear from you, first-hand and in person. Why do you think your business collapsed and why do you think business is not your thing?”.
Aunty Ayo was a successful businesswoman and had mentored many young women. She understood Anne-Marie’s challenges because she had also been burnt by some of these mistakes in the past.
“What you need my dear, is to learn how to structure your business and attract the people and resources you need to build the great business that awaits you. There is more to building a business than simply existing on social media, and I will help you.”
Anne-Marie started off by refunding all the payments she had received for jobs she didn’t deliver, as Aunty Ayo insisted that integrity was an important currency in business. She was also mandated to send personal apologies as well as release a statement of apology and inform the public that the business was restructured to serve them better.
She enrolled for online business structure classes and as she implemented her learnings, her confidence grew. She wrote to her old clients offering them large discounts for new projects, and the professionalism with which she executed her work this time around brought in new clients.
Like Anne-Marie, the right investment in mentorship and understanding the principles of building a well-structured business can be the game-changer in our businesses. Let us consider how we can make this happen for us.
Cheers to your massive success.