Building a successful business in the Catering and Events Industry is hinged on passion, focus, consistency, collaboration and networking among others.
This was the submission of successful women in the Industry at a one-day empowerment programme geared at empowering the upcoming ones in the Industry on how to succeed in business.
Organised and convened by the Managing Director/CEO, Nonos Catering Mentoring Initiative (NCMI), Mrs. Abumere Uto, the annual event was meant to bridge the gap between the upcoming ones obviously encumbered by challenges in the business and the experienced successful ones.
This year’s empowerment held recently at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, had a good number of successful women and upcoming ones in the Catering Event Industry in one gathering where the successful women shared their success stories to educate and empower upcoming ones.
Speaking at the gathering, the CEO, Cruise Events, Mrs. Oreoluwa Adeleke, said that the number one thing for her on the road to success has been passion in addition to grace of God and what we do.
She stressed that passion about the job will bring out the best in you and condemned the idea of people not being focused to bring out the creativity in them but going about to copy other professionals’ styles.
Adeleke who exited a Bank job for event planning said that Cruise Event goes as far as hiring vendors based on passion; not those that are just after money but passionate about what they want to deliver.
She said: “You can’t succeed in business copycatting; know who you are and who God has called you to be. You can’t make it running another man’s race.
“If you have passion you ensure your job is good and exciting. Put God first in everything you’re to do. Do this because of the passion you have; God first and then passion. When it’s passion it will be easy, never look at another man’s race.”
“I don’t want to look at what you’ve done but what I can do. I don’t care what any other person does but I focus on myself and on God.”
On her part, CEO, Nwandos Signature Events, Mrs. Pamela Nwonu, said venturing into business should not be based on the fact that one has money to invest or your neighbour is into that business.
She stressed that there is need to first of all research on the business, noting that the same is applicable in the Catering and Event world.
Nwonu added that having a mentor is necessary while being passionate about what you are doing is key.
According to her it is imperative to learn the tiny details of the job and not depending fully on employed hands.
“Don’t just dabble into business because your neighbour is doing it. Even the name you want to use for the business should be researched so you don’t start changing name tomorrow.
“You should be able to know what you’re doing, know it, don’t say you’ll employ people. Know how to do what you are going into. If it is cooking, learn how to prepare various menus.
“Do your business plan and have a blueprint you are working with.”
Nwonu harped on the aspect of marketing, saying that as the owner of the business you should be the best marketer of yourself.
She however, pointed out that getting a job always is not where the success lies.
Continuing, she advised the upcoming caterers and event planners not to feel bad or unsuccessful when they do not secure a contract.
She advised the women entrepreneurs not to compete with those that have legacies and background that had already established them.
Her words: “Market and sell your business yourself; you are the first sales person. Don’t always expect that getting a job makes you successful and don’t feel bad when you don’t get a job. Also know that you can’t do all jobs, find what you like and do it. Be a crazy marketer of yourself.
“Then know that you can’t compete with people that are more or less made. Be on your lane and maintain your lane always; know what works for you and people will like you for it. Your name is very important.”
Also speaking, CEO, Foodrush Catering, Opeyemi Rukayat, who started her outfit in 2016 harped on ‘excellent customer service, good taste and planning to do better’ as majors in building a successful catering and event planning business.
She urged the business women to be consistent and maintain quality all the time in order to achieve success in the Industry.
Wrapping it all up in line with her colleagues, the Convener of the gathering, Uto emphasised on people maintaining their lane.
She reflected on both the taste of the food and the packaging; “let your food be tasty. If your food is not tasty and your packaging is good there is still a problem. Know what your strength is and build your menu on that. I can’t eat food that is not tasty at home and I took it to Nonos Catering.
She also emphasised on staying focused and consistent to succeed in the Industry. “Own your success; this success is turn by turn. Stay focused and when God says it is your time to shine you will.
“Be consistent and in 10 years you’ll be surprised at where you’ll be. Be passionate about what you do and know it. In Nonos I can’t bring anything on the menu that I cannot cook.
“Please go and learn all that is in your menu; do not be dependent on workers. Own it, know your delicacy because workers can disappoint.
“However, be very good to your staff; your staff welfare is key. Do not play with your cooks because they are the most important people in catering.
“Avoid changing workers because you’re in the food business, anything can happen.”
Uto also condemned unhealthy rivalry but advised that women in the Catering and Event Industry should collaborate and help one another.
She harped on prudence, stating that there is a need to plunge money back into the business and not go into flamboyant lifestyle, especially at the teething stage of the business.
She encouraged hard work and diligence saying that hard work pays off; “go out of your way and do that.”
Earlier in her welcome speech, Uto said she started this initiative because she had always done lots of training for women in the Catering and Event Industry and that gave birth to NIMC.
“I have always been training women; oftentimes, women call me to ask me very basic questions like people packing plates and spoons to their catering outfit and for a whole day no job comes their way.
“When I started Nonos I had such experiences, so I knew I had to bridge that gap between the upcoming ones and the successful women in the Industry, by having a gathering where people that are how I was then will be here today to meet with successful women.
“So, NIMC is that platform to empower women; this initiative is not about today but entails continuous mentoring. It is about networking and collaborating.
“That is the whole idea of this initiative and when you know you have that backing of a group you will get challenged to go all out to look for and get jobs.”
From left: Nkechi Okolo ( CEO, Sauce Factory), Mojisola Gbajumo (CEO, Culinary Woks Catering), Dorcas Pius Jerome(CEO, Royal Touch Events), Opeyemi Rukayat Ibrahim (CEO Food Crush Catering), Ono Abumere-Uto (Convener, Nonos Catering Mentoring Initiative), Veronica Emily Odoemenam (CEO, Veritas Catering), Maria Pamella Nwonu (CEO, Nwandos Signature Events), Ore Adeleke(CEO, Cruise Events) and Morenike Okupe(CEO, Malas Foods) at the 2021 NCMI Women Empowerment in Lagos, recently.