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Being in business means you’ll probably have to deal with some sort of crisis eventually. Especially when your company grows and gains a huge market. However, not all crises are the same as each business has its unique experience.
It’s natural to want to get out of a crisis as quickly as you got into it. Your instinct to trust your gut and make quick decisions probably won’t get you out of the situation. Many businesses and startups have shut down during the crisis period in the Northwest and Southwest regions in Cameroon. Some have moved to other towns like Douala, where they find better and bigger markets while others have totally closed down.
The very strong ones keep battling with sales while smart ones have figured out survival measures to sail through the crisis and still make great sales. FOGHAM FOODS bosses, Nkongho Mbeng and Nkongho Isreal-Fogham are a glaring example of entrepreneurs braving through the crisis period in Buea and making much money.
About the FOGHAM FOODS business
FOGHAM FOODS is a young startup based in Buea. The startup specialize in the supply of quality snails to customers both at home and abroad. As insignificant as these creatures may seem, Mrs Nkongho reveals that they make a lot of money from their sales due to increase demand and high consumption rate at home and abroad.
Snails are very nutritious species with multiple health benefits. Their high protein, low fat, and cholesterol content make them a nutritional favorite.
As such, the demand for snails is increasingly high. In fact, Mrs Nkongho reveals that it was this need of snails in the society that prompted them to start the snail business in 2017. Certainly, their decision to get into the business was a turning point as they now realize great profits from the sales.
“Business is booming”, she says. However, the market at the beginning was not easy given that people don’t buy from people they don’t know. It was that bad that we couldn’t sell a 10-litre bucket of snails for a month. This was a major difficulty at the start. Few people who realized they always get what they wanted from us, bought from us. We moved from 1 bucket a month to 2, to 5 and that is how it grew”.
Braving through the crisis
Doing business in the ongoing socio-political crisis has been a major challenge for the young entrepreneurs.
“The effects of the crisis is great given that our supplies are from the interior villages. Our suppliers are in Munyenge , Pendaboko and my husband buys from sellers in Muyuka. These areas are very insecure during the crisis period. As such, we experience a decrease in supplies and increase in prices due to risk”, Mrs Nkongho expained.
It is this high rate of insecurity that led to the shut down of most businesses in Northwest and Southwest regions. But just as the adage goes: When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, they made up their mind not to give up but to keep pushing.
“We see this business with a big vision that cannot be blurred by challenges”, she added.
In order to ensure that business keeps booming, they came up with some survival tips. When the roads are clear, they buy the snails in large quantities, fix, wash, dry and store in bags and fridges. When the roads are open, they send to their agent in Douala to store for them in order to always meet up with consumers’ demand.
With such simple tips, Mrs Nkongho says business is still booming amidst the crisis.
Her advice for entrepreneurs during this period is to think fast. They should buy and stock their stores when the roads are open. Once their goods are available, she believes they will definitely sell them because people are still buying.
Nevertheless, just like other businesses, they face difficulties in selling at international levels. They face difficulties to send supplies to customers abroad. This, sometimes, make them lose goods along the way and this really makes business difficult.
Keeping a business during the crisis is not easy. Running away is not an option either. Facing and overcoming it is a must for every entrepreneur, exactly what this young business couple is doing.