3 Important Business Lessons I Learnt From a Local Palm Oil Seller

Business Lesson:

The recent lockdown order due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has unusually kept me at home in the last few weeks. This has consequently led me to doing things I have not done for a while. One of Such things is going to the market to buy things, food stuff especially.  Nevertheless, earlier this week, I was at the market to buy a few things.

As I got to the market that morning and bought the few things I wanted to buy, leaving just Palm oil. I had to leave out Palm oil because where my mother usually likes to buy Palm oil is in the inner part of the market. So as soon  I had bought every other I wanted to buy, I made my way towards where I wanted to buy Palm oil.

As I was approaching where I wanted to buy Palm oil, I noticed an unusually long queue, I was curious to know what caused this queue and where it came from, so I moved closer and stretched forward to see what happened.

To my greatest surprise, this queue came from my customer’s shop, and it was made up of people who had come to buy Palm oil, patiently waiting to be attended to. 

I have not been a regular face at this particular woman’s shop in  about two years, so I wondered at the level of transformation that her business had gone through, within the period of time I had not been to her shop to buy Palm oil. A few years ago, when this particular Palm oil Seller just started her business, I used to be one of her very regular customers. So I knew how the whole thing started.

At that time she could only manage a small space close to one the gates at the market, where she set up a makeshift shop with two umbrellas, selling to her customers in small quantities. However, in my recent visit, a lot of things have changed. 

She has now moved into a big shop, stocked with big containers of palm oil very close to where she used to have her former makeshift shop. Moreover, she now sells both in large and small quantities. A lot of people who are  going to sell in smaller quantities, now patronise her.


Right there, three Important business lessons struck my mind

1. Never Despise the Days of Humble Beginnings: This particular palm oil Seller had a very humble beginning, but because she was not discouraged to start small,she was able to scale through the challenges.

You are probably in the same situation she was in a few years ago, right now. You have a business idea running in your head, but you are holding back because of fear. Fear of starting small, you don’t want people to laugh at you, you are afraid of the possible challenges you may encounter.

I want to encourage you to take a step today and right now. Start that business,start that training centre wherever you are,with whatever you have. Everything that ever becomes big starts small. Apple, Samsung, Google and Facebook that are known all over the world today, started very small.
2. Maintain a high level of Integrity: In my observation of the palm oil Seller I mentioned above, I noticed that her product (palm oil), is always high in quality. This attracted a lot of customers to her,which ultimately facilitated the growth of her business. In your business dealings, ensure that you maintain a high level of integrity.

If you deal in tangible things, make sure you cross check your products before selling out. If you are a service provider, ensure you develop your craft to the best of your ability. Integrity will make your clients stay and even attract more clients to you.

3. Be Cautious: One characteristic that is common with every successful business owner, is  the courtesy they accord their customers. This was not lacking in my palm oil Seller customer. Courtesy will keep your clients glued to you, even when they could have options.

In addition to these three lessons, in the quest to attain success in business, there is a place of consistency. Consistency will ensure that your potential clients notice your presence in the business world.

Lastly, perseverance is key if a business must succeed. Perseverance will keep you going in business, when difficulty and challenges come knocking. 

Ashiru Taiwo Tosin

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