SHOPS ‘N’ LINKS CONVENIENCE STORE (BUTTERY) PROJECT
DEFINITION: A hostel based convenience store (otherwise known as buttery) that provides a means of stable, decent and gainful employment, enterprise development skill and welfare outreaches to a community.
INTRODUCTION: I was walking through a popular part of the community I reside in when I noticed a group of youths running after any politician’s car that passed by. “Baba Alaye”, (a word in my local parlance which means area father or godfather) and all kinds of hailing, they chorused just to be thrown some currency bills through the moving car window that was only deliberately lowered for that purpose. Soon, they were back to argue over their booty and wait for the next upcoming car. This state of helplessness reinforced the idea behind the business – Shops ‘N’ Links (a.k.a Ineffable’s Concepts), which first started with a desire to support the welfare of a group of youngsters that had a passion for the arts, especially dancing.
This is an idea that aims to use income from business to support welfare programmes domiciled in my community (Ile-Ife, Nigeria), not by giving handouts, but by providing stable, decent and gainful employment on one hand and enterprise building skill on the other. This system encourages employees to work part time whilst channeling their earned income into starting their own businesses (thereby employing other people) and also directly finances and collaborates with other potential business start-ups.
My name is Ogunbiyi Olalekan Olaniyi and I am the promoter of this project. My profile on facebook highlights the major things about me and the Ineffable’s concepts page on facebook: www.facebook.com/ineffablesconcepts/ highlights everything about our business, save for some confidential and in-house documents and agreements that cannot be shared publicly to avoid being compromised or duplicated.
Fig. 1: Pictures from our starting days in the hostel
from a paltry sum of N2000(Two Thousand Naira Only). The vision has evolved since then and it’s still being consistently expounded. Our primary business are butteries (Structures & Management) which is supposed to be the foundation from which other businesses (Chips production, online food store, etc) sprout from. We aspire to transform this building (pictured below) into a befitting building from where we want to run our convenience store.
Butteries are mini provision, food, and other sundry goods stores established within school hostels. A similar model is what we want to adopt with our off-campus location which we have the privilege of designing to serve our own unique purpose.
Our proposed location is an old garage (pictured below) for which we have a renewable written lease agreement with the
FIG 2: Pictures of the our proposed location
Landlord to alter as we deem fit, is just like the on-campus butteries. This location is centered within a series of hostels and other residential apartments (an estate) occupied by students, workers, lecturers and families alike. It also has a link road passing right in front of it where commuters and cars go through and since the products that we offer are those needed for everyday use by everyone, we would have a steady market in the mass of people converged on the same place at the same time which is a major driving force behind all our business arrangements. This has been proven by our over four-year-experience and track record in this kind of business setup when we were situated within the university hostel where our managerial style, coupled with our organization and friendly service, resulted in consistent and rapid patronage, hence the high rate of turnover as shown in our
six months raw accounts which can be found here:
The university through some administrative rearrangement however curtailed our business activities recently. This impeded the flow of funds towards our building project and our ability to expand and extend our services beyond the university, hence the need for new investment/funds to help us move to our relatively permanent site and remain in business and service to our community.
In every new premises we move into, the first thing we stamp out is rats and other rodents. The next thing is to add a few aesthetic value both in and around the building as well as in the organization of goods and the final thing is to create a pampering ambience for our customers, such that leaves a positive impression that they always want to come back and also refer their friends and family to us.
FIG. 3: A cross section of preparatory work before/after commencement of operation at our most recent location
In our new building, we will go a step further to ensure fire and safety standards and also secure an insurance cover on lives and property against any unforeseen consequences.
STAFFING, MANAGERIAL STYLE/WELFARE OUTREACHES
We always have one stand-by staff (usually, the proprietor himself) working and resident in the buttery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week save for the short intervals, he might be unavoidably absent. These short periods however are usually covered for by a personal assistant who doubles up as a sales attendant during the peak periods of the business. By making sure there is no idle time whatsoever, we are able to attract and retain sales all through the time and also beat off the competition. The said stand-by staff also serves as the general overseer of all our business interest and also the book-keeper of all receipts and payments
FIG. 4: Our proposed building project
(he prepares the books of account to be sent to our auditors after each financial period) as well as the relationship manager between our business and customers. We don’t just seek to sell to our customers, we try to connect with them on a personal basis (we have kept a phone number database of our customers, who are now scattered all over the world, since the beginning of our operations till our most recent effort). This is one of the ways we will also continue to connect with members of our community to find out areas with genuine need for welfare interventions. We will collaborate with reputable local welfare organizations, through which we will channel our sponsorship. Apart from our stand-by staff and his personal assistant, other members of staff usually work on a part time basis.
They include the:
Premises Maintenance/Cleaning Officer
Marketers and Door-to-Door delivery boys/girls
DESCRIPTION OF ROLES OF STAND-BY AND SUPPORT STAFF
Keep the buttery organized for easy accessibility to goods.
Receive goods bought and enter each one in their respective bin cards.
Sell and coordinate customer relations and retention activities such as sending of occasional text messages.
Monitor and determine stock base levels, maximum, minimum, and re-order levels and re-order period.
Prepare preliminary documents and accounts and pass entries into such accounts and prepare them for auditors.
Recruit other members of the team.
Design customer loyalty programs, e.g. promotions.
Contract jobs out to professionals (e.g. Accountants, graphic and digital artists, architects, lawyers, insurance brokers, tax consultants, etc) and artisans(e.g. bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, etc).
Determine marketing, advertising routes or plans.
Manage welfare and outreach programs.
Develop and duplicate business model and other business offshoots.
Other general miscellaneous functions.
General assistance on all duties delegated by the Proprietor/Manager or the stand-by staff.
Oversee stand attendants.
Coordinate all other off-business premises activities of the business including our other entrepreneur’s set-up program.
Collect stores requisition from manager and buys the goods into the store and butteries according to the specifications.
Conducts market research for the best market for quality goods and optimal prices.
III. Accounts for every money spent on goods.
Drives the purchase manager to and around markets.
Assists in the loading and off loading of goods at the market and store respectively.
Keeps the van in a proper condition of use.
PREMISES MAINTENANCE AND CLEANING OFFICER
i. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the business premises and environs.
MARKETERS/DOOR-TO-DOOR DELIVERY BOYS
Implement marketing plans. For instance, by handling out advert leaflets and flyers to potential customers.
Delivery of goods on order straight to peoples doors.
Supports the personal assistant in setting up of business at temporary stands.
Handling the business interests at fairs and other short-term densely populated locations.
We have stated the roles of our support staff so as to show clearly that they do not necessarily have to be on and about the buttery’s business all through the business hours. Nevertheless they are able to render quality service and get paid commensurately. This frees time for them (support staff) to set up and run their own businesses and employ other people. This would eventually have a positive multiplier effect on the economy of my community.
NOTES ON OTHER CONTRACT EMPLOYEES
We have a taste for excellent and professional jobs. Our emphasis is not on just doing the job but also on doing it well whilst adhering to laid down laws of the state and standards of the industry. That’s why we’ve had our enterprise registered and are in the final stages of opening our corporate account. We have architects draw and supervise our design and lawyers to draft all kinds of legal agreement to guide our operations. We will have our accounts audited, comply with tax laws, and insure our lives and properties. We will engage graphic artists for our designs, digital marketers for online marketing and ultimately, web designers to design our website and artisans with proven track record for quality work, to do all our jobs.
COMPETENCE OF PROPRIETOR/MANAGER
As earlier mentioned, my name is Olalekan Olaniyi Ogunbiyi. I have over 5-years hands-on experience on this nature of job. I started out on this business, all by myself and so I’ve been involved at one time or the other in every area of the business including market survey, purchases, store cleaning, management and organization, stand set up, recruitment, sales relationship management and welfare, marketing and promotional campaigns, accounts, agreement drafting, documents design, typing, negotiation, among other areas. I have a good rapport with everyone I need to know on the business – from suppliers to market women to customers to other sellers and even drivers. I’ve ran the business successfully at two different locations in the university hostel. Over the years, we have successfully built a brand that has become trusted for quality products, optimal prices and customer friendly service. Our ever growing customer base span over four academic sessions and cut across students and non-students on not just the campus but also its immediate environments. We have also been able to amass a few assets and are currently making efforts to move to a permanent location with an expanded range of goods and services. We believe that it’s only proper to leverage on the reputation we have already gained and continue to serve the needs of an even broader spectrum of customers and also to create a source of income and livelihood to more people within our community. I have a National Diploma in Accountancy from the federal Polytechnic, Ilaro and a B.sc. in Economics from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
FINAL NOTE ON BUSINESS MODEL
It is important to emphasize again that the pivot on which the profitability of our buttery (or convenience store) rests is on the consistent direct sales to customers in densely populated areas such as the off-campus hostel/estate in which the convenience store we want to build is located and since hostels are buildings that will always be required where there are tertiary institutions, the need for butteries (or convenience stores) such as ours will hardly go out of fashion. Imagine the multiplier effect of duplicating our business model all through our community.
The number of people that will be offered gainful employment and also set up to employ other people too will reduce to a large extent the state of helplessness in my community.
BUILDING COST ESTIMATES
200 blocks @ N 170 per block 34,000
6 bags of cement @ N 2,400 per bag 14,400
1 truck load of gravel 10,000
Aluminion Works (windows) 50,000
Wood: 3 by 4 – 4 pieces @ N 1000 each 4,000
2 by 4 -10 pieces @ N 700 each 7,000
2 by 3 – 20 pieces @ N 400 each 8,000
Nails: (4 inches) 10 weight @ N 200 per weight 2,000
Crown – 1 pack 3,000
Roofing Pans: 2 and ½ bundle @ N 13,000 per bundle 32,500
Holding Wire (Oja Igba): 1 pack 1000
Welding Works (Rough Estimate) 30,000
Artisans Workmanship: 40,000
Other Works [Undeterminable at this point (Miscellaneous)] 40,000
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST OF BUILDING N 275,900
ROUGH ESTIMATE FOR STOCKING OF GOODS** To be detailed in a separate document. N 720,000
REPORTS AND REWARDS
Every financial supporter gets regular accounts and updates on the progress of the project.
Everyone that supports with at least N1,000 gets a personalized thank you card 2-3 months after commencement of business, while every support in the sum of N5,000 and above gets our company branded T-shirts or face-caps six months after commencement of business.
All financial support/Investment are payable into Ecobank, Ogunbiyi Olalekan Olaniyi, 4153074315.
For further discussions please reach me on either 08032365758 or 08188334876 or send an e-mail to [email protected]
FOR: SHOPS “N” LINKS ENTERPRISES
Olalekan O. Ogunbiyi