By: Charis Yung
I had the great privilege to interview a local entrepreneur. It was an opportunity to tune into what seemed like a thriving business, a success story. The business is a smoothie store that opened up earlier this year and has been doing very well. It sells fresh fruit smoothies and other snacks including pancakes, meat pies, pizza, and spring rolls. The owner, in her mid to late 20s, is a bright woman with a strategic mindset.
An excerpt from the interview
Why did you start up your own business? How did you come up with your business idea? Any inspirations?
I wasn’t from Takoradi, originally. But I’ve been living here for a couple of years, and I noticed that there was nothing like this store [Squeeze] around here. There are smoothie stores in Accra. So, I went to Accra to learn to set up a store and to get ideas.
Who are some of your main competitors? Did you gage your competition prior to setting up the business? Where are they located? Did you select a strategic location?
There have been a number of people asking me about the shop. Other people bring ideas and ask me if I plan on expanding or partnering with anyone. As of right now, this is what I have to work with, so I’m not expanding. I wouldn’t be surprised if new smoothie stores opened up in Takoradi in the next couple of years. People want to replicate good business ideas.
Yes, I picked a strategic location. There are many corporate banks around here; there are also many expats because of the nearby port [Takoradi harbour]. I was targeting these types of customers [wealthier individuals].
How do you measure success? According to your measure of success, how successful has this business been so far?
I look at the future of the store, and if more people are getting to know the store. I look at increased awareness. Yes, I think I’ve been very successful so far. I even had some media stations [radio stations] coming to offer advertisement on their stations. I couldn’t say yes to all of them, but now I’m advertised on some of them.
What do you think draws your customers?
I think the signage [large storefront] was a big initial draw. I had the signage put up around two months before the store opened, and had people coming in to ask what this was. Then they became anxious for the store to open, and wanted me to open up quickly. Also, on the initial day, I offered smoothies for free, which caught people’s attention even more.
How do you perceive the role of customer service in this business?
Customer service is very important. I hired employees who had very good customer service skills. I always tell them to smile, because they’re the face of the business, the first point of contact with the customer. If they don’t have a nice smile, it’s going to drive away customers. I’m also thinking of bringing in some training for my employees on customer service.
Charis is a Youth Ambassador with YCI currently working in Ghana. For more information on how you can get involved, visit http://www.yci.org/html/volunteer/globally/calendar.asp