“Your friends don’t make you money, your enemies do”- Reflections of a Foodpreneur

 

After building a successful business as a restaurant owner whilst still at medical school and getting recognised on national TV by the likes of the BBC and ITV4, Godson reflects on some lessons learned in building and running a restaurant. Check out  Godson’s full story here.

 

Faith and Hardwork is key in business

Faith and hard work is key in business. You can only keep your vision in sight when it’s something you believe in. Anyone embarking on a business venture must realise that business is tough and comes with a lot of struggles. It requires sacrifice. You might be discouraged as an entrepreneur as not everyone will accept your idea but you’ve got to keep pushing on. Your faith in your work and God will allow you pursue your goal in the face of great difficulty.

 

“Entrepreneurship has a lot of ups and downs and you never know where you might find yourself”

It’s important to be honest in your dealings. Working hard and living right is better than cheating your way to the top because one day you might fall and on the way down, you’ll meet all the people you cheated to get to the top. If you’ve treated people well on your way to the top, then they’ll form a great support system when you’re not doing so well but if you were dishonest, you’ll have no one to lean on. So it’s better to fall gracefully. Entrepreneurship has a lot of ups and downs and you never know where you might find yourself.

 

“If you cannot handle failure, you won’t be able to handle success”

If you cannot handle failure, you won’t be able to handle success. In business being able to anticipate and manage setbacks is key. For example, when a business is doing well, anticipate hard times and put funds aside to manage any potential future setbacks. Some people lose money or face setbacks and navigate the situation poorly, thereby self-sabotaging and sabotaging relationships in the process because they can’t handle the pressure.

If you can’t handle pressure then I advice you not to venture into business because it can be a lonely path, where you’re left to deal with your own problems and even those closest to you might not understand your vision enough to support you. In those times, your resolve and ability to handle pressure, determines your character. Failure should not be a reason to give up on your vision. Giving up is a sure way to failure but persisting gives you the opportunity to learn, grow and gradually make less mistakes on your journey. A lot of people view owning a business as a sure and easy avenue to making lots of money but that is a false notion.

 

“Try”

I encourage people to try their best at whatever they put their hands to. Do not stay complacent and sit on your dreams because you think nobody will accept you or your idea, whether it is motivated by your race, background or even an inferiority complex. It is beneficial to step out and try against all odds, because nothing good is ever achieved without great enthusiasm.

One does not stop eating fish because somebody drowned in the river. At the same time, don’t jump into things because someone else has. You might land differently.

 

“Having these people in your life also helps you figure out more about yourself”

Not everyone comes to you wishing you success. Some people come into your life with bad intentions and it’s important how you handle them. I believe that God brings such people to you so you can learn from them and sometimes even help them in the process. Having these people in your life also helps you figure out more about yourself. It’s easy to react poorly to such people but sometimes the issues people bring into your life can actually be beneficial. God uses them to teach you and help you grow. In so doing, they also learn a lot from their interactions with you. When they hurt you and you don’t retaliate poorly, it helps them realise their own shortcomings.

 

“If friends brought in a lot of business, then everybody would be rich”

Your friends don’t make you money, your enemies do. It’s great to have the support and encouraging words from friends when embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, but from a business perspective, friends tend to cost you money.

I’ve lost a lot of money and friends to business. Some friends would collect free meals from me as they felt entitled to this based on their relationship with me, and would sometimes borrow from me due to the success I was having with the restaurant. When they were unable to repay me, they would then avoid me and unfortunately, the relationship would turn sour. If friends brought in a lot of business, then everybody would be rich.

On the other hand, your enemies can actually be lucrative for business. I had people say negative things about my business but it got the people they were talking to curious and they tried out my services to see just how bad it was. Not only did that bring me more business initially, but I got loyal customers as they realised my services weren’t as bad as portrayed.

 

“High profile people are necessary for initial business exposure but don’t get caught up advertising to mainly that group of people”

When I first started out in running the restaurant, I courted a lot of affluent parties to drive publicity for the restaurant. They included footballers, large organisations,  politicians and the like. There is nothing wrong with doing this but it is important to know that high profile people are not who you necessarily need to grow your business. High profile people are necessary for initial business exposure but don’t get caught up advertising to mainly that group of people.

I still have some affluent people regularly visit the restaurant but I do not give them any preferential treatment, as I know that the big spenders are everyday people and those are the people I need to focus on. Affluent people don’t bring you profits in the most constructive way, in the sense that you can’t rely on them as regular customers as they aren’t going to employ your services as regularly as the average person. Sometimes, I have had affluent people visit with an ulterior motive to promote themselves or their brand, as opposed to supporting the restaurant in any way.

 

“Know where you’ve come from”

Knowledge of whatever businesses venture you’re getting into and knowledge of yourself is critical in business. Know where you’ve come from, what your background is and what you want to achieve. 

 

Words: Jennifer
Story: Godson Ogwudire
Photos: Godson Ogwudire

 

 Find out more about Godson’s restaurant at www.ukmama.co.uk and be sure to visit if you’re ever in Sheffield or spot UK Mama at a market stall!

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