This is a sequel to my earlier story on the manager of this laundry firm, he had nursed a plan to relocate to Abuja in search of a better life.
The narrative however changed the last time I visited, he has decided to stay back in Kaduna to Carry on his business, and he also affirms his unreserved support to the SDF project.
Lest I forget, he remains thankful for the incentives and last week his family was blessed with a baby girl, he asked that I inform the L-IFT team to share in his Happiness.
When I got to his firm on Friday, I noticed the firm owner looked worried and wasn’t really concentrating on the survey administered. So I asked what the problem was. He said he was unhappy about the underperformance of one of his employees who was supposed to be the firm’s marketer. He explained that recently, sales have been dropping due to the fact that some of the hospitals that patronize them have begun to set up their own laboratories and no longer need their services. He also mentioned that the employee concerned is not skilled in the job he was employed for and he has been trying to train him but it seems he is either not smart enough or too comfortable because he has been paying him his full salary without setting a target for him. He is seriously thinking about what to do about the situation because they need to find a way to approach more organizations and also improve their marketing strategies. He however mentioned that he got the employee through a relative and as a result, he is a bit reluctant to lay him off.
This printing firm has not been too lucky with getting sincere employees. The firm owner traveled outside the country on a pilgrim journey and left her firm in the care of her employee and her young son.
Meanwhile, she said before she traveled, she had been suspecting that her employee wanted to steal her son’s phone because the worker would borrow his phone, insert his sim in it and use the phone to play online betting almost for the whole day, so before she traveled, she told her son to be very careful with his phone.
She said while she was away, she got an N10 credit alert from her employee and was wondering what it was for so she concluded that it was a mistake and would rectify it when she returns.
When she returned, her son told her that her worker had not been to work for some days and that he took N10,000 from their sales money and still went to their neighbor who does POS and collected N6000 in her name, saying “my boss in that shop (everyone around knows the firm owner) asked me to get this from you.”
After he took from her firm and their neighbor, he did not come to the firm again and was unreachable. The firm owner declared him wanted on her WhatsApp status, and almost immediately the boy found a way to reach her, saying he was sick and used the money to run some tests as prescribed by a Doctor. He further sent her pictures of the prescribed test on WhatsApp to her. The firm owner said it had no Doctor’s signature and was not a Doctor’s handwriting, so she knew he was lying. She replied to him, calling him a thief and the boy asked her to send her account details for a refund when he can, she shunned him sternly.
The firm owner said she even went through one of his application letters and saw a number of a guarantor he put there, she called the number and pretended to just want to employ the boy, and she told the guarantor; “I want to employ Ayo, can you stand as a guarantor for him?” She said the guarantor bluntly declined.
She later reached out to me to tell me the boy later called and apologized.
Today is Thursday and shops in Lagos state exempting health facilities open at 10 am because of sanitation.
Unfortunately, this firm and many others around it could not open at that time, rather, they opened at 3 pm and this was because Lagos state officials locked all the shops around, including her own, and demanded N11,100 for Lagos Internal Revenue Services Harmonized Bill payment from each shop. She said 8 shops paid that money and the receipts they were given do not have the Lagos state logo on them. They wrote N10,100 on the receipt as money collected, instead of the N11,100 they collected.
She was unhappy and said she has been placing curses on them since, she added that she had to borrow N2000 from a neighbor to make up the N11,100.
This firm owner said his last employee left work yesterday and he had to manage the whole school alone, including children in the daycare, cleaning their poop and pee, teaching them, and doing all the run around it involved. He said at a point, he broke down and cried.
He said he felt bad because he did not get any notice before she quit the job, she did not even tell him directly, it was one of the parents of the children who had just enrolled her four children that told him.
According to him, he called the mother of the four children who he had been teaching since the term resumed to know why her children were not in school and the woman said, your staff (teacher) called me to tell me she is no longer with you and with that information, I decided to withdraw my children. Meanwhile, the teacher told the firm owner that she wanted to travel to her village.
The firm owner said he is hopeful that two new teachers will come as he had interviewed some and had some people promising to send workers to him.
While I was still at his firm, he had a call, where he was directing the caller to his school, the woman came and he interviewed her in my presence and told her to resume tomorrow.
This firm is into the milling of animal feeds. I got there today and they were so busy with milling and pelleting fish feeds into different sizes. The manager took his time to explain from the grinding to the mixing, to pelleting, and lastly drying of the feed.
Today is an emotional day for me. This respondent is into aluminum work. I visited the firm today for our usual weekly interview and on reaching the firm I saw the firm owner and other firm owners standing outside their firm with unfriendly faces. I asked my respondent what the issue is, and he told me that the government has marked their firm indicating that it will be among the firm to be demolished.
The respondent is into leather production. He was surprised that I didn’t have additional questions for him. Said he will speak to his customer and confirm if he can send their number to me. Did employee qualitative for his firm.
The respondent said she has not had any income or expense for the two weeks period we are reporting for. She runs a school and they resumed today and were busy running around and cleaning up so she didn’t really have much time to attend to me so we couldn’t do any of the Surveys
The respondent was unhappy and said business has not been the same since her employee started working at another place and that he rarely comes and patronage for her business has greatly reduced.
This employee used to be the main producer in the tailoring shop so after he got another job, the firm owner started collecting only the clothes that she can make from customers and that affected her business income
Today, I observed on arrival at this rice processing that the firm had more customers for processing, which the respondent attributed to some trailers load of rice just offloaded today from harvest.
On being asked by the visiting Field Manager about the seasonality of service which affects the firm’s traffic, the respondent again highlighted 3 major seasons; Christmas, Easter, and August women meeting seasons as high traffic periods.
He also indicated plans to pay up another year’s rent for new factory space as soon as possible so as to commit the property owner, thereby staying ahead of any planned increment subsequently, as factory space has proven commercially viable in its first few months already.
Also, the firm is already saving up some funds towards purchasing a brand new digital sorting machine at around N4 million (9065 USD), that is capable of sorting all products according to required sizes.
At this leather goods production firm which doubles as a seasonal boutique, we were today informed that firm’s senior apprentice/employee who has been around for over 2 years just graduated last week from the apprenticeship, with some elaborate ceremony, even as the firm owner conceded missing her dedication. He disclosed that his movement was now restricted unlike in the past when he could travel anywhere feeling certain his business was safe under her guidance as she practically owned it.
When asked by the FM his most pressing need, he answered needing many leather raw materials which would transform his business.
He also disclosed saving already towards giving the exterior of his shop some facelift.
When I got to this firm I observed his apprentice was not around, so I asked and the firm owner explained to me that he sent him away and he is no longer coming back. He explained that last week he gave him a certain amount of money to get some raw materials he wanted to use urgently and this boy left for hours. He was so worried and he went to look for him where he was supposed to buy the materials. When he got there they said he came to buy the materials and he already left. The respondent thought of what to do then he felt he should start looking for him in the betting shops and game centers around because he has done that before. He met him at one of the betting shops carelessly dropped the materials he sent him on the floor and very busy playing bets with the firm owner’s money. The respondent said this boy has spent up to N3500 on bets. He was so angry that he had to beat him out of the bet shop then he reported the case to his parent and they refund N1000 promising to bring the balance later.
Let me start by bringing an update from his runaway employee. He has returned to work after two weeks and many pleas from his brother. The firm owner had no choice but to accept him even though he was unhappy about his attitude. I visited the firm yesterday, during the McKenzie business practice survey he discussed how he had been able to get new and paying customers using google ads. He said Google ads have increased his new customers in his second outlet, he also taught me how to increase his visibility on Google Maps which has helped him a lot in his business. He also confirmed that the new customers who found him on google tend to pay him well for his services and products.
Getting this firm owner’s attention is tough as he is always on the move and busy. I got there on Wednesday and met him furiously complaining about how his products were stolen. He didn’t give me an audience, then I decided to excuse him as he wasn’t in a good mood. I called him yesterday morning then he explained why he was unhappy. It happened that one of his customers walked into the bakery while he was away to buy his bread then someone in the bakery sold to the customer without remitting the cash to him. He complained about how his output gets missing sometimes and how other business owners are envious of his business which is why they steal from him. I empathized with him as he poured his mind. I asked if he would be free so I can visit. He said he would be busy in the bakery as it was time for him to produce and he said if I don’t mind we can get to work while he is working. He is short of employees and he does most of his work alone with little help. Above is a video of him at the bakery.
Sometime last year the manager of this firm opened up to me about one of their key employees, who is the lead decorator, who wanted to opt-out of the firm. This firm specializes in baking cakes, bread, cookies, etc and they also offer training. About that time she pleaded with him to give them more time as they didn’t have a backup plan or a good hand to replace him. They have done a series of interviews but I guess they were not satisfied with the applicants. The lead decorator stayed back after many pleas from the manager. Earlier in the year, the firm increased the salary of their staff, which was a motivating factor considering the inflation rate which led to an increase in the standard of living for an average Nigerian. One would think this would make the lead decorator stay back or change his mind but during the last special event survey, my respondent mentioned that the attitude of the lead decorator to work has changed and his craft was without creativity, which is giving her concern. During our last meeting, my respondent explained in detail how negligent the lead decorator has become, and his lack of enthusiasm and creativity in his craft. She said they had some customers who complained last month after they got their cakes. This made the firm owner think that they should fire the lead decorator. The manager on the other hand thought it won’t be fair to relieve him from duty and that the best thing is to write him a letter expressing their stand on his attitude to work and give him a chance to tender his resignation letter since he had wanted to do that a long time. Right there the manager made calls to the recruitment agency to get them a good baker and decorator who would resume immediately. I hope the firm would have explored its options by the next meeting.
Hello everyone, this firm has not been able to recover the loss of its greenhouse that cost more than a million naira due to rainstorm. It has lost some of its vegetables too due to the greenhouse spoiling.