Tolani Akinbo-Michaels is apparently the go-to lady for all kinds of seafood. Working from Lagos-Nigeria, her business supplies fresh seafood from the Lagos Lagoon, which is processed on request, and delivered promptly to your doorstep.
Going through this lady's social media posts, we see a common thread that shows deliberate business focus for getting consumers engaged:
Variety, choice, and creativity: Tolani's Farmer's Market offers quite a wide selection of seafood (fish, crabs, shrimps), which are supplied fresh or processed in a number of ways - fried, dried, smoked, moist-smoked etc. Customers are encouraged to bring along their own spices for a particular experience.
Customer appreciation: In a July 2017 Facebook post, she wrote: "It's been six months of tremendous support from you all. When we started, it looked foolish, but here we are, waxing stronger daily..."
Consumer advice (with a twist of humour): "This is to answer questions on preservation. Growing up, this basket (photo below) was the treasure box in my house, guarded by my Mom's eagle eyes and ready hand. It would be full of all sorts of dried protein, hung over our fireplace one minute, spread in the sun another, and sometimes found its way to the oven. Dried seafood does best when you apply heat to it from time to time, though it's fine in your freezer as well. But over time it tends to go rancid because of its fat content. This basket works beautifully, and you can rest easy about stock in it, as long as you place it close to your cook station... CAVEAT :: PLS we cannot guarantee the safety of your protein if you have 'carnivores' in your house"
Business reach/ distribution: Exporting anything, no matter how small, is not for the faint of heart. Tolani somehow manages to make it look easy-peasy, which is encouraging for both remote customers (their supplies are only a phone call or whatsapp away), and newbie entrepreneurs (export can actually be done) . She says: "Have you got family and friends in the diaspora longing for the taste of home? Especially as the holidays are coming, tell them about us, or order some good seafood for them. You know we serve you fresh stuff always"
Strategy awareness: Creating good value for customers is complex, and it involves a chain of activities linked to one another (aka a value chain).
Tolani says: "[An entrepreneur] doesn't really have to do everything. Study and understand the value chain that gets your business from raw material to product, and to the customer or idea, to service delivery - and engage all the stakeholders along the chain. It is possible, and can be a win-win. You win, and all the other stakeholders win, with less sweat."
She shows an understanding of how a company creates - and continues to add - value. These is a critical strategy for maintaining competitive advantage!
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